Every other Monday, we introduce you to a writer from the Writers’ Mastermind. Today we are excited to present J.A. Cox. He is a veteran of the Iraq War, the author of Mastering Your Scenes, and is currently working on his first Sci-Fi trilogy.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you now? What has your life been like?
I am a Christian, disabled veteran, husband and father. I was born in Florida but left to join the Army which I spent most of my enlistment stationed in Vilseck, Germany. I did two one-year tours in Iraq, starting with the invasion in 2003 and got a severe nerve injury during my second deployment in 2005 which has changed my life greatly. Currently I reside in WA in the vicinity of Tacoma. My life has been full of ups, downs and failures and success. God has kept his hand upon me through all and has sustained me with his mercy, especially during my failures. In my darkest moments I came to truly know how great and powerful his mercy really is. I also came to understand that his love is a tsunami that hits you like a feather.
2. What kind of stories do you write?
I write non-fiction stories and fiction stories. For fiction, sci-fi is my thing but I am also a fantasy lover.
3. What sets you apart from other writers in your space?
I really don’t know what really sets me apart, but I know that I share the drive to either help or entertain others through writing.
Although, I believe when it comes to scene writing, I offer a perspective that is very unique. The literature that I have perused involving the subject on scenes does not really give you a true idea of what is really involved in a typical scene but places more of a focus on general structure. I come at scene writing with the focus of helping the writer to truly grasp all the many ingredients or materials that you have available to help generate endless creativity and produce their greatest masterpiece. or instance, I incorporate the importance of understanding how to get the most out of your locations. More often than not, writers tend to underscore how essential the place that your scene plays out really is, even if it is outer space, out on the ocean or in the air. I mention these because they are considered to be just empty space but don’t be deceived. The sky naturally has varying degrees of pressure and currents based on altitude. There is also the weather itself such as brewing storm clouds and then there is the fowl depending on season and place. Just imagine the type of situation your characters would have flying over the Bermuda triangle compared to the area between the Bahamas and Florida during hurricane season. The point is while this space is somewhat empty it really is filled with many naturally occurring factors that can be put to use to help create a dazzling scene masterpiece. This is just a tiny fraction of the things that I introduce to writers in my book Mastering Your Scenes to help them develop a true masterpiece through the use of a handful of other elements the are part of a single scene.
4. What drives your writing? What do you mean to accomplish with your stories?
In a word, passion is what drives my writing. It does not matter if it is fiction or non-fiction, I believe my passion for getting across my point or entertaining the reader comes across very clearly. In my non-fiction works my goal is to inform, empower or to teach. In my fiction along with entertainment I enjoy touching on serious topics from different perspectives to help people to walk away with something meaningful. For instance, in my current sci- fi work in progress I deal with the collateral damage caused by my main character on their quest for vengeance. Most of the story is propelled along dealing with the back lash from her single-minded quest which interferes with her actual goals but forces her to come to terms with the fact that the destruction she causes to achieve her goal does not justify the livelihood of others that is sacrificed in order for her to do so.
5. Who are you favorite writers and books? What are your other creative influences?
When I was in high school I was enamored with the 3 Dark Traditionalists: Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. Out of the three Poe was my absolute all-time favorite, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven and The Poem about the bells were my favorites. Aside from that life itself is my most creative influence. I am a firm believer that fact is stranger than fiction and love to stretch that strangeness to its limits in my writing.
6. Do you write in silence? Background noise? Or music? What kind?
It varies. When I write non-fiction, I prefer silence. When I write fiction, I love listening to music. My music of choice is soundtracks from battle scenes of different anime that I have watched such as Sengoku Basara, Re:Creators, Bleach, One Piece and Naruto just to name a few.
7. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not writing?
My most favorite thing to do when I am not writing is spending time with my wife.
8. Who is your current celebrity crush?
I don’t have one.
9. Why do you think it’s important to write fiction?
I think writing period is very important because it allows for the things trapped within the subconscious to be expelled in a way that liberates us from their influence. Fictional writing is a way to live the life we have always dreamed or experience our impossible fantasies as if they really happened. Of course, it is also a way to tell the world at the top of our lungs that, we are here, we are here. That last part is for all of you Horton hears a Who fans.
10. Who would be the best writer, alive or dead, to tell the story of your life?
Honestly, I don’t know.
11. What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on wrapping up book one for my sci-fi trilogy Fulfilling a Vow. The first book’s title is Fulfilling a Vow: Searching for Answers.
Mastering Your Scenes
Learn how to produce magnificent scenes in your writing every time. You will be given an anatomical look of what composes a scene and understand what goes into creating scenes that are engaging, seamless, and bristling with activity without any fluff. Mastering Your Scenes gives you the practical advice you need to keep your readers turning pages and falling in love with your characters. With the steps you will learn there will be no more question of if that scene fits or seems out of place.
J. A. COX enjoys investing into and empowering others with the things that he is knowledgeable in. It brings him great joy to take out the time to help another person understand something that he has an interest in and has put the time into studying and researching, to aide them in gaining a greater perspective on the subject. In the end it is the love of empowering that teaching brings along with it that brings him the greatest joy.
Write with J.A. Cox and the other members of the Writers’ Mastermind live on Zoom! Learn more.