Posted on March 2, 2016 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Author Jonathan Fore’s career is, in a way, a family project.

The Navy veteran started with short stories and adult fiction, thanks to his wife, but in the past few years, his daughter has caused him to switch gears.

You could also call him a father figure to other authors, too. Though he makes no claims of being an expert, whenever an aspiring writer realizes Fore has been through it all — and it happens often — he’s ready to lend a helping hand and critical eye.

Unsurprisingly, when we told him we were looking for a Q&A subject, he was happy to oblige.

SADYE: You have quite the varied background and range of interests — the Navy, motorcycles, standup comedy, to name a few. When did writing enter the mix?

JONATHAN: The desire to write came from my enjoyment of reading. ... (But) when I began writing, I discovered that the pleasure of reading an escapist novel barely compares to writing one. I have lost entire weekends writing. There is just something so powerful about the story evolving in real-time in my head, and no, I rarely know what is going to happen next.

The inspiration to finally begin writing should be credited to my wife, though. Her passion motivated me to give it a try. ... (Recently) I decided I wanted to write my daughter a book, something she could grow up with, share with her children, and perhaps even her grandchildren.

Some ten years ago I wrote a novella called By Any Other Name, which was my first swing at young adult writing. I decided to pick that back up and rewrite it in a series of full-length novels just for her. From that came Lexicon Chase and the Scrolls of the Harlequin.

SADYE: What was easier — writing adult fiction or YA fiction?

JONATHAN: Shifting from adult novels to young adult did require me to clean up my language, as Lexicon Chase and the Scrolls of the Harlequin was written for a younger young adult audience. But that wasn’t all that hard.

I also had to spend some time speaking to my own children and really hearing how they spoke, and not listen to just what they say. I had to study the vernacular of younger young adults, and try to bring that into the Lexicon Chase novels.  But that wasn’t too hard.

So instead of answering your specific question, I think I will instead answer a variation: “What was more fun — writing adult fiction or YA fiction?”

My answer to that is young adult. I could write in a more relaxed way, I could write silly things just to make the children smile. That right there, that was truly fun.

SADYE: Your author’s note on Lexicon Chase’s Amazon listing is interesting, in particular the line of “I didn’t want to teach some moral lesson” — can you tell me a little bit more about the motivation for the note?

JONATHAN: I know that someone, somewhere, will find some relation to Lexicon Chase and some religious belief, but I assure you it was not intentional.

I was not trying to tell children how to be; that’s for the parents to do. I wasn’t trying to tell a child what they should believe; religion is an intimate component of the parent-child relationship.

What I did want to do is perhaps tell a child with Lexicon’s troubles that they were not the only ones. I wanted to tell other children who perhaps are the cause of a bullying problem what it’s like on the other side of the issue — that, and nothing more.

I didn’t want to give younger young adults something to think about. I wanted to give them something to dream about.

SADYE: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about writing or your favorite piece of advice to give the writers you help?

JONATHAN: Actually, they are the exact same. It really is simple. Stephen King gave it, and I pass it on: “Writers read.”

There is no mystery to any of this. If you want to be a writer, you have to read.  Read any moment you can. Pay attention to marking copy, read journalistic articles, but most importantly, read the books you want to write.

Make a study of it, don’t do it just for pleasure. If you ever start a book and just can’t get through it, you’re doing it wrong. Even the worst books have something to teach you, even if that lesson is how not to do it. ...

Synopsis: Read. Read more than you write. Then read some more.

SADYE: What has been your proudest moment as an author?

JONATHAN: (For a while), I would have said when I signed my first publishing contract. ... But, recently I received a review of Lexicon Chase and the Scrolls of the Harlequin by a 9-year-old girl.

She loved the book. She quoted the book. She shared her laughter and passion of the story. She talked about what happened and how it touched her. I think this would have to be the answer.

It’s not about contracts and seeing your book in a bookstore. ... It’s about touching a young heart with my story, and knowing in the end, I made a little girl giggle.

* * *

Learn more about Jonathan Fore on his website (and that of his series); like him on Facebook; and follow him on Twitter. His books can be purchased on Amazon.

Categories: Author Interview

<p>As a father of two young girls, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Lots of great characters that I could happily enjoy and watch them become attached to. So much better to have active and aware characters with agency and presence that you can use to foster conversations with your children. This was a great story and a welcome edition to our library. Did anyone else feel the same?</p>
PlasmatixUltra | 5/24/18 at 2:32 AM
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