Meet the Author: J.C. Seal
Today I’m happy to welcome another author to the fold.
This time around I’m interviewing indie author J.C. Seal, paranormal and fantasy author.
She’s currently celebrating the recent release of the boxed set of her Angels and Demons trilogy.
I met J.C. through the illustrious Kelly Blanchard and her wonderful group of indie authors. Let’s get this interview started, shall we?
I’m from Germany, from the beautiful Black Forest area. I live in a small townhouse with my loving husband, my wonderful teenage daughter and my eighteen years old tomcat. To pay my bills, I work part time as a lab technician in cancer research. I only started writing in October 2018, but loved to read all my life.
Maybe you wonder, why does someone from Germany write in English? I still remember the first English book I ever read. Staying in the USA as an exchange student when I was sixteen, I picked a random book at a public library, ending up with “Dragonsong” by Anne McCaffrey. It was the beginning of my passion for stories reaching beyond the confines of the mortal human world, and also the beginning of my love for a language that’s so much more expressive than my native tongue.
When finally risking the step from reader to writer, the language was out of question.
Feel free to join me in my world of fantasy, paranormal, adventure, with a bit of romance.
When I’m not writing, I like playing computer games or watching crime series on TV. I’m also part of the parents’ council at my daughter’s school and a committee member of the garden club around the corner.
Hi J.C., thanks so much for stopping by. To keep things interesting, I like to ask my interviewees a few random questions to get the blood flowing. Here are yours!
You’re a lab assistant for a government facility. You discover that they have been trying to create a portal to another dimension. What do you do?
J.C. : Try to get involved. Get more insight into the project to understand the reason for doing this. If it’s military and they want to go through, taking the other dimension by force, possibly killing innocents, I’d sabotage it. If it’s purely scientific and peaceful, I’d help as much as I can.
Jonny: I couldn’t agree more. But knowing human nature, I’d assume the former and be ready to kick some butt if needed.
Walking through the forest, you unearth a magical relic that could give you and your friends superhuman abilities. The tradeoff: demons will hunt you down to the death to steal your powers. What do you do?
J.C. : If superhuman means I can have the abilities my Angels have in my books, yes please. I’d be able to fly and flash (teleport), read minds, heal, summon lightning, just to name a few. With angelic powers, I wouldn’t be afraid of Demons. They are just poor, fallen Angels after all, they need to be saved, not defeated.
Jonny: Sure, you can definitely have those angelic powers. That’s a lot of good abilities to have. As long as I could have an active useful power I’d go for it too. No one’s demon enough to kill me. *puffs chest*
J.C. and the Writing Process
What kind of setting do you write in most times?
J.C. : My favorite place is my PC at home, something to drink (coffee, beer in the evening), something to eat (dark chocolate, roasted almonds, or cashews) and absolute quiet. I don’t lock the door, but if possible, it’s closed. Other than that, I can basically write everywhere. On the laptop, on the tablet, on my phone, even at work if there’s some downtime. Since my work is saved on OneDrive, I can access it from everywhere and continue where I left off. My characters don’t wait to tell me the next part of their story until I’m in my preferred place. They tell me when, and where they like, and I must cope.
Jonny: We have a lot in common on this one. I typically write on my desktop at home, though usually with ambient music in the background. I’ll occasionally switch over to my laptop if I want to get out of my room. Now that I’m working from home writing is a lot more accessible at any given time.
I also use OneDrive! It’s so much easier than having miscellaneous word docs all over the place. I hear you on when inspiration comes. It randomly hits me as well, and I have to drop everything if I want to keep those ideas and jot them down.
I always find it interesting how authors lead multiple lives. What is your day job? Do you enjoy it?
J.C. : I’m a lab technician in cancer research. I work part time from 8am to 1pm. I’ve been working there for twenty years now, so yes, I love my job. The company got sold twice, has been almost bankrupt, we moved house, but the people there are my work family. We all stood our ground and saw this through, even if things looked bad sometimes. It was worth the struggle because we’re doing fine now. The only reason I’d stop working altogether would be to become a full-time author. Even then, I’m sure I’d miss my job and my colleagues.
Jonny: Oh, I love that! It really says something about a job when you can be that comfortable and enjoy the atmosphere. Glad you found a good fit and that it’s working for you!
I’d love to stop working to write, but I don’t really see that happening until retirement time (if that even happens, ha!). Maybe once I pay off all my student loans I can switch to part time. I’d love to have more time to write.
How long have you been writing?
