Featured Authors Talk About It
ATAI: Tell us a little about you.
JP CAWOOD: I live in Los Angeles, and I love to travel. My top favorite destinations are Thailand, Switzerland, and the Dominican Republic. I wrote my first two books in London where I spent six months with my husband while he worked on a movie out there. That was one of the best years of my life so far!
ATAI: How long have you been writing?
JP CAWOOD: Even when I was a child, I used to write stories for fun. But I’ve been professionally writing for over a decade. I started with screenwriting for films and have worked in television development, which includes writing a lot of pitch materials, treatments, and episode outlines. I moved over to writing books only two years ago. It’s fun to try new mediums and challenge myself. While the approach is different between TV and books, a good story is a good story.
ATAI: What was your most recent release?
JP CAWOOD: I released my first two books simultaneously. Love from Mars is a science fiction romance about the first six people to colonize Mars. The protagonist is a young reporter and when she goes to the Martian Six press conference, she has an undeniable connection with one of the men who has a one-way ticket to leave the planet. Sam & The Secrets of the Universe is a science fiction fantasy for younger readers. 14 year-old Sam dies on Earth and wakes up on a strange planet where he’s given the opportunity to learn the secrets of the Universe. If he passes his tests, he’ll go to the next planet where more secrets await. If he fails, he’ll be reset and lose his identity. He goes on an epic cosmic adventure through a black hole! The books both have science fiction elements, but are very different.
ATAI: What do you love most about writing?
JP CAWOOD: I love dreaming up new worlds, and living vicariously through my characters! It’s like lucid dreaming only you’re awake.
ATAI: What do you find most challenging?
JP CAWOOD: The editing process is the worst! The creative fun part is over and you have to comb through the text to make sure it’s as perfect as possible. It’s tedious and boring.
ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?
JP CAWOOD: Everyday life is an inspiration and ideas can come from anywhere. The plot for Love from Mars came to me in a dream, but the seeds were planted initially by reading about the real proposals to send men to Mars. Sam & The Secrets of the Universe was inspired by many years of studying ancient philosophies. Those were the seeds, but the plot came to me in a flash after reading an article about black holes. Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of ideas while I mediate. On average I mediate twice daily, and I can’t even begin to explain how impactful the practice is.
ATAI: What is your writing process?
JP CAWOOD: I am constantly writing down seeds of ideas. Whether it’s a scene that comes to me or a character or a set-up, I write them in notebooks and on my phone. When I have a decent idea of a story I want to tell, I start by outlining. The first outline is very general, and then I start to flesh out each scene. I don’t start writing the actual text until I have a complete outline. Usually for the second and third drafts, I’ll go back and refine the outline so I have a clear idea of what needs to be changed and where I’m headed.
ATAI: What are you working on next?
JP CAWOOD: I am almost finished with a children’s book called The Wrong Rock. It’s a really cute story about inclusion and equality told through the adventure of a tiny mushroom with a big dream. The story idea came from my husband. He’s making a short animated film by the same name and plot. I created the children’s book to serve as a perk for his crowdfunding campaign so he can raise money to finish the film. He’s launching on IndieGoGo on July 29th. Through that website, you’ll be able to get an advance copy of the children’s book, but there’s lots of other cool perks as well. For example, you can even voice one of the characters!
ATAI: Where can people find you online?
JP CAWOOD: My website is www.jpcawood.com and there you can watch the book trailers for both Love from Mars and Sam & The Secrets of the Universe. You can also order the books on my website (and on Amazon) sign up for my newsletter to be eligible for freebies and contests, contact me, and read my blog. You can also connect with me on
ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.
JP CAWOOD: Thanks for having me! I love chatting about my books and good stories in general. If anyone out there has any additional questions for me, ask me a question on Goodreads!
*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.
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