I’m Jim Shapiro (pronounced Shap er o, accent on the 1st syllable). Why, you might ask, is my last name pronounce like that? Well, as the old family story goes, my grandfather, emigrating form Lithuania, stopped in a shoe store in Ireland, and the rest is Shap er o history. And just so there’s no confusion, my first name is pronounced just like the place where you go to play some basketball (gym).
I live just on the outskirts of the lovely, but far too touristy, town of Franklin, TN, and have been teaching high school history for 30+ years in one of the county high schools.
When and why did you start writing?
In 2012, not being able to find an exciting and interesting action-adventure book that I really wanted to read, I decided to write it. That started me on The Four Quadrant Chronicles journey. I began with The Valiant Few (2015), then continued into the next quadrant with Vengeance of the Valiant (2016), and am presently deep into the creation of The Valiant Brotherhood (projected 2017).
What inspires your writing?
What inspires me to create is the plot twist. Putting interesting characters in difficult situation and then trying to take the story someplace the reader doesn’t expect. The good and noble should persevere and triumph, but there will always be a cost.
Do you have any writing rituals to get you in the mood for writing?
The best ritual is to simply sit down and go where the story takes me. Sometimes, though, I find in necessary to walk away and put some mental distance between myself and the story; examine options and search for inspiration.
If you could, what would you go back and tell yourself as a writer starting out?
Best advice: Be determined, but patient. Frustration kills inspiration.
What do you believe make for great writing?
Great writing starts with interesting characters and is completed by a compelling story with twists.
Which writers have influenced your writing?
The writers who have influenced me are those who created the Star Wars: X-Wing Series. Aaron Allston, Timothy Zahn, & Michael Stackpole.
How do you measure success as a writer?
A job well done and well received by readers is success.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
I’ve never hated any of my creations, but see some as better than others.
What’s your biggest fear as a writer?
Biggest fear: Power outage/hard drive failure before I’ve been able to save and store.
What traits do you feel make a great writer?
Great writers are determined, consistent, hard-working, and just creative enough to flesh out a story.
Describe your latest book to our readers
In Vengeance of the Valiant, a squad of Bendorian Scouts, led by the intrepid Sergeant San Fuller, is sent into the Sea Quadrant to uncover the sinister motives behind a group calling itself the Red Scar. This same Red Scar has just masterminded the invasion of Bendoria by the Korluz Horde, an unbeatable mass of savage invaders. Only by skill and daring are a remnant of Bendorians able to escape with the aid of the Bendorian Scouts. (see The Valiant Few).
Sergeant Fuller and his talented squad are faced with treachery, slavery, and unknown peril as they unmask and eventually confront the Red Scar and its strangle-hold on the Sea Quadrant.
What would you like readers to take away from your writing?
It is hoped that any reader will come away with the importance of friendship, nobility of character, and see how honorable men can strive to overcome impossible obstacles. Also, have some good old-fashioned escapism.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
No tips. To paraphrase that great philosopher, Yoda: A person is either writing, or not writing. There is no aspiring.
Can you give our audience a writing prompt to help get them writing?
Writing prompt: Create a scene in which two people are lightheartedly talking about a deadly coming event.
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on marketing my books, and then will continue writing my next installment of the Four Quadrant Chronicles, The Valiant Brotherhood.
The country of Bendoria has fallen to the invasion of the Korluz Horde and the treachery of its own king. Even so, the Bendorian Scouts and a group of citizens have escaped to begin a new life.
Eager to get to the heart of this cruel turn of events, Count Marcus, leader of the escaping Bendorians, tasks a bold squad of Scouts, led by the intrepid Sergeant San Fuller, to venture into the unknown dangers of the Sea Quadrant. Their task: to uncover evidence concerning the perpetrators of the takeover of Bendoria, the Red Scar. Will San Fuller and his squad be able to act against the evil of those who would enslave their fellow man for the sake of greed?
Action on the high seas, intrepid plans, and desperate deeds await when you read Vengeance of the Valiant.