Today I am interviewing the author of Calling the Reaper, Jason Pere. This book is a New Release, available now on Amazon here.
Jason, how would you generally categorize the books/stories you write?
Dark, Gritty, Edgy, Twisted. If you are the sort that wants sunshine, rainbows and fluffy white kittens licking lollipops while they ride a tie-dye unicorn thru a sunflower field then I am not the author for you. But if you want someone that can consistently deliver heartbreakingly bittersweet fiction that will cut deep and moving imagery into your memory then you will definitely be a fan of my brand of storytelling. My predilection for dark content aside my stories tend to run heavy on the narrative with minimal dialogue and lots of introspective thoughts. I like to put my reader into my characters minds more than anything. I keep my details sparse and really don’t feel like taking a page and a half to tell you just how green the grass is, I try and keep my stories moving from one substance filled image to the next.
I think fluffy white kittens licking lollipops would give me instant diabetes! What inspired you to write in the first place?
I would say that it was a fear of death, or rather the fear of leading a life of no consequence or significance. From a very young age, as early as six I was terrified of the idea of dying. I spent far longer than any child should spend contemplating ways to cheat death and live forever. Eventually I came to the acceptance that I would one day die so I wanted to leave something behind that was not subject to the laws of flesh and blood. For most I think that the concept of a legacy is a family and while not opposed to such a notion I wanted to accomplish more with my limited time than simply perpetuating the circle of life. I chased fame for a while, a long while. I fixated on pursuing acting and movie stardom. That seemed like a good way to cement something that would last past my own mortality. From age thirteen and for a full decade after that I trained in film, theater and stage. Sadly it never went anywhere. While I had natural talents for drama I did not have the drive to push myself to past the point where things became difficult. I suffered from a terminal case of entitlement thinking that I was above paying my dues as a starving artist. Life continued to happen. Life also continued to be unremarkable. I spent so much time leaning on others hoping to ride their coat tails to loftier station that I squandered a lot of potential. It was after a life altering trauma that my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I endured that I soon decided that I would no longer pin my success on others. I refocused my efforts and took stock of what I could do to accomplish something extraordinary. As much as I loathed writing in grade school and battled for every word on an assigned paper I settled on writing. It was a place where I could bring the full weight of my creativity and imagination to bear and I had nobody else that I had to depend on to produce something. It was just me, a pen and a blank page. I found that notion very comforting. I set myself the goal of being able to say “I am a published author.” and I made a plan to attain that goal. I started writing a couple poems a day and four hundred words rain or shine and then in the month of November in the Year 2012 I published “Modern Knighthood”. Ultimately that book was for me. So that I could break of a little piece of forever for myself.
It was a good thing you could turn a horrific trauma into something inspirational. Not many people can do that. For your book, was there much research involved?
Research, bleh! That like that whole school thing that I was never a fan of isn’t it. For this piece I didn’t do much research that couldn’t be quickly answered with a fast query on Google. I think that reason is why I tend to favor pure fantasy fiction. I like giving my imagination free reign and not being bound by things like world history, physics, or reality in general.
I hear you. I write historical fiction, and the research is endless. Do you have a set writing routine?
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.”
A good rule! Do you listen to music when you write?
Funny that, I tend to avoid music when I write as it can often grab my imagination and run with it in a different direction. Every time I try and listen to music while I write I struggle to maintain my focus. Its hard enough to hear the own voices in my head without Eddie Vedder, Peter Steele, Chibi and the like putting in their two cents. That said, music plays a very heavy role in the inspiration of my material. I can easily point to several works in my portfolio that were born in music.
Which actor would you choose to play your main character, from any time?
Calling the Reaper is very much an ensemble piece so I guess I will just have to rundown all nine. For Captain Dante Ramos I think Antonio Banderas. I often thought of the good captain as Zorro with a boat so Mr. Banderas is a natural choice. For Aristo I would cast Andy Whitfield, I mean he was Spartacus and he passed at a tragically young age, he is perfect to assume the mantel of the stoic Pretorian Legionary. Lady Kathryn Petra would be played by Anjelica Huston, few women can do Classy, Sexy, Deadly, Demented as well as she can and her take on Morticia Addams was an inspiration for the Lady Kathryn character. Kenji Rei, there is only one person capable of playing an unequaled world renowned samurai duelist to the level that the Fist of the Shogunate demands and that is none other than the iconic Toshiro Mifune. Shiva, she is the absolute hardest to cast in my mind because she represents a composite of forgotten world cultures and would be drawn form an ethnicity that is virtually extinct. if I had to put a name on her I would start with former WWE Diva Chyna and go from there. For the Valhallan Legend I would cast Clancy Brown. He is huge, dark, terrifying, a modern-day Viking warlord; he is Gemmell! Marshal Jackson Bennett French would be played by Sam Elliott, he was the only person I ever allowed my mind’s eye to picture for this classic western lawman. For Sir Lionel James, Jason Pere would play the role of the conscience torn knight…yeah, if you’re going to cast your own movie you may as well star in it, and I know my way around a longsword and suit of chain mail. Finally for the Fourth Horseman and Lord Master Death I would choose Sean Bean. He can die more dramatically than anyone in Hollywood so I think it is only fitting that he get a chance to party Death himself, he is also my favorite actor of all time so I need a reason to work with him.
What do you like least about writing?
All the non-fun, non-creative stuff like spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting. I accept that the technical aspects of the English language are critical components for writing a story but that doesn’t mean that I like them. I live for the creative and eschew repetition so much that editing is the part of writing that I dread the most. I don’t like having to read and re-read a piece searching for the things that “just might be wrong but also might not even be there.” All that said, I have nothing but the deepest respect for those people brave enough to call themselves editors.
Editing is my bane, as well. Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal library.
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, excerpts and bits and pieces of text put together in Word Documents and PDFs.
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Write, write and then write some more. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s terrible just pack some text on that blank page and sort it out later. I have been in a situation where I had to write a scene that I felt totally out of my depth with and I just vomited words on paper. I felt like I was composing something that could be best described as Klingon Erotica at the time but when I came back and read it several weeks later I was very surprised at how well put together it seemed. If my “Suck it up and just do it” approach was not what you wanted to hear then I will also recommend, finding yourself a writers group. Actually I can’t recommend that enough. Having other supportive authors, writers and readers are about as essential as the alphabet for an aspiring author. Online, social media and even a good old fashion library are fantastic ways to connect with people that are probably all too willing to help make you a better writer.
Tell us 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 the end of 2015 and into 2016. When it comes to my solo work, So 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.
Jason Pere is a born and raised New Englander. He always had a passion for the arts and creative story telling. At the age of thirteen Jason took up the craft of acting for film and theater. He pursued that interest for over a decade until refocusing his medium of expression into writing.
At first Jason took a causal interest in writing, starting with poetry and journaling. Over time he honed his direction and finally began writing larger works. In November of 2012 Jason self-published his first book, Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet.
Since then Jason has continued writing on his own, mostly short stories and poetry. Calling the Reaper was his first experience committing to a full-length Fiction title.
In early 2015 Jason became affiliated with the Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC). Since then he has joined many other writers on numerous collaborative projects. Jason is a regular contributor to the CWC and is scheduled to have multiple pieces of his work appear in their publications throughout 2016.
You can find out more about Jason Pere’s involvement in collaborative fiction at: http://www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com/
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