Johnathan Brooks has worked in retail for most of his life, but he has been an avid reader of fantasy books since around age twelve. He’s also been playing video games since he got an Atari 2600 when he was five years old. Like many other like-minded people, he fell in love with the LitRPG, GameLit, and Dungeon Core genres when he first learned about them. He currently has 16 books published with more on the way!
Dungeon Core & Jonathan Brooks
Jonathan brooks was nice enough to answer some questions for us. If you’re a fan of dungeon core, you want to keep reading.
When did you first start writing fiction?
I first started writing in August of 2017, when I had read every single LitRPG and Dungeon Core book I could get my hands on. When I couldn’t find any stories that involved a mashup of video games and Dungeon Cores, I decided to write it myself.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Paper or eBook?
I used to have literally thousands of fantasy and sci-fi paperbacks for many years filling up multiple bookshelves, and I would spend hours perusing used books stores for more to read. However, ever since I got a Kindle about 4 years ago, I’ve been almost exclusively ebook since it’s much easier to find additional books. I still read a bit of fantasy and sci-fi every once and a while, but I predominately read books in LitRPG, GameLit, or Dungeon Core genres right now.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated LitRPG novel?
Strangely, Zectas by John Nest. It was one of the first books I read in the LitRPG genre, and it was also the first I had read where the main character got extremely lucky and overpowered by not knowing what he was doing. As opposed to some who don’t care for OP MCs, I love reading about them – especially when they have no idea how or why it happened.
Of your books, which is your personal favorite? Why?
Although it didn’t do as well as most of my other books, I really enjoyed Core of Fear. I’m a big fan of horror movies – especially paranormal horror – and I thought I created a great way to explain why some of those ghosts or spirits do what they do.
You can make one LitRPG book (not your own) a movie. Which is it and why?
I’d really like to see Michael Chatfield’s Emerilia series, because it was almost like a reverse Matrix scenario going on – and the later battles in the books would look awesome on the big screen. Or maybe even a TV series, since there are so many books in the series.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe that there are times when you can’t figure out how to write a certain part of the story you’re trying to tell, and it usually requires some sort of break so that you can think about it some more. There’s always a way through, but you may need to distance yourself to find it.
Are you an outliner or pantser?
A bit of both. Before I start writing, I take a day or two to type up some notes of a very general outline and any pertinent information I want to include, but from there I usually make everything up as I go from point A to point B. Sometimes I need to take a few hours to regroup after I’ve written a bit of it and figure out how to finish the story, but that’s the limit of the outlining I do.
What is your writing process like?
I start with notes for a day or two, then I write as much as I can before I hit a spot where I may need to think about the direction I want to go. Then I write a few more notes before forging ahead again. My works also include quite a bit of stat tables, and for the most part I make those up as I’m writing and fill them all in. Occasionally I need to go back and change some things that may not work for the later parts of the story, but I do that while I’m writing instead of going back after I’m done.
When the writing is complete, it usually goes out to beta-readers (I actually don’t edit it first – so I guess that technically they are alpha-readers) and then I fix suggestions from them. Then it goes to my editor and I correct everything when I get it back. After that is just ebook and paperback publishing.
How many hours a day do you write?
I typically write 9-10 hours a day – Monday through Friday – starting at 6am and working until 3pm. Then when my daughter goes to bed, I usually work another hour or so from 8pm to 9pm. On weekends I usually get a few hours in at some point in the day (or night), so by the end of the week I usually put in around 45-50 hours of actual writing. This, of course, doesn’t include all the extra things like communicating with cover designers, editors, promoting, and – of course – playing around on Facebook.
Share a photo of your workspace and tell us about it?
I have a small office space in our spare bedroom that is nice and cozy, and I don’t really need more than that. Not much to tell about it; my chair is from an office liquidation reseller, my computer is only about the size of a portable hard drive, but my monitor is nice and wide. Oh, and I find it is much easier to use a trackball than a mouse for almost everything.
Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?
Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind, with their Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth series. They are the only books that I have read multiple times, though it has been a while and my re-reads were usually when new books were being released.
Where do you get your ideas?
I usually get inspiration based on what I would like to read about, though the source material is usually from video games I’ve played in the past.
What are your thoughts on how VR will affect the future of humanity?
I finally got the chance to visit a VR arcade the other day (I know, I’m behind the times) and just experiencing it made me realize how close some of the LitRPG books I’ve read are to reality. I think as the technology increases, some of the scenarios I’ve read – and written about – could eventually come to pass. I think VR is a good thing, but I for one am wary of any type of long-term immersion pods that might eventually come out – I’ve read too many books that ended badly somehow…
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Depending on the book, the research I may need to do can range from nothing to hours. Usually, if there is anything that I need to look into while I’m writing, I do it as I need it. There have been a couple times where I had to rewrite something that – after I researched it further – didn’t work out, but I can usually integrate it somehow into the story.
First video game memory?
Playing Pitfall on my Atari 2600 back when I was 5 years old, followed by Super Mario Bros. on the NES later that year.
What can fans expect from you next?
The Crafter’s Dungeon is coming out on June 27th, which is another Dungeon Core book with a heavy emphasis on crafting. After that is Book 5 of my Station Cores series – which is slated to come out in late July – and then Dungeon World 3 hopefully in August.
The audiobook for Dungeon World 2 should be out very soon. Additionally, I have audiobooks for my Station Cores series, as well as Dungeon Player and Core of Fear, coming out over the next couple of months as well.
Anything else you would like to add?
Long live Dungeon Core!