JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
James Fant, author of An Ode for Orchids
(Real Fantasy Publishing )
An Ode for Orchids is a story about four young women and the challenges that they face, such as making bad choices in men, dealing with infidelity, struggling with promiscuity, and dealing with rejection. But perhaps the most daunting challenge is dealing with the animosity that one woman can have for another woman. Time will reveal whether or not each of them will be strong enough to face the challenges that life will offer them.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write An Ode for Orchids?
James Fant: An Ode for Orchids was definitely divinely inspired. I started writing the story in 2006 and nearly shelved the idea after I started graduate school. But the story would not go away. No matter how busy I was with school work, with church, or family life, the story would come back to me. It needed to be told.
I’m sure readers will be able to identify with the story and say, “Yes. I went through something similar.” I believe God inspired me to write the story to be both entertaining and edifying. The idea came from my appreciation of the enduring strength and tenacity of all of the women in my life. My hardworking mother, my loving grandmother, my strong sisters (related and non-related), no-nonsense aunties, and last but definitely not least, my beautiful wife.
A lot of women are holding it down on their own for one reason or another. They endure many hardships and have become tougher for it. However, they still have the power to be nurturing and sweet. So I believe that God gave me this story to edify not only women, but also the men that want them and must have them in their lives.
JP: What sets An Ode for Orchids apart from other books in the same genre?
JF: One of An Ode for Orchids‘s major distinctions is that there is no profanity or lewd sexual scenes in the book. However, the story is still extremely hot and steamy. There’s a high level of passion and conflict within the story. There are arguments and fights. There is even a great deal of sexual tension. But there is no profanity or graphic love scenes.
Now that I’ve given that disclaimer, there are many OMG moments in the book and places that will make the reader say, “Wow. I cannot believe the character did that.” It’s all in the way I use words, and I actually had a lot of fun crafting a hot, steamy, non-raunchy romance novel.
Another thing that makes the novel unique is how it addresses many misconceptions while it tells love stories. For instance, Karen is a gorgeous young woman. Every man she meets is amazed that she’s still single. Some people may think that if a woman is attractive and single then something’s wrong with her. That really may not be the case. Cicely is very confident and aware of her sexuality, to put it mildly. But she’s not happy with herself, and it’s not because of the promiscuity.
There’s a big misconception that a smiling face is always happy. The twins of the novel, Brook and Dawn, look just alike but their personalities are so different that just about everyone can tell them apart. Brook is the entrepreneur that covers every base. But when it comes to her relationship with her husband Walter, her due-diligence is sorely lacking. Dawn is all about the dollars. And that doesn’t necessarily make her a gold digger. She has love and appreciation for hustlers and go-getters. But she finds out that a hardworking, law-abiding man can be every bit the hustler as a dope dealer. And there’s no risk of jail time with the law-abiding man.
In a nutshell, An Ode for Orchids is a romance novel that is both entertaining and edifying. I want to write stories that will encourage readers to analyze and repair their personal relationships. That’s what I love about writing fiction. You can create this wonderful and exciting story with lots of twists and turns. But the story can also have meaningful characters and situations that readers can identify with and learn from.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to An Ode for Orchids getting out to the public?
JF: HELP. Enlisting the help of others is a major key. You don’t know everything. And you can’t be good at everything. As an indie author, I had to realize that it doesn’t matter that I run a small publishing company and that I have to wear many hats. I still need to surround myself with talented people.
Education is another key. As a graduate student, I learned that the true goal of any Masters or Doctorate program is to teach the student how to learn, how to educate himself. To be successful as an author, publisher, or anything for that matter, you can’t be scared to learn new things. You actually have to embrace learning.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish An Ode for Orchids?
JF: My writing process is very simple. The story starts off as divinely inspired idea. Then I outline the entire story, trying to be as brief with the outline as I can be. Then I just write. And I mean I don’t sit at my laptop and think about what I’m going to write. I just write.
One of my favorite movies is “Finding Forester,” with Sean Connery and Rob Brown. In one scene, William Forrester (Connery) and Jamal Wallace (Brown) were sitting at their type writers. Forrester starts typing away while Wallace just sits there. He tells Forrester that he’s thinking. But Forrester replied that the first draft is written with the heart. The second draft is written with the head.
When I’m in writing mode, I really don’t think about what I’m writing at all. I have the story in my head, and I just let my subconscious go to work. And what I really love to do, especially if I don’t have to get up early the next morning, is to write late at night. I like to see what I come up with in the haze of sleepiness. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I wrote. There are some words, phrases, plot twists, and endings that my mind would definitely tell me to avoid if I’m writing earlier in the evening. After midnight, I write with my heart primarily and include every intimate detail of my experiences and thoughts. I usually come up with something pretty cool. Or I end up writing something really crazy, get a real good kick out of it, and file it away in a folder named DO NOT USE.
JP: What’s next for James Fant?
JF: God willing, many more novels are on the horizon for me. I also want to release a book of poetry as well as a short-story anthology. But whatever I do, you can be sure that it will be both entertaining and edifying.
Book Blogs: http://bookblogs.ning.com/profile/JamesFant
“I’d like to leave this little bit of encouragement to the readers of this interview. Please, whatever you do, continue to dream. No matter how busy you get with the cares of life, dream and I mean dream drastically.
As children we fantasized about what we will be. We even tell people proudly about our dreams without an ounce of trepidation. Any and everything was possible when we were children. Then came adulthood and what many term as the real world. And many times we stop fantasizing because we’ve gotten a healthy dose of reality.
But here is the real reality. All things are possible if you believe. Do you believe that?” ~ James Fant