Posts Tagged ‘jared s. anderson’


I recently became acquainted with Gryffyn Phoenix through a mutual friend. As Gryffyn and I began to correspond, I knew this was someone I was going to be fast friends with. I’ve seen the work Gryffyn has done in various artistic fields, and I’m thoroughly impressed by her. It almost seems unfair that one person should possess so many talents! So… it’s my honor and privilege to be able to interview her here. Gryffyn is not only a great writer, but a fascinating and kind person. She is generous, open, and fun, and I look forward to getting to know her more and more. Her latest novel, Seat of God is the first of the Ethiopian Chronicles, and is available now. Visit Gryffyn at: http://www.gryffynphoenix.com

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Q: What would you say is the highlight of your career as a writer?
A: So far? First time I read an email from a major New York publisher which said, “Here’s a contract, we’d like to put out your book.” But in all honesty … whenever anyone says they like your writing goes up on the list, I’m not exactly picky.
Q: When did you start writing?
A: Does birth qualify? I was eleven when a friend complained she was bored. I suggested she “watch one of the stories in her head.” She informed me there was no such thing. I didn’t realize before then not everyone has a movie constantly playing in their mind. This was when I figured out I should probably be a writer.
Q: What childhood events have contributed most to your writing, if any.
A: I don’t know many writers who didn’t have dysfunctional childhoods. Complex imaginations are built because they’re an easy escape. Let’s just say mine is Technicolor with multiple worlds.
Q: What inspired Seat of God?
A: It started as all my books do, a movie inside my head. The real man Father Josephus is based on influenced the story, but it was definitely first a dream. After I finished, a friend told me “I wrote a love song to Ethiopia.”
Q: Where do your characters come from?
A: Very rarely are they based on real people. All others are my imaginary friends, who occasionally decide to drive me insane unless I get their story on paper.
Q: What are some of your favorite books by other authors?
A: I read around five books a week. This is actually impossible for me to answer.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important thing an author must do to be successful?
A: Understand this is a business. If you want to be an “artiste”and write mind-blowing, experimental fiction, go ahead. Just don’t quit your day job. If you remember it’s your job to entertain and you are willing to research and learn about the industry, you’ll succeed.
Q: Do you prefer writing for adults, or young adults?
A: Equal. I believe you write the story inside you that needs to be told.
Q: Is it difficult for you to switch between these two genres?
A: Not at all. Different energies and motivation.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a writer?
A: I now get paid to go into my mind and explore those stories. That’s awesome. Second favorite is my commute involves walking down the stairs and across the hall.
Q: What is the most difficult part of being a writer?
A: Editing yourself. Blech. It’s like cutting off your limbs with a rusty, dull knife. Strike that. Cutting off your limbs would be more fun.
Q: Of your own fictional characters, who is your favorite and why?
A: You spend so much time with these people; you really have to love them all. In Seat of God, I love Gabriel. If he was a guy I knew in real life, I’d want to marry him. I adore Jasmine’s fierce determination for her family. Raffe’s sense of humor and patriotism is awesome. And Destiny? Well, Destiny is omnipotent. Who wouldn’t want to know and spend time with the leader of a mid-East crime ring who dresses like a female Egyptian pharaoh?
Even with my bad guys. In my young adult book I have a character named Willow. Any scene with her makes me giggle; she’s just so unabashedly rotten, and proud of it.
Q: What do you most hope your novels will do for your readers?
A: No matter what you believe, with Seat of God the thing to remember is it’s all possible. It doesn’t matter if you are a devout Christian or atheist or anything in between. Everything I write about, even the thing is called “miracle,” is actually scientifically possible.
Q: What is your writing process like?
A: First you move the cat off the laptop, and then you move the other cat off the chair, and then you pet both of them into a coma, and the writing can begin. Then you stop to check email, facebook, pet the cat some more, and go back to the writing.
Q: Do you have a “writing area?” What does this space look like?
A: Depending on the project, I’ve written all over the house.
Q: What is the first sentence of your latest work?
A: From my young adult novel, HAVEN AWAKENING, due out this Spring:
Aria ran into the middle of the junkyard and, horrified, skidded to a stop. It was gone. The gateway had disappeared.
Q: What is the last sentence you wrote?
A: I saved this question for last so I could say … this one. If you mean in my novels, the answer comes from the fifth book in the HAVEN AWAKENING series, “Just because you have a dick, doesn’t mean you have to act like one.”
Q: What advice would you give to beginning writers?
A: Listen to your parents, take those computer/accounting classes and learn something that pays actual money. If you reject that, my best advice is don’t talk about it until you finish a complete manuscript. Nothing makes a writer’s head explode faster than hearing someone say, “Oh, you’re a writer? I want to be a writer. It seems so easy.” Finish putting seventy to one hundred thousand words on a page, put it aside for a month, and then read it. Now tell me it’s easy.
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The subject of serial killers is always interesting, and having both done a good deal of research on the topic, fellow horror novelist Tamara Thorne and I got into an in-depth back-and-forth e-mail conversation about it. After re-reading the e-mails, we thought it might be interesting to use as a blog post. Tamara and I have both written about killers and what follows is Part One of our own thoughts as well as what we learned along the way. 