J.C. : Not that long. I started writing in October 2018 and published my first novel FALLEN Angels in March 2019. Since then, I completed the Angels and Demons trilogy (FALLEN Angels, Angels DESCENDANTS, Angels NEMESIS), took part in two book collaborations (31 Overlook Hotel, the second Overlook is yet to be published) and a Boxed Set called QUARANTINED (on preorder now). I also got featured in a friend’s book.
Jonny: Wow, you’re making big strides in such a short time! Congratulations on your accomplishments, and keep going!
Are you working on any projects at the moment?
J.C. : The complete Angels and Demons trilogy in one book is available on Amazon now.
I’m working on getting the print version done also. Another project is finally getting a homepage set up and running.
Jonny: Awesome! Sounds like you’re keeping pretty busy. I’m looking forward to checking out your works. 🙂
If you could give advice to new writers, what would you say?
J.C. : Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not worth it, you can’t do this. If there’s a story inside of you, let it out. See it through. Believe in yourself and your dream. Don’t be afraid to get published, just please, get it edited professionally before you do. Be prepared for the rollercoaster ride of your life, with feelings from elated to depressed and everything in between. Never forget that publishing is just the beginning of the journey.
Writing is like packing your suitcase. Editing is someone telling you, what you packed is crap, do it again, I’ll help you along. Submitting is buying the ticket, getting published is boarding the plane. Once you’re up in the air, the hard part begins. Marketing! You are the fuel that keeps the plane in the air. Without constant work, you will crash, never reaching the desired destination of readers buying your work.
Jonny: This is a lot of great advice. There is quite a lot to being an author than meets the eye, and there may be bits that newer and even seasoned writers may not be the best at, but we can all learn with time and get better at it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
J.C. : I stumbled into this world as a complete noob, blue eyed, green behind the ears, totally unaware what I was getting into. I published my first book on a whim. Even after my editor called me an author, I still didn’t feel like one. I think, it needed a whole year, and the publishing of the complete Angels and Demons Trilogy, to realize that this alter ego is really part of me, not some role I’m playing or dream I’m currently living. I think it was somewhen around my 48th birthday in April that I showed my face on social media the first time, irrevocably connecting my real-life me and my alter-ego me. That was the point when I decided, yes, I am a writer, and I won’t stop, whether you like it or not.
Jonny: Very interesting. I think we all go through a unique journey to accepting ourselves in what we do. I called myself a writer once I knew I was serious about my craft and getting published one day. Publishing my novella Reaper was when I felt I could finally call myself an author with some pride.
Not including family, who supported your efforts to become a published author?
J.C. : At first, nobody. I started writing a fan fiction short story because I wasn’t satisfied with the ending of a series I loved, and decided to write an ending after the ending… I had the gall to send the short story to the author. She didn’t read it herself (something about not getting influenced and stuff) but had a friend check it out. The friend loved it, so the author shared it on her homepage and on FB. She also urged me to put it up on AO3. It spurred me to start my own writing project, that later became FALLEN Angels. Next, she asked me to help her with a short story she was stuck writing, because I knew her universe so well… That’s how I got my pen name J.C. Seal, and the reason I dared to publish my work after the novel was finished.
Later, I found my editor and mentor, and a circle of supporting authors I now call friends.
Jonny: Wow, that’s amazing that you had an impact on an author you looked up to! I’ve never written fan fiction but I have read my share of them back in the day.
Who was your first publisher and what did you learn from them?
J.C. : I self-published on a publishing platform that distributes wide to amazon kindle, iBook Store, Google Play, KOBO, Barnes&Noble etc. I did that all by myself, without any help. I soon noticed that nobody would read my book because I was new and unknown, so I made a Facebook page. That’s when I met my editor. He checked my book, proclaimed it 4 Stars, and that it could be 5 Stars with proper editing. During the process, my editor taught me everything I know about beginner’s mistakes, overused words, techniques I could use to self-edit before sending it to him for the final check. Meeting him was the best thing that could happen to me. We’ve worked together ever since. It’s so important to have someone you can trust!
Jonny: Major brownie points to you for self-publishing and anyone else who goes down that route. I am currently self-published, though I do plan on publishing more traditionally with selective works in the future. Self publishing, you learn a lot from it. For me it was that you can do it with the right help. I relied on several friends for crucial advice on where to go for certain things like cover and ebook design as well as how the process works, and I couldn’t have done it without them!
How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
J.C.: In a world of Angels and Demons, it’s almost impossible to avoid religious or mythological references. When I started writing FALLEN Angels, I researched them on the fly, checking the timeline or confirming things I remembered. As my universe grew bigger and more elaborate, I started searching for specific historical events fitting to the story I wanted to tell. Angels NEMESIS for example mentions the Oracle of Delphi, Nero burning Rome and other historical events, all integrated into the storyline. Still, most of the research isn’t done before starting, but while writing the book.
Jonny: I agree with you completely. Though some of an author’s research can occur in the beginning stages of writing or plotting a new story, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what knowledge you’ll need until you really get into writing the story. It can be tough, but thorough research can really pay off and make a story extremely believable.
How do you select the names of your characters?
J.C.: Some names just appear in my head. Others, I go through a list of names fitting to the region of the character’s origin. If the name holds a meaning, I try to match it to the character traits, but that’s not always possible.
Jonny: Ha, I’m the same way! Sometimes a name will just click in my head automatically and I’ll use it. Other times, I have a little bit of a hard time and will have to do a name generator until the right one comes along.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
J.C.: Yes, I do. Not that I have all that many so far. I read them and if they are 4 or 5 stars, I post them on my social media, spreading the word that a reader enjoyed my book. If they are less, I read them carefully and try to keep in mind what bugged the reader, trying to do better next time. I always see reviews as constructive critique I can learn from. I was lucky I didn’t get one that went personal, dressed me down or sounded condescending, yet.
Jonny: I think when we start out it can be important to give reviews a look see. I don’t personally put too much thought into reviews, but I do try to find nuggets of wisdom from a well-spoken review. After all, they did take the time to form an opinion on your work. You never know when someone may have a point that you haven’t considered before.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
J.C.: Oh! This is my alter ego answering all these questions right now. Janina Carol seal is my pen-name. Janina Carol is also an anagram to my true names, while Seal is the translation of the last name of my husband’s grandparents. I chose to use a pen-name to protect my family and my privacy.
Jonny: Very nice! I totally understand why people use pen names. For me, I thought my actual name was quirky enough to use as is. I mean, it’s not every day you see a name like Pongratz, haha!
Describe yourself in three words.
J.C.: I’m quoting the words of a friend here. He called me striving, thriving and willingly helpful. I’d never claim such virtues for myself.
Jonny: Aw, I love that! Being helpful and striving for something more are very desirable traits in our line of work. I’d say I’m goofy, a planner, and a good friend.
Fun Facts About J.C.
Pancakes or waffles?
J.C: Pancakes with Maple syrup or cream cheese.
Jonny: Ooo, I never thought of cream cheese. That sounds absolutely delightful. I’ll have to give that a try!
Are pineapples on pizza blasphemy or no?
J.C: YES! An absolute No-Go!
Jonny: Yeah, same for me. I will say that I do love me some roasted veggies on a pizza though. I recently saw someone put strawberries on a pizza and was cringing, haha!
If you could choose to be any supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
J.C: That’s obvious. An Angel of course, preferably one of MY Angels. Why? Because they try to make this world a better place.
Jonny: Aw, I love that answer! This world could use some healing in my opinion, and I bet you’d be the best angel. 🙂
As for me, I think today I’m feeling a shape-shifter. You could get past so many obstacles, and who wouldn’t want to change into a black panther or another human at will?
Marvel or DC? Also, if you could be any superhero, who would you be?
J.C: MARVEL! If I could be one character from the Marvel universe, it would be Iron Man. Brains, money, resources, and the ability to turn all this into a suit of armor that helps fight the evil threatening the world.
Jonny: Yeah, I always side with Marvel, though I do admire some of DC’s characters as well. I would definitely choose an X-Man, probably Ice Man since he’s my favorite. Or Rogue because she can pretty much borrow any power she wants with a debilitating touch.
Star Wars or Star Trek? OR Doctor Who?
J.C: Star Trek. TNG, to be precise. I just love Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard. The Prime Directive about non-interference and peaceful coexistence makes so much sense.
But I’m not that hardcore that I’m opposed to watching good Star Wars. Never really got around to watch more than a few episodes of Dr. Who…
Jonny: YES!!! TNG is my all time favorite. I’ve been watching reruns lately and absolutely loving it. Patrick Stewart is the best!
Yeah, after Tennant I fell off the bandwagon with Dr. Who. The show just wasn’t the same for me. 🙁
How would you conquer the world?
J.C: With words. With kindness and compassion. With love and understanding.
Jonny: I am living for this positivity! I would conquer the world with kitty cuddles! I mean, what better way to spread the love than with boatloads of kitties?
What did you read as a kid? What stuck with you the most?
J.C: I devoured anything that had Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Magic, or Dragons. One of my favorite Series is The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey.
Jonny: Oh nice! In my teen years I read a bunch of DragonLance, Forgotten Realms, and Anne Rice.
What would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
J.C: I didn’t choose my avatar, it chose me. It’s an Angel on the outside, with a hidden Demon on the inside. I can be fiercely loyal to those I call friends. I help wherever I can, never expecting anything in return. I try to be kind and understanding to everyone, but if someone threatens me or my friends, if a certain line is crossed, I’ll fight till the end in defense of our rights, honor, or freedom.
Jonny: I can’t fight you on your choice. That’s a great one. Mine’s always going to be a black panther. They are sleek, elegant, and feline. Clearly I’m obsessed with felines, ha!
What were you like in high school?
J.C: The nerd/geek who stuck her nose into books, wrote A’s, and didn’t party, drink or smoke. I wasn’t popular. That changed somewhat after staying in the US as an exchange student when I was sixteen. Back in Germany, I was suddenly invited to parties and other events, probably because I was allowed to drive already, making my drivers license in the US. (Driving age in Germany is 18) I did my share of crazy stuff between 17 and 23… Not going to elaborate.
Jonny: Wow, I love your backstory. High school is very different for everyone, but I’m glad you found yourself. I jumped around cliques in middle school, so by the time high school came around I pretty much know how to handle every different kind of group and got really popular. It also helps I was a star tenor in my high school show choir. Jazz hands!
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
J.C: Rainbow. I never fit in just one category 😉
Jonny: Great choice! I would be a darker color like purple, but with a lighter color mixed within. From the surface I can seem kind of unapproachable, but once I open up I’m super bubbly and friendly.
J.C. and Her Works
Tell us about your current WIP.
J.C.: I’m currently writing on a novel in my Angels and Demons universe. There are recurring characters from the Trilogy in it, but the main storyline isn’t connected, so it can be read as stand-alone without knowing the events of the Trilogy. It’s called Virgin’s Curse. Here’s the BLURB:
Cursed in her teens, Elena Cadaval has led a secluded, lonely life, dedicated to finding a cure to her aliment. Studying History and Archaeology, she always hoped she might discover the source of the curse one day. When she gets offered the Professorship for Archaeology at the University in Athens, she meets her assistant, the mysterious Cas Timaeus. While he tries to help her unravel the curse, they fall in love and she gets drawn into a world beyond her imagination…
Jonny: Oh, very cool! I bet you’re excited to give your audience even more of your unique universe. Love and magic, that’s definitely what we need in these times!
What inspired you to write this book in particular? Is it part of a series?
J.C.: My friend and Beta-reader told me about the Curse, giving me the idea for another Angels and Demons related setting. It plays in my Angels and Demons universe but can be read as a standalone.
Jonny: I think that’s a good way to plan a book in the same universe, and readers will appreciate a stand alone for a fresh perspective.
Do you have a favorite character in your new book? Why are they your favorite?
J.C.: My favorite character is Cas. He’s the second MC. The book is actually told from Elena’s PoV, but Cas developed so nicely, he managed to win me over to his side. I can’t really tell you more about him because it would spoiler the storyline.
Jonny: No worries, don’t spoil it! Yeah, sometimes certain characters grow on us more with time. I try to be neutral, but sometimes just can’t help that I have a favorite.
What kind of research went into writing your book?
J.C.: Virgin’s Curse is the most difficult book doing research on so far, because the Curse is based on a true Portuguese tale connected to the Passion Play and the girl singing the role of Veronica. I did take several days to research the general setting and had the friend who brought it up in the first place tell me everything she knows about it. The Curse is only regionally known, so I had to resort to other means than internet or library research to get some questions answered. She obliged by asking the priest and other people in her village, translating it all into English for me afterwards.
Jonny: Wow, that sounds like quite the obstacle! I’m glad you found a way to get it done. You have a great friend there!
What criteria did you use when selecting the cover for your book?
J.C.: I usually design my own covers. There’s an idea inside my head. I try to meet my own expectations by getting as close as possible to the picture I imagined.
Jonny: Kudos! I’m too scared to do my own covers, but I definitely agree with you on having a cover in mind. I am very particular about what the cover should look like and have to have it reflected as accurately as possible.
Alright J.C., it looks like we’re out of time. Before you go, do you have a website readers can visit for updates, events, and special offers?
J.C.: You can find my social links (Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Bookbub, Amazon) here:
To get directly to my books, click here:
Jonny: Thanks so much for sharing that with us and taking the time to do this interview with me. Best of luck!
That’s a Wrap!
All righty book worms, that wraps up my interview with J.C. Seal. I had a great time chatting it up with her, and I hope you enjoyed the experience too!
If you’d like to learn more about J.C. and her work, she can be reached at the social media links provided below.
Thank you for stopping by, and have a great day!
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