J.E. Dugas is the author of the multi-period action/adventure/science fiction series Rose Petals and Gun Powder (Rose Petals and Gun Powder, including , RPGP: Shadows of Life, RPGP: Lost Cove, RPGP: Wanderlust, and RPGP: Paradoxical, a Double Feature), as well as the new title MechaNation, a NanoPunk Thriller. J.E. is currently at work on its sequel, MechaNation: Rebirth. Prior to writing full time, J.E. spent over a decade in the private security and law enforcement fields.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
I’m one of the guilty authors where titles are occasionally an afterthought. The MechaNation name was simply a play on words (not a clever one, mind you) on the actual word ‘machination’. Or I could argue that it was a flashy version of ‘Mechanical Nation’. It’ll make sense when you read the book.
What is your writing environment like?
Often a dark sunroom (oxymoron?) filled with either cigar or briar pipe smoke (budget dependant) with either blues, jazz, roots rock or movie soundtracks playing between the hours of 8pm to 3 or 4am, depending on when the wife starts nagging.
What is your favorite quote? Why?
Quotes are kind of seasonal for me. I never picked a favorite, however, I very much respect just about anything that came out of Thomas Jefferson’s mouth. The man was a real patriot, and maybe even a rebel if you forget the time and condition of his environment for a moment. Can you imagine what the media would label him if here were active in today’s era? Goes to show you that even though his words still ring true, the times have indeed changed.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Looking back at it, being a relatively poor family was a fantastic boon to a young boy’s imagination. Sure, I might have had an easier life if my parents had been better off, but my skin is tough and my mind wickedly spry. Additionally, the gift of education was not lost on me, as school was something we Dugas’s naturally excelled at.
Much like the saying “You are what you eat”, I will add to this by saying ‘You are what you experience’.
What inspires you to write?
I’d love to make movies, or at least sit in as the Executive Creative Advisor, but writing has some additional benefits: no budget, unlimited special effects, no time restrictions, I never have to hear a cast member pull a Christian Bale unless I want to, and my cast also perform all their own stunts (and sex scenes!) Other than that, it’s mainly for the love of great storytelling.
What do you consider the most challenging part about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
It used to be time management, but now that there is a baby in the picture, that’s not so much of a problem anymore! Now it’s being distracted by the friggin’ internet’s ADD-inducing personality while attempting to research the electronic way. I used to blame the nature of television for this, but the internet has been elevated on my list of distraction offenders (my alluring wife is a close second). Me personally, those ads that expand from the corner of the page over what I’m reading piss me off to no ungodly end. Market research people: you will never get a dime of my money if you do this!
Did you learn anything while writing this book? If so, what was it?
Usually I pick up some kind of trade while researching book content for character enrichment, like rolling cigars or forging knives. On MechaNation, with its focus on nanomachines and what a down-trodden, speculative future holds, I was woefully reminded that building an ammunition stockpile is hugely underrated but terribly overpriced.
To borrow a line from the book, “When the last bullet fires, the last spear thrown in desperation of battle; when we have nothing left to hurtle at those dead bastards upstairs, there will always be canned beets.” It’s a running joke.
What have you done to promote this book?
While I’ve tried to shun my previous desperate attempts at attracting readers and gone high-brow with MechaNation by hiring a professional PR firm (Pump Up Your Books virtual book tours), let me share some of my, how shall we say, less glorious methods: sneaking ads onto store shelves, handing them out on street corners like a common ad-whore while having a self-crafted creature bust strapped to my back, all in the middle of a hellish Texas summer that ended up melting. (Yes, melting! Its right ear is still clinging to my passenger seat belt…) And generally trying to be sneakily coy with online ads that were an enormous waste of money. That was probably my fault though. Most writers are terrible at marketing. Guilty as charged…
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
When I can keep away from YouTube, I’ve almost entirely cut out the library from my research tool chain. That said, it’s probably more time-saving to just look it up in a physical book. One must have strong google-fu to work with search engines these days. The principle is the same though; you’re essentially taking someone’s word that the basis of a given fact actually happened because they wrote it down. I play freely with such things on occasion.
On a more serious note, electronic and even self-publishing has never been easier or more cost effective for budding authors. I recently equated this to what the MP3 format did for, or to, rather, the music industry. Traditional publishing really missed the beat on the electronic format, and sadly, they are paying the price right now. (Borders book stores, anyone? Newspapers?) I’m trying not to provoke the ant hill more than I already have, so I’m going to shut my yap on that.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you’ve read this far, I thank your interest genuinely! I’ve had a bit too much fun with this one, but I looked up examiner.com early this morning and found a much more forgiving atmosphere than I was expecting. I hope it was the right place!
A voice screaming in the background also wanted me to say that my wife and sweet, innocent, adorable baby girl would graciously appreciate your purchase of my books, otherwise she will be accompanying me to a street corner near you! (The baby, not the wife. Ill-humored CPS workers—that’s a joke!!) I will reciprocate and tell you that I have several free novels for direct download at http://www.crimsonworx.com/J-E--Dugas.html if you prefer an appetizer towards the full flavor of my prospective entertainment. (That might be laying it down a bit thick, but I’ve been holding off on eating while writing this. I’m going to correct that now.)
Again, thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of myself with your readers.
That didn’t quite come out right, but I’m going to let it stand for comedic value.