1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I live in Tennessee and currently teach Middle School students. I have six kids and one grandkid. My wife and I like to travel but equally enjoy a nice meal out and a movie. We can’t wait for theaters to reopen! I first started writing in high school but took a 30 year hiatus where I continually said, “One day I will write a book…” Two years ago I met a gentleman at a local con (Chattacon) who invited me to a writer’s group. It was the impetus I needed to start!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
As a teacher I get the chance to teach several different creation stories as part of our social studies curriculum. The Aztec story is one of my favorites. One night watching a trailer for the show Prison Break the idea came to me. What if the Aztec gods were inmates in gen pop at a prison?
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
My first book, Jam Sessions, was a Middle Grade fiction focusing around a boy with high anxiety. I hope it helps students struggling with anxiety, bullying, or just managing life in Middle School. This current book, Twelve Hours on the Block, is pure pulp fiction. I suppose readers might walk away with a desire to know more about Aztec lore, but that wasn’t a purpose in writing. I just wanted to write a fun, fast paced yarn.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I have always loved Urban Fiction, horror, and am a total history geek who loves mythology, Jospeh Campbell, and all things ancient.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Definitely BT. I think he would be a great guy to grab a beer with. Hispanic Harley Quinn would be fun to meet to… just not sure I would survive the evening.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I have a blog, website, twitter (though I am still learning how to use it), and facebook page. However, my best social media presence has been Goodreads and Amazon Author’s page.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Start writing. Good, bad, or even gibberish. Just start. And join a writer’s group. Build friendships and find fellowship as a writer.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
So I have three books in various stages.
-1. A new adult western dystopian. It is a fun time travel piece. I wrote it to be book 1 of 2 but it also could be a stand alone work. I am currently shopping it around for an agent.
-2. Another Middle Grade book is undergoing my fourth round of edits. After this round I will send it out to a content reader I work with. It has a fantasy component. Think Wizards of Waverley Place or Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
-3. A young adult book that blends several ancient legends that I love with a King Arthur twist. I finished the first draft three months ago and am letting it sit till spring before I pick it up again.
About the Author
Jerry Harwood was born in Ooltewah, TN. His mother was an elementary school teacher and he spent his afternoons reading books in her classroom or the nearby library. He currently is a writer, which makes sense based on the fact you are reading this here. He has experimented with other occupations: camp director, program director at a counseling center, college professor and middle school teacher. Jerry has backpacked Europe, taught in a Ukrainian University, worked in Rwanda after the genocide, is a first responder, sort-of remodeled a VW Thing, and has a love for Cherry Coke Zero that is only surpassed by his love for his wife, six children, and grandson.