Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is John-Clement Gallo. I’m 17 and the author of The Shadowverse: A YA Sci-Fi Superhero Adventure. Besides being a writer, I’m also a martial artist in Taekwondo and Hapkido, I fly RC planes (got my license at 10, youngest in the state), play the trumpet, and study some astrophysics and cosmology on the side.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
My book, The Shadowverse, is the first among 4. This book takes place 1,000 years after the prequel (which I have not written yet). Basically, it is about six college students, who, after being bestowed powers in an encounter with a mysterious stranger, are sent across time and space to find an exiled, immortal warrior of legend and stop a resurrected alien warlord bent on universal domination. I don’t want to get into spoilers so I’ll stop there.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
They are huge in writing a book. I listen to all sorts of music, like subtle Rock, but MOSTLY Ambient. It gets me in the zone. Sometimes. though, when I just cannot seem to write, I’ll stop. But then after a day or two I start getting more ideas. And then I just go from there. The music almost controls emotions, to be honest. That’s why you should be careful what you fill your ears with.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I think the biggest mistake is plot. If the plot and storylines are not good, nobody will keep reading your book. I’m a firm believer in the idea that plot influences characters. Why? Because without the storyline the characters are nothing. The plot directly affects how good or bad your characters can be. Once you have the plot down, you can worry about the second most important part (in my opinion): the villain. If your villain isn’t good, your protagonists suffer. Villains make heroes great, not the other way around.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
That is a difficult question. At some points, I will aim to serve my readers, but the majority of it will be personal satisfaction. I am the kind of writer who thoroughly enjoys writing and goes on a ride with my characters. To be honest, I love the characters I created, and if I don’t like it, I make SURE it is fixed.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
So far, I have received two DNF’s, two 2-star reviews (it was a MUCH older version though), one 3-star and one 3.5 star. Everything else has been either 4 or 5-stars. To be perfectly honest, I take negative reviews pretty hard. It’s almost impossible not to. You devote all this time and energy into your story and for someone to either say, “I don’t like this at all” or “Had to DNF” it feels like a knife in your stomach. But to come out of it, you have to remember the ones who either liked it or loved it to death. You also have to never forget that your book will never please everyone, which is why it is so important to find your target audience and stick to it, so that the chances of a good or fantastic review are high.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Yes. Sometimes I bike ride, sometimes I walk downtown, star watch, or even sit by a beach all alone. Most of all, though, is listening to ambient music. I have a long list of amazing tracks that gets my mind going (these are the same tracks I listen to when I write). And when you combine all of the above, “writers’ block” basically vanishes.
What are your plans for future books?
To further develop all the characters I have created and expand the stories. I am currently working on The Shadowverse Part II: Vengeance. Then I will write a prequel novel for The Shadowverse, it will be titled The Legend of Sonovan Lung. When that is finished, I will complete the series with the novel I have been working towards from the very beginning: Children of the Shadowverse. My greatest plan, though, is to continue to improve and heighten my ceiling. There is no limit to greatness. As Tim Duncan said, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”