J W Kiefer is a father, minister, novelist, script writer and blogger who hails from the Southern Tier of Western New York State. He has a degree in Theology and Church management as well as a degree in liberal arts. He is also a reserve Green Lantern; and when duty calls, can be found assisting the rest of the core in interstellar matters. An avid vocalist and worship leader, he loves to belt out Disney tunes, especially when it is most awkward and embarrassing for his children.
Share a little bit about your recently published first novel, Death.
Death is the first book in the Justice Cycle series. In a away this an origin story, since it is the end of one character’s journey and the beginning of another.
A “Justice” is a person who has been chosen as the physical avatar of Justice on the Earth. The living embodiment of the spirit of Justice has been placed into a sentient sword that takes on bearers to wield it and to become it’s avatars on the earth. Each bearer carries the weapon until it is time for their soul to pass on to the next world and then the sword chooses another wielder and the cycle begins again. In this first book we are introduced to the cycle through the eyes of a new bearer.
The cover of Death says this is book one. What can you tell us about the next book and/or the rest of the series?
Book two should be finished by the end of the summer and available for sale by sometime at the end of 2022 beginning of 2023. It is called “Famine” and continues exactly where book one left off. In the first book our heroes are introduced to the concept of a greater spiritual world and in book two they are thrust into this greater world and the stakes get much higher for them and for the rest of humanity.
There are five books planned for the series and two prequels. Their working titles are:
There are five books planned for the series and two prequals. Their working titles are:
Book 2: Famine
Book 3: Wrath
Book 4: Plague
Book 5: War
Death is your first published novel. What has the experience been like and how did you feel when it was finally published?
Well, I am a pantser, so the process has been quite interesting. The way I tend to write is that I have a general idea of the plot and the characters and where they are going. I then sit down and let the characters tell me how they are going to get from point A to B. This can make for an interesting ride, and I am at times just as surprised at what happens as the readers are. This can also make for a long process since I can be prone to writers block. For book two I have done a lot more plotting. It has helped keep my productivity moving better, though my day job gets in the way a lot making the writing process slow still.
As far as how it felt to finally publish something. Both amazing and terrifying at the same time. I was so happy that I finally did what I had always said I wanted to. I was also terrified, because now I was really doing what I always said I wanted to, and I needed to make sure I kept moving forward with it. I think it is easy to stall out after we reach our goals. For instance, once a person loses the weight they wanted, it is easy to now let your workout routine slack and then you will start to slip back into old habits. For me I have been very conscious of that and still I feel that book two should be farther along than it is.
Your Amazon bio says you have a degree in theology and are a minister and worship leader. Does your faith or theology training come out in your book?
Absolutely. When JRR Tolkien was asked if his works were Christian allegory he replied in the negative. But what he did say, however, was that it is impossible for his faith to not be prevalent in his works, since it is a huge part of who he is and by it his view of the world is shaped. It is the same for me. My faith is one of the greatest defining characteristics of who I am and how I see the world, so of course that will be in my books.
Your bio also says you love to embarrass your children by belting out Disney tunes. Do you have an especially interesting story of embarrassment you would like to share?
Well, we were at an outlet mall in Fort Meyers Florida, and I burst through the door of the Disney store loudly singing the song Prince Edward from Enchanted kept trying to sing to Giselle. I’m pretty sure I remember them throwing me out.
What is something you will do differently with your second book than you did you’re your first?
Plot more. I think most author’s first books are something they have probably been thinking about for years and so therefore know it so deeply that they can write it without a lot of planning and forethought. For me, book one was like this. I knew the story and the basic characters as well as I knew my own.
Book two, on the other hand, required a lot more planning. Book one was so intimate and a very confined to just a few characters and their small part in the universe. I found that in book two I had to establish this world that I had only hinted at in book one. This required about 6 months of plotting and world building before I could actually start on the next part of the story.
In that time, the entire story changed, and I established things in a more concrete way. I knew I wanted to make it a series, but I really had no idea what the overall plot of the series would look like when I ended book one. I had ideas, but now I have the over-arching storyline plotted out for the series. Of course, I am still a pantser, so my characters are going to ignore me and do what they want anyway.
Do you have any strange writing quirks?
I need to listen to music while I write. I see the world like a movie and that is how I write. Just like in a movie, I need the music to set the tone of the scene and to bring out the emotion for me. For me I need to be at my computer with my headphones on and whatever music I feel best fits the scene I am writing playing on a loop. If I don’t have my music, I won’t be able to lose myself in the story and nothing will come. I plan on one day releasing a list of the music I wrote to, so people can listen while they read and experience it the way it was written.
How did you get started writing fiction?
I started by writing comic books when I was a kid. I then moved on to writing scripts for plays and really bad movies my friends and I used to make. The transition to writing novels was just the next level of progression for me. I can’t draw well, so comics were out and making movies requires a lot of people, time, and money, all of which I didn’t have. Writing novels was just the natural progression. I had always been a reader had been writing short stories and about a gazillion unfinished novels since I was 15. My kids grew up and I found that I now had the time to actually follow my dreams, and so here we are. It is still a slow process for me, since I still need my day job, but who knows what next year will bring.
What is your favorite aspect of writing?
I love inspiring people. Since the beginning of human history we have used stories to inspire us as a collective species. I am a scholar, but I find that God speaks to me just as much through Star Wars as he does through the Bible. He uses these tales and the truth of those characters and their stories to inspire, to teach and to help me see areas I need to change in my own life. This is what I love about writing. I hope that, by telling the stories I have in my head and heart, I can inspire others.
What does success look like for you as an author?
Well, I think being able to write as a job would be success for me. Certainly I would like to have a lot of people read and like my books like any author. I am just getting started, so I am really just at the starting line of this journey. My first book is out, and I am learning the industry and how it all works. For me right now, I think finishing this series and then moving on to the next one that is already brewing would be how I measure success. Of course, if I became the next J K Rawlings and had millions of people reading my books that would be pretty swell as well.
Book Locations: Amazon Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and trade paperback available through Amazon.com
Steve’s eyes were closed, but he was not unconscious. Whatever the entity was that had been helping him, it had minimized the damage from the impact to next to nothing. He cracked open one of his eyes and saw his brother crouched in front of him, holding his head as if he were in pain.
Unsure of what exactly was happening to Jared, he decided it best to play possum and figure out his next move. Jared’s eyes were squeezed shut. His face was contorted in an expression of intense anguish. Steve had no idea how it was possible that his brother was alive. It all felt surreal, like he was trapped in some sort of low-budget horror film or something. In fact, this whole day had been one long walk into the paranormal and the bizarre. Perhaps he was having some sort of psychotic break, but he decided to go with it either way.
“I will not!” his brother suddenly shouted.
“He is going to kill you,” the voice in his mind rasped. “You must destroy him first.”
Kill me? Steve thought.
I suppose it does make sense. Why else would his brother come back from the dead? Well, maybe to see Dana, he surmised. Only a fool like his brother would rise from the grave just to save a girl. The girl he could never see as anything more than a friend until it was too late. Maybe instead of a revenge movie, he was in some ridiculous paranormal romance story instead.
It was time to put an end to Jared, this time for good. He reached inside to his unseen benefactor, and it once again provided him with demonic power. The shadows coalesced around him and this time his muscles expanded and swelled from the unrestrained power.
With a roar of defiance, he ripped his trapped arm free and sprung at his brother. Steve’s shout brought Jared back to his senses just in time to see both of his fists bearing down on his face. Before he could react to the sudden attack, Steve struck him square in the jaw with a double-fisted uppercut that sent him careening through the air.