Jim Musgrave is owner of English Majors Publishers and Editors, LLC. He is the author of the Pat O’Malley Historical Mystery Series, and he has also written five other novels and three collections of short stories. Musgrave has been published in literary and commercial publications and has won many awards for writing and teaching.
What inspires you to write?
I get inspired by the character’s needs. This propels the story forward as I tell what the mystery holds for him and other related characters. All fiction writing is about conflict, and all characters serve the protagonist’s needs and the antagonist frustrates those needs. I am inspired by that interplay as it surprises me as I write on the page.
Tell us about your writing process.
It’s “shamanistic.” I am a storyteller, an ancient tradition, and I channel my subconscious desires onto the page. The readers and critics determine what it all means to them after reading what I have to tell them. In other words, I am only as good as my storytelling abilities and its focus on a good story. I followed an outline in the first mystery I wrote for the Pat O’Malley Series, but now that I have the “elements” down, I don’t need to follow one because the characters have taken on lives of their own.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
“I” do not exist when writing. My characters talk and tell me what to write based on their “needs.” I am a vessel for their story, so I am not that important in the scheme of things.
What advice would you give other writers?
Find a good story you want to tell based on characters’ needs. Don’t try to impose your will upon your characters. I did this when I began, and I wrote mostly crap. Lose the writer’s ego and channel the characters and put them in conflict. Remember that the protagonist is the most important character! All other characters are reflections and antagonists based on this one person’s needs and desires.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was first published by a big agent and a big publisher (Harcourt-Brace). I didn’t like the way I was treated by either, so I become my own publishing company. I like the control over content. I enjoy being independent in all of its variety of advantages, too numerous to point out here.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Thinking about the “real world” usually gets me into trouble. However, I will stick my neck out one more time and say that I believe the independents will defeat the “big publishers” in the near future. It will be bloody, and some heads will roll (Apple heads, it looks like right now), but the independent authors will prevail!
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
historical mystery, non-fiction, literary fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print