Hey. Today we have Kindle Vella Author JR Thompson with us. Who are you?
I’m a happily married Baptist pastor living out his dream on a small ranch in the Rocky Mountains. Besides getting married and pastoring, one of my biggest accomplishments has been devoting 20 years of my life to helping troubled teenagers turn their lives around. I don’t have a lot of spare time, but when I do I love to go hiking, camping, or exploring the great outdoors.
Tell us about your Vella story.
BRUTALIZED is an intensely powerful story of a young boy forced into slavery for being poor and Irish in the 17th century.
Are there any deep themes or messages in the book the readers should be aware of?
This book contains a lot of violence. One five-star reviewer put it this way, “There seems to a streak of sadism running through the tale which, though it is necessary because of the subject matter, could be unnerving to some readers.”
What gave you the idea for this book?
I honestly don’t recall how I stumbled upon the Irish slave trade a few years back, but when I first learned of it, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe I had gone all the way through school never hearing of Irish being enslaved in America’s early history. Intrigued, I began digging and uncovered much controversy surrounding this topic. I had to know the truth for myself so I dug deeper, and before long I knew I had to write a historical novel based upon my findings.
How long did the book take to write?
Embarrassingly enough, I had the idea for this book and began an outline for it in May of 2018. I did not actually begin working on the novel itself until December of 2021, and published the final episode on Vella in January of 2022. That does not, however, mean the story is finished. I am currently working with a developmental editor to add additional content and plan to release a new, updated version in paperback and ebook formats in August or September.
Who designed the cover?
I designed the cover of the Vella edition while Lynn Andreozzi, a lady who has designed covers for Lisa Wingate, Kristin Hannah, Danielle Steel, John Grisham, and other best-selling authors is designing the cover for the non-serialized version that will be coming out later in the year.
What else would you like to share with us?
As a pastor, I take the term “Christian” seriously – it means Christ-like. For that reason, none of my writings contain profanity or inappropriate bedroom scenes.
Do you have other works?
To date, I have authored twelve books besides BRUTALIZED.
In addition to the historical fiction series I’m working on now, I also write non-romance inspirational and mystery/suspense books.
Tell us about one other book or series and why it’s important to you.
If I could encourage readers to check out any other set of my books, it would be the Worthy Battle Series. It’s a set of books inspired by my life work yet it’s completely fictionalized. It’s about a young juvenile probation officer who puts his career, personal relationships, and reputation at risk by volunteering a lot of his personal time to mentor some of the young men he has been assigned by the judicial system to supervise. The series is important to me because there are so many young people out there falling through the cracks of society, and we need more people like this probation officer to step up to help them.
What got you into writing?
I fell in love with writing when I was in fourth grade. Every week our teacher had us write short stories where we had to include a certain number of our spelling words in our stories. That quickly became my favorite part of the school week, and that love of writing stuck with me throughout school. Adding to that, in a high school English class, we were given an assignment I’ve never forgotten. We had to think of a super power and write a short story about how someone got that super power, and how they used it. I wrote mine about having the ability to read minds.
My teacher wrote a note on my paper and said, “Have you ever thought about becoming a writer? This is really good.” – What an encouragement that was to me!
What is your writing process?
I like to put together an outline to give myself a general idea as to the direction my story is going to go. However, I generally veer away from the outline and the book takes on a life of its own. Sometimes I’ll sit down to write, having no idea what’s going to happen next. I love it when I find myself laughing or even crying along with my characters as their stories unfold.
On to the Random Stuff.
- If you could have dinner with anybody (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
- Answer: I would love to have dinner with the Apostle Paul. I’ve always found his life inspirational. I can’t imagine being stripped out of my clothing, beaten, and thrown into prison for doing nothing wrong, and then singing praises to God during the midnight hour.
- Would you rather get a tangible object or have an experience? (you can’t say give me money.)
- Answer: I’d prefer an experience any day! I would love, for example, to have an opportunity to visit Africa. My wife lived there for the first ten years of her life, and I’ve heard so much about her family’s experiences there that I’d love to go there myself.
- What’s your favorite snack food?
- Answer: Even though they don’t make them where I live now, my favorite snack food is pepperoni rolls. If you’ve never had one, you don’t know what you’re missing!
How do we get in touch with you?
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Have You Tried Kindle Vella Yet?
5 Steps to Better Dialogue – (nonfiction, writing skills; Complete) I feel like nonfiction titles should come with spoiler tags. This is a book for writers seeking to learn more about the creation of realistic characters and dialogue.
Christmas Shorts – (Mystery, thriller, Christian, suspense; Ongoing; story 1 is complete) Only one story right now, but will be a collection of short stories with characters from across my series. Typically, FBI agents with personal drama. Might feature an abundance of cute puppies.
Assassin School Season 1 – (thriller, YA; Complete) Teen spies try to survive the rigorous training and other drama as powerful people battle to control the Ghost children.
The Minder Project Season 1 – (scifi, genetic engineering, superpowers; shares characters with Dustin’s Decision, Updated Wednesdays) The government gave her genetic Gifts. Now, it wants what it paid for from the program.
Dustin’s Decision Devya’s Children Book 5 – (YA scifi, shares characters with The Minder Project; Complete) Genetically altered teens struggle to navigate the murky world and control their Gifts.
Aeris Legends – Wrath and War (LitRPG, gaming, fantasy) This takes a box-of-chocolate approach to providing lore entries (creatures, quest descriptions, game mechanics) and short stories for a fantasy world.