Interview of Jim Doran

A Map of Kingdom

Where does your inspiration come from?

Where do inspirations come from? Mostly books and movies. My favorite thing to do is dream up some impossible scenario or task for my characters and stick them in the scene to see what they do.

When was that moment when you realized that language had power?

The moment I realized language had power was when I read in my history class that (supposedly) Abraham Lincoln told Harriet Beecher Stowe “so you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

If you could sit down with one writer from any period who would it be?

If I could sit down with a writer from any period, I’d like to choose Shakespeare but I’m afraid I wouldn’t understand him. I’d love to interview Charles Dickens and ask him how he created such a menagerie of such interesting characters. There hasn’t been a Dickens book I haven’t liked.

If the universal super being came down right now and said, “I give you two choices. 1 – I will give you 100 million dollars for your work, but no one will ever be able to read a word you write, or 2 – You can never ever benefit even one dollar ever off of your work, but 100 million people will read every book you ever write. Which one do you pick?

Those are two interesting choices. The rumor is about 70% of people who win the lottery end up filing for bankruptcy. I know I’d fall in the 70%, so I would choose #2. I’m not interested in writing a book about bankruptcy (that no one would read).

When did you know that writing was what you were going to make your life’s work? Or is it?

I’m not a full-time writer. I’m not quite a part-time writer. Nonetheless, I’ve written stories all my life in the hopes people would read and enjoy them. I think reading my brother’s short stories and discovering Ray Bradbury in the same year inspired me to become an author.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Do I read my book reviews? Yes. The good ones bring me joy for at least a week. The not-so-good ones are really tough. I tend to beat myself up after a bad review and have to remind myself there’s no reason to do so. And for the reviews that get personal, I always think “It’s easy to tear someone down. Building someone up, on the other hand, requires real work and character.”

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes, I hide secrets in my books. My artist and I hid a few Easter eggs in the front cover of my novel Kingdom Come. The novel itself is a love letter to fairy tale aficionados. You could enjoy it without any knowledge of fairy tales. If you happen to know the stories, there are references everywhere. I reference quite a few lesser-known fairy tales such as “Honest John” and “Ten Brave Soldiers.” And events in my prequel short stories are referenced in the novel.

Book Website:

Jim Doran enjoys taking readers on journeys to unique destinations like Grok Teeth’s monster-ridden tunnels, Black Pine Street’s mysterious residences, Saint Alfred’s School’s chaotic classrooms, or Devil’s Den’s obsidian castle. He currently resides with his wife, Hope, and his children in Canton, Michigan, where he continues to write imaginative stories. You can learn more about Kingdom Come at

Illustrations by Daniel Johnson.

Read short stories by Jim Doran:


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