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Thursday, 29 November 2018

Interview with J.D. Estrada -Author and Poet

I've known J.D. Estrada for a few years who I have had the pleasure of knowing first as a fellow writer and now a dear friend who is very much like family to me. He's funny, quick with wit, a great storyteller, a big heart who cares for others and loves his family and friends. Become acquainted with this very talented writer J.D. and make sure you check out his books.

Introducing J.D. 

J.D. Estrada bio-
Hey there, this is your friendly neighborhood JD Estrada. I’m a Puerto Rican indie author who is now based in Atlanta because home shall always be my Caribbean Island. I’m a multi-genre author, would-be renaissance geek, and advocate of creative kindness. I like tea, socks, video games, and am also known as #00Bananas (look it up if you’re curious, but expect something silly when you do). 

What do you love about your life right now?

What a curious question. I think I like that whatever success I have has been through hard work and dedication, that I’ve never gotten a handout or a free ride, and that slowly but surely, I can make a difference.

How long have you been writing?

As a hobby, I’ve been writing since I was a kid, though plenty more when I was a teen. I’ve published six poetry collections because to me poetry has always helped me heal and make sense of my life and the world I live in. My first published book was in 2013, but before that, I did win a couple of prizes in college for short stories and poetry. I also was part of a rag-tag group of people who wrote anonymously in a blog for close to a decade, but that’s as much as I can say about that.

Tell me about your newest book Given To Fly like where did you find inspiration to write it and how long it took to write it.

Ah, Given to Fly is such a special book for me. The inspiration came from several sources. Firstly, my wife gave a wonderful gift almost 10 years ago. She asked me what image meant a lot to me and without batting an eye I told her the picture on the single for Pearl Jam’s “Given to Fly”. A couple of months after that question and she surprised me with a hardcover notebook with hard case with that image and my name on it. It’s one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever received in my life so the stakes were high in regards to what the book would be about. Then a while after we had our first trip as a couple to Disney/Orlando. We went to Epcot Center and got on Soarin’, which has become one of our favorite rides ever. As we were immersed in beautiful visuals, music, and aromas during the flight simulator, one idea led to another and another and by the end of that 2 ½ minute ride, I knew what the story would be about: a boy who dreams about flying. It’s taken me all this time to finally write the book and the inspirations come from all over the place. Influences of Coraline, Charlotte’s Web, Harry Potter, Easter Eggs of Pearl Jam, Elbow, The Who, Tori Amos, nods to my favorite comics growing up which were from Hong Kong, nods to the lead singer of Days of the New, whom I hope can one day kick his drug habit and stay clean and creatively adventurous, nods to video games and even some of my books, and beyond. Heck, there’s even a library pillaging bookworm that’s based on Noam Chomsky. All in all, I’d say the plotting took me about 4 months and full one writing and editing another 4-5 month, but it happened in bursts throughout the years as I finished several other projects and hunted down someone who could nail the cover.

As a writer myself, I’ve struggled with writers’ block. Do you and how do you overcome it?

Writer’s block is luckily not something I get hit with much if at all and it’s all down to working on several projects at the same time. I’m sure that genetically I share some % of DNA with octopi because I can multi-task that way. At any given time, there are 3-6 projects running at the same time and in different stages of development. Now that I’ve finished Given to Fly, I’m focused on two main projects, Book 3 in the Human Cycle and a collaboration I’m doing with a great friend from the UK. I write in my blog, write music, and always strive to have something creative going along and to lean into the projects that most call out to me. Time is not something I have a whole ton of so when I do get time, trust me that I work hard to make it count. But reading different things, writing different types of projects, and other things help me to always stay in flow as much as possible. I think every block happens for a different reason and to me, I have projects I full on plan and others where I’m a bonafide pantser. I also like to mix things up and always try different things with my writing rather than finding my perfect method because part of the fun for me is discovering more of who I am through my projects. Things you can do to overcome it is to work on other things that flow easily and allow your brain to relax. We sometimes get so caught up and wound up that we forget to enjoy the process and I think that’s why I rarely get blocks because I love the various ways I can weave a story.

Where do you go to write your books like a coffee shop or home office and do you have a particular place that inspires you? 

For me, writing is more about my mood and the moment rather than a particular place. I’ve written plenty of times in food courts, restaurants of all types, coffee, shops, and even the bathtub. I think it’s all about picking up the notebook when inspiration strikes and running with it. I’ve known to take a notebook into a bathroom stall during work hours only because I was the only male who worked in a department with 14 other coworkers and I needed some space to write :) I can say that I’m particularly fond of writing during flights and I’ll NEVER buy in-flight WiFi. I also don’t mind long waits at the doctor because I always carry a notebook with me.

Who’s your favorite author and book?

 Favorite author has to be Neil Gaiman although the more I read Terry Pratchett the harder it is to answer this question. As for favorite books, to me, it’s a tie between two series: Harry Potter and the Sandman. In regards to fantasy fiction, these two books have hit the deepest and mean the most to me. Harry Potter arrived in my life at a time where I sorely needed some magic and the Sandman is a series that is as creatively amazing as anything I’ve read. Part of my goals in life is to write something both Joan (JK Rowling) and Neil (Gaiman) could enjoy. They have my respect and love for who they are as humans AND writers.

 Any advice you can offer for new writers?

Write for you, not the market. The market will change and will always change. You are stuck with you for the rest of your life and the more fun you have, the better off you’ll be. Be a ball busting editor, be brutally honest about what works and what doesn’t work, read everything, learn something new every day, taste new foods and dance outside your comfort zone. Also, focus on finding YOUR voice. Don’t be the next best [INSERT NAME OF AUTHOR]. Be the best you. Be uncompromisingly you. Be selfishly you. And then share it with others.

 What advice do you wish you knew before you started writing?

Transcribe as you write. Lol. My first manuscript was probably over 180K words long… and I began transcribing when I finished it… and trust me, that wasn’t fun lol. Also, save your work in several places. Jump drives die, computers get fried, and life happens. 

Tell me three fun facts about you.

I began 00 Bananas in a former job to make co-workers laugh.

I’ve tried to be in 3 bands… maybe 4th time will be the charm? Hey, one can dream.

If I could have any corporate job, I’d work in R&D for a candy factory.

In one word describe yourself.



His newest novel Given To Fly at Amazon 

Please support his writing journey and purchase some of his books below:
Find his books on Amazon at this link: JDBook
Follow his social media links below as well as his website, YouTube, and Goodreads. 

About Maria Rochelle

Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
Find out more about Maria here →


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