Creative Spotlight on Author and Musician JR Konkol
Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
If I were a cat, I think writing would be my seventh life. The older we get, the more we experience, but I look back and have to wonder, how the heck did I get here? I completed an Ironman... that was an entire life ago. I've studied classical piano for 40+ years. Oh, and I have a career. I became a widower in my late 40s, after a really long battle. Alone, and not in a good place, I dropped a buck and a half on an internet person search and sent a letter to the first woman I ever dated, long distance, over the internet, from back in the 90s... and I found her, and we've started a new life together. Truth is stranger than fiction, and that brings us to fiction... So, I've been a roleplaying game nerd most of my life. Back in 2004, I ran a long campaign for some of my friends, with the express purpose of turning our games into a series of novels. Rebirth of the Fallen came out of that.
Can you tell us about your most recent release? Album? Song? Art piece? Etc.?
My most recent Album is Tales from the Electric Ocean, which was my first solo album. It's mostly synth and bass, but I'm proud of it. My most recent release, however, is The Crumbling City, book four of my Rebirth of the Fallen series. I'm proud of that too!
What inspires you?
Inspiration may not be the right word. For me, I HAVE to do this. I've always been a creative person. I think, if I stopped creating things, I would cease to be.
What is your creative work routine like? Do you balance it with another job?
I have a full time, and then some, job, but I'm always thinking. Creativity doesn't require a setting, or a specific time. It can and will happen anywhere and everywhere, if you let it.
Do you plan out your creations? What is your process before you create?
I meticulously plan. On the planner vs pantser spectrum, I am definitely a planner. That isn't to say that I don't spontaneously create. If we were to shift the analogy to an architect vs a gardener, I would say that I let my creative seeds grow, I simply provide ample trellises for them to grow upon.
Do you have a self-care routine or want to have one? What do you do or wish that you did to take care of your mental health?
I have survived through music. I am a romantic era classical pianist. I play a lot of Chopin... mostly nocturnes, and I've been told I'm quite good at it. I think I need to get myself back to my old workout routines, back when I was doing the whole Ironman thing... that helped also, but if I were to point to one thing that keeps me going, it's playing that piano every morning.
What is your favorite creation thus far?
This Rebirth of the Fallen series.
Do you have a character that is your favorite over others you've written into creation?
I think Raelyn has really stepped into that role of most treasured character. She is so gray... so nuanced... yet heroic.
Are there any recurring themes in your work?
There are several... but I think themes are earned by the reader. I can't just tell you them... where's the fun in that?
What does success look like to you considering your creative passion?
At some point, being able to retire from my career and just continue to build my worlds. As long as others are enjoying it, I'll keep writing.
What is something your fans/readers/followers don’t know about you or something unique about yourself?
I think I've already given up those ghosts in my previous answers.
What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors/singers/artists/etc?
Don't be so hard on yourself. It's supposed to suck at the beginning.
Where do you get your ideas for world building?
I published my own fantasy roleplaying game, back in the 90s. So, like Dungeons and Dragons, but different. I'm writing in that world.
What genre do you prefer to read?
What hobbies do you have?
In the past, fitness, though I've let that fall by the wayside. Music is most defining hobby.... and cats... there must be cats.
Do you have any outside experiences that influenced your work?
I was a fairly accomplished martial artist when I was younger. My fighting style and experiences bleed into my combat scenes.
Where can our viewers/readers/listeners find you and your work?