Author Interview: JD Estrada
To celebrate the release of his newest book, Given to Fly, we are talking with JD Estrada today! He’s going to share with us the inspiration behind this book, some of his favorite authors, and the important messages he wants his readers to walk away with. Besides being a wonderful author, JD is a phenomenal human being with an amazing sense of humor. Be sure to visit his website or his Facebook page (links below) to order his Estrada Crates, support his humanitarian efforts, or watch his 00Banana videos.
Amanda: Thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with me tonight. Can you begin by telling me a little bit about yourself?
JD Estrada: Kindest thanks for having me over, Miss Hester. Always a pleasure to be in touch and have this chance to sit down and spin a yarn or two. As for me, I’m a Puerto Rican indie author who might reside in Atlanta but shall always call his Island home. I’ve been an indie author for over 5 years now and in that time I’ve been able to participate in comic cons, book signings, semi-bohemian evenings where I’ve also played guitar and decently carried a tune or two. I’m also a multi-genre author because my commitment is not to one style or genre but to creativity itself and do consider myself an aspiring ambassador of creativity. In the time I’ve been at this writer bidness I’ve published 12 novels and am actually happy to announce that come next December 1st, it’ll be a nice 13.
Amanda: Have you always wanted to be an author?
JD Estrada: The author thing actually came later in my life. It was a natural evolution of my childhood ambition to be an inventor. In a way, I am living my dream because I invent through words and I’ve also added some other creative aspects that drive me as a human.
Amanda: I love this unique perspective! What inspired you to write your first book?
JD Estrada: My first novel is titled Only Human and what began as a self-imposed dare turned into a personal exploration of humanity through fiction. To explain the genesis moment, imagine me with my legs up on a desk. I’m chatting on MSN Messenger, listening to Bach, writing one of my apparently kilometric emails, and seeing a commercial for Underworld and thinking to myself, I can write something like that.
Research into angels, demons, light botany, folk tales, vampires, and lord knows what else somehow congealed into the Human Cycle and I’m also working on Book 3 of that series…. Which is a story for another day.
Amanda: Only Human and Shadow of a Human have a special spot on my bookshelf. What genre(s) do you write?
I’ve published in poetry, urban fiction, and middle-grade fantasy. I also write in Spanish and have a poetry collection in my native tongue as well as a bilingual collection of short stories, essays, and poetry. In addition, about ten years ago I made a commitment to make a positive impact in my life because for too long I’d been a genuine pessimist. So this year I published two non-fiction books with this as their focus. One is Peace, Love, and Maki Rolls, a Guide to Creative Kindness and the other is For Writing Out Loud, described as a daily reader for positivity and motivation. I should add I’m working on a noir novel, a sci-fi novella, and whatever else tickles my fancy. Small note though, I’m VERY ticklish, especially when it comes to my fancies.
Amanda: I’m sorry but I cannot picture JD Estrada as a pessimist. Like, at all. 00Banana anyone? So, what is the name of your latest novel?
JD Estrada: My 13th novel is titled Given to Fly.
Amanda: That is an interest title. How did you come up with the concept for your novel?
JD Estrada: To explain where this novel came from, we’d have to go back quite a few years. It began with my wife asking me for an image that means something to me and me taking approximately 7.6 seconds to look up a picture of the Given to Fly single by Pearl Jam. This is my favorite song by the band and the title of the novel. A couple of months later, she gave me a hardcover notebook with a case with my name, the logo I used to use for my freelance work, and the image from the single. It’s been one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever received in my life and for a long time, I didn’t know what to write about… until we went to Epcot Center.
During a trip to Orlando, we went to this park and got on the Soarin’ ride for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect from the flight simulator but as sights, sounds, and smells washed over me, an idea was born and struck me like lightning. The story was going to be about a boy who dreams about flying.
Amanda: I really love the sentiment behind that title and the story inspiration. Who is your favorite character and why?
JD Estrada: This is a question I honestly can’t answer. I’m so fond of every character in this story though Mrs. Fawn shall always be a favorite. If anyone who has read me thinks the name is familiar, it’s because it is. Mrs. Fawn is a character from my Human Cycle series and she makes a cameo along with her chauffeur, Baron Bailey… a basset hound and a character based on a canine family member by the same name.
