Welcome JD Nyle to my virtual café. If I ever win the lottery I’ll build a real café on the river and invite my writer friends to drop in and talk about books, writing and the business of being a writer, but until then, I’m here on my blog, dreaming.
It’s good to have you here JD or should I call you Neostriker?
JD: Thank you for having me. JD is good. Neostriker is the name of my series. I had thought about separating the brand from the author profile, but when I asked my followers, I got more votes to keep them together. And keeping the profile name as Neostriker helps with SEO traffic.
Sherri: JD/Neostriker and I met through our connection with the Twitter group, Shameless Self-Promo. We’ve become a bit of a family online, supporting each other and promoting each other’s work. How long have you been a member of the group? I’m one of the newbies.
JD: I don’t exactly know since I don’t think new members have access to the old messages, though I would assume from the start. It’s been a great group that has more become a community to chat and get feedback. They’ve been very supportive. I even found my cover artist for The Vixen through that group and a new fan of the stories. I really appreciate C. S. Ratliff for organizing it.
Sherri: You have done something a little different with your Neostriker series, you published a book “Neostiker: Shining” but you also have it online on your website, is that correct? Why did you choose to publish this way?
JD: So, for the novel, which I’m beginning to think might be a misnomer, I did not originally plan to publish as a paperback. It started as a fun project to explore writing and catalog some adventures. The result was I had a series of 24 episodes. I did not know about Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) at the time, so I decided to publish on the blog.
When I learned about Amazon’s paperback service (now merged with KDP), I decided to give the story another few rounds of edits and publish after that. There’s an exclusivity clause in KDP’s higher royalty program so most of the blog version has been pulled down in order to accommodate.
Sherri: Would you classify the Neostriker series as dystopian? What genre does it fall under? I know it’s often difficult to know what label to give our work, but it helps when we are promoting it to know what category it fits into.
JD: I wouldn’t think it’s dystopian, though I have contemplated trying it before. However, I like to write hopeful or inspiring things as I cannot maintain a negative perspective for long periods of time.
As for the genre, that is a good question I constantly struggle with. 😀
If we can say Power Rangers is fantasy, then so is Neostriker. The magic system is never referred to as magic. I approached it more as a video game system where I try have things make sense. For instance, if a normal teen gets a sword, he’s not going to be an expert, so he’ll take a few hits, which would be fatal in real combat. However, video game logic allows for multiple hits.
Sherri: What are you working on now? Are there more stories in the Neostriker series coming out soon?
JD: I have six stories drafted currently with a seventh brainstorming. Two which follow up The Vixen are about ready, but I’m trying to figure the best approach for release. It’s tricky since the first one is more romance focused and contains no fantasy elements. Then there is the cover art ordeal. I hope to release them soon, but I need to figure those two parts first.
Sherri: What other genres would you like to explore? What goals do you have for the future?
JD: So, part of my problem is that I don’t limit by genre. Neostriker Shining was consistently action-adventure, but for SABRE, I’m allowing for it to be character and theme driven. As a result, the genre is free to change with the story.
For example, Intent to Join is more serious and focused on family with some fantasy that plays in the background to facilitate the theme. The Vixen is a fun character-focused story with an action climax. The first follow-up is a quiet second date, so it feels like a romance. So, I would say I’m open to genres that aid a particular story. Considering that’s how life is, I figured it would be good to reflect it.
Sherri: What or who has been some of your greatest influences and how?
JD: For the world and mechanics, Digimon and Mega Man were the main ones I focused on to make my own. It took many years, but with Shining, I felt like I had finally succeeded, free to pay tribute but claim that it was mine. For storytelling, I mostly come up with them myself based upon what sounds fun or interesting.
In terms of mechanics, I take inspiration from many places and try to analyze why I liked them and if I can do something similar. For example, one thing I want to dabble with is not having dialogue tags. This is probably because when I grew up, I mostly listened to audio dramas where all action is mostly conveyed through dialogue and sound effects. Though I must say that I sometimes wish I wrote in Japanese since they have way more onomatopoeias.
Sherri: You mentioned that you have lived in Japan, that is somewhere I’d love to visit. How long did you live there? Did your life there influence your writing?
JD: A few years now. I would admit it was a dream to live here that I worked towards. However, fun fact is that when I first came, I could not think about why I wanted to make the trip anymore, in part because I did not like many anime tropes, but I decided to go through with it. I do not regret that decision. Japan is a beautiful country and there are many features and people I love.
In terms of influence, I would say yes, but in an indirect way. The experience I have had has helped me develop my philosophy which then influences the stories I tell and how I develop my characters.
Sherri: What has been the most difficult to learn as a writer? For me it has been punctuation and marketing. I’m still learning both.
JD: Grammar and marketing are definitely my weak areas. Though maybe depression too as I would see friends get much support for their writings, but I would get none from the same group. That’s one reason why I avoid Facebook since it hurts so much more to not see support from “friends”, which my wife thinks is more due to the algorithm and that most people left the platform. Switching to Twitter and interacting with the supportive writing community, especially the self promo group has been great for dealing with that.
Sherri: Who is the perfect client/reader for your books?
JD: I guess myself is the only one I can guarantee. It varies for each story so I guess those who like the variety could be a good one. As well as people who want clean fun that doesn’t write down to the audience.
For the novel, probably teens who want a fun adventure and like having mechanics worked out. I often hear it said it reads like a game. Though my approach was to more emulate an action Saturday morning program for that one.
For the short stories, people who like character-driven stories that follow the lives of the cast with fantasy to play up the themes. Also, people who don’t have much time to read as each story so far is less than 30 minutes.
Personally, I would like to get some YouTubers I follow to give me their thoughts on the stories like Hello Future Me, Captain Midnight, OSP, and Daniel Greene.
Sherri: What are some of the fun and interesting things about you, your characters, and your books that you’d like us to know?
JD: For two of my characters, Helene and Danny, the fight scene was written first, and it was their fighting styles that led me to figure their personality. It works nicely with Neostriker, because the basis of the armor is that it’s a reflection of the character’s spirit.
Another thing is I like to hide Easter eggs or allusions in my works. In Intent to Join, there are references to the song that inspired the story. In The Vixen, there are a few Japanese cultural references. However, some things are pure coincidence. For example, Danny evokes a martial artist when fighting. In one of my drafts, I referred to him as karate kid as a taunt from his opponent. I only recently remembered that the Karate Kid’s name was Daniel.
Sherri: If you have enjoyed our interview you can follow JD on his social media sites through the links below and find his books on Amazon. The links for his books are also below. Thank you for dropping by.
Intent to Join https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07ML1FG23