JJ Shelton NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

Grinning and unrepentant Code-Monkey by day, Photographer by night, and writer everywhere in between. I live in Philadelphia, PA and work for an indie publisher in Phoenix, AZ called Spiral Ink Comics writing Hooded Cobra. I’m finishing up the script for Issue #6 at the same time as I work on NaNo this year.
How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I’ve made four attempts in the past and had three successes. 2015 marks my fifth time participating.
What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

Hooded Cobra: Ring of Fire (working title) is a novelization of the first six issues of the comic Hooded Cobra: The Den of Serpents. The story mixes Sumerian legend with a touch of science fiction and modern day conspiracy theory to construct a political landscape littered with secret organizations and shadow governments readily manipulating and destroying human lives to their own ends. Roughly 6,000 years ago the Anunnaki came to Earth to mine gold to save their atmosphere and created humans to provide labor. Eventually the Anunnaki left, leaving behind two factions — one following Enlil who believed humans were a mistake that needed to be eradicated, and another following Enki with a desire to protect mankind. Living deep underground, the world is unaware of their existence.

The followers of Enki — here referred to as “The Den of Serpents” — use human agents known as “Hooded Cobras” to affect the world around them so as to maintain their secrecy. As the followers of Enlil work to exterminate between 40% and 70% of the world’s population in one, fell swoop the book focuses on two agents in particular — an ex-marine (a deserter) named “R.J.” and his diminutive, twin Desert-Eagle wielding counterpart known as “Kensa” — as they work to put a stop to the coming storm.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

I have a routine that I follow even when I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo. For me it’s sitting at the computer with Rant Radio Industrial streaming through my headphones, and a distraction-free word processor set to full screen. I stay connected in case I need to do research, but otherwise it’s mostly typing whatever words come to mind.

If I were to offer any advice it would be to write first, edit later. The words don’t have to make sense necessarily–nor do they have to be perfect–but the do have to be on the page for them to count. Get a routine going, get comfortable, and–if you have to–write whatever comes to mind. Write about your bad day, your good day, your significant other’s cooking… Just get writing. From there just have faith. The words will come.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

My Author’s Facebook Page — “JJ Shelton” — is here: https://www.facebook.com/js2072/
I’m on NaNoWriMo.org as “withoutsin”.
You can watch what’s happening with Spiral Ink Comics here: https://www.facebook.com/SpiralInkComics/

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

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