Fiction Fest: Getting to know Jim Haberkorn, author of ‘A Thousand Suns’

Thousand Suns 2x3“A Thousand Suns” author Jim Habekorn recently took some time to field a few questions about his book, his writing style and a few other things, for which we are very grateful.

Haberkorn is based in Switzerland, but his books take place, in part at least, in Idaho.

“A Thousand Suns” was released on March 12, 2013, and is available in bookstores and on BooksAndThings.com, Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

How did you come up with Rulon Hurt?

I wanted a character who people would naturally underestimate. I was tired of spy super-heroes who were so suave and perfect and did inexplicably perfect physical stunts with no apparent training. I wanted my character to have a background that justified his physical prowess (in Rulon’s case hammer throwing and Greco-Roman wrestling) but also to be just a little overweight so he seemed a little more human. As far as Rulon’s first name is concerned, I wanted something that sounded a little hayseed ““ again, so non-discerning people would underestimate him.

Which, if any, of your characters were inspired by real-life people?

Not any, though I do steal dialogue from some of my real life conversations. However, I did get the name “˜Yohaba’ from a dream. Yes, it’s a strange name. But then, Yohaba, is not your average heroine!

What is the hardest thing about writing fiction?

In my first book, “Einstein’s Trunk,” it was the beginning. I found it a real struggle to introduce the characters and enough of their background while keeping the plot moving along. The introduction went much smoother in my second book, “A Thousand Suns.” But I’d say that writing good fiction is hard work under any circumstances. It takes research, mastery of your craft, imagination, time, objectivity, re-editing, and much more. But if you love to do it, then the hard work is enjoyable and satisfying, and not really work at all.

How does music play a role in your writing routine?

I generally don’t listen to music while I write, though in “A Thousand Suns” I wrote one of my favorite scenes while listening to the theme song from the movie “Inception.” That scene was of Yohaba walking through the cathedral in Einsiedeln towards Boris.

Who would play your book’s major characters in “A Thousand Suns: The Movie”?

Rooney Mara as Yohaba and Kevin James as Rulon Hurt ““ though James may not be big enough. But he has the right face and personality.

Who would perform/compose on the movie’s soundtrack?

Maybe Nora Jones. I can’t help thinking of Rulon when I hear her sing “Broken.”

What is the most joy writing has brought to you?

I get a lot of satisfaction out of crafting a good scene. I find that so cool. You start with an empty page. Anything can go on it. And you just start writing and the ideas flow and pretty soon something exists that could have gone in a million different directions, but you created and molded it into something that was your own.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m about half-way through the third book in the Rulon Hurt series. It’s tentatively titled “World of Hurt.” Again it has large blocks of action in Zurich and Idaho, but also stretches to the California Bay Area and Russia. I’m also introducing a new major character in it that I’m really having fun with. And also, due to popular appeal, Boris makes a return appearance.

Did “A Thousand Suns” turn out the way you imagined it would when you started writing it?

When I started the book, all I had a picture of was the opening scene. But the story seemed to flow from there in a natural way. One thing that did surprise me was Yohaba’s and Boris’s relationship. I never saw that coming but really liked the way it developed. Apparently readers liked that too. Hemingway once said words to the effect that if you know where your plot is going, your readers will too. Rulon and Yohaba constantly surprise me with what they are going to do and say. That’s why I like telling their stories.

What advice would you like to offer to aspiring novelists?

There are so many things I could say. The most important is to work hard at developing your craft. In the end, one of the few things you can control in the publishing business is the quality of your own work. Second: If you get a bad review, go to Amazon and read the one-star reviews of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” or some other classic. Then take solace in the fact that even the greatest writers were not universally appreciated.