Author Interview

Author Interview with J D. Armstrong


I was born in Melbourne, Victoria. Many moons ago.  We left the inner city for  the country, Swan Hill to be exact, sits right on the Murray River, which sets the border between NSW and Victoria. I lived there with mum, dad and my sister.  It was a very country lifestyle in one of the larger towns, about 8000 people then.  Unknown to me, the move was to try and aid my mum’s health. It didn’t work, she spent most our childhood in and out of hospital, passing when I was about 7 nearly 8 years.  One of my vivid memories at the time was going to the drive ins.  My sister and I were asleep at the end of our cartoon screening.  I woke up at the start of the Stephen King double, Salems lot and The Shining. I had nightmares constantly until I was about 14.  They stopped when I read the books. From there I was hooked.  By then we had moved over to Perth, Western Australia.  We had a step mum and sister and a new baby brother by then.  Dad and step mum added another brother and lastly my little sister.  I joined the Royal Australian Navy when she was one. I was 3 weeks any of 18. I’d been telling stories, and writing since I was 9. Reading way before that.  In my 20’s was when I finally felt I had short stories I could actually keep, and let people read. I traveled around a little with the Navy, and wrote my first two, one weekend out at sea. The others came in my late 20’s.  And they lay there gathering metaphorical dust, until last year.  Now they’re on Amazon after life charging accident.  I was hit by a truck while riding my motorbike in Sydney Australia.  So now I’m at a point in my life where, I have a choice.  Is this the universe telling me to slow down,  and write again.  I haven’t written in over 15 years.  Can I do it still?  Only time will tell.  I have ideas for short stories and novels.  Time will tell.

Do You Dare?

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My one and only book, so far.  Is “Do You Dare?”  It’s a compilation of short stories, 10 total, of varying themes.  All supernatural/horror/thriller.  All of these I intend to expand on.  My personal favourite is Devils Halo. Most of these stories will make you think. It’s my intention, to try tie in the supernatural with everyday life.  For example, Mind Riders ties in schizophrenia.  The Sandman with SIDS. Dream Web with Comas. Devils Halo with natural disasters.

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What inspired you to first start writing? Is your motivation to write now different or the same as before?

I’ve always enjoyed telling the tale. I enjoy seeing, hearing about their reactions.  Recently another writer who is reading my book, had just read “The Author” she said it was amazing, and she could really relate.  I still get goosebumps from the thrill of those kind of reactions.  And I wrote The Author 23 years ago.

Writers are projected as loners or introverts. Is this true for you?

As a child, definitely. Life takes you on a journey as you get older. I came into my own once I left home and was out amongst the big bad world. I am very happy with my own company, and could easily disappear in a crowded room if I wanted. But I love being the life of the party as well. I love to dance, up on stage at a nightclub, very extroverted action, but I’m lost in the music, in my own world.

What genre do you like to write in? Why?

Horror/Thriller.  Bit of a story, parents took my sister and I to the drive-in movies.  I was 8ish.  We watched some cartoon thing and fell asleep, as planned.   I woke up at the start of the Stephen King double. Salems Lot and The Shining.  I had nightmares constantly, until about 14 years old,  when I read the books.  Those nightmares stopped.  And I was hooked.  But I’m not just blood and gore.  I like to try make you think.  Tie in some real world shit, freak you our a little if I can. 

How often do you write and what schedule to you like to keep?

Well, seeing as I haven’t written in 15 years, this one is…moving on.

What is the easiest part of writing to you? 

When I used to write, it flowed.  It was almost like, it was coming from somewhere within.  I usually get a concept of a story, and it just happens.  Often I don’t know how it’s going to even end, until I’m writing it. 

Can you share any tips on inspiring other writers to pursue their dreams?

Look, inspiring, maybe not. But, I finished “Do You Dare 15 years ago. I didn’t do anything with it, until I died in 2015. Well, a year after. I’ve died again since then. I’m telling you, most people don’t come back from the first time they died. We are unusual creatures, we act like we have all this time in the world. We spend so much time doing shit that makes us miserable. Yet we know it could all be over tomorrow, but we keep doing the same shit. Your life can be over in a split second. I know, looking back I have no regrets. Not even the decisions that led me to dying, everything happens for a reason. Everything that has happened to me, has made me who I am. My regret, if I was to die again today and not make it back. Three of them. Not being around for my daughter. Not being around for my son. Not finishing the long list of writing I’ve got. Yet, here I am still not writing. I’m not dying tomorrow though. Quite clearly I have a purpose, I’m hard to kill. Nice try though Death, nice try.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Why?

Being read. And hearing some reactions. Everyone has a different favourite. I love to hear those words, why they related to that one.

Who would you compare your work to? What differences set you apart?

Okay, I’ve been compared to Stephen King. Obviously I was flattered, but I’m no where near the master. What sets us apart. World’s. Worlds set us apart. I’d be like, Batman, he’d be Superman in Justice League, just as he’s about to crush Batman’s skull. “but it ( the world) doesn’t need you”

Does a bad review affect your writing?

Well, haven’t had one yet. I’ve had some constructive criticism, and I like hearing that too. And seeing as I’m not writing, yet. Lol. Moving on.

What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?

