Interview with J.S. Dunn

J.S. Dunn

Interview Date: 4/2/2012


J. S. Dunn resided in Ireland during the past decade, and from there pursued a keen interest in Bronze Age culture, megaliths, and marine trade along the Atlantic coasts of Spain, France, Wales, and Ireland.

Bending the Boyne won the historical fiction award, Next Generation Indie Awards 2011.

J.S. Dunn, author
BENDING THE BOYNE – historical fiction; 350 pp print and $4.99 via Kindle/Nook/apps
ISBN 978 0983155416

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

The event that prompted this work, BENDING THE BOYNE, was seeing the megaliths in Ireland and wondering when and why they were built. Then more research and reading developed into the story of why these impressive mounds came to be abandoned at around 2200 BCE.

Kev's response: I for one would love to have some megaliths in my back yard. Okay, perhaps miniliths, but only to ensure they fit. In fact, a miniature size version on the rocks in front of the house would be wonderful. Hmm.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

The impetus for this particular novel was part myth and part archaeology, and wanting to bridge the gap for the modern reader. Specifically what prompted this story was a fragment of medieval myth that described the massive Boyne passage mounds as “elfmounds”. Wow, that was some piece of propaganda! I used the earliest Irish myth cycle with its many references to astronomy and celestial events, to give the framework for the action. The setting of BENDING THE BOYNE strives to be strictly factual, and several archaeologists vetted all or portions of the manuscript.

Kev's response: I can't help but wonder if you have an Indiana Jones-esque hat, now!

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

Whether a legal brief, an essary, or a novel, for me it is necessary to outline so my meandering Irish style is kept somewhat in check.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

Sometimes I write for the better part of two days, subsisting on yogurt and frozen meals. Other times it is for only a productive period of a few hours.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

That would definitely be historical fiction. Occasionally I read SF, or literary fiction especially if the setting and/or author is Irish. The majority of what I read is nonfiction: history, archaeology, biography, memoir.

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

More than a few odd bits here! Eg, I collect ancient ore samples and goat cheese while traveling. Makes for heavy luggage, and one simply must refrigerate the goat cheese at some point!

Kev's response: Erm ... I hope you eat that goat cheese, because if you merely collect it and put it on a shelf, methinks it would become rather moldy.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

Probably won’t live long enough to write all the archaeology-based stories that could be told of early Ireland, Spain, France.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

There is a place for each. Some books are best read in paper/print format given the current technology.

What are your current projects?

A second novel set at around 1600 BCE, also in the Atlantic Bronze Age.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

My titles are with a small press. If you have a commercially viable work, first try querying small publishers -- not just the Big 6 Houses who are fickle, unresponsive, and don’t offer new authors much support.

If you do go with DIY, spend the money for a professional edit ( not just crit group input ) of your work. Before launch on the web or in print, do the advance marketing that a publisher would do: advance reviews, press coverage where you can get it, and build a fan base before the launch.

Thank you Kevin, for this opportunity,
J S Dunn ,

Kev's response: Thank you, J.S., I appreciate the time and wish you great fortune! (And for some reason I can't get the thought of tiny elves building some giant megaliths now, even though faeries are generally seen as being small, not elves. Hmm...)

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