Kindle Author Interview: Jonathan Saville

Jonathan Saville, author of Lady from the Jade Mountain, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Lady from the Jade Mountain?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: The lady appeared about a year and a half ago as a result of a TV news story, a personal experience, and a remembered newspaper article. I remember waking up the next morning and quickly sketching an outline, trying to capture the thoughts I had during the night. Within two days I had the first draft of a story. What’s interesting to me is that the full character of the lady did not reveal itself until I was halfway through the second story. By then I was hooked; I liked the two couples that play the main characters and I enjoyed finding situations in which they could interact. This book has five such stories, one more is being edited and another one is just taking shape.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: All my stories start from an outline where I lay out, very roughly, the main characters and the story sequence. The characters are about 50/50 based on acquaintances or purely fictional. In short stories minor characters are “cameo roles” to fill in a particular plot purpose. In longer stories, I am usually surprised by how the characters develop a life of their own, sometimes quite different that what I had planned for in the outline. Most of my characters are either primarily good or evil, but I try not to have absolutes.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: Someone with a decent imagination and enough time to read a good portion of a story at one sitting.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: All my adult life was spent “writing.” First as a junior college instructor developing lecture notes, then as a software consultant developing presentations for prospective customers. At one point around 2005 I began jotting down notes for a novel while waiting for programs to compile. These led to two novels and, eventually, Lady from Jade Mountain and some other short stories.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: Usually ideas come to me when I’m in bed. (I don’t sleep well.) After some number of nights teasing out various story lines I will write down an outline. These are typically one or two pages of point form story line with a cast of characters and maybe some character trait notations. Once I have the outline, I begin writing. Thank God for word processors.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: I enjoy reading, a gift from my parents. While I don’t have a truly favourite genre, both my wife and I are drawn to fantasy and science fiction. I like the tongue-in-cheek stories of Piers Anthony and the grand sweeping sagas of Ann McCaffrey, Jane Auel, and Frank Herbert.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: Letters From the Earth by Mark Twain

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: I had help. I wanted something with an Oriental flavour and a friend produced one that I really liked.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: Only by word of mouth with friends and family so far. I have had some health challenges that have restricted my activities for the past while.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: Amazon and Kindle are pretty much synonymous with inexpensive access to all flavours of books in worldwide markets.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

JONATHAN SAVILLE: Take the time to polish your story and then be brave enough to let someone else proof it for you.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Jonathan Saville is the pen-name of the author who holds a Master’s in Mathematics and has alternated between teaching and working in the computer field since 1970. For the last fourteen years he has been a self-employed computer consultant working in Edmonton, Alberta. He is married to an incredibly supportive wife and has four independent and active boys. His story writing began as a way to pass the time between program compiles and led to two unpublished novels. He has had stories appear online at Planet Magazine ("Killing is What I Do") and Aphelion ("Change is Hard") and a collection of five short stories published November 2010 by (Lady from the Jade Mountain). The first story to appear in print was "Grandmother’s Babies" as part of Tesseracts 14 produced by EDGE Science fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

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