I am thrilled to host author, J.T. Cope, at Big Hair and Books today! J.T. is the author of the middle grade fantasy, Countryside The Book of the Wise. I recently read this book and loved it. It is a book that appeals to a slightly younger set of fans than Harry Potter, but offers the same feel of mystery, magic, and suspense. I would say it is ideal for kids aged 7-11--dependent on their reading level, of course.
About the Author
J.T. Cope is a homegrown Texas boy, growing up in the small town of Wheelock. He's a graduate of both Centenary College of Louisiana and the University of Texas in Arlington and a proud member of United State Marine Corps. J.T. and his wife, Katie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
About eight years ago I suppose, about the time I started writing Countryside. I hadn’t really thought about writing much since I was in elementary school; I used to love it then. Writing hadn’t been something over the years that I felt I had to do or even wanted to do. Then, one night as I was in the last months of my active Marine Corps service, the urge just dropped in on me. I was sitting in a Starbucks in Kailua reading a book by Raymond E. Feist, and I just stopped reading. I thought, I can do this. I walked across the parking lot to a local grocery store, bought some spiral notebooks and some pencils, and I’ve been at it, more or less, ever since.
What's the first thing you remember writing?
Honestly, this is a bit embarrassing, but I remember writing a (horrible) “story” about getting locked in a closet with a young friend of mine. The story was true, and it really was awful writing, but I remember my teacher telling me what a great job I did and how proud she was of me. Teachers comments like that stick with you a while I think; at least they did for me.
What's the story of your path to publishing?
Whew. Painful, exhausting, grueling … I know that’s not the picture perfect story of sitting in a coffee shop sipping on a latte, and then inspiration and an agent just dropping out of the sky, but it’s the truth. It’s been late nights, working through the tail end of the Marines, grad school, (brief) joblessness, jobs as a barista and a geologist, having a publisher (and then not having one), not to mention marriage, and three kids in five years. The team at The Editorial Department (TED) has been a blessing, and both sets of my parents are ever encouraging, but more than anything my wife (and a LOT of prayer) kept me sane and moving forward until the book was out.
Can you tell us about how you went through the process without an agent and if you have things you would have done differently.
Mostly TED has guided me through the process over the years. They helped with design, illustration, editing (and more editing!), production and everything. I’ve had a few tidbits from past English teachers, family friends, and an occasional author here and there. There are quite a few things I would do differently from the writing to the publication, and that I am trying to now with the sequel, but overall I think the process has worked out for me the way it had to and needed to.
What was the inspiration for Countryside?
As a young teen I loved science fiction/fantasy. As an adult looking back, I didn’t feel there were many series out there that a parent would feel comfortable with a younger kid picking up and reading. I wanted to give those kids that liked that genre something they could really get into, and something their parents would be glad to have them reading.
As far as the story itself goes, just a mixed up pile of half thought out day dreams, memories of places I traveled in my mind or in reality growing up, and a few nightmares thrown in because, well, because they’re actually out there in real life.
What are you working on currently? Can you give us any teasers?
The second volume of Countryside. Ha! Well I can tell you that Luke has been spending his summer at the beach, and having a great time, but there is something not very nice coming to look for him.
I love the sibling relationships in Countryside. Do you have a special memory of your sibling(s)?
You’re probably not going to believe this, but I’m an only child, as is my lovely wife, which caused people at our wedding to raise their eyebrows and make quite a few comments about “adjustments” coming. I did however grow up around 12 cousins, most of whom I saw at least once a week, and often more than that. I’ve been overwhelmingly blessed with my family, and I do have quite a few special memories of them, more than I can count honestly, summer swimming in tanks, tennis trips, every holiday imaginable, camping, fishing … a lot of memories.
by J.T. Cope IV
published by Tiner Publishers
The Blurb"You have a power within you, one that is within everyone...It's the same power that fills that building, that keeps that tree alive...and the same power that has attracted your attention...I know it's all a bit strange to you, but I assure you it is quite real..." Eleven-year-old Luke Rayburn has never seen a skyline without skyscrapers or fallen asleep to anything but the sound of traffic. But his life is about to change in ways he never imagined. When his father leaves for a year of military service, Luke and the rest of his family move into their grandparents' home in the remote town of Countryside, a place like no other. Reachable only by a mysterious traveling tunnel and horse-drawn carriage, centaurs roam the landscape and shadowy wraiths slip among the trees. There, Luke will be drawn into a centuries-old quest for an almost-forgotten book whose secrets will determine the fate of the world. He will have to reach deep to discover the power within him as he battles the forces of darkness and an alliance of sinister men who seek to destroy any who get in their way. Luke's only hope is to find the book before they do, but to do so he'll need help from someone he never expected as the forces of evil come to bear on the magical world of Countryside.
The Book Trailer
Countryside: The Book of the Wise by J.T. Cope IV - Book Trailer from Four Thirds Creative on Vimeo.
One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of Countryside Book of the Wise!
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