Interview with James G. Robertson
Author of Afterworld (Next Life, #1)
Author James G Robertson is an award-winning Dark Fantasy, Dystopian, and Supernatural Horror author. He was born in a small town in Kansas, and also lived in Texas, Missouri, and New York, where he graduated college from SUNY Oswego in 2019, obtaining a bachelor’s in political science with a theatre minor. He has also received an associate’s degree in information network technology, which he received in 2012 from Pratt Community College. His first book, Afterworld, was published on May 1st, 2020. If you wish to know anything else, connect with him on twitter or using the contact page on the official website https://nextlifeuniverse.com
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How would you describe Afterworld to a new reader?
- Afterworld is a story about the prospects of all religions, why they are so different yet simultaneously have similar themes. It is also a story about adventure, death, gods, and of the secrets our universe holds.The slow unraveling of those secrets is what keeps the reader guessing, but there's also some great action and storytelling to go along with it!
What was the inspiration behind Afterworld?
- The inspiration came to me when I was questioning the world around me when I was about 20-22 years old. I would always look to the sky for something, religious or otherwise, to come along and make life not so dull. While that never happened, it got me to thinking why it never came, why were the gods (if they existed) so bound to silence in our world. This idea is the premise around which I crafted Afterworld. I finally finished the book in 2020 at the age of 30.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- Well, these are going to be two prominent authors, which may disappoint some people. When I was younger in 6th grade, they tasked me with reading a book (before doing a computer quiz) to judge my reading level/skills around it. I chose Harry Potter. So that stuck with me and got me into reading and writing. I started writing a book later that year, which tells you how much I enjoyed stories (though it got trashed later on). Then in my life, just recently, I started reading more Stephen King. Between him, Game of Thrones, and even animes such as Berserk, Goblin Slayer, etc., I find myself drawn to the darker-toned, realistic stories rather than just pure fantasy. So this is where the influence for my darker, realistic stories comes. King himself connects his stories either directly or loosely. This is what I plan to do with mine as well.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
- The locations, for now, are pretty straightforward. Earth and Afterworld (the afterlife), though more locations throughout our universe (and perhaps others), will come later. So stay tuned!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Please stick to your stories. Don't try to please anyone. There was someone on Reddit who asked that he wasn't gaining the following he wanted, and maybe he should cater to people more. I told him this might please some people, but you wouldn't like it, and then those who have already enjoyed your stories probably wouldn't like it either. Not everyone is going to love your writing. Stay true to yourself and will eventually gain an audience. At the very least you can be proud of your story as it is how you wanted it, not someone else.
What's your writing process?
- I'm creative. I say that imagination is probably my only genuine talent, which, mostly, is true. I couldn't play an instrument to save my life, but I have passion and imagination that helps me be a successful writer (hopefully, the success of my stories follows!). So for Afterworld, it just flowed from me. I would think of the story at work or elsewhere, and more details would just come. The story was spontaneous and natural, not thoroughly planned. I never had a big storyboard, as some people do. I write as I go, and my imagination carries me through it. So whenever an idea pops into my head, I try to write it down to add it to the story later.
Which character in Afterworld has had the greatest impact on readers?
- This is hard. For the moment, Leon is just getting his feet wet in the world and is still lost. He's thrown into chaos again and again. I would say Hope has a significant impact on the character by helping him; then, there are the more experienced characters. I would say either Remmy or Fate would have the most in this story, or well Ra.... Well, there are just a lot of characters in this first book! Dealers' choice, I'd say.
If Afterworld were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- Honestly, this is a tough question. It'd have to be someone younger, but mature. I didn't have anyone in particular when writing the story. I'm terrible at naming actors and not at all about celebrity culture that we find ourselves in today. It would have to be someone in his early mid twenties, with a midwestern accent.
How have readers responded to Afterworld?
- Honestly, those who have read the story have only told me great things. I asked one guy (whom my friend recommended reading the book, so no direct connection) how the story was going, and I got the response: "it's really good! I'm reading it through the 2nd time. Is there a continuation?"
So honestly, at this point, I've only had people happy, which is good to see! Hopefully, I get more people to read it so I can interact with them more and get their feedback.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- I've started working on The Ripper book, which connects to the Next Life series (which Afterworld is the first in the series). It is set about 140 years in the past and focuses on Jack the Ripper with a fantasy twist. Hopefully, that answers everyone's questions! If you want more answers, you'll have to check out the novels!
Death comes, and misery follows. As a man in his early twenties, Leon never genuinely contemplated what would happen after his death. Like those before him, he never understood the truth of our universe. After his sudden demise, the terrorizing reality of a mysterious dystopian afterlife begins crushing him as it has those prior. Men have started enslaving and killing each other to sate their greed while enigmatic creatures oppress the masses. Only a select few have shown the courage that is needed to challenge their supremacy.
Through this eclipsing darkness, there is hope. But will that hope prove to be enough to save this turbulent cosmos? The revelations of advanced science, magic, human savagery, and even our gods will be showcased. Both in a new light and disturbing darkness, will the verities of Earth and Afterworld give him a greater understanding of our universe; or in turn, begin to break him as they have done to so many before?