Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Q&A with J. Michael White



J. Michael White is the author of the new young adult novel Jestin Kase and the Masters of Dragon Metal. He is also a journalist.


Q: What inspired you to write Jestin Kase and the Masters of Dragon Metal?


A: The original idea was “Oliver Twist, but with demons.” I wanted to highlight some of the problems in our world through the eyes of an orphan with no powers or special destiny.


The story grew from there and started absorbing story ideas I'd accumulated over the past few years. Babylonian mythology, magic medallions, evil schools of magic. The series has just started but has already taken on a life of its own.  


Q: How did you create the novel's dystopian world, and how do you see its relationship to today's actual world?


A: People like to write and read stories that take place in fictional, dystopian futures. But I wanted to focus on the dystopia of the real world where we live today. War. Sickness. Poverty. Death. In a lot of ways, our real world is just as dystopian as some of the fictional worlds you see in books and movies. 


Q: Did you know how the book would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: Both! I try to get into that sweet spot as a writer where the story tells itself, moving from word to word and taking on a life of its own. That way the story takes shape in organic, unexpected, and exciting ways. But I do always have a general outline in mind. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: A sense of inspiration, maybe, especially for young adults. Our world is in bad shape, and there are no Chosen Ones coming to our rescue. If we want to make change, real change, we have to work for it. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I just finished the rough draft of the sequel and sent it to my editor. The working title is Jestin Kase and the Terrors of Shadow Metal. I'm also working on a short story collection that takes place in the Dragon Metal universe and fleshes out some of the supporting characters. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: It's important to floss daily. 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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