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Author Interview: James M. Corkill

Bestselling and award-winning author James M. Corkill is a Veteran, and retired Federal Firefighter from Washington State, USA. He was an electronic technician and studied mechanical engineering in his spare time before eventually becoming a firefighter for 32-years and retiring. He has since settled into the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, and has a fantastic view from his writing desk.

He began writing in 1997, and was fortunate to meet a famous horror writer named Hugh B. Cave, who became his mentor. In 2002, he rushed to self-published a dozen copies of Dead Energy so his wife could see his book published before she was taken by cancer. When his soul mate was gone, he stopped writing and began drinking heavily.

His favorite quote. “When you wake up in the morning, you never know where the day will take you.”

In 2013, he met a stranger who recognized his name and had enjoyed an old copy of Dead Energy, except for the ending. When she encouraged him to start writing again, he realized this chance meeting was just what he needed to hear at the right moment. He quit drinking and began the rewrite of Dead Energy into The Alex Cave Series. Now he is a bestselling and award-winning author and thankful for that fateful encounter.

  • : While I was a Federal Firefighter I was always reading in my spare time and thought some of the stories were awful. I decided I could write a better adventure if had the chance.
  • : Yes. In high school I wrote a short story called I remember Abraham Lincoln. It was about Lincoln traveling forward in time to meet me to ask how things are going in my generation. The answer was not what he wanted to hear.
  • : It was a natural progression for Alex Cave, who has a special talent for dealing with advanced alien technology, which he discovers in Iceland.
  • : During one of the oil crises in the late 1980’s a friend asked a general question; what would happen if suddenly we didn’t have any more fuel? I began writing down some of the issues that might arise if it actually happened and it was the beginning of my first novel, Dead Energy.
  • : I grew up on a Orcas Island, one of the islands in the Puget Sound north of Seattle, Washington. My mentor taught me to write about what you know, so many of the events in my stories take place in the Pacific Northwest, from the Oregon Coast to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
  • : No particular time, just whenever I have an idea or a chain of thought for a new or current story.
  • : DNA. The Alex Cave Series book 6.
  • : I like to design and build things.
  • : First the idea, then the ending, and in between I make a rough outline of what needs to happen to reach the conclusion, adding characters as I go.
  • : Before I began writing, I enjoyed the early Clive Cussler novels, and several of Tom Clancy's stories.
  • : I was an electrician in Yellowstone National Park, the Bremerton Naval Shipyard in Washington, and the Federal Aviation Administration in Reno Nevada. After that I was a Federal Firefighter at the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Washington, and retired after 32 years of service.
  • : Actually, I don't read other people's stories anymore. I find it too difficult keeping their style or topics from influencing my stories, which are an ongoing process.
  • : I send a copy of the finished manuscript to my cousin, who is a graphic artist, and we talk about different designs until we find the one best suited to the story.
  • : I do a rough outline, and let it flow once sit down at the keyboard.
  • : When someone tells me they were completely immersed in what was happening as if actually being there with the characters.
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  • : I'm glad you enjoy my stories, and please don't hesitate to connect with me through my website,, if you have any questions about my characters or me.
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