MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JON DEL ARROZ!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
I’m Jon Del Arroz. I’m in 3 genres right now: Steampunk (which I’m most famous for my #1 Amazon Bestseller, “Knight Training”), Space Opera, and Superhero.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The most recent book, my Amazon #1 Bestseller, is Knight Training. It’s a steampunk novella that was started based on side characters from For Steam And Country. Readers kept emailing me asking me to develop the knights more, and specifically the character of James Gentry, so I put full stop on my other projects and wrote a novella to give him more depth.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
Superhero was because I’ve always been a comics fan. Steampunk I got into when I saw the cool cosplaying getting popular back in 2012. Space Opera came from watching Babylon 5 as a kid.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
It sounds wrong to me but I can’t remember doing any right now. I probably did a lot of searches about guns and their individual parts, but I can’t recall.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The man series of The Adventures of Baron von Monocle is a story about Zaira von Monocle, a farm girl who inherits an airship and is forced to learn how to fight as she’s thrust into the middle of a war.
For Steam And Country is the first book, which really is her first coming of age adventure. She’s way in over her head and it shows in her development. But she’s tenacious and a fast learner.
Knight Training, the novella I already discussed follows the coming of age of her boy-next-door crush into a manly knight.
The Blood Of Giants, book 2, will be out in Mid-August and this one is Zaira really coming into her own and gaining confidence in her leadership abilities through some pretty severe trials.
The Fight For Rislandia, book 3, will be out in September and I’ts exactly what the title sounds like—all out war.
I’m really proud of the sheer amount of character development and change I was able to create over the course of these 3 books.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Probably The Blood Of Giants. It’s the one that allowed me to flex the most creatively and it goes in a lot of directions people won’t expect.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Playing Final Fantasy video games going up. You have airships and knights and strange monsters, and that’s what I wanted out of steampunk all these years.
Was it always meant to become a series?
For Steam And Country is a very standalone book that was set up to have more adventures if it did well.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I wake up, I blog about 1,000 words. Do some promotion, check all my ads and all that, then I do my day job. Lunchtime I write about 1000 words, and then directly after work I write about 1000 words. Sometimes late in the evening (I’ve got little kids so I gotta hang with them) I do a third session. If I’m not doing those, it means I’m editing. On weekends I take a couple hours away from the family to write as well.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
In addition to The Blood of Giants, I have an IndieGoGo launching Tuesday, July 24th. It’s a graphic novel with the high concept of a hero and villain in love. Superhero romance like you’ve never seen before. Like usual, I work really hard on character depth so it should stand out compared to other comics out there in that regard. My artist is Jethro Morales, who’s worked on Green Hornet, and he did a great job on the art too!
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
In Von Monocle, I obviously used an over the top ridiculous name. Early on, I had a lot of other writers in the industry mocking me over it, but I did it intentionally. One, because Steampunk by nature is over the top and ridiculous. Flying around in airships, steam-powered gadgets, it’s not your place for realism. It’s a place for escapism and wonder. But second, a lot of fantasy names end up looking completely the same. Elloren, Eowyn, Gandalf. Most of them are a bit forgettable because of that. When you see Baron Von Monocle, it’s really memorable. So those were the two reasons behind my naming conventions.
Where do your ideas come from?
Gnomes who whisper in my ear while I’m sleeping.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I might do a full on romance at some point. I do a lot of romance in my books so it’d be interesting to see if I can do it without the overarching fantastic plots and do it well just relying on the emotion.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Proofreading. I hate it!
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
Never done one. I’d like to at some point. I had a great guy make a sorta poem/song video out of For Steam And Country, which he made a battle march for the Grand Rislandian Army. That’s as close as it’s come but that was way cool!
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Winning the CLFA Book of the Year award and becoming a #1 Amazon Bestseller. So cool! I can hardly believe it.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I’ve always been a big RPG person, dungeons and dragons and all that. It’s pretty awesome being able to tell stories the way I want and not have players throw a wrench in it!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully with about 40-50 books out!
Have you always liked to write?
Yeah. I used to do it for fun online, RPG wise as I mentioned. We’d do it in groups where it focused on storytelling a lot more than rolling and leveling and all that. I always called it “practice for real writing”.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Just keep cranking out stuff. Do it every single day. Don’t stop. Don’t take weekends off. This is how to get good for real, and how to get enough product to get noticed ou there.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Play baseball, but I’m no good at that!
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Yeah I read reviews. If they’re fair, I try to repost them so people can see them and check it out and see for themselves. I haven’t had any negative reviews of For Steam and Country despite more than 100 on there, which I’ve never seen before on Amazon. I haven’t been hit with a genuine real hard bad review yet (and I hope I don’t!).
What are you working on now?
The Flying Sparks comic Indiegogo and last minute proofread/clean up for The Blood of Giants, my 2nd book in the steampunk series.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here’s the first page of The Blood of Giants:
We’ve avenged the death of our king and driven the Wyranth back with their tails between their legs. Though it is cause for celebration, there is never any joy in war.
An excerpt from Baron von Monocle’s Log
Day 43 of the Month of Duchesses
25th Year of King Malaky XV’s Reign
The Liliana’s ground commando team charged toward the Wyranth’s anti-airship artillery piece, which rested at the top of a hill, overlooking the Border River. Rislandia’s infantry would have never arrived before the Wyranth soldiers could whisk it away in a retreat. If our infantry had been able to penetrate through their lines at all. This was where having an airship provided a distinct advantage in battle.
I watched the battle unfold below through my gyromatic expanding telescope, complete with a crank to allow me to easily zoom or adjust the view. The new telescope was a much better solution than having Lieutenant Colwell run back and forth across the bridge with his binoculars. How my father had tolerated that means of assessing a battle for all the years he’d captained this ship, I had no idea.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
Balance is hard. I thought I’d be more military science fiction/space opera but the Steampunk really took off, so I dialed my focus back to that. I think an author has to focus on what’s selling first and then use other genres/series to take a break so it all stays fresh.
Where did your love of books come from?
My mom used to get me books on sick days home from school. She’d go to the store and pick me up one while I was laying there not feeling good and it kept me occupied.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
My favorite authors are Elizabeth Moon, Robert Kroese, Lois McMaster Bujold, Richad Fox and Anne McCaffrey. Anne’s Crystal Singer is still my favorite book of all time, and that probably got me more interested in writing than anything else.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. Depends on what’s going on and how emotional a scene is or how adrenaline-y it is.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Proofreading! Yes I know I used this answer twice.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I think both. My readers want a little surprise and a little something different than most books out there.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m friends with so many authors it’s hard to list. Most we ping back and forth about marketing strategies more than like book content. Avily Jerome and Tim Marquitz though listen to my content questions the most I would say. Debut author Benjamin Wheeler often keeps me honest about some of the military details of my books.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
The Art Of The Meme.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I want to be asked about baseball statistics and the season and I’d give long rambling answers that take hours cuz it’s all I talk about in real life!
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Check out my amazon and bookbub pages and follow me there first. Otherwise I’m at http://www.delarroz.com
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️