Interview with J. M. Robison, Author of Paragon Forgotten!


I am J.M. Robison. I write fantasy books where heroes don’t follow the rules.

I joined the U.S. Army at 17. To date, I have visited Italy, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, Qatar, U.A.E., and Kuwait. I read, crochet, and strive to be chemical-free in my food and body products. I love playing in the dirt: mountain biking, hiking, and camping. I recently started barefoot running. Amazon Author Central

Join her mailing list for exclusive book offers and future fantasy book notifications:



Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’m a published author with 4 fantasy titles under the name J.M. Robison currently held by Tirgearr Publishing: The War Queen, and three books under the series title The Last Wizard. Paragon Forgotten, my latest book, has been nominated for Best Novel for 2022. I’m an active duty U.S. Army soldier and have used my traveling across the entire world visiting a myriad of cultures, economics, religions, and society to add variety to my prose.

Can you talk about your latest book and the inspiration behind it?

Paragon Forgotten is the first book in a planned epic coming-of-age fantasy series. Where I got the inspiration to write this book is irrelevant because the event that triggered the book’s birth has no semblance to the book’s content. I also wrote the 4 book series (all written and complete) out of order ( 2,3,1,4), and because I’ve been writing and re-writing this series for 18 years, my original ideas have morphed to keep up with my own evolving life. However, even though I don’t have a notable, inspiring event to report, Paragon Forgotten was influenced largely by the Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, my intended audience who enjoys the same. (I DO, actually, have a specific moment that directly triggered Paragon Forgotten, but it’s embarrassing and, again, not relevant to what the book is actually about.) I’m also a pantster, so I make the book up as I go and hope for the best.

How do you approach the writing process? Do you have a specific routine or method?

I do. I write every single novel by hand first with a notebook and pen. Every single novel. I then type the second draft up into Scrivener and make a further mess of things until it eventually gets straightened out after I have a text-to-voice program read it back to me, and then I throw it at beta readers who bring it back – thankfully – still in recognizable pieces.

How do you develop your characters and bring them to life on the page?

Character creation has been my hardest writing task. For that, I sought the help of Scribe Forge’s Essential Character Creation Blueprint and Workbook to break my characters into understandable pieces and rebuild them into fleshed-out reality. I can’t recommend Scribe Forge enough.

How do you handle writer’s block and overcome creative obstacles?

I’ve never had writer’s block to where 5 minutes of serious thought never fixed. If you can’t think how to continue a scene, think harder. When things are really tough, I have picture dice I throw and let the images inspire a thought to chase and see if it can bridge my temporary block.

Can you share any upcoming projects or books you are working on?

Paragon Forgotten is my up-front project. Still unpublished, I’ve serialized it on my website where I release a chapter every Friday. After that? Book two will be ready.

Can you talk about your experience working with a publisher or literary agent?

I’m pining for a literary agent right now, but I have 4 titles held by Tirgearr Publishing. Tirgearr took care of my book covers and editing, but marketing is largely on me. For editing, I was assigned an editor and we bounced my novel back and forth until we were both happy with the edits.

How do you stay motivated and disciplined while writing?

I won’t write unless I’m having fun, and I won’t write if I’m bound by rules and deadlines (because that makes it unfun). This is why I won’t do NANOWRIMO. My motivation is always there, so long as I don’t force myself to write a “daily word count”. I’ll sit and write while I want and give myself a break for a few days when I’m not feeling the verbs. The moment I start dreading writing, I know my writing days are over.

Can you discuss any themes or messages you hope readers take away from your book?

Oh, my goodness. Thank you for asking.

Paragon Forgotten has a heartbeat. Perhaps all fantasy authors claim so, but I would wait to see the proof because when I say “heartbeat” I don’t mean snazzy characters, larger-than-life plot twists, or the heavily researched world-building fantasy authors sell their souls for.

“Heartbeat” is the theme.

Fantasy is my favorite genre to read, and I’ve read enough to know that fantasy authors want your focus directed on this magic system, that unique creature, or the move-by-move sword-fighting scene they’ve acted out during LARP. What appears to be largely missing in the fantasy genre is the “reason” for writing down even the first word. The reason, the pulse sliding undercurrent to the characters, plot, and world-building. Without this reason, this pulse, this heartbeat, all fantasy is a copy-paste from each other because magic systems are not unique, fantastical creatures come out of the same mold, and I skim move-by-move sword fighting scenes because I know the hero will win and I will DNF a book for predictability.

