Interview with Bret Jordan
Bret Jordan will be kicking off the Halloween fun on the blog October 3, 2011 so I thought I would introduce him to you here first. I love Bret's books. He is an awesome writer. Hope you enjoy meeting him!
Tell us about your latest book please.
My latest book release is a novella entitled The Witch, the Hunter and the Bride. It's an erotic fantasy tale about a hunter and his wife. They live a blissful life deep in the forest. There is just one thing messing it up, the local witch. Only the hunter is aware of her and he doesn't dare tell his wife of her existence for the hunter's knowledge of her comes from adultery. It's not a situation that he has willingly gotten himself into for the witch has him under her spell and calls to him when she wants her needs desired, when she needs his essence for her spells. When he finds the willpower to resists he finds that scorning a witch comes with a terrible cost.
That sounds awesome! I will l be looking forward to reading it.
Who has been you favorite character and why?
When I get asked this question one name immediately comes to mind, Shaylee. I've written two stories about this character so far, Shaylee Druid's Daughter and Shaylee Druid's Staff. Shaylee's a girl who lives in the early era of man's history, before the great floods, when thunderstorms meant that gods fought in the clouds and mythical beasts walked the land. She isn't just any girl, she is the offspring of an ex-druid and a dryad, a hybrid creature who begins to realize her potential in the first book. Shaylee is quiet, but strong: a heart of steel hidden by a shyness that is the result of years scorn and persecution by the local village. Though she appears normal they know her secret and the ones who don't know the legend of Shaylee sense the strangeness about her. Shaylee has been special to me because writing about this girl was like watching her grow up, seeing her mature and find her place in the world. By the end of the second book Shaylee is finding her strength and coming into her own. I'm really looking forward to see where she goes from here...
How do you develop your characters?
My characters sort of develop themselves. Usually when I get a story idea I let it stew in my mind for a couple of weeks before jotting anything down. I might write a note or two that are critical to the story, but that's about it until I get a firm grasp of what I want to do. In this brainstorming process the characters begin to form, but it's just general things: key points that are necessary for the story. Before the character makes his or her first appearance I focus on that character. What makes them interesting? What is their purpose here? What are their strong points, weakness', flaws, vices, etc...When I have a well rounded character that can add dimension to my story he or she gets added. My characters begin to create themselves when a piece of the character gets missed and I have to go back and reimagine part of their personality. It's as though they are screaming at me that this is a major part of who they are and must be included to make them whole. No matter how small the character is I like to create a little background for them, whether it gets included into the story or not. It makes them more alive for me and if they are alive for me then hopefully that life will show to my reader, I never want any character to be cannon fodder for the story. I like each and every character to be alive and uniquely their own.
Are they an unruly group? Do you need to yell at them much?
Me, yell at my characters? It's more often that they yell at me. Things like, "Hey stupid. Can't you see that I would never do that?" ,"Would I really say something like that?", "My God! You expect me to walk around in your story wearing that!". Yeah, they sort of keep me in line most of the time.
They sound like my kids. For a minute there I thought I asked the wrong question. Or maybe they have invaded your head. They do mine. Then I play the guilt trip on them so they leave me alone.
Are any of your books based on a real life experience?
I think every book has a little bit of my life experiences in them, but the one that would be the closest to the telling of a time of my life would be Alone in the Mist. Alone in the Mist was sort of an odd scary tale. Not a whole lot in my life has been scary, but I drew off of a difficult time in my marriage to put that story together. When my wife was pregnant with our last child she had a rough go at it emotionally. She was hard to deal with and added a great deal of tension to our marriage. Shortly after the baby was born her mood shifts stopped and everything became great again, but it was the roughest year I've ever experienced. That year was a perfect fit to create the tension needed to make Alone in the Mist work. I just remembered that year and added a turbo charger to it. Now, if any of you should happen to read that story and remember this interview please just keep in mind that my wife was never as bad as Jeff's wife, Sharon, from the story. I took my experiences and ramped them up a bit, making Sharon a sad, abusive thing that I'm hoping the reader will both hate and pity.
