Sunday, June 7, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Jim Colombo

This week's Book-A-Week Challenge was The Keys to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure by Jim Colombo.

Learn more about Jim and his writing with the interview posted below. Leave him a comment, ask a question, tell him how much you enjoyed the book.
What motivated you to write this book?

I love reading books. Slowly, the seed was planted in my mind that I could write a book also. It was an interesting challenge, and a wonderful outlet for my creative energies. Once I started, so many ideas flooded from my mind that I couldn’t quit. Besides I needed to see how the story would end. I had to finish. It is a little scary though having people literally read what’s on my mind.

Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your life?

Perhaps just a little bit. I have been fortunate to be able to have travelled a bit, so I can use that to my advantage. When setting a story in a particular place in the world, London for example is where part of Caroline’s adventure takes place, my experience of having visited London helps me describe a detailed scene.

Some of the characters are based on a mix of people I know. A little of this one, a little of that one. It helps my characters to act in a real way. Others are pure fiction. Caroline, my main character, however, is a stranger to me, who chose me to tell her story to.

Do you have a particular writing style?

I think my style is straight forward. I start with a general idea of where I want to go, and try to write myself there. I hope my stories are well thought out, exciting and keep a good pace. I am a minimalist, so I try not to add a lot of plot twists that do nothing to help the main story.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My favorite author is Agatha Christie. Even though we are from different eras, I still can learn from her by reading her stories. She was a master at building a story, giving just the right piece of information at just the right time. Wonderful! I am in awe!

What are your current projects?

I have three or four ideas running around in my head at present. I am working on my second novel entitled The Madonna, The Mistress and The Thief. The main character, Valentina Vasari, is a brilliant art conservator known the world over. She is also an art thief. She is a little more complex than Caroline, almost an anti-hero. In spite of her success, Valentina has led a difficult life, always struggling to gain the respect of her father who did not approve of her becoming an artist. I am about half completed, and I’m eager for her to tell me how her story ends.

What makes your stories unique?

My main characters are women and I’m not. I think that gives them a unique perspective on what’s going on in their lives. I can’t think like a woman, so the way Caroline or Valentina may act or react in a situation may not be what the reader, especially my female readers, is expecting. This allows for some unique situations and unusual results that otherwise would not be possible.

How do you come up your story ideas and your characters?

Honestly, I have learned over the years to listen to that little voice in my head, talking to me… giving me ideas. It speaks at the most inconvenient times too! I usually carry some index cards with me to jot a note on. Then when it’s quiet, it’s easier for me to listen to that voice more carefully and see where that idea may lead to.

When do you find you are the most creative or write the most?

I find that I do my best work when I am in the mood to do it. It sounds silly I know, but that is the best time for me. There are days when my mind is on business, and writing or being creative is nowhere on my agenda. There is no sense staring at my reflection in the computer screen. It’s not going to happen. There are also days when writing is almost like taking dictation. Everything flows smoothly. Those are the days I look for and I really try to take advantage of. I can accomplish a lot on those days.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Caroline. I think we could be friends.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Anything that makes me happy. Reading. Chocolate chip cookies. Travelling. Visiting with family and friends. Just sitting and watching the world go by. Life is abundant. It should be enjoyed…everyday.

What is your favorite way to take a break from writing?

If I’m getting fatigued or confused about details, I find a brisk walk will help clear my mind. If I want to take a longer break, I just do what need to be done around the house. Mow the lawn. Tend the garden. It’s the everyday things, believe it or not that make me happy.
Last, but not least. . .
Thanks Jim for taking the time for this interview and giving us some insight into the author behind the book. More importantly, thank you for the great read.


Betty Gordon June 7, 2009 at 8:39 AM  

A good, solid interview, Jim. Denise has a way with her questions, doesn't she?

I look forward to reading your novel.

Betty Gordon

Betty Gordon June 7, 2009 at 8:39 AM  

A good, solid interview, Jim. Denise has a way with her questions, doesn't she?

I look forward to reading your novel.

Betty Gordon

Denise June 7, 2009 at 10:07 AM  

Good morning, Jim!

Here's a question I got from Terry Kate of

Should the book be made into a movie, which actress do you think would best portray Caroline?


Ellen June 7, 2009 at 10:22 AM  

Good morning, Jim! Wonderful interview, I'm a fan of Agatha Christie as well.

So, any favorite scenes? One or more that made you laugh out loud? Or made your heart race?

Christie Craig June 8, 2009 at 8:14 AM  

Great interview!!!


Anonymous June 8, 2009 at 8:59 AM  

Good Morning to all. First I want to thank Denise for allowing me the chance to answer a few questions on her site. She really does a wonderful job.
I also want to apologize for answering your questions a day late. I was at the Printers Row Lit Fest In Chicago on Sunday. The rain stayed away, and I had a wonderful time.
JIm Colombo

Jim Colombo June 8, 2009 at 9:07 AM  

Hi Bette and thanks for the kind words. Yes I think the questions Denise asked were great. They made me think a little which is always a good thing. I hope that you enjoy reading The Keys to the Vault as much as I enjoyed reading it.


Jim Colombo June 8, 2009 at 9:15 AM  

Hi Terry Kate,
I would love to see a movie made out of this book. I think it lends itself well to the big screen. Off of the top of my head, perhaps Emily Daschanel of the TV show Bones. However, I am also a big fan of giving a new actress a chance. It can be difficult to get started.
Whoever would play the part, it is essential that she capture how emotionally strong a woman Caroline really is.

Jim Colombo June 8, 2009 at 9:26 AM  

Hi Ellen,
Isn't Agatha christie wonderful? As far as a favorite scene, I kind of like when Caroline is in the armory of Claudia's estate, and she reaches overhead for the forged steel sword. These things are really heavy, but she doesn't realize how heavy. She loses her balance and causes all sorts of trouble. As I answer your question now, I realize it shows a lot about Caroline. She is ready to fight, but she is really out of her league. Even though she has some problems, she doesn't give up and solves them, by grabbing a crossbow, which apparently she is proficient at using, and she can laugh at herself. What a wonderful way to approach life!

Jim Colombo June 8, 2009 at 9:28 AM  

Hi Christie,
Thank you. I had fun answering the questions. I hope that you enjoy the book.

Denise June 8, 2009 at 6:24 PM  

Hi Jim,

Thanks for stopping over to answer the mine and readers questions and for sharing your story with us.

I enjoyed it very much!


Jim Colombo June 9, 2009 at 8:24 AM  

Hi Denise,
I really enjoyed answering these interview questions. I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to participate and also for the great job that you are doing on your blog.
I hope that the readers enjoyed reading my book as much as I did writing it.

debbie h May 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM  

Hi Jim, Wow I loved your interview. I've learned so much more about you. I am ordering your book. I especially liked your comment about not thinking like a woman so we'll be surprised by some of the things your female characters do. I'm very intrigued.
See you on the web my friend.

Anonymous May 19, 2010 at 4:43 PM  

Hi Jim..Great interview,and having you share a bit about yourself What little I have read about"The Keys To The Vault" I hope to be able to buy it soon.I think it will be hard to put down..Lets get it on BN..if we can..And of course under New Releases.See you on Board.The Best..Susan..

  © 2009 DENISE ROBBINS | Design and graphics by Will Design For Chocolate | Blogger template 'Contemplation' by