Deep within Sebastian’s vivid imagination, international spy Foxfire is tasked with her most difficult mission yet: to find and capture the Devil himself. Outside Sebastian’s solitary comic book–drawing bouts, the mystery-loving twelve-year-old helps his friends construct a secret tree fort using building supplies from an abandoned neighborhood shed, while at home he struggles to find common ground with his stepdad after his mom has left them following a car accident.
Distant as Sebastian’s reality is from his creative musings, Foxfire’s secret adventures eventually converge with Sebastian’s personal struggles.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author John Hope whose book Secret Adventures of Fox Fire charmed me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love adventure/children books but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for John, a biography of the author and an interview between me and John will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful John Hope!
Forever seeking new adventures, John Hope lives a life of energizing enterprises. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida , John earned his BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and since 1999 has developed and designed software for simulators, websites, traveler information systems, and numerous other technical widgets. All the while, he has quenched his creative hunger with writing a few novels, hundreds of poems and short stories, several short plays many of which he’s acted and/or directed, puppeteered in countless skits, and built a number of toy train layouts. To keep a steady rhythm in his life, John has run over 30,000 miles in hundreds of road and trail races through the years, including captaining the UCF Men’s Cross Country team, achieving TAAC all conference, managing 5k races, and at times traversing entire states in relay teams and triathlons.
Currently at home in Central Florida, John loves spending time with this family and friends. Whether he’s traveling thousands of miles in a car or playing board games on the living room floor, he loves the company and conversations and laughs with the ones he loves. He often pulls from these times with his family and loved ones to create wonderfully tender moments and hilariously vivid characters in his writing.
John first got the writing itch as a boy. At Blanton Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Florida, his school’s reading specialist helped to turn his first choose-your-own-adventure story in a printed, laminated, and bound book in the school library, making it available to his peers. He continued his love of writing through the telling of bible stories via puppet shows at St. Marks United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg and writing for Dixie Hollins High School’s newspaper, including drawing humorous comics strips. Through these experiences, he saw the importance of connecting with an audience, telling thought-provoking stories with memorable characters, and the vital importance of humor in his writing.
Still a full time software engineer, John has never lost his passion for writing. He’s written tirelessly over the years, receiving multiple awards and writing accolades for his short stories, children’s books, and novels. He also makes multiple school and writing event visits, giving inspirational speeches and tutorials, providing encouragement and education writers elementary-aged to retirees. He also volunteers his time as a Board member of the Florida Writers Association, whose primary aim is helping writers.
Now, how wonderful does John sound?! John is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of John’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and John, I hope that you enjoy John’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
The Secret Adventures of Foxfire: Busting Walls is unique mixture of a gripping coming-of-age story of a 12-year-old boy forced to find common ground with his step father after his wild, unstable mom skips town, and an exciting, somewhat humorous tale of a secret agent fumbling through a seemingly impossible mission. This combination gives readers insight to the mind of a boy who secretly desires adventures while needing stability in a very turbulent time of his life. Its sporadic comic drawings bring out the un adventurous elements, while the meaty scenes give the book weight of a great book. The book’s origins date back nearly two decades to a series of somewhat autobiographical stories I had written about my childhood where I would often invent adventurous tales involving Legos and Star Wars action figures that seemed to contradict my boring life. I had completed the original draft in 2003, months before becoming a father myself. I’m very pleased, 15 years later, to finally share the tale of Sebastian and Foxfire with the rest of the world.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Writing largely rests on persistence and self-discipline. So many people have stories bubbling up inside them and never put forth the effort bring those stories to completion. Every book takes effort. But everyone is worth it.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
Books share an experience with people in a very personal and in very human way. No other species on earth share stories with each other. It’s a love language that sets us apart from every other living creature. As an author, I get to be a tour guide, leading readers on a journey that educates, informs, and enhances others’ lives as intimate as sharing a life’s experience with that person. This is why books are critical to life. It connects us together.
What is your writing process like?
First, I observe. Many people ask me where my story ideas come from and many don’t seem to understand when I say they’re all over the place. I watch people, note how they interact, note their struggles, and then I report my observations within the structure of a story. I often first write character sketches, detailing character backgrounds, their wants, desires and why they can’t have what they want. Then, I write these stories as quickly as possible, allowing a certain level of spontaneity to steer the course of the story – this allows a natural progression of the story. And then the hard part, the re-writes. It’s here where the story goes from good to great. I look for themes, connections, and sprinkle in symbology wherever I can.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Whatever’s necessary. I actually love to do research. I find learning fun and will often spend days reading and learning about a specific detail just to ensure that what comes across in the story appears genuine. One of the most important elements of every story I write is convincing the reader that everything I’m telling the reader is absolutely true. Without this, the reader won’t believe and consequently won’t care about what happens. I frequently teach fellow writers that telling a good story is like telling a good lie. Research and getting your facts straight is hallmark to accomplishing this.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
Being a dad, a husband, and juggling a second career as a software engineer, I write whenever I can. I typically like to write first thing in the morning, but I’ve also written some of my best stuff after midnight. I don’t just write when I’m inspired. People who do this usually aren’t the most prolific writers. I have too many stories stacked up inside of me to wait for inspiration. I often write when I don’t feel like it. But I know that if I don’t force myself to start, I’d never finish.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Absolutely. I read every day. I typically enjoy reading things that teach me something. History is a favorite subject, mainly because some of the best stories I’ve read have been actual historical events of amazing human feat. Reading for a writer is essential. It’s the fuel that keeps us stocked with thoughts and ideas and teaches us new techniques other writers have employed.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
Just few things…
Next month, I have a short story coming out that’s a part of a speculative fiction series called Prometheus Saga 2, centered on an alien bio-engineered creature called Prometheus who takes the form of a human and lives on Earth for thousands of years, weaving through various human events from the Chinese Dynasty to modern day.
This fall, I have two other shorts coming out, one’s a romantic story of World War II fighter pilot falling in love with a Navy nurse, and the other answers the question: “Where Does Your Muse Come From?” which shares how an unlikely friend can inspire greatness in a writer.
By Christmas, the next sequel to my hit book Pankyland will be coming out, entitled: Pankyland versus Be Little World, where Florida theme park Pankyland must survive financial cut backs in the midst of a rival theme park out to put Pankyland out of business, and 11-year-old Panky is caught of it, forced to chose between his obligations and friendships.
Finally, early next year I have a new children’s picture book, Floppyopolis, about a Freddy Floppy who travels to the big city and learns how to take pride in his small town back home.
Everything, including release dates and Amazon links, will be posted on my website: www.johnhopewriting.com
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with John! If you have liked what you have read about John and are interested in learning more about John and reading John’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,
John Hope: Website