James Boyle has been writing fiction and poetry for most of his life. He was born in North Carolina, but lived in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Washington, before his family settled down in Oregon when he was fifteen. He graduated high school there and received a degree in literature and writing from the University of Oregon. In 2003 he returned to Gold Beach, where he now makes his home. For the past five years, he has been a volunteer organizer for the South Coast Writer’s Conference. His debut novel, Ni’il: The Awakening, was an award-winning finalist in both the 2010 Indie Excellence Book Awards and the 2010 International Book Awards, both for horror fiction.
You can visit James’ site at: http://www.jamesboylewrites.com or visit him on Facebook at : http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/?act=36902440#!/pages/Niil-The-Awakening/107253385968057
Q: Thank you for this interview, James. Can you tell us what your latest book, Ni’il: The Awakening, is all about?
<blockquote>A: Ni’il: The Awakening follows the police chief of a small town on the Oregon coast as strange things start happening. First dogs start disappearing, then people begin to be savagely killed. His invesigation leads him to the local Sihketunnai Indians and their legend of the ni’il, a type of shaman, or magic user. They tell him that it is a ni’il that’s doing the killing. They also tell him that he too has the powers of a ni’il and he must use them to stop the killings.</blockquote>
Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
A: It is my first published novel. I have written two other novels, neither of which is worth showing to anybody, but it was important that I prove to myself that I could write and finish a novel-length work. That out of the way, I could concentrate on the story and my execution of the story. It made writing this simpler.
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
A: I don’t recall being blocked during its writing, but I have spent my share of time blocked. I think every writer has. I actually think I’m facing a bit of a block on what I’m writing now. The only way I’ve found to break a writer’s block is to write your way out of it. It’s painful and difficult. The words come slowly and sometimes they aren’t very good for a while, but eventually I break through and the images begin to flow again.
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
A: They’ve received it well. Ninety percent of those that have read it give it a good review. There are a few that don’t, but I think there are always a few you don’t reach. I’ve been pleased.
The most unusual experience I’ve had was an email I received from a woman in Idaho, who’d been looking for my book for a while and couldn’t find it anywhere. Apparently, she was unable to order it off the net. I ended up selling her one of my copies, but it made me wonder how many people out there want to read the novel, but can’t get a copy.
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
A: I usually don’t even begin to seriously write until late at night. The daylight hours are filled with too many distractions. During the day, I will run personal errands, pay bills, and do some of the promotional/marketing work. My writing begins after dinner, when I really begin to think about what I want to do that night. By 10pm, I’ve turned off all lights except my desk lamp, put in a dvd for background noise, and write until 2 or 3 in the morning, sometimes later.
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
A: Usually, when I put my pen down it’s time to get some sleep. For general relaxation, I read a lot, go fishing when the weather permits, or just sit out on the back patio and watch the forest. (The ospreys are nesting right now).
Q: What book changed your life?
A: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. Not only is the subject one that I’ve found fascinating as long as I can remember, but it was an eye-opening experience. For the first time I realized that the ideas and “facts” taught to me in school were not necessarily the only legitimate ones. For the first time, I think I really understood that reality changes depending on your point of view. So question everything.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
A: That despite some of the violence that appears in my written work, I am actually a very spiritual person and something of a pacifist. I don’t even watch boxing because I don’t enjoy seeing men beat each other up. The fiction is just that. Fiction.
Thank you for this interview, James. I wish you much success on your latest release, Ni’il: The Awakening!