Q&A with author Jai Garbutt
By Bryan Donoghue
HSU student Jai R. Garbutt is a business major from Palmdale, California who uses part of his free time to explore his imagination in the form of writing. A fan of fantasy with a passion for writing, Jai is currently working on “The Floating Castle”, a fantasy series that latterly began with his first publishing. Garbutt’s novel “Troubled Child” is a story about 12-year-old Lokkiyama who travels around the country with her mother in the year 8077. Along the way they eventually settle, but due to Lokkiyama’s reputation as a troubled child, the pair always finds trouble. Garbutt’s 155 page book was published on January 23 and is available now on Amazon.
Q: When did you first start writing your novel?
A: I don’t know the exact month. I know the year I started writing. It was 2013. That was because I graduated high school in 2013. Also, I had to go to college but there were some complications, so I ended up staying home for a year. So during that year my mom was like, ‘You and your brothers, I want you guys to write at least a 40 page book.’ So I started with the 40 pages. That wasn’t really enough for the idea I was going for, so I just went on from there.
Q: I was also wondering, who are your role models in terms of writing? Who do you look for who? Are your favorite authors?
A:I don’t have any that I know directly inspired me, but I like, I think his name is Christopher Paolini. He’s the author of Eragon Cycle, Eragon the dragons. I read all four of those in one sitting. I think he’s from, somewhere from Europe. I don’t know if I ever had like took anything from him, but I definitely like him and enjoy his books. His books are some of my favorite books. If I did have inspiration, it’s probably from those.
Q: Along those lines, what inspired you to start writing fantasy?
A: I don’t know actually, that one is actually a tough question. I’m not really sure. Especially because the characters for this book is based off the whole universe that’s in my head. It’s been in my head for awhile. I used to draw and just randomly draw in high school, and then I thought to put it in stories, just cause.
So basically with my mom telling oh you gotta write a book. I’m like oh I have a perfect opportunity to bring these characters to life. So that’s I guess why that started too, I guess I’m just … fantasy is just one of those things that’s just like life, and not just with books but like games and movies and stuff.
Q: Have you ever wanted to live inside the books that you write?
A: I would not necessarily live inside them, but I have thought about what the characters might say to me if they were real. And I’ve had mixed feeling about whether or not I’d want them to be real.
Q: I mean, where did you gather your inspiration? Because your main character sounds pretty fascinating.
A: It was inspired partially by a song.
Q: What song?
A: Set Apart This Dream by Flyleaf.
Q: How is it inspired by that song?
A: Well, let me say this without going overly complicated. So basically this is that there’s this entire universe behind this book. I wasn’t entirely sure, I’m not sure if you’ll ask me this later, but when I wrote this book I wasn’t entirely sure where to start with the universe. I had the idea of the character already, but I didn’t really know what I wanted her motivation to be as far as her aspirations. That was part of it.
I knew that I wanted it to be something not necessarily out of reach, but something she really has to work towards, that I didn’t know. I really like that song. That’s one of the inspirations.
Q: Do you ever have writer’s block?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. That happens a lot. Sometimes I’ll be like I’m fire for a while or something, or sometimes I’ll just give it a thought, and when that happens I’m just okay lets give it a break. If I do get writer’s block, I’m like okay it’s better to just not do anything right now, because if I try to work while I’m not really refreshed it makes the quality suffer. Yeah, definitely get a lot of writers block.
Q: And just kind of waiting it out, is that kind of how you deal with the writer’s block? Just until you got that fire again kind of.
A: Yeah, I’ll just put it down or whatever, I’ll just stop and just be like okay I’ll think of something eventually, or I’ll get inspired by something later.
Q: Well that just kind of adds as a continuation to your novel, is it a series?
A: Planning on it, I think I wrote half way through the second one right now.
Q: Why did you decide to start a series rather than an individual novel?
A: Because I don’t think one novel would be enough to say what I have to say.
Q: Yeah, do you think you’re gonna do another series after this?
A: I’m not entirely sure, depends on what happens with this, with this current one.
Q: And my last question for you actually is what can fans and future readers of your series expect from you in the future?
A: Oh well, it might be different depending on how high of a volume I get, but right now pretty much I have a Facebook page and a Twitter for the book. So if people ask me questions I’ll try to respond as fast as possible, and actually that’s one of the things with the tech input right now. I want to wait for feedback from the first one first to see what people are saying about it, because like this one I’m proud of it and stuff, it’s the first one. But I haven’t really gotten any … the last time I checked I didn’t have any reviews yet or anything on Amazon. So I don’t really want to just keep going without any feedback from people.
Q: So, maybe give or take a few more months here, fan bases are gonna grow?
A: Possibly. I think it will more once I start doing more advertising. Right now I haven’t really done much advertising, just because I’ve been busy with school and paying for stuff with school that I haven’t really had a chance to do that, but probably this summer I’ll do a lot advertising.