Honestly, no damn idea.  This has frustrated me for decades. I never knew, when I was 15, my friend and I decided we’d be vets together.  He died in a house fire, I did some work experience at a vet clinic, was still interested in it, until I saw the study involved.  I hate school. Always have. But, I was good at it, without trying. I still passed year 11, 6 Tertiary subjects.  English and English literature (why, I wanted to write, and I didn’t have a clue what adverbs,  nouns,  pronouns etc where, and to be honest, I still don’t really know, all of them.  I’ve learnt recently, some) Maths 1, Chemistry, Biology, Accounting.  I was going to be an accountant.. you believe that. I realised Vet wasn’t for me.  I will bawl my eyes out, taking someone else’s animal to the vet to be put down.  I’ve done that. I had to put my cat down once, I held it together, right up until the hot vet walked in.  I was like, damn, she’s hot, and started bawling my eyes out.  Sobbing and everything.  Not the attractive… see he’s in touch with his feelings, shedding a tear.  I’m pretty sure there was a snot bubble.  Vets put down a lot of animals. I’d be crying more than the owners.  I’m now 45, the accident has taken from me, what I used to do for work. It wasn’t a dream job, I fell into it, happened to be really really good at it.  I still have no idea what I want to do. Writing, if I could make enough money from it.  I’ve had aptitude tests, when I joined the Navy at 17. And again 3 months before my accident, when I was looking at doing army reserves.  Both times, they said I scored off the charts, and could choose anything I wanted. BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO.  Any job I’ve ever tackled, I’ve been good at, always getting promoted. Getting noticed.  But.. never, from a young age, did I ever say, I want to be X, with c conviction.  The vet thing was because my friend wanted it. Accountant, I’m good with numbers. The Navy? Ha.  Dad said, why don’t you try the Navy?  I said okay.  Next minute, 7 years later.  Well that kinda sucked.  But at the same time, I’d do it again.

What book have you read that has been the most life changing?

Life changing in a very spiritual way.  James Redfield The Celestine Prophecy.  Read that a few years ago, and it joined all the dots of theories and experiences I’d had my whole life.

Are you working on anything right now? If so, what can you share? 

Well, as you already know, I’m not writing. But I have a short story I want to write, set in a deserted city, group of 12 individuals are drawn to it, lots of stuff happens, everyone dies but one, maybe two. Big twist at the end. And a.. Different kind of project I’m wanting to do. I got the idea from that song by The Police, Every Breath You Take. Such a stalkery song. That’s all you get. Lol

Who is in your support system? How do they keep you motivated?

Support system? What’s that. I actually struggle to ask for help. I don’t like asking for it. However, just being amongst the writing community, it’s made me WANT to write, and I will. Once my surgery is done and I’m in less pain on the daily. Then it should happen.

Do you keep a blog or a journal? How does it help you as a writer?

I started to, at the start of this year, more just as journal, thoughts, ideas, reasons/excuses why I’m not writing. Anything else I want to jot down about writing. Maybe it’ll help.

Do you have any daily mantra’s? What do you tell yourself to keep your inspiration alive?

NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER. That’s my daily mantra. Not so much keeping inspiration alive. Once I start writing again in inspiration will come thick and fast.

What is one thing you want people to know about you as a writer?

A writer? Never been in it for money, obviously, I just write, so someone can enjoy some escape. A person? As a person? I like to believe I’m a good person.. I have a big heart, I wear it on my sleeve. It has so many scars, it’s covered in scar tissue. My kids have it now. Anyone ever hurt them, either of them. I wouldn’t be remembered as a good person. But I’d be remembered.

What are your career goals?


How will you handle fame if/when you reach that level? How do you think it will change your writing?

Hahahahaha. Sorry, fame? I don’t care if I do, I’d prefer it to happen when I’m gone to be honest. I’m an overthinker. If I got famous from my writing. I’d overthink e everything I’d write from then on. I’d be a wreck.

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?

Just do it idiot. You love it. So do it, instead of wasting so much time on pointless shit. Games/social media. TV. So many hours of wasted time.

Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?

Absolutely. Especially after the last 3 years I’ve had. Plus, I have done a lot of crazy shit over the years.

How did you celebrate the launch of your book?

I sat there and watched it not sell for a couple minutes. Then got distracted by something shiny.

If given the chance, what author would you interview?   What is the most important question you would ask?

Stephen King. Do you believe psychopaths are just writers that have blurred the line between fantasy and reality? I do.

Have you experienced writer’s block? How do you handle it?

Hahahahaha. I’ll tell you when I start writing again. Honestly, I think everyone suffering writers block, are just stuck. Just write something, anything. Stupid little story. Random thoughts. Just get anything flowing. Those story challenges in the writing community, I’ve done a few, got some good feedback too. So, I know I can write, I don’t think I ever was “blocked”. Just, distracted.

What would you tell others who are considering traditional/self-publishing? Any advice? 

The game has changed, self publishing is so easy, probably too easy. But could lead you to traditional. Every writer would love to be traditionally published. Don’t pigeonhole yourself though. Just, do what feels right for you.

What do you want to be remembered for as a writer? A person?

As a writer, just remembered would be great. So, need to start writing huh? As a person. A good dad to my kids, like my dad was to me. A fighter. An inspiration. A generous person. Let’s face it though, some people will hate me. Some will love me. Some will remember me and some will forget. I’d just want everyone to know, if I ever loved you, you were always in my heart, I still loved you in some form or another.

Thanks, James!

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