Here is the first question I asked her. It got the ball rolling and turned into a more of a mountain than a ball, really…

JSA: Who is your favorite serial killer, and why?

TT: Let me look through my serial killer trading cards. . . Seriously, I have a lot of favorites. I’m more interested in the ones like Ted Bundy who easily pass for normal, than the creepier types like John Wayne Gacy. The triad of Jack the Ripper, H.H. Holmes and the less well known Austin Ripper (aka The Servant Girl Annihilator) intrigues me. Of the three, only H.H. Holmes was captured. Holmes was active between 1886 and 1894, when he was captured. He built a huge “murder hotel” and was most active during the Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893. He is often referred to as America’s first serial killer.

But he was not America’s first, despite the title. That dubious honor more likely goes to the Austin Ripper, who was never captured. He was active from 1884 through 1885, and was named “The Servant Girl Annihilator” by writer H.H. Munro (Saki), who was living in Austin, Texas at the time.

There’s a reasonable chance that the Austin Ripper moved on and became Jack the Ripper, active in London in 1888. The crimes were similar. Some, including H.H. Holmes’s descendant, postulate that Holmes was the Ripper, but other than similar handwriting, there is currently a lack of compelling evidence.

I think these – particularly the two Rippers – fascinate me because of the mystery. There’s so much room for conjecture.

Jared, who is your favorite?

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JSA: If I had to choose a favorite, I’d also go with Jack the Ripper. Because his identity is unknown, we can fill in our own blanks about who he was. He murdered so openly it’s hard to imagine he was sane, and yet, whoever he was, he clearly didn’t stand out from the crowd so much that he gave himself away.

Another one who has always fascinated me is Jeffrey Dahmer. Whereas killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy exhibited a lot of typical sociopathic personality traits such as a firm conviction they’d done nothing wrong, a heightened sense of ego, etc., Dahmer never denied or tried to justify his actions. I find that fascinating. He simply admitted what he’d done, and accepted the consequences. I read a lot about Dahmer when I was researching, and I was surprised to find that a good number of researchers believe Dahmer’s conscience was intact. That’s hard to fathom considering the crimes he committed, but there’s just something different about him that makes him a bit of an anomaly.

TT:  That’s a very good point.  He’s worth further exploration!

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JSA: I also have a particular fascination for the killers who fit into society so well as to go unnoticed. When we think of serial killers, I think a part of us believes we’d know one when we saw one, and I don’t believe that’s entirely true. When I was researching serial killers, I would look at photographs or watch videos of certain killers, and try to determine if, in all honesty, I would be able to sense anything dangerous about them. While I have a hard time believing I wouldn’t have been a little creeped out by John Wayne Gacy, I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t have given killers such as Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer much notice. To me, these guys appeared to be perfectly normal, intelligent men.

