Wednesday, August 21, 2013

James R. Callan & A Ton of Gold

 It was my pleasure to interview and learn more about James R. Callan and his books. A Ton of Gold and Cleansed by Fire were both exceptionally written pieces of art and a joy to read. Read more about James in the interview below.


Tell us a little about yourself.

JC~ First, let me thank you for having me visit your site today.  I truly appreciate the opportunity you have given me.

Now, to answer your question, I intended to write when I got out of college.  But I soon found I could not support a family writing.  So, I went back to graduate school but switched to mathematics. For many years, I worked in mathematics and computer science, received grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Data Processing Management Association.  Many years later, I realized the kids were all grown and self-supporting and I could return to my first love writing.  Mostly I write mystery/suspense novels. But I have had non-fiction books published in math, computer science, and recently on writing.

Tell us a little about your latest novel.

JC~ My latest novel is A Ton of Gold. Some time ago, I read an old Texas folk tale, and I wondered how such could affect people today.  Many months later, A Ton of Gold materialized. This folk tale, coupled with greed, causes murder, arson, and kidnapping.  Crystal Moore is in danger of losing her only living relative.  She has to try and discover who the enemy is, and why they would attack a 76 year old woman.

To make matters worse, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back. This time, he can end her career. She will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise friend, and her feisty, 76 year-old grandmother.

 How did the idea of writing this book come about?

JC~ Back in my days of mathematics and computer science, I did some research in information retrieval.  And my son now teaches graduate students informational retrieval. So, I had long wanted to do a novel that had some aspects of I.R. in it.  Then I read this old folk tale about a large quantity of precious metal being lost in the days before Texas was a state. I let those two ideas ferment in my mind for awhile until the basic plot of A Ton of Gold emerged.

What do you hope readers will take away from A Ton of Gold?

JC~ First, I hope that they have many hours of enjoyment just reading this tale.  But, I would also like for them to see that greed and the lure of riches can cause people to do terrible things.  And more important, I hope they are reminded that, in the end, money is not worth nearly as much as family and friends

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you?

JC~ That’s a tough one. I never rode bulls, but probably Mark O’Malley is most like me.

Your previous book, Cleansed by Fire, had a strong faith element in it.  How natural was this to write about?

JC~ Very natural.  I have been very close to a number of ministers and people deeply involved in church activities.  Writing about them was easy, and very rewarding.  I’m working on a sequel to Cleansed by Fire and expect it to be published in 2014.

What is your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

JC~ I’m willing to bet that my favorite and lest favorite match up with 90% of all writers.  My favorite part is the actually writing, crafting a paragraph that sings, that flows smoothly, that captures the feeling I want to impart to the reader.  I love to do that.  My least favorite part is marketing.  I can enjoy visiting with readers and talking about writing.  But, social media eats up a great deal of writing time.   Sorry. 

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

JC~ Write.  Write every day.  And read.  Read everything, not just in the genre that you write.  And then write some more.

 Other than writing, what occupies your time?

JC~ My wife and I like to travel.  We have been blessed by being able to travel extensively.. Read my blog on Tasmania at to get a tiny glimpse of a magical island.  We spend a good bit of time in Mexico.  We have managed to visit all fifty of the United States, and you can see amazing sights right here in the U.S.A.  Of course, not only does travel educate and provide grist for stories, but with a laptop computer, you can write as you travel.

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