John Levitt is an author and musician who splits his time between Alta, Utah and San Francisco. His latest Urban Fantasy, New Tricks, was released in late 2008. You can check out an excerpt of it here.
We’d like to thank him for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.
AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?
John: My very first? I wrote a chapter on local bird identification for a small pamphlet about the history and natural fauna of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Alta, Utah back in the 1970s. All proceeds went to the Alta Historical Society, and it was still selling twenty years later. My first “real” publication was in 1989, a mystery/thriller novel titled Carnivores, published by St. Martin’s Press.
AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.
John: My latest is New Tricks, an urban fantasy set in San Francisco. It’s the second in a series about Mason, a jazz musician and reluctant magical practitioner who runs into all kinds of trouble while he’s trying to live a quiet life. His friends and acquaintances keep dying, and he has to figure out what’s going on, and why, and who’s responsible. Lots of magic, a few supernatural creatures, but no werewolves, vampires, fey, or traditional fantasy tropes in this book.
Mason is aided by his magical companion, Lou, who is a small dog like a mini pinscher. Only, he’s not really a dog. Just sort of. He can’t talk, or do magic, but he’s a great help and everyone’s favorite character, hands down.
AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who else do you feel has contributed to your success?
John: I always thought I didn’t need any help – I use no crit groups or beta readers, and no one sees any of the ms until it’s done. But it turns out I do occasionally need help, and I was lucky enough to find an agent, Caitlin Blasdell, who is also a very fine editor, which she used to be. Her editorial advice has been invaluable in pinpointing problems and steering me back on course when I start flailing and don’t know how to fix the book. Not to mention that she managed to sell the series to Ace.
AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?
John: That’s totally dependent on the rest of my life. I used to be a night person, and worked swing shift and nights for years. I wrote my first novel between midnight and two every night after getting off work. These days, I futz around in the morning, and finally get to work around noon, so afternoons are now my writing time.
AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?
John: Honestly, there’s nothing I can say about writing that hasn’t been said a hundred times before, and by better writers than I. But as far as getting published goes, I do think that luck, or timing if you don’t believe in luck, has a lot more to do with it than we like to admit. And the longer you persist, the better chance you have of getting that break. So don’t give up, don’t let rejection get you down, and grow a thick skin – you’re going to need it.