I was intrigued though, while reading a book about Ted Bundy, by how many women who’d met him claimed they just felt something wasn’t “quite right” about him. Many of the women who evaded Bundy did so simply because some inner voice warned them against him. So, on that token, I wonder if there isn’t some kind of instinct inside all of us that tries to protect us. The question, though, is, would we heed that instinct, or just ignore it?

TT:  I think we all have an instinct, but defining it is difficult. The best explanation of our “knowing” I’ve ever read comes in Gavin DeBecker’s book, The Gift of Fear. People who listen to their instincts are much more likely to live longer, safer lives. The trouble is, we often tend to denigrate our feelings as silly nonsense. We go ahead and get on the elevator with the man in the business suit who looks entirely normal even though our instinct is to run. I wonder what Bundy’s “tell” was. Eye contact? Lack of it?

JSA: I don’t know. No one I read about ever explained what it was exactly that made them uneasy. Just a “feeling.” It’s interesting. So why do you think, as a society, we’re so interested in serial killers?

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TT: They walk among us, they look like us, they sound like us, but they are not like us. I think the otherness is a big part of the fascination. If you’ve ever found yourself dealing with someone who does not react like ninety percent of the population, you already understand this. I knew a writer many years ago, not long after my first book came out, who wrote a first novel and sold it. He was overjoyed. But the book was very long and his editor suggested cutting one of the characters in order to shorten it. He asked me about it — I’d read the manuscript — and without a clue about what I was stepping into, I said I thought cutting was a great idea. This was a character that was non-essential and anything important he did could be moved to the main hero. I told the writer my thoughts.

Holy crap! The shit hit a dozen fans. My jaw dropped as I watched this guy go ballistic. He ranted and raved and said nobody understood. And then he screamed and cried. Okay, I knew none of this was normal, but I wouldn’t have called it insane behavior, just a tantrum. But then, I saw his insanity when he said the editor wanted him to kill his father. Evidently he’d named this character after the long-dead parent and somehow this brought Daddy Dearest back to life. At this point, I stopped answering his calls. It was my first brush with insanity and I didn’t like it.

However, it’s fascinating, isn’t it? Serial killers hide the insanity, but we know it’s there. Certainly not in the form I saw with the new writer, but they are even further removed from our emotions and morals than he was. They are foreign.

What kinds of experiences have you had with crazy?

JSA: I’ve met, and in a couple cases, known, people whom I’m certain totally lacked a conscience. The interesting thing is, the majority of sociopaths are not violent. To lack a conscience, and have a murderous temperament is a rare–and pretty unfortunate–blend of psychological problems. That’s not to say sociopaths who aren’t violent aren’t dangerous, they are. It’s just that most sociopaths are what are termed “blue collar” criminals, and are more likely to be found committing various–and usually very crafty–small crimes, rather than outright murdering folks. If you get the chance, read The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout. According to her and the studies she’s researched, one in every 25 people has no conscience. This book is a kind of if you think you’ve never met one, you’re wrong wake-up call.

I found when writing Sterling Bronson (in Beautiful Monster) that creating ways to make him sneaky and underhanded was actually harder than making him a killer. I never diagnosed Sterling in the book, because I wanted readers to be able to fill in their own blanks, so I’m not saying he was an outright sociopath, but in order to write him, I had to understand, to the best of my ability, the way these people think. It wasn’t easy, and in a lot of ways, it wasn’t fun, but overall, I’m pleased with his outcome.

You’ve written about serial killers a few times. What kind of research did you do, and what was your experience in the fictionalization of a monster?

