Thursday, February 25, 2016

Interview with author Jason Pere

Picture         Jason Pere currently resides in his home state of Connecticut with his darling wife and duo of maniacal felines.

He is a renascence man having dabbled in Acting for Film and Theater, Fencing and Mixed Martial Arts, Professional Dorkary and a bevy of other passions before coming to land on writing.

We're excited to have Jason here to answer a few questions. I have my sword at the ready in case I have to duel him for the answers!

 Tell me about Calling the Reaper and where did you get the idea for the book?
I took a lot of my inspiration from the classic “Fighter” video game genre of the 1990’s. Much of the initial premise was derived from the question “Who would win in a fight?” I wanted to create a massive world with lots of unique and varied cultures each representing an iconic warrior type from human history. I realized that doing this would set it up more like an anthology and it would be hard to tie eight profoundly diverse characters that never get a chance to meet in person together. That is where I introduced the “Purgatory” concept of having a unified afterlife theology laid down throughout interludes in the main story. In addition to giving the reader a glimpse into eight great warrior culture from world history I wanted to develop characters that each had highly complicated issued with conscience and morality. I really wanted to play up having my protagonists and antagonists be the same characters. I wanted to give readers a type of character that they probably have not seen before. 

                   Did you have any goals for this collection when you wrote it — to get published, or just to finish, etc.?
I will admit that I was so greatly intimidated when I started this project. I published one book before and that was a collection of poetry. I was terrified at the prospect of having to create a full length novel. I was not sure that I had that locked away within my imagination. So a large portion of writing “Calling the Reaper” was about proving something to myself. I figured that I could always just self-publish the thing when I was done and give myself a pat on the back. For me it was mostly about just writing a book at the get go. Then I started sharing my material with others, first at a small local writers group and then with some online groups. The response and feedback that I got from people who heard my excerpts was overwhelmingly grossly positive and that is when I got the notion to try and market the book more aggressively. I fell in touch with an editor that led me to a publisher and well it all just kind of took off from there.

                 What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
Well there is a whole lot of David Gemmell in there, go figure. Also the “Poetic Eddas” and the “Hagakure” hold a special place in my heart. Otherwise, I have to say that I don’t have a lot of established Authors that I read all that much. With what time I have devoted to pen and paper I spend it writing my own material and when I do have some time to delve into the world of another writer I tend to look at the work of other up and coming authors. Most of what I read by other writers are first drafts, experts and bits and pieces of text put together in Word Documents and PDFs. On that note I read a lot of Kathrin Huston’s material. She is the person who edited Calling the Reaper for me and I have done a lot of beta reading form her works. We have a pretty solid working relationship of creative exchange. I’m a big fan of her book “Daughter of the Drackan” as well as her upcoming work in progress “Sleepwater Beat”

  Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?
1,000 words a day minimum, writer’s block be damned. When I decide to have a writing day I sit in front of my computer and I don’t leave until I hit 1,000 words or more. I try and get in at least five writing days a week. Each one roughly takes me an hour depending on how well framed I have the scene in my imagination. I tend to avoid outlining and other than an envisioned beginning, ending and some major story highlights I write mostly by improvisation. My absolute number one rule when it comes to writing is “When it starts to feel like work it is time to stop and take a break for a while.” I used to write on paper for my first draft. When I have a short poem or something like that I will return to pen and paper. After having to transcribe my first book from three different notebooks full of text onto my laptop I have moved on to working electronically for any of my more lengthy stories.

            How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?
                                Writing the stories is only half of the battle. You need marketing and publicity just as much as epically moving tales of heroism and relatable characters. I am a far cry from a salesman and desperately require and advocate for my work. So In my case, making a career in fiction writing, I would say it impossible, at least at the moment. I am one of those writers that still has to have a “normal” job. I can at least say that I have made money off of my art and have some fans but at this stage I would hardly call “Fiction Writing” a livelihood for me. I hope to change that as soon as possible. You hear that people…buy my books!

