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Do you feel Lucky?

1) I am going to start off with a simple question. What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.

J. Gabriel Gates

2) What is your genre and what drew you to it?

I write in a few genres including sci-fi, horror, poetry and literary fiction, but right now I’m focusing on urban fantasy and fantasy. Fantasy is the genre that made me fall in love with stories and writing in the first place when I was a kid, so I’ve sort of returned to my roots.

3) Do you challenge yourself to writing sprints? If so, how long are they?

I don’t have a structured system of writing sprints. I have a day job and young kids, so I pretty much have to get my writing in where and when I can. I usually try to complete a scene in single sitting, whether I’m writing or revising. In general, my scenes tend to run about five pages in length. That, to me, feels like a doable, “bite-sized piece” of work.

4) Do you prefer writing dialogue, action or other scenes?

I’ve never thought about that before. I have fun writing both action and dialogue. In dialogue, I love capturing the rhythms and quirks of a character’s speech. People reveal so much about their emotional state in the words they use and the structure of their language that it’s really fun to capture that. I also love to craft funny, idiosyncratic dialogue. When I write dialogue, I really try to tap into a sense of spontaneity to make it feel real. I love writing action, too, especially fight scenes. To me, writing action scenes is all about clarity—making sure everything is described clearly so the reader can picture it in their head like a movie scene.

5) How did you come up with your cover design?

In my Luck Gods series, the magic system is based on the four card suits, so I knew I wanted a heart, diamond, club and spade in the corners, like on the corners of playing cards. I also knew I wanted a heart in the middle for Girl of Hearts. I wanted the big lettering that would denote contemporary fantasy, and I wanted a feeling of rich texture. The amazing cover designer did the rest! I probably should have gone with a more typical urban fantasy cover, but I’m really happy with the way the covers turned out. They look especially good in person on the paperback, in my opinion.

6) Do you attend or participate in Cons or literary fests? If so, which ones?

I have in the past, but not in a few years. My life is so hectic right now with my kids that it’s hard to get away, and I really have to weigh whether an event is going to be worth my time versus staying at home, doing some writing, and posting on social media. I do hope to get to some in-person events in the near future, though. If you find me on social media, let me know what cons I should go to!

7) Did you ever feel like giving up? If so, how did you overcome that?

I did reach a point where I feel like giving up at one point. My career in traditional publishing had hit a bit of a dead end and I hadn’t yet wrapped my head around the idea of embarking in an indie career. It’s hard because those of us who grew up with only traditional publishing were really indoctrinated with the idea that either you found a way to fit into traditional publishing or you were a failure. The reality is there are lots of super talented writers whose work doesn’t necessarily fit into the traditional publishing framework for a myriad of reasons. It doesn’t mean their work isn’t fantastic or there isn’t an audience for it, it just means it doesn’t fit into the marketing bucket that an agent or an editor is trying to fill up at that moment. Once I accepted that and decided to indie publish, it really reinvigorated my career. I’m thrilled with my choice and with being an indie published author. Really though, I could never have given up writing. It’s too much a part of me.

8) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

I love creating other worlds and characters, of course. But it’s also a form of meditation. I feel better each day when I’ve dipped into that creative flow state, even if it’s just for a little while. And of course, it’s wonderful to hear from readers who love my stories!

9) Which book, other than your own, would you like to see turned into a movie or T.V. show?

I’m going to go with The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I love the atmospheric vibes of that series!

10) What is your favorite character from any book you have ever read?

Oh, gosh. That’s a hard one. One character who really sucked me in is Kvothe from Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle.

11) What book protagonist would you love to talk to if he/she/they were real?

I’m going to go with Gabriel from Empire of the Vampire. He’s a bit of an antihero, but I’m a fan of the irreverent humor.

12) Villain, hero or “show steeling” side character? Which would you be?

I have to say hero. I’m a main character all the way. Ha!

13) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.

I have a number of books out, but right now I’m excited to share my Luck Gods urban fantasy series. It’s the story of Aggie, a proudly nerdy teen scientist with OCD. When her mother disappears, she goes searching for her in her hometown of Detroit and gets caught up in the drama of the Luck Gods, demigods with the power to control chance. There are four tribes of them, based on the four card suits. The Hearts and Diamonds control good luck and Spades and Clubs have dominion over bad luck. In order to save her mom, Aggie must become a Heart, alongside the dreamy Jack Valentine. She has to learn to control her luck power, navigate court politics, and battle the dark suits, all while keeping her OCD in check. It’s a series with lots of interesting characters, found family, snarky dialogue, slow-burn romance, and a lovable, flawed protagonist. Books one and two, Girl of Hearts and Mother of Spades, are out now on Amazon, KU, and Audible, and an introductory novella The Thief and the Lucky Boy is available for free on my website. Book 3, Daughter of Diamonds, is coming soon!

14) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?

15) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

16) If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?

Just that I love and appreciate readers and I always enjoy connecting with new ones. If you run across me on social media, don’t hesitate to say “hi!”


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