Interview with Jesse Giles Christiansen: 'If a character wants breathing room, let it happen'

Jesse Giles Christiansen is an American author who writes compelling literary fiction that weaves the real with the surreal. He attended Florida State University where he received his B.A. in English literature, and holds an M.A. in philosophy from Georgia State University. He is the author of Pelican Bay (book one in the Captain Shelby Series), an Amazon #1 list bestseller, outselling Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. One of Christiansen's literary goals is to write at least fifty novels, and he always reminds himself of something that Ray Bradbury once said: "You fail only if you stop writing."

His latest book is the literary fiction/magical realism novel, Captain Shelby.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

THE CAPTAIN SHELBY TRILOGY all started with a very odd dream, where I was standing
with an ex-girlfriend and looking out to sea at some large, black stones protruding from the ocean floor just off shore. We kept asking each other what they were. I woke up, haunted, and started writing. Before the first chapter ended, Captain Shelby leapt from the pages like a bolt from the blue, and began changing my life … and readers’ lives … forever. I’m so thankful for characters like this!

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Well, don’t have too much of an outline. If you know what’s coming next, so will the reader. Also, be sure to do your research thoroughly to add plausibility to all aspects of the novel, especially deeply historical ones. If a character wants breathing room, let it happen; give him or her lots of space. Be sure to infuse tension, no matter how tacit, anywhere you can. And don’t be afraid to be unique. Write from the soul, or your writing will not survive very long. Take chances.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is Imajin Books. I wanted a small house to earn my stripes, so to speak; but I wanted a small house with heavy marketing clout (after all, this is the 21st century). Imajin Books is just that. I’ve learned a heck of a lot about marketing and social media, and my publisher has placed me in serious striking range of big eyes and big lists. What more could a new author ask for?

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

It took a long time—a lot of rejections. But once I found the right publisher, everything happened so quickly, falling into place, as if destiny were just waiting for me to see her. Don’t give up. If you think you have a great novel, you have to keep pushing, researching, and hoping.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m working on my first Christmas story, GOTH TOWN, which centers on a town with no Christmas. It releases Nov. 6th. Jake Rayner has a vision, which has brought him to the Recalibration Machine twenty-nine times. When the Overseers threaten to reenact an old law, Jake is forced to do the unthinkable: leave town and boldly venture beyond its shrouding gray fog. Once the dark founder of Goth Town, Lord Gothly, learns of this, he captures his best friend, Samantha Bryant, and uses her as bait to draw him back. But there is more at stake than just the welfare of Samantha. The tall lord has conceived a plan to not only end Christmas, but also reduce the world to the same bleak fate. With the help of Lady Pathos, an earthy and irresistibly eccentric woman who Jake meets during his escape, the two return to Goth Town to face the lord before it is too late.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I love doing book events on Facebook, because I really get to interact with loyal and new readers from all over the world in a short period of time.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Mainly, that the sea is a mystery to us all, one of the greatest mysteries, if not the greatest, of our planet. One must remain open to learning from the sea. Captain Shelby has a very special bond with the sea, a type of bond I wish we all had.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thanks for having me! See you in the Land Between the Lines!

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