Today we welcome Jeff Messick.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Jeff Messick: I work in the IT field for my day job. I drive for Uber, write, and I’m a Husband and a Dad.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Jeff Messick: I’m published in 2015 with a Paranormal Crime Drama, titled, Knights of the Shield. It started off as an assignment for an online writing course. My instructor threatened to hunt me down if I didn’t finish it. Most of my work doesn’t have any message, I write them for readers to enjoy. I do try to have my characters be responsible for their actions though.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Jeff Messick: I have a five book Fantasy series coming out early 2018, The Magehunter Saga, with Book One: Magehunter. I’m also working on a sci-fi drama, called Aftermath.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Jeff Messick: A section of Magehunter has a scene where a child is killed. As a father, it was extremely hard to do, but the book needed it to be done.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Jeff Messick: I read a lot and watch a lot of movies and TV, seeing how things are written. My characters, thankfully, tell me their stories, so my research is usually how to write things, rather than what to write.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Jeff Messick: I read Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, Tracy Hickman, and a host of others. My inspiration though, will always be Raymond Feist, for his Riftwar Saga. Magehunter holds a scene as a shout out to Raymond’s work.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Jeff Messick: Everyone around me, really. I’ve been telling stories since I could talk and writing them down became the logical extension of that.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Jeff Messick: Dialogue. I try to have my characters divulge plot information in dialogue, a much more active form of storytelling.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Jeff Messick: I write when I have time, but now since I’m under contract for five books and I’m working Book Three right now, I’m pushing for more time. No routine, just my loose outline in Scrivener.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Jeff Messick: I see myself having 7-8 books out and still writing more.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Jeff Messick: Practice dialogue writing. Good dialogue is specific, yet natural. For good practice, watch the superhero shows on the CW. Great dialogue.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Jeff Messick: Honestly, by reading it. Someone allowing my voice into their head is the greatest compliment ever.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
The grave was still relatively fresh, the turned earth having settled, but nothing yet growing, though Jace suspected that was partially the season. Perhaps an interested citizen would plant some flowers in the springtime. Better yet, Jace promised himself to find some seeds and plant them himself. Suddenly, he felt a little better. There was nothing more that could be done for the child he had killed, but there was also no reason to allow the memory and the guilt to subdue him either.
Jace said, “We picked a good spot.”
Jon agreed. “Yes, though I still wish he hadn’t fought against us.”
“Don’t we all? We cannot make choices for those around us. They cannot make choices for us. We are each responsible for the choices we make, and more importantly, the consequences of the choices.”
“Well said.” Jon whispered. “May he rest in Arn’s ever-seeing gaze.”
Jace sighed. “And may he forgive us for our sins against him.”
He turned from the grave and found Belgarth and Helena standing a respectful distance away, allowing Jon, Xhin, and himself a moment to pay their respects. Jace waved them over.
Jace said, “This is the results of the Academy’s training. Kill those that wield the Power. There are no question asked, just instructions given. Here lies a child, felled by the Academy’s ignorance and mine own stupidity.”
“Come on Jace, be kinder to yourself. This child may very well have killed even you.”
Jace nodded. “Maybe he should have.”
“There comes a point where your defense of self might override your actions against another.” Said Jon.
“Perhaps,” agreed Jace, “but using that excuse to murder a child?”
Jon grimaced slightly. “A child with the Power. That changes things a bit when you’re talking about defense of self. With the Power, even a child can fell a man, easily even.”
Helena interrupted. “In the heat of battle, things are not always clear cut, other than survival. Perhaps forgiveness sought is better than absolution found.”
Jace suddenly smiled, though only turning his lips up slightly. “You are a gift from Arn, Helena.”
She blushed and Belgarth took her hand and led her away.
Jon stared after her. “What did that mean?”
Jace actually chuckled a bit. “That I need to continue to seek forgiveness within myself for my actions and not be so concerned with granting absolution for my crimes. I know I will never forgive myself, but maybe searching for it within me may just be enough.”
“Never ceases to amaze me how far away from simple logic you regularly travel.”
That brought laughter and Jace felt better than he had for the entire journey. He clapped Jon on the back and led the small group away from the grave and back to the village.