Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Interview with Laurence St. John: 'Grow your network, write the best story you can and find a good editor'



Laurence A. St. John was born on January 11, 1965 in Toledo Ohio. Laurence has one older brother and two younger sisters. Laurence along with his parents, brother and sisters moved once while growing up to Genoa Ohio, just south of Toledo. While attending Genoa Area schools, he was active in track, football and baseball. Later, after he graduated from Genoa High School (Comets) in 1983, he worked for a few manufacturing companies.
At the age of 23 and after three years of dedication, hard work and sweat, in 1988, Laurence received his first-degree black belt (Shodan) in Tae Kwon Do. This gave him the self-confidence and perseverance needed to surmount anything that came his way. 

When Laurence was 25 years old he fell in love then married the love of his life, Julie in 1990. He then adopted her two young wonderful children Joe and Jan shortly after.
Out of high school for nearly fifteen years and after persuaded by his former manager, Laurence attended Owens State Community College where he obtained an Associates Degree in Microcomputer Business Systems while working full-time. In addition to computer classes, he enjoyed composition classes where he could free his mind and write what he wanted.

While working in the steel processing business for almost fifteen years, Laurence's place of employment changed hands, for the third time in 2006; fighting for his job, again. In the same year his first granddaughter, Kendall, "Papa's Angel" was born. He described this as one of the most uplifting moments of his life. In addition, it was during this time when his emotions were running wild; he became inspired as well as determined to write his penned-up thoughts on paper. 

Nearly four years later, he had completed his first middle grade fantasy novel, Metatron: The Angel Has Risen. His latest book is Metatron: The Mystical Blade.

Laurence currently lives in Northwood Ohio with his wife of 24 years, Julie. His son Joe is married to Cari and they have three daughters, Kendall, Sadie and Harper. His daughter Jan is married to Andrew and they have a son Eli and a daughter Evelyn. Laurence currently holds the position of Administrations Manager at Precision Strip, Inc. in Perrysburg Ohio, where he works full time. He continually writes in his spare time; weekends and after work, and is endlessly inspired by his five grandkids Kendall, Elijah, Sadie, Evelyn and Harper. 

For More Information
About the Book:

Thirteen-year-old Tyler Thompson is on the verge of becoming a superhero, but he must prove himself so he can earn the remainder of his superpowers and fulfill his destiny.

When his grandfather, Benjamin, is held prisoner at AREA 51, where the eternal powers are presumed to be hidden, Tyler attempts to penetrate the base’s heavy security. However, Dr. Mason Payne, the evil scientist who killed Tyler's father, has insidious plans of his own.

Hunted by an unknown entity, Tyler races against the clock to retrieve the superpowers, rescue his family and help the others who are depending on him. And when all hope seems lost, help comes in a power he didn’t know he possessed—a mysterious weapon known as The Mystical Blade.

For More Information

  • Metatron: The Mystical Blade is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.

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?

Hello and first of all thank-you for having me. I appreciate it very much!

My writing started when I was probably around ten years old. I had these cool characters (superhero and villains) and story lines in my head but I never acted on them. I was too busy playing sports and being a kid. One day about eight years ago, I sat down in front of the fireplace in my black leather rocker and began writing the old fashion way – with a pencil and a notebook. A little more than two years ago and after many edits and re-writes I published my first novel in the series, Metatron: The Angel Has Risen. My second novel, Metatron: The Mystical Blade, just released was a continuation of those thoughts. 

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?

I don’t think it was hard at all. It was actually fun. I loved creating my characters, settings, dialogue, and places. It was also fun working and brainstorming with my editor. She helped me be a better writer. 

As for some tips, begin growing your network now, write the best story you can then find a good editor before you submit a query letter, a synopsis and manuscript to agents and publishers. Lastly, expect rejection, be patient and have fun.  

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

My publisher is Imajin Books.

After my first book was completely drafted, I had no idea what to do next. Ironically, the next day in the mail was a quarterly letter from the college I graduated from - Owen State Community College. In it was an article about an alumnus who was also an author. And behold, his email address was also included in the article. I sent him an email introducing myself then asked some questions. Within a few days he actually called me and provided me with valuable advice and contact information of an author/editor. After my manuscript was edited by the author/editor along with another editor and query letters sent out to over 100 agents and publishers, I didn’t receive a contract. Contemplating the idea of self publishing I sent out a help memo to my networking contacts from Facebook and Twitter. I received some great advice from many of them but most importantly a reply to have my manuscript reviewed. Finally, after a couple of months I was offered a contract with Imajin Books. I smiled so much my cheek muscles began to hurt.

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

Yes, I was pleasantly surprised how much input I had with the publishers editing process along with the book cover design. I figured that once the publisher had my manuscript they would make any changes they wanted with little to no input from me. Same goes for the book cover. They asked me what I envisioned the book cover to look like. Both book covers were nearly ninety percent what my minds-eye imagined.

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

I am currently working on book 3 and book 4 in the Metatron Series. Who knows, I might also be co-authoring a book as well.

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

Well, when I do have time to hang out online I like conversing with family, friends, acquaintances and fans on Facebook and Twitter. Due to that I have a full time job working 50 hours a week, spending time with my family and writing, I don’t spend as much time online that I would like to.

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

Life isn’t always perfect. “Whatever your endeavors, Rise Above your doubts”. I believe this is a positive quote for everyone, especially kids. Many times while growing up I would hear people say, "you can't do that", "you're not good enough", "maybe you should stick with something else", etc.... I believe that if you block all those negative thoughts (doubts), work hard at something and do your best, you can achieve any goals you set your mind on.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you again for the interview; I’m grateful. If anyone has any additional questions please visit my website at www.laurencestjohn.com and send me a message. I’ll be happy to answer them. Sincerely, Laurence