Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Airship Ambassador: If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
John R White: Dead. Honestly, if I haven’t found my identity, I most likely would have committed suicide. My divorce destroyed me as a human being because my identity had been husband, father, and provider. I lost my wife, my kids, my job and my home.
Discovering who I was supposed to be was a gift from God. Had I not found it, I wouldn’t be here.
AA: That’s definitely a very difficult journey, to lose everything, including all the things which had defined you, and then to still be able to move forward on an all-new path. In this current chapter of life, what do you do to keep a balance between book, art, and tour life, and the rest of your life?
JRW: Mary hits me with sticks; hard, point and heavy sticks. Twice on Tuesday.
Seriously, I’m a fly by wire missile, and Mary steers the rudders. It’s like the Airship races at Steampunk Symposium. Mary keeps me from getting sucked up by the vents.
AA: Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
JRW: Yes and no. Most writers I know are very busy, have little time to read books because they are busy writing them. I know, I’m ashamed I have a pile of books on my shelf that need reading.
I’ve made a decision from this point further to not promise to read any books by new writers if the act until I have cleared my deck. It sucks, it’s not personal but I don’t want to disappoint anyone any more.
As to comparing notes, beyond a conversation with Mike Lee and Gail Carriger at Expo, and brief conversation with Captain Robert on Facebook that hasn’t happened. I did have a chance to give one review to David Lee; a very fine author.
AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?
JRW: I write better; Mary helps that a lot. She reads what I write, helps with word choices, and avoiding redundancies. I learned to plot better. Though all three books were completed in 18 mos. between 2010 and 2011, I have rewritten them extensively, and still am with Book III. I think I’m improving.
AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?
JRW: I’m on SSDI, and work part time. So part time I now list my profession as author. Economic is the hardest factor, as it is for everyone.
I, with Mary’s blessing did decide to not release any new books in 2014. We need a break, I need to just be a husband, take our long delayed Honeymoon. (Money is still in the savings account.) We thought we could do it in ’13 but I had health issues, heart attacks and such.
This is not to say that I won’t be busy in ’14, there will be the RPG, shooting on the film will begin and I’m working with two actors to produce an audiobook. Look for the Indigogo on the horizon.
AA: That’s plenty to keep you busy coming up this year. Do people outside the regular reading, steampunk, and convention communities recognize you for Airship Neverland? What kind of reactions have you received?
JRW: Some. The name is now out there, people recognize the name, but not me. My son heard a girl at the Alive Christian Music fest discussing steampunk, and mentioned she was reading Airship Neverland. When my son said “My dad wrote that, and I’m the model for Peter Pan.” She didn’t believe him.
Last time somebody recognized me they thought I was Wallace Shawn….
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests and topics fill your time?
In my free time, I try to teach human beings to love each other. It’s a full time job. There will be nonfiction books forthcoming in that regard.
AA: Ah, Doctor Who, an excellent interest! What other fandoms are you part of in some way?
JRW: I’m still mourning the Ponds… The pain is still too deep. Next question please.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
JRW: I used to be a big Role-player. I think it’s safe to say that that’s where I honed my story telling skills. I also read voraciously, it’s important to study the masters.
AA: Overall, who would you count as your inspirations and motivators?
AS: As unPC as it may be, Jesus Christ. My goal is to be as Christ-like as I can. That to me means being loving, compassionate, non-judgmental, empathetic and truthful. If nobody read another copy of Neverland, and I couldn’t write another word, but someone said “He’s a loving Christian” I’ll die content.
AA: Quick random questions – what is your favorite wood, musical instrument, and gallery?
AS: Natalie, Yitzhak Perlman on Stradivarius, and the Toledo Museum of art.
AA: Lol, Natalie – that was not an answer I had expected but very clever! Any final thoughts to share with our readers?
JRW: …Final thoughts? Dude, do you know something I don’t?
In all seriousness, to the steampunk community: Thank you very much. You give Mary and I so much joy.
Thanks again, John, for sharing with us.