Paragon Forgotten isn’t about Cohthel discovering if his father is alive, or his subsequent choices and the impact his choice will make on the rest of the series (the series is 5 books, not 4. I split the 1st book in half.) Paragon Forgotten is about the villain who isn’t even mentioned in the blurb. It’s the villain’s story because through his internal conflict — and the reason I use varying races (dragons, elves, dwarves, ecthore, seadwellers, falkons, gryphons, pegasi) — he begins to understand that the race of humans are superior to the other eight races not because of their divine birthright, but because the humans have been mandated by their divine birthright to serve the other races, much like a servant would serve a king, or exactly like Jesus — a king — served his fellow mankind.

If you could say one thing to the entire world, what would it be?

I have that opportunity to say one thing to our world, and I spend 4 more books after Paragon Forgotten to say it: love and serve your fellow mankind.

Thank you, readers, for encouraging me to say my one thing to the world.

How do you market your book and connect with readers?

I’ve been more successful with my latest attempts to serialize Paragon Forgotten, because this forces me to 1) seek out readers to read Paragon Forgotten (which I find mostly on bookfunnel) and 2) to push out a dedicated newsletter every week with fresh content, which has more than just the weekly-released chapter. Every week I get new readers trickling in, so it’s an experiment to see, when I post the final chapter, if my methods worked.

Can you discuss any other genres you have written in and if you have plans to write in other genres in the future?

Funny, I don’t read sci-fi, but I wrote a little sci-fi short story which is being published in an anthology in April 2023 with Metal Lunchbox Publishing.

Can you discuss any literary influences or inspirations that have shaped your writing?

My writing was influenced 100% by the Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

How do you handle criticism and negative reviews?

This is actually ridiculously easy to handle. So easy I even wrote a blog post on it. You handle criticism and negative reviews by, and I cannot stress this enough, by NOT releasing your book to ANYONE until you’ve written at least 3 drafts of it. Which is why I write every novel by hand first, because it forces me to re-write it word-for-word when I type it. Every editor will tell you this is the best way to edit your novel: re-writing it word-for-word. Then, once typed, I have a program read it back outloud to me (because you understand things differently when you read something versus hearing something.) Then beta readers who work out all those annoying plot holes you’ve so far ignored, and THEN you seek publication.

I know my methods work, because I’ve never received criticism (beta readers provide feedback, which is not the same) and I don’t have negative reviews at this time. I am also a reader, and I do give out negative reviews on books, even knowing my negative reviews could have been avoided if the author had taken more time and more care to craft an excellent story, like I have done to all of mine.

Can you talk about any challenges you faced during the publishing process?

I was rejected 47 times over the course of 2 years before Tirgearr offered their contract. The challenge was never knowing if I was being rejected because it wasn’t to the publisher’s taste or if my story was terrible. But because beta-reader feedback told me I had an excellent story, and gave me mini-awards for it, I maintained that I DID have a good story and I just hadn’t found the right publisher yet. This is why I say it is VITAL to have a writing/editing process that forces you to take the time and take the care to make an excellent story, because so long as you’ve proven to yourself you have an excellent story, you won’t get negative reviews and you will KNOW the publisher/agent rejected you because it wasn’t their taste, and not because you wrote a terrible story. It all comes full circle.

How do you balance your writing with other aspects of your life?

I’m an active duty U.S. Army soldier, so I already have to work a full-time job (combat deployments, night operations, sometimes weekends,) and yet I still find time in the evenings and on weekends to write. I make it a priority in my life, and I focus on that priority. What you focus on, you have more time for.


16-year-old Cohthel, a human, should have visited Father’s grave sooner, because now it’s missing.

Mother makes excuses for the absent grave, which Cohthel accepts, but his best friend, Thaen, won’t. Thaen convinces Cohthel his father must still be alive, and Cohthel runs away from school, family, and friends to find the truth. He needs the truth because Mother won’t remarry and without a father’s guidance Cohthel fears he’ll never choose an apprenticeship, will live with Mother the rest of his life, won’t fully grasp manhood, and all his friends will succeed in life and leave him behind.

While away, Cohthel hears corrupting rumors that humans are breaking alliances to force the other eight races to worship humans as gods. Cohthel returns home to not only having found the truth about his once-thought-dead father, but that he now must choose: join the humans’ war for godhood and erase his culture, identity, and humanity or oppose the war and be forced to kill the only thing he’s ever wanted: a father.


1 thought on “Interview with J. M. Robison, Author of Paragon Forgotten!

  1. A fascinating writing and editing process! Thanks for sharing your inspiration and methods to write a book readers will love!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s