TT: One of my serial killers is definitely not without conscience, but a prisoner of his own desires. The others are traditional psychopaths. In researching, I read everything I can about a multitude of serial killers and their pathology. I find interviews with sociopaths very interesting. I also like to talk with profilers, cops, and other experts and read books like Mindhunter, written from their expert perspective.

I rather enjoy writing from the killer’s perspective — I find it freeing and, sometimes, very therapeutic.  Certainly it’s a disturbing process, but I like it. A lot.  I tend to dream in character points of view while writing and those are more disturbing — and useful — than anything else.

JSA: Ha! Glad I’m not the only one who dreams of his characters… even the killers! Tell me one of your dreams and I’ll tell you one of mine.

There is more of this to come later. We don’t want to overwhelm you, so we’ve decided to post this in small installments! Next time, Tamara and I will discuss dreams and writing, as we’ve both utilized our dreams as a writing tool and, since dreaming of serial killers makes for great stories, we also got pretty heavily into that discussion. So…to be continued!

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This Valentine’s Day (February 14th) I will be interviewing New York Times Best Selling author Dianna Love here at https://jsascribes.wordpress.com/

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Anyone who leaves a comment on the blog will be eligible for prizes! Dianna will give away a copy of JUSTIFIABLE, Book 1 of the brand new Riley Walker novels, the mainstream thriller she wrote with former NBC News anchor Wes Sarginson, a copy of LAST CHANCE TO RUN, the prequel to her new Slye Temp romantic thriller series, and a Keeper Kase™ loaded with a unique collection of Keeper Cards™

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Dianna will be around all day long to answer questions and interact with her readers, so stop by and say hello! You might win something!

 


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Well… the holidays are over and that means back to work. Now that the world is slowly returning to its usual rhythm, I’m eager to get back to the book I’ve been working on, so when Tamara Thorne (http://tamarathorne.wordpress.com/) asked me to follow her on The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, I was happy to do it. I’ve been invited to do the Blog Hop before, but up until the past week or two, things have just been too crazy, making it impossible. So, my apologies to the folks I had to decline.

 

Q: What is the working title of your book?

A: The White Room. Or maybe Cadence. I’m hoping something will hit me, as it sometimes does, during the process of writing or revising the book, but as it is now, I usually refer to as “TWR”–The White Room–and will probably keep it unless the actual white room in this book ends up not playing a part substantial enough to title the novel after.

Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?

A: It evolved slowly, but it began in a night club in Salt Lake City. We were downstairs playing pool in a multi-storey dance club when my friend said, “Let’s go upstairs to The White Room.” Right away, The White Room sounded like a fantastic place, and before I saw it, I knew that it was going to be a title of something. When we got to the room, there were white sofas and white gauzy material hanging from the ceiling. It really was a white room, although I never was sure if that was its actual name or if my friend had referred to it that way for simplification purposes. The rest of the story came in fits and starts, slowly evolving and turning into a cohesive storyline over the course of about six or seven months, I think. Somewhere along the way, I decided this was going to be a vampire story. I later interspersed the concepts of addiction, slavery, and domination into the storyline.

Q:What genre does your book fall under?

A: Horror. Maybe thriller (with an erotic edge if I have anything to say about it.)

Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A: This is always a tough question. I don’t give much thought to this when I’m writing, and I figure the casting directors would be better at finding the right people for the roles than I am. However, if I were to go by basic physical appearance, general mannerisms, etc., I could see Ashton Kutcher, or maybe a darker-haired Ryan Reynolds–or maybe even James Franco–playing Brooks, the suffering older brother.  When I think of Cade–the protagonist and Brooks’ younger brother–I think of a Daniel Radcliffe type—handsome in an offbeat way, but ultimately a kind of geeky charm. As for Piper, I see her as a kind of Katy Perry-looking type, although I don’t think Ms. Perry does much acting. Piper is the only character that I see absolutely clearly, down to the cast of her nose, the slant of her eyes, and the shape of her lips. Katy Perry is the only person that comes to mind for her. Finally, Gretchen, the bad ‘guy’, would be played by a platinum-haired Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, or maybe Heather Graham. Someone who looks good in black and dark purple, and isn’t afraid of spiders…mwa ha ha ha (evil laugh)!

Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A: Hmmm… “Prepare to come unfanged!” …?

Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A: I lean toward the traditional publishing divisions of the industry.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A: The first draft was written about two years ago and took about five months. I’ve since decided the story needs to be told from a different perspective and have basically started over, so really, I am writing the first draft now.

Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

A: The inspiration originally came from a life-long love of vampires. As a kid, I dressed as a vampire almost every Halloween. I think we’re seduced by the power and beauty that vampires have come to represent, and of course, the prospect of eternal life; and that’s what really inspired this book: I reached a certain age and realized that I would not, if given the choice, want to live forever. It made me wonder if, after having given it some honest thought, a person would really choose to walk the earth eternally.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A: The White Room will carry on in the same tradition of Beautiful Monster in that it will have a healthy dose of sex and violence, but The White Room begs deeper questions. I think readers are ready for a protagonist who sees a less seductive side of eternal life. I also think readers will be interested in some of the vampire myths and legends that are incorporated into this story. There are several hybrid concepts threading this story together, and if it’s as fun to read it as it is to write it, I’m confident it will inspire some interest.

Next Wednesday, January 16th, follow the blog hop and read about the wonderful work of Monique Rockliffe (www.moniquerockliffe.wordpress.com), Jennifer Latas (http://jenniferlatas.wordpress.com/), and Kim Williams-Justesen (http://kwjwrites.wordpress.com/)

Find me at:

Twitter: JaredSAnderson3

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Jared_S_Anderson

Beautiful Monster fan page: http://www.facebook.com/beautifuldamnation?ref=hl

Beautiful Monster is available in eBook and Paperback at Damnation Books: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727742

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beautiful-monster-mimi-a-williams/1112783047?ean=9781615727759

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Monster-Mimi-A-Williams/dp/1615727752/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354247199&sr=8-5&keywords=Beautiful+Monster

and everywhere books are sold.


Want to give the most awesome gift ever and save money? You can order Beautiful Monster and save 25% when you purchase directcly from the publishers website! Just go to www.damnationbooks.com and enter code 12PE9NGO4MDS
for 25% off your ebook order.

Code good until 12/31/2012

You can get this for Kindle, Nook, or for other ereader formats right on the site!

Happy Holidays!

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Though I’ve been taught to never start writing a book without having my beginning, middle, and end in mind, I have continually insisted on sitting down and blindly tapping away at the keyboard, trusting the plot to work itself out as I go. And sometimes, the story does just that…but sometimes it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, as I’ve recently learned the hard way, it’s a mess.

Since deciding that the book I’m currently working on might be stronger if it were written in the third person point of view (and I have to virtually start the book over anyway), I’ve refused to make that mistake again. Therefore, I’ve spent the majority of the past week or so working on an outline for the book.

Here’s what I’m learning:

1) My characters need a little structure. What I mean by that is, although I love the surprises my characters present to me as I write along, I need to keep them under control, to a point. As any writer knows, characters have a way of taking the story into their own fictitious little hands, and guiding the plot their own way. Sometimes, this is a blessing. Other times, it’s a curse. I’m finding that giving them freedom, but within the confines of the stories structure, works out well as long as the boundaries are set in place.

2) My outlines never go exactly as I plan them. Even with a solid outline, the characters bring their own attitudes and actions to the story, the same way actors do with their scripts, so for me, having an outline really doesn’t limit my creative freedom.

3) Outlining is a great way to know what comes next. Nothing sucks worse than getting 35,000 words into a story and suddenly wondering now what? I’m finding that having an outline in place eliminates this problem, and for me, that is awesome.

