Jacob, tell me a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been a writer.
Well, I’ve always had this urge to tell stories. My imagination has always been a vivid vessel. Stories come in and out of my brain constantly. I also have to say that being a lover of art and the written word since I was a child also motivated me tell the stories that I wanted to see. I feel as though the industry goes through patches of pumping out the same material because it’s “hot” at the moment. So, I strove to write a story that I hadn’t seen or heard before.
I went the “traditional route” and attended college after high school, earning a Bachelors in Russian Language. With not finding a job that utilized my major, I decided to join the Navy and served 8 years.
A bachelors in Russian language? Now that is a specialty! It also helps explain the use of several languages in Augur. How many languages can you speak?
Yes. I LOVE the Russian Language. It’s complexity feeds my curiosity! Well, I can speak Russian, Intermediate Spanish, basic ASL, basic German, French and Haitian Kreyòl. Some Ukrainian, Bulgarian and I’m working on a few others.
I think it would be been quicker to list the languages you don’t speak! Did your multi-lingual talent come in useful in the navy?
In the Navy, no unfortunately not. I was a nuclear engineer while I was in. I was aiming for a CTI job (crypto tech who uses languages), but the military saw my math and science scores. So, I ended up performing well on their exam, and I was a nuclear Machinist’s Mate.
Hold up. Nuclear engineer? Bilingual? And a writer? You are a fascinating man, Jacob! What do you do to pay the bills these days? Wrestle alligators in a circus?!
I love to learn and to create. Ha!
I have a 9-5 as a warehouse coordinator for a jewelry company in New Orleans.
Does your job give you plenty of time to conjure up stories or is there a lot of pressure on you? Some nights I can sit in my truck for hours waiting to be loaded, so I either read or write.
Oh, there’s not really any pressure on me. One thing I learned in the Navy was to not take things so seriously. I try to keep that idea in mind when I’m feeling a certain way at work. Honestly, I’m lucky. I have quite a bit of time to work on my stories during my down time. Whether it’s finishing one or starting a new one.
Talking of stories, Augur Of Shadows is a fascinating tale and has been very well received. How long from the spark of creation to getting it into its published form did it take?
I started in June of 2018 and it was published on February 26, 2019. I took my time with it. I wanted the story to be perfect, even though nothing is perfect. I was compiling research on the whole process. For months, I queried agents because all I knew was the traditional route. I had the wrong idea as to what it meant to be an indie author. So, after a lot of thinking and research, I chose to self publish. And I stand by my decision. But, that doesn’t mean I won’t try at some point to query again.
I think we’ve gone about our books the same way. I tried agent after agent, and too many publishers to mention! I had four offers but none of them would advertise in the UK, which is probably my biggest audience! So, I self-published. But June ‘18 to February ‘19 is only 8 months! Mine took 13 years! Ha! Did you have any help on self-publishing? Or did you have to learn as you went?
I researched every aspect of the process. Enough to the point where one day, I’ll own my own Press. I’m not afraid to ask a question. So, I asked so many people. Editors, agents (who were willing to have an actual discussion), etc. when I’m determined, I get the job done.
Tell me more about the Destined series. Do you have an idea of how many books it will be?
Well, it’ll be a 5 book series. 4 novels with a prequel. I actually just finished the first draft of book 2! And I’m currently working on book 3. The Destined Series is the journey of friends who are thrown into an adventure when a primordial evil rips its way through the cosmos, devouring every single life force in its path. Henri, one of the main characters, has prophetic dreams of the future world. What will this evil—called the Hinax—do if these three choose to not fulfill their destinies? I wanted a story that was different. I was tired of reading the same pre/post apocalyptic story. So, I chose to twist it. What if the apocalypse needed to happen? What if, during this journey, things happen that need to happen for the possibility of a future.
So… is that five months to have written the first draft of book two? You’re putting me to shame with your output!
Yes. Yes to 5 months…not putting you to shame! Ha!
Ha ha! “Yes yo both” was the answer! Religion, Metatron, gods, all of them play a huge part in book one. Are you a religious man?
They do play a major role. I’m more spiritual. Organized religion isn’t for me. They haven’t been supportive of the LGBTQ community but I respect their place in this world. Mythologies of all backgrounds have always intrigued me. Angels, demons, gods, other spirits. It’s very interesting.
Also, it was important for the story to show that this evil will come after anyone. Religion doesn’t matter. All entities have their place and now is the time to come together and guide these 3 teens on their journey.
Without spoiling anything for new readers, the love interest between two of the main characters is prevalent very early on. Is it a theme you decided would run heavily through your story, or did it just manifest itself as you put the words down? I guess what I’m loosely asking, is are you a plotter or a pantser?!
[A “plotter” is someone who plots their stories down to the last detail, and a “pantser” is someone who makes most of it up as they go!]
That is a great question. Well, I would say that I am a little bit of both. I do write notes down and make a timeline and that is my “outline”. But, I don’t write pages upon pages of notes. I don’t have the attention span for it. I knew the love story was going to happen. I wanted to show that you can have a LGBT main character in a story and not make the story all about his or her “coming out”. That isn’t the point of the novel. Those stories have their place in this world, but I was tired of seeing only LGBTQ covering this sort of thing and not “regular” novels.
I think we’re very alike. I fly by the seat of my pants all the way through my stories, but big events I’ve already got locked in my head which I ‘pants’ the story around!
I do lean more towards pantser. I want my story to evolve while I write it. But, I do have some key events that I plan out.
So you have LGBTQ, spirituality, and the apocalypse centred around what is essentially a coming of age story. I can’t wait to see what happens in the rest of the series! But with a tale of this magnitude do you have time to write anything else?
I do actually. I’ve started other projects. I have 3 other works in progress. It’s quite simple…I’ll write some and when I don’t feel the mojo, I’ll stop. I truly love it. I really do.
What is it you love about writing? The creation? The escapism?
I love the creation aspect. Figuring all the things about a new world. Characters. World Building. Language. Religion. Conflict. In the process of creating this microcosm, I’m allowed to escape into this world.
And how often do you get to escape? Do you set yourself a certain amount of time every day to write?
I do. It’s more of a word goal everyday. I make sure I write 3K words a day. Most days, I meet my goal.
Jacob, from our talk and what I’ve learned about you, I can tell you’re a strong-minded man who will achieve whatever he sets out to do. I wish you all the best and all the success with the Destined series!
You can buy Augur of Shadows (The Destined Series: Book One) at: