BIO: My real name is Juan H. Alvarado and I was born in El Salvador, C.A. I currently live in Belize and my passions are writing, reading and spending time with the ones I love. I began writing in 2009 and After posting some of my work on an internet website and receiving positive feedback, I went on to write several full-length novels under my penname, John Henry Ames. My first completed series is the Surviving Elite High Trilogy which chronicles the life of a gay sixteen-year-old boy as he makes his way through life as an outcast in the shadows of an elite high school where he is tormented by two psychopathic bullies.
You can Like me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJohnHAmes Or visit my site: http://jhabooks.webs.com/
GRACIE: I’m excited to have you here at The G-Spot, John! Please tell us a little about yourself (or a lot J) and how and when you got into writing?
JOHN: Hi Gracie! Thank you so much for having me here today. It’s an honor. Well, let me start by saying that my real name is Juan H. Alvarado and I was born in El Salvador, C.A. I have always loved reading and writing but never had the courage to sit down and write something. After graduating from college in 09, I took a night shift at a small motel. To keep myself occupied, I began writing and completed several full-length novels under my penname, John Henry Ames. My first completed series is the Surviving Elite High Trilogy which chronicles the life of a gay sixteen-year-old boy as he makes his way through life as an outcast in the shadows of an elite high school where he is tormented by two psychopathic bullies.
GRACIE: Is there any one thing or person in your life that inspired your writing? Any one thing or person that influenced the genre you write in?
JOHN: This is an excellent question since there are so many people who have inspired my writing and the genre I write in. The first person to ever inspire me was the amazing J.K. Rowling. The first time I read a Harry Potter novel was back in 2003. That novel instantly pulled me into a world that I had never seen or heard of before, leaving me wanting more. When the last novel came out, it blew my mind to the point that it made me sit down and write a novel of my own. I spent a few months writing, and the finished product was called Raven and Crow: a Chain of Memories.
Raven and Crow: a Chain of Memories is my first and only straight fiction novel. It tells the story of two guys who meet in high school and find out that they have more in common than they thought, since they share the same memories, dreams, and nightmares. Soon enough, they discover that they are unearthly beings from another world and that they are the incarnation of the beautiful Raven and the amazing Crow. You might be wondering two guys, the incarnation of a man and a woman? Not much of a Twilight novel, right? True, but let the story flow, and you'll see that not everything isn’t quite what it seems. I’m currently looking for the right publisher for this novel, and when I find one, I will let you and all my readers know where to get it.
Another individual who has inspired me and got me into the world of gay fiction is the incredible Jeff Erno. The first m/m romance that I read was A Better Place by Mark A. Roeder. That little novel has a jock/nerd theme in it, and I absolutely fell in love with that theme. I immediately researched for that theme and came across Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno. I fell in love with that novel almost immediately. It was like love at first sight. That little work of fiction inspired me to write Surviving Elite High in 2010 and the rest is history.
GRACIE: When did you get The Call and what was your first published book?
JOHN: I definitely got The Call after reading Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno. OMG! I loved that novel so much that it inspired me to write my debut novel, Surviving Elite High. Jeff Erno is amazing and he’s one of my favorite authors of all time. His novels are emotional and incredibly cool. I have to thank him for getting me into this amazing little world.
GRACIE: What do you know now about writing and the publishing industry that you wish you’d known before you started?
JOHN: Not to take reviews seriously. Yes, constructive criticism is an excellent way to improve your writing and grow as an author. However, in this modern era where everyone has access to a computer and everyone is a critic, readers often criticize novels with their emotions. If they had a bad day and read your novel, you will mostly get a bad review. That’s why I don’t take reviews seriously. They are tied to a reader’s emotions and feelings.
GRACIE: Please, give us a little story behind the story and what inspired your YA Trilogy, Surviving Elite High.
JOHN: The novel Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno was my main inspiration for my debut novel because of the jock/nerd theme found inside. I wanted to write something similar to that theme, but unique at the same time. At that point in time, I was also dating someone who stole my heart and, sadly, broke it. He was also my main inspiration for Surviving Elite High. Since he was an American citizen and had attended a small high school in Buffalo, New York, I drew inspiration from his high school life and wrote Surviving Elite High. I simply added a few unique twists and turns that would leave readers wanting more.
GRACIE: In Surviving Elite High, aside from being a star quarterback, Nick Anthony Hawking is not the best student academically. Besides his doing poorly in school, what do you think is Nick’s Achilles’ heel and how do you go about stomping it?
JOHN: I think that Nick’s Achilles’ heel is his tendency to want to be a protector. That got him into big troubles because it blinded him from seeing people’s faults. For example, look at what happened in Surviving Elite High: Senior Year, especially with Emily Roberts. Nick was trying to be kind and protective with her and that blinded him to the bad things she was doing behind his back. That almost got John killed a second time. In the novel, Nick realized his mistake by apologizing to John and focused on protecting John and only John.
GRACIE: In Surviving Elite High: Loving James, what do you think it is that makes Nathan so irresistible to James, despite Nathan’s complete incompatibility? By the same token, what makes James so blind to Jacob Ashmore’s feelings for him?
JOHN: In James’ little world, there is no one more perfect than Nicholas Anthony Hawking. He’s obsessed with the idea of having someone like Nick to love and protect him, someone who acts rugged, straight and manly. That’s all he wants in life, someone like Nick. That blinds him to see what an incredible person Jacob is to him and how Jacob really feels toward him. James wants someone like Nick so badly that he will do almost anything to make Nathan into another Nick. That fails of course and almost gets him kill.
GRACIE: Of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
JOHN: Whoa! I have to say Raven and Crow: a Chain of Memories. Why? It’s my first completed novel and it comes straight from my heart. I absolutely love that little story and I am hoping and praying that my readers fall in love with it as well.
GRACIE: I know this is like asking a mother which is her favorite child, but which of your characters is your favorite and why?
JOHN: Oh my God! I would have to say Nick Hawking. To me, Nick is the bomb! He’s not close to perfect and he can be a huge a****** to people most of the time; however, he can be so sweet and sensitive with John. I absolutely loved the way he changes for him and becomes a better person for him. It just goes to show you that people can change if they set their minds to.
GRACIE: What about your characters makes them unique?
JOHN: My characters are not perfect or even close to perfect and that makes them real and unique, relatable to readers. Each one of them has so many issues to deal with and as the story unfolds, they grow into better and responsible individuals.
GRACIE: What is your favorite aspect of the writing process? Your least favorite?
JOHN: My favorite aspect of the writing process would be sitting down and plotting the entire novel from top to bottom. I love that part so much! Ideas flow in and I love sticking them together into a beautiful story. My least favorite aspect of the writing process would be editing. Oh. My. God! I hate it so much! It’s stressful, long and tedious. I wish I could just skip that part, but sadly, I can’t.
GRACIE: Are you a pantser or do you outline?
JOHN: I have to admit, I am both. When I have something solid or concrete in my head, I write it down before I lose that precious information. Everything is outlined thoroughly from top to bottom and my writing goes smoothly. Sometimes, I can be a pantser though. I simply sit down and write with no direction whatsoever. I do, however, take longer to finish a novel this way.
GRACIE: If you weren’t a writer, what other profession would you have chosen to pursue?
JOHN: I think that I would have been a model. LOL! Nah, I can’t model. I don’t think I the looks. I honestly think that I would have been a manager or an accountant. But, I love writing and I don’t see myself doing something other than writing cool and kickass stories.
GRACIE: I think you’re being modest about your looks, John, but who are some of your favorite authors and why? Name some of your favorite books and why they’re your favorites.
JOHN: I have so many favorite authors but I would say that my top two would be the amazing J.K. Rowling and the incredible Jeff Erno. Both of them have inspired me with their work and they keep on doing it.
As for my favorite books, I would say:
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – I couldn’t pick one, to be honest. Every single book in that series is so good that they inspired me to write Raven and Crow: a Chain of Memories.
Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno – This is my favorite GLBT novel of all time. Yes, there are so many out there, but this one is the first one to make me cry. This novel was so thrilling and inspiring that it led me to write my first GLBT novel, Surviving Elite High.
Something Like Autumn by Jay Bell – Dear God! This novel is so awesome! Mr. Jay Bell came up with one the most amazing little pieces of literature ever and this is the third and last novel to make me cry. (Something Like Summer by the same author was the second novel to make me cry).
GRACIE: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?
JOHN: Right now I’m working on my fourth GLBTQ novel called, Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain. Now, this novel is special because it’s my very own collection of short stories, three shorts to be exact. They can stand on their own or act as a long one if you want them to. I absolutely love them. Here are their names:
1) The not so unrealistic detailed account of how my best friend and I swap bodies for a short period of time. Swapatize for short.
2) The Spirit Indestructible.
3) And The Lake View Psychopath.
GRACIE: Do you have a website and/or how can readers contact you?
JOHN: Yes I do. I can be found online in several places actually:
GRACIE: Where and how can readers purchase and/or read samples of your work?
JOHN: My work is everywhere, but here are the major links to them:
Surviving Elite High - http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Elite-High-ebook/dp/B00BIOF58E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361488153&sr=8-1&keywords=surviving+elite+high
Surviving Elite High: Senior Year - http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Elite-High-Senior-ebook/dp/B00BKLG98A/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1361727037&sr=8-4&keywords=Surviving+elite+high
Surviving Elite High: Loving James - http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Elite-High-Loving-ebook/dp/B00BKKTOZQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1361727091&sr=8-3&keywords=Surviving+elite+high
GRACIE: What advice do you have for beginning writers?
JOHN: Never give up. If you want to be a writer, know that the journey will be long, tedious, and hard. But remember that classic Lao Tzu quote, 'a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'. You'll get there eventually. Just keep a positive mind and attitude and aim for the stars, because you might just end up on the moon.
GRACIE: Anything else about yourself or your writing you’d like to share with your readers?
JOHN: Yes, there is a little question that fans always ask. Will there be more books in the Surviving Elite High Saga? Yes. Right now, I’m working on a possible plot for Rick Sanders, a minor character in the Surviving Elite High Saga. I also want to write a third for Nick and John. Wish me luck guys!
GRACIE: We wish you much luck, John and thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to share yourself and your work with us at The G-Spot and giving us a little insight into your writing and the writing process! We’ll let you get back to writing those wonderful books you write! All the best!