2 May 2013

Getting to know you Thursdays with James R. Callan

 Please welcome James  R Callan to my blog today. 

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I intended to write after graduating from college with a degree in English. But I soon found out that I could not support a family by writing books.  So, I returned to graduate school in the field of mathematics.  After graduation this time, I spent 35 years working in mathematics and computer science.  Then one day I said, “The kids are all grown and self-supporting. I can write.”  I wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years.  I wrote a weekly newspaper column that appeared in four states for six months. And I began to write books. I now have eight books published and am currently working on two more.

2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
Favorite? Maybe Around the World in 80 Days.  What an adventure. And before the wide exposure of the world on TV, it was also quite an education.  I can still recall so many scenes from the book.  Jules Verne was a master writer.

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and write?
I have three non-fiction books published, but my real passion is writing good mystery/suspense novels. And mystery/suspense is my favorite genre for reading.  I do read a wider range, mostly is see how different writers handle various situations. 

4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
Jack London, Jules Verne, and Franklin Dixon.  Of course, Franklin Dixon was not the actual author of the Hardy Boys mysteries, but I didn’t know that at the time.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I wanted to write when I was in college, and expected to do so after graduation with a degree in English.  But I took a 35 year detour before getting back to writing (other than technical papers).

6. How did you go about becoming an author?
When I first started, I wrote about things related to mathematics and computers.  That’s what I’d been doing for many years.  Once I got published there, I gained enough confidence to start on fiction, my real goal.

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
At this point, I’d probably be a lay-about.  I’m past my competitive tennis days.  I wouldn’t go back to mathematics or computers.  I like to travel.  I guess I’d better stick to writing.

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
As I said above, we like to travel.  We have been fortunate to visit all of the 50 states in the U.S.A..  We’ve made five of the continents and hope to add a sixth this year.  When at home in Texas, we have some acreage and I work around it keeping dead trees cut and disposed of and in general keeping the place looking nice.

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
We visit Mexico often.  We love the people there, the music, the general atmosphere.  And we have a very nice place located just fifty feet from the ocean. And as I said to you earlier, we loved Tasmania and plan to return.
10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
Very tough question.  I have so many good friends, I’d probably pick some of those who happen to live in different countries.  But, if I exclude people I already know, off the top of my head, I’ll pick: David Baldacci, because he writes some great books;  George Lucas because he has produced a number of memorable movies; and Queen Elizabeth because she has been such a symbol of grace in a turbulent world. 

11.  Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will
be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.
My latest mystery/suspense novel is A Ton of Gold, released by Oak Tree Press in February, 2013.  Can an old Texas folk tale affect the lives of people today?  One certainly brought young, brilliant Crystal Moore to the brink of losing her only living family, crushing her self esteem, and destroying her career.  With a fire-bombed office, two murders, and an attempted kidnapping, she will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise friend, and her feisty, seventy-six year-old grandmother.
A Ton of Gold is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions at: http://amzn.to/UQrqsZ.
My website is:  http://www.jamesrcallan.com

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