Welcome to another installment of Writer Wednesdays! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and learn about another author.
Today’s author comes to us from the glorious east coast of the United States. Please welcome Jason Jack Miller!
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Well, I suppose I’m a lot of things. To a lot of people. But I guess more than anything, I’m a husband. And I like being a husband. I’m very lucky to have a wife who writes, loves to travel and seek adventure, who enjoys music, pop culture, and good food.
Yeah, I could’ve talked about the trip to Paris last summer, and how it changed my life in so many ways. How it helped me reignite a tiny spark that I feared had gone out for good. But that experience was mostly meaningful because it was shared with my wife, Heidi. Or I could’ve talked about hitting used bookstores to look for old Jacques Tardi comics, and dragging my famished body into an unexpected diner–or Indian place, or crêperie–to eat before heading home empty-handed. But days like those are special because we (Not ‘I.’ Never, ever ‘I.’) usually never end up finding what we were looking for.
In the past I’ve always answered this question by describing the things I’d been. A whitewater raft guide. A hotel concierge. A guitar player. And each of those parts contributed to who I am as a writer, and to what I write. And I believe I probably pursued all of those things—music, travel, adventure, fine food and drink—because I am a romantic at heart. I believe in a new bottle of absinthe. I believe in stopping to listen to street musicians. I believe in ‘learning the language.’ And I believe in love and passion and doing what’s good for the soul. I don’t think I could write if I didn’t.
When did you start writing, and who or what inspired you to do so?
We’d just arrived in Florida, and I was a little homesick for my mountain and the river. So I started to compile my stories and memories on paper. (An old Brother word-processing typewriter my mom got me for my high school graduation.)
But once I realized that the stories, by themselves, were probably going to be meaningless to most people I started to plug them into a fictional framework. That’s probably the moment I really started ‘writing.’ And if it hadn’t been for Heidi, typing away at her own novel, I probably never would’ve been motivated to do so myself.
Why did you choose the genre in which you write?
Is it cheating if I say the genre chose me? Because it did.
I just wrote what I liked. A little adventure. A little magic. Because the stuff that I read at the time came from all over the place. Kerouac. Hemingway. Stephen King. Gabriel García Márquez. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. My writing was a hodgepodge of magical realism and Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Just like me?)
I like fiction with a magical element in it, whether it be speculative or otherwise. And I suppose that’s why I write what I do.
If you had to choose a different genre in which to write, which would you pick and why?
Probably SF. Something like Cuarón’s CHILDREN OF MEN. Perhaps that’s the ‘realism’ aspect of magical realism that I’m drawn to. Fantastic things happening amid a backdrop of the mundane or terrible.
Do you have any new books coming out?
Hopefully I can finish up a few drafts of ALL SAINTS by the beginning of summer. This is actually the book I started writing back in Florida way back in 1998. I kind of think of it as THE WIZARD OF OZ set amongst the Maya ruins of Yucatan. And that’s the core of the story that I recovered from those first drafts. But I’ve added in a much stronger character element—a veteran recovering from PTSD without the help of his meds. Needless to say, there will be poppies.
What was your favorite part about writing it? What was your least favorite?
Likes: creation, brainstorming, revising, watching characters come to life, hearing that I’d given a reader goose bumps, hearing that I’d scared somebody enough to stop reading, working on a new book cover with the print shop, getting edits back from the publisher, holding that fresh ARC in my hands, attending cons and conferences.
Dislikes: eye strain, rejection, bad reviews, negativity from other writers, lost or missing files.
Not counting your main character, which character from your book is your favorite?
Since I do a ‘linked series,’ I’ve gone through quite a few main characters. But I have to say that lately, my two favorites are the two most likely to do (or say) something unexpected. Katy and Danicka. Two wildly different ladies who aren’t afraid to say what’s on their minds. They are most likely to go off script or say the things that the reader may be thinking.
Is there anything you would like to add about your book (i.e.: behind-the-scenes factoids, character influences, etc.)?
The covers for THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK and HELLBENDER were created by Hatch Show Print, now a part of The Country Music Hall of Fame. From their website: “If you follow music, art, and culture of the American South, sooner or later you’re bound to run into the letters, images, and unmistakable ‘look’ of Hatch Show Print. We’re one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, and over the years our posters have featured a host of country music performers, ranging from Country Music Hall of Famers Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash to contemporary stars such as Garth Brooks and Wynonna.”
When Hatch’s Brad Vetter left to open his own print shop, I asked him to do the cover for THE REVELATIONS OF PRESTON BLACK. You can see more of his work (and some of his Hatch work) here: http://bradvetterdesign.com/ It’s definitely worth a look. Lots of amazing art there.
Where can readers find you on the internet (i.e.: Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?
jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com, Jason Jack Miller on FB, or @jasonjackmiller on Twitter.
And now for a few more personal questions. If you had to move to any other place on Earth, where would you go and why?
Paris. Without a doubt. Simply put, it’s magic on a map. The city knows how to celebrate authors, musicians and artists. Simple things, like taking a walk or eating lunch, become grand affairs. If you are open to magical experiences you can find them there.
You just rubbed a magic lamp, and the genie living within it has granted you three wishes. What are they?
There’s more than one way to eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Which way do you like to eat it?
In two bites or less.
Which holiday is your favorite? Why?
My birthday. Also known as J-sgiving, J Day, J-light Savings, or Super Tuesday (depending on which day of the week it falls.) I love it because it is 100% customizable!
You find yourself stranded on a desert island with one person, one type of food to eat, and one book. Who and what are they?
Heidi, pizza, and the novel I’m currently working on.
Mr. Miller’s works can be found on Amazon and Raw Dog Screaming Press.
To learn more about Jason, visit his website at jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com.
Thanks again for stopping by, Mr. Miller!