You had me scared for you for a moment. I remember that story. It was my first review on this blog. Happy to hear your wife is not Sharon. My mind was going all over the place the moment you picked Alone in the Mist. I need to go smoke now.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first full blown novel is entitled Plague. It's a sword and sorcery zombie novel. Before I wrote that I did some work for Permuted Press as an illustrator. At the time Permuted Press was a small press publisher of mainly zombie novels. Well, I read just about everything that they put out. The books were great, but one common factor is that they were all contemporary. Some sort of outbreak, the world goes quiet then wakes up in a hellish nightmare of undead. Each story had it's own take on it and usually each story had something in it that made it unique and unlike the other novels. I'm a big reader of fantasy. Tolkien, Brooks, Salvatore, I just love the stuff. So, when I got a few zombie novels added to my reading list I began to wonder why nobody had tackled zombies in a sword and sorcery setting and I figured that if nobody else was doing it then I would give it a shot. Being my first novel it was a heck of an experience and I learned a lot. I did a lot of rewriting and editing and more rewriting, but when it finally went to the publishers I was very proud of what I had done and I'm looking forward to getting started on the next leg of that adventure.
That is an exciting book. I am a sucker for a zombie tale or movie. Just not in person.
What is your writing process?
I begin the writing process with an idea. It might come to me when I'm driving around, reading, watching television or eating, but it is almost always when my mind is sort of free to drift. I let the idea stew for a week or two as it builds into a story. I usually jot down an essential note or two during the brainstorming process. When I feel that I've got a story worth telling I jot down everything I want to accomplish then I outline a few chapters. I don't outline more than a chapter or two ahead of where I am because the odds of the story taking a new direction is pretty good: once the story begins to flow it has a tendency to go where it wants to go, but I can usually keep it reigned in to a chapter or two. I also outline the characters before the appear in the story, but like the story itself they tend to go their own way and I often have to go back into the story and make an adjustment or two to keep them real. Another part of the writing process is silence. I know a lot of authors like to listen to music while they write, but I can't do it. I need total concentration to write, and with four girls and a wife that is a hard thing to come by most of the time.
I had 6 kids - I can relate to the silence thing. Now I have just the one grandchild with me and I would like to say I have silence. I would like to say it but I would be lying. He makes more noise than all 6 of my kids.
If we peek at the area where you write, what would we see?
You would see a wooden computer desk with a book shelf over it that goes from the desktop to the ceiling. I'm sort of proud of it because I made it myself a few years ago. No computer is visible, just the monitor. Sitting on the desk is usually a cup of coffee. Caffeine help me concentrate, at least I think it does. To the left would be an iPad and my wireless keyboard for it. I use the iPad to write my first draft of the story. Why the iPad for the first draft? It keeps me off the internet, which allows me to stay focused on my story as I think the first draft is the most important step in writing.
Wow. Your book shelf sounds awesome. I accept presents. haha. Coffee keeps me sane, (just ask Junior). Sounds like a solid idea writing on the iPad first. I just bought the Kindle Fire. I'm hoping it will do a lot of the stuff the iPad does.
What books or authors are you reading?
Right now I'm reading The Five by Robert McCammon. I haven't read anything by him before. I've been missing out. I should also have Measure of the Magic by Terry Brooks coming in any day now. I grew up reading the Shannara series and I'm looking forward to see his latest story of that world.
Who do you imagine your ideal reader is?
I suppose my ideal reader would be someone who likes a good fantasy story with a bit of horror.
If you threw in insane I might have thought you were talking about me.
And the 10 fun ones:
place: Pineland Texas. I spent the summers there when my grandparents retired and I loved exploring the forests. It's the biggest thing I miss about my childhood.
drink: I like good dark beers such as Guinness. Me too. Okay I like many beers. Um, make that types - I like many types of beer. Really. That was not a slip!
snack: Does dark chocolate count? I'm a real sucker for dark chocolate. Any chocolate works on this blog. Did I mention I take presents?
movie: I have a whole list of these, but my absolute favorite would have to be Avatar. I was blown away by both the detailed story and the quality of the movie.
word: I don't think I have a favorite word. Honest. I thought about it and just can't come up with one that really stands out. How about Peace. Works for me. I'm a hippie at heart.
book: The Hobbit. It was the first book I ever read and probably what got the old imagination rolling so well. I love the Hobbit!
color: I'm not a flashy person at all, not fond of bright colors so I have two, black and white. So I suppose I will go with gray.
sport: I don't watch a whole lot of sports, but when I do I like a lot of contact so I will have to go with MMA. I don't think I ever watched one of these until a few months ago, but I was impressed with the action of it all.
song: I'm a big fan of Nickelback. Never Again was the first one I heard that I liked and I've been hooked ever since. I am a huge Nickelback fan.
game: I don't play too many games, but when I do it's usually Dungeons and Dragons. Yeah, I'm nerdy like that. Hey, nerdy guys are cool. Well, some of them. You are.
Bret can be found on his website at http://www.bretjordan.com/
He is a Good Reads author: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2446192.Bret_Jordan
Check him out and remember to come back Monday to read his Halloween Fun post!
Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you!