Amanda: Oh, neat! I love character crossovers! And the natural follow up to this question…Who is your least favorite character and why?
JD Estrada: No unfavorites here. Everyone has a purpose and is a piece of me.
Amanda: That’s a good way to look at it. Which character do you relate to the most and why?
JD Estrada: Another tricky question to answer because the only answer I can give is Fäet Odstein. If the name sounds familiar to readers (this is becoming a theme, isn’t it), it’s because he also appears in the Human Cycle and is the literary embodiment of myself, i.e. me as seen through my writer’s eye. It’s me but with more Wonka, a dash of Cheshire, a sprinkle of the Joker, and countless other characters that resonate with me.
Amanda: He sounds intriguing. No surprise there, though! You are a rather intriguing human being yourself. Are there certain messages that you desire your readers to grasp?
JD Estrada: There are several messages that are important for me to convey. First off, kindness and manners can change the world and we need to give our best if we expect to enjoy the best. Secondly, dreams are there for a reason and they inspire us to reach for the stars. I also wanted to make a point of writing a book without violence. Now taking into account that there’s actually some action sequences and a character who is an angel rehabilitating from drug use, it’d seem like a stretch, but it isn’t. Violence was avoided and it was liberating to write this novel.
Amanda: I think those are both fantastic messages to present to your readers. And writing a book without violence sounds like a great goal to achieve. What books have influenced you the most? Why?
JD Estrada: Oh my, I think the list would be huge but definitely influences are Dune, Peter Pan, the Harry Potter series, Alice in Wonderland, Coraline, The Sandman series, and countless others. These books have struck deep chords in my soul well and ripples were bound to make their way to the surface.
Amanda: Those a some of my favorites as well! Who are a few of your favorite authors?
JD Estrada: Brother Neil (Gaiman), Uncle Terry (Pratchett), Joanne (Rowling), Frank Herbert, Charles Hank Bukowski, Poe, Lovecraft, Barrie, Douglas Adams, Ma Wing Shing, Stan Lee, Roald Dahl, and I’m sure plenty more.
Amanda: That’s a great list. Many of my personal favorites and a few I need to catch up on. With what author would you love to have a conversation?
JD Estrada: I’m always torn between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. They’re my kind of people. They’re cheeky and brilliant and the sort of people you’d like to spend a day with. Would also love to chat it up with Joanne if only to discuss desserts worthy of Honey Dukes.
Amanda: Mmmmm … desserts … Any future
recipes projects you would like to talk about?
JD Estrada: Always plenty in the pipeline and I’m also working on the 3rd book in the Human Cycle, a sci-fi novella, have finished a demo of electronic music to offer as thanks for people who buy my books, a book version of my Blanc Comics, and I’m most excited about a collaboration I’m working on with my brilliant friend Cate Evans, a fellow author from the UK. But that last one is a bit hush-hush because we want less talky and more writey.
Amanda: I love secret projects! You’ll have to keep us all posted on that! If you could start again, is there anything you would change in your latest book?
JD Estrada: Even if there’s a typo, I love my books and would hope to have the same luck in trapping lightning in a bottle.
Amanda: Your confidence is endearing. Do you have any advice for up and coming authors?
JD Estrada: Write because you love to write. Desist from impressing people and instead focus on keeping yourself entertained. Put as much or as little of you in your books as you want but write under your own rules and ethics. Push yourself, be a brutal editor and learn every day.
Amanda: That is all great advice, JD. Do you have any links that you would like to share?
JD Estrada: To get my books, check out:
Or write me a DM via my Facebook page for your very own Estrada Crate if you live in the US or any US Territory.
Books are also on Amazon but they have enough money. 🙂
To stay up to speed with what I’m up to, check me out on the following links:
Website – www.jdestradawriter.blogspot.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/JDEstradawriter
Instagram – http://instagram.com/jdestradawriter/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/
Facebook page – www.facebook.com/JDEstradawriter
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/j-d-estrada
Until next time, scribe happy & stay sassy,