4) Outlining is hard, damn it. There seem to be two types of writers: those who excel and plot, and those whose strength lies in characterization. I am of the latter persuasion. I just kind of “get” characters. I understand how to make them move and speak, and I usually instinctively know “who” they are and what they want. Creating a strong plot to cast them in, however, isn’t so easy for me. I don’t know how other writers operate, but I see glimpses of story ~ small, seemingly unrelated flashes of action, dialogue, or events. It’s my job then to put these slices of plot into some kind of order, and to ultimately tell a solid and cohesive story. This, for me, is usually pretty challenging, but although it’s difficult (for me anyway), it saves me a lot of trouble in the long run.

5) Process is unique to every writer. I’ve talked to many writers about their process, and none of them use exactly the same methods. This is both a blessing and a curse for the beginning writer. On one hand, it’s great because the possibilities are endless, and the new writer doesn’t feel restrained by the advice of other writers. On the other hand, every writer needs to develop his or her own process, and that takes time, practice, and requires a few (or a lot of) dead-end attempts.

6) Process can change from book to book. For me, some stories work just fine without an outline. When I was writing Sterling Bronson for Beautiful Monster, I rarely referenced the outline, although we had one made up. Sterling just kind of did his own thing, and since he divided his time with Brenna, Mimi’s character, there wasn’t any room for dawdling. The book I’m currently working on now however, needed to be outlined. This one is a more layered storyline and I don’t think there’s any way I could finish the book without a solid knowledge of where I’m going with it.

7) Finally, what I’ve learned from outlining is that whether or not you map your stories out at all, the most important thing in writing anything is still to simply sit down and do it. It doesn’t matter how you do it…just that you do it. I’ve heard of writers who spend so much time working out convoluted character development sheets, learning every detail of each character to the point of what this character’s favorite kind of socks are, that very little actual writing gets done. My advice: outline, even if it’s very skeletal…but let the story come to life as it’s being written. Let the details fill themselves in as the characters and the plot invent or require them.

Until next time,

Happy writing!

(What a typical outline of mine looks like!)

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The writing life, for the most part, is not glamorous, but every so often, something really fantastic happens, and it reminds me of the reasons I wanted to do this. I’ve made a commitment to chronicle these things as a way of keeping myself from taking it for granted. I call these my “Rockstar Moments” because they make me feel like a rockstar! My most recent Rockstar moment came a few days ago.

Recently, I’ve been assisting my friend and fellow horror author, Tamara Thorne, in proof-reading some of her earlier books which are currently being converted into eBook format. Tamara does all the hard stuff – I just double check for typos that the scanning sometimes produces. I’ve been a Tamara Thorne fan since the ’90s, so really, it’s just an excuse for me to read really good books. Anyway, the latest Tamara Thorne book that’s been successfully converted into eBook format is Eternity.

Until I started proofing it, I’d never read Eternity, so this one was especially fun. I’ve read (and in several cases re-read) Bad Things, Haunted, Moonfall, and The Sorority Series (Eve, Merilynn, and Samantha) but there were still a few out there that I hadn’t had the chance to get.

I plowed through Eternity, trying very hard not to demand the chapters from Tamara faster than she could restore and send them. Whereas most great stories have their climactic end, Eternity felt to me like one big, wonderfully on-going peak that just kept getting higher and higher. Seriously. This book has it all: serial killers, famous missing persons, horror, shrewd humor, murder mystery, a dash of sci-fi, and even a bit of romance. What’s not to love?

So the fact that I genuinely love this book only makes my recent Rockstar Moment that much sweeter. After the conversions were finished, Tamara sent me the file to look over, and this is what I saw:

This is probably one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me. I couldn’t be more honored.

Thank you, Tamara, for your very kind gesture. Words fail.

Eternity is now available in eBook at: http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-ebook/dp/B00AA3WWW6/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1353445662&sr=1-7&keywords=Eternity. It will be re-released in paperback next year.

Also, be sure to check out Tamara’s Little Blog of Horrors at: http://tamarathorne.wordpress.com/