            Favorite swashbuckling hero?
                                I have to pick just one? That’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child…they all have one but will never admit it publicly. Maybe we could just say that I have not discovered them yet. I realize that is a high bar to set against the likes of Zorro, Inigo Montoya, The Count of Monte Cristo, Captain Dante Ramos and D'Artagnan but I’m game.

           If you were to name one piece of clothing that describes you, what would you say?
                                Steel toe Boots! Sturdy, dependable, they help you get to where you want to go, they serve as protective armor and are magnificently stylish in a para-military/industrial chic kind of way.

           If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
                                Well I kind of did that a little bit already. It’s called Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet.

        Share a funny incident in your life.
                                I’ve worn a dress before. I had a passing infatuation with Scotland when I was a teenager. Like I owned a set of bagpipes kind of infatuation. I wanted a kilt. So one Columbus Day weekend on a family vacation up in Vermont we stopped in at a Scottish themed retail store. They had a wide variety of items there, kilts were one of them. I selected a kilt with a tartan pattern that suited my color palate at the time and went to the dressing rooms. I put on the kilt and to my surprise it was floor length. I fidgeted with the garment for several moments until I was sure that I had put it on correctly. I left the dressing room, still clad in kilt mind you, and found a store clerk. I inquired about the length and where I might find a more proportion kilt. The clerk then proceeded to tell me that all men’s kilts provided by the store were custom made to order and the only kilts they had ready in stock were ladies. So there I was in Vermont….wearing a dress.

      You have to wear a t-shirt with one word on it for the rest of your life. Which word do you choose?

        If you could meet anyone from history, who would you meet and why?
                I just keep on going back to Joan of Ark. Armor clad French warrior woman with a questionable mental state. With sixteen voices in her head the conversation would be anything but dull and I could do a lot of listening.

        What holiday would you invent to get a day off work?
                World Swashbucklers day. Everyone has to celebrate by swinging from a chandelier.

          Name 2 things you consider yourself to be very good at.
                Hmm, two things I’m very good at. I got it. I am super good at being humble. I’m also pretty adept at being ironic. Seriously though I would say video games. I love to dork out with my consoles when I get the chance. In addition to being able to Mario Bros with the best of em’ one of my biggest strengths in my skill set is using my imagination.

         Name 2 things you consider yourself to be very bad at.
                I am exceptionally shy so I’m not good at speaking to people in person. In real life I am far less charming and caviler. Second fault would be being neat. I am not exactly a slob but I everything I do I end up getting messy and if you need me to do something you are more than welcome to ask me for “Functional” but don’t ask for “Pretty”.

       Do you scream on roller coasters? Do you lift up your hands?
                I don’t scream on roller coasters, nor do I put my hands up. In fact I avoid roller coasters. I had a bad experience on one as a young child that left me with a chipped tooth so when it comes to amusement parks you can find me in the arcade.

      You are planning the most awesome dinner party of your life. Which 3 celebrities/historical figures (past or present) would you add to your guest list to keep the dinner talk interesting?
                First person that comes to mind is Sean Bean. He is my favorite actor of all time and with his unparalleled ability to die dramatically there is a good chance that dinner could turn into a murder mystery theater. I think it would be cool to have William Shakespeare in attendance just to be entertained by some world class eloquently framed insults after Billy has had too much to drink. Lastly Robin Williams because there is nobody who could possibly provide better entertainment at a dinner party.

      Tell me about your next project?
I am involved in about a flibityjillion collaborative works at the moment. Most of them are thru the Collaborative Writing Challenge and will be coming to print throughout 2016. When it comes to my solo work: Dark,Gritty, Edgy, Twisted, right? " This guy is clearly going to write material for mature audiences only." Nope, my next solo piece is actually a children’s book. You will definitely be able to tell that someone who favors darker content wrote it but it will no less bring the requisite warm and fuzzies that are pivotal to the genre. I will tell you this much, It is a story about the bravest teddy bear you will ever meet. After that I have a draft of a post-apocalyptic sociological political action adventure that I am trying to find a publisher for. That story begs the questions “If America had the chance to reinvent it government would it size the opportunity and what would that look like?”

Thank you for stopping, Jason, and answering our questions! Good luck with the book (it's terrific reading!) and the best with your deeds of derring-do!

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