Author Jeffrey Cook
Our Interview with Author Jeffrey Cook
Jeffrey Cook and one of the residents at the last charity visit to PAWS Animal Rescue.
For the record, please state your name.
What inspired you to become a writer?
My mother says that I first announced my aspiration to be a professional writer when I was six years old. By that time, I was already a voracious reader, and spent a lot of time on long road trips with my dad, passing the time by sharing ‘choose your own adventure’ style storytelling. I’m not sure of specific triggers back then, but the desire never really went away.
What are your hobbies?
I have too many hobbies. I’m into table top role-playing games, the occasional video game, watching sports, researching history and mythology, and still enjoy reading.
What are you passionate about?
I’m a passionate advocate for a local animal rescue. I have three rescue dogs of my own, and when I helped to start a small charity press (Writerpunk Press), I became the charity liaison, among other hats, working with PAWS Animal Rescue in Lynnwood, WA.
What interests are you into?
See hobbies, aka too many. I’m a research nerd in general, with a lot of historical, mythological, and sports-based interests in particular.
What social media do you use to keep in contact with your fans?
I’m primarily on Facebook, and have a twitter account that I get a lot of help with.
What is your username on the different social media platforms?
How long have you been writing for?
I was first published (poetry) in 1997 and also had some short stories put out in college magazines. I published my first novel in 2014.
What’s your writing style like?
I write in a number of different genres, with varying styles based on the genre and intended audience. I’ve done everything from heavy-readers’ steampunk, all done in Regency-era letters and journal entries… to short-chapter, quick-reading YA urban fantasy. Katherine Perkins (my editor and primary writing partner) and I have heard comparisons of everything from Jane Austen to Terry Pratchett to David Foster Wallace to Rick Riordan to T.H. White.
Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins under the Aurora Bridge, with the Fremont Troll behind them
What’s your favorite genre to write/read in and why?
I love a lot of different genres, but have probably read more fantasy than anything else, followed by sci-fi, historical fiction, and some mysteries.
What’s your least favorite genre to write/read in and why?
I’m definitely not a romance author, and don’t tend to read romances of any sort.
Some writers have something playing in the background, do you and what?
I used to design a playlist for every new project. Currently, I haven’t been able to find a good online radio program that will stick to a playlist or to songs that actually work for what I’m writing.
What’s the inspiration behind your books?
It varies somewhat, but for the most recent series, The Fair Folk Chronicles, a lot of the inspiration goes back to my own reading roots. When I was little, I used to read Thor comic books, and also read Wonder Woman comics to my little sister. Then I found out that they were both based on real-world mythologies, and quickly started reading everything I could find on mythology, helping to spark my interest in fantasy, history, and myth.
Because of that, I like writing books where there’s something beyond the book that can be researched. In the case of the Dawn of Steam novels, there’s a lot of historical events and people, as well as just the style of the era. For the Fair Folk Chronicles, aimed at teen readers, there’s a ton of mythology, art, musical references, and so on. I love the commentary on mine and Katherine’s books that not only enjoyed the book, but mention digging into Hawaiian folklore, classical art, or trying to find all the musical references.
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything about your books?
If I could do it all over again, I’d have listened to my editor on my original series better and more consistently. She has since become my co-author on the Writerpunk projects and the Fair Folk Chronicles, and for good reason.
Is there anything you found particularly challenging about writing?
Like every other job I’ve ever had, there’s always challenges. I’ve learned a lot in the past few years — but also had a lot to learn. I know I haven’t always been the easiest to work with, and present challenges to the writing process, and the co-writing process myself.
I think the end results are worthwhile and love being an author, but it’s definitely not always an easy job, getting motivated, getting the words on the page, and collaborating with someone else.
Who are your cover designers?
I’ve worked with a number of cover artists on various series. Clarissa Yeoh provided the amazing covers for the Fair Folk Chronicles, though.
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Some of my biggest influences include Mary Shelley, Shakespeare, James Clavell, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Terry Pratchett.
What is your take on fanfiction?
I’m fully in support of fanfiction. A lot of my friends write it, my co-author has some brilliant stuff out there, and there’s a little bit of Fair Folk Chronicles fanfic out there — and I love that.
What advice would you give any newbie author or anyone that wants to pick up writing?
Don’t believe the take that it’s easy, or something to do casually when you have more time, some day. A number of aspiring authors I’ve talked to have that general belief. It’s a job. It takes work. Projects that start out super exciting become hard work. There will be struggles with motivation, inspiration, and the publishing process. Marketing is a pain and a huge time sink.
That said, there’s been a lot of amazing moments. It really can be a very rewarding job — but it absolutely is a job.
What are your fondest childhood memories?
Hmm, tough question, there’s a number of them. But at least one that springs to mind comes from early playground games. When I was five years-old, I ended up with a girlfriend. I never had a ‘girls have cooties’ stage and all. This had the side benefit of meaning that, instead of playing house and such with the other girls at recess, she always wanted to play with me and my friends, regardless whether we were playing Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, etc. This meant that we always had someone to play Princess Leia, Cheetara, Scarlet, and so on.
We also spent a lot of time playing her very favorite game. This primarily consisted of most of my friends playing bad guys kidnapping ‘The Princess’, and putting her in ‘prison’, which usually involved a piece of playground equipment, or surrounding her with chairs. Then I’d go rescue her. No one was ever quite sure what came after rescuing the princess, so she’d exclaim ‘my hero!’, we’d hold hands, and then she’d get kidnapped again.
Tell us a little about yourself. Perhaps something not many people know about? Can you share with us the best way to contact you and where to find your work? This is where you have the floor.
If you’re in WA or OR, I’m usually pretty easy to find. I’ll be at various different events on about half of the weekends this year. In addition to a ton of WA and OR shows, I’ll also be making road trips to Washington D.C. (Awesomecon in June), and Indianapolis (Gencon in August).
I love meeting fans, other authors, aspiring authors, etc.
For fellow authors who want to join the convention circuit, my nonfiction collaboration with Lee French may be of interest
Author name: Jeffrey Cook (often co-authoring with Katherine Perkins)
Twitter details: Twitter
The Dawn of Steam book covers
Other Blog Interviews with Author Jeffrey Cook:
Blog Tours that other blogging companies have posted featuring Author Jeffrey Cook and his books