Thursday, January 12, 2012

Episode 7: Putting the Smart in Smart…yeah

Asshole: Hi and welcome to another episode of the Smart Weiters Blog #2. Today is a special day, monumental even, for the Smart Weiters staff because this will be the first episode to feature an actual smart writer, rather than the special ed riffraff that have wiped their brain shit all over our doorknobs and seats.

Brim: Whoa man, don’t even go there.

A: Dude, this guy makes you look like a ten year old with a problem wetting the bed.

B: Yeah, looks like…

A: If there’s any truth to what I just said, this show is over. I can’t look at you with any respect if you’re still running the flute faucet in your batman pj’s.

B: I’m not! Why are you even starting the show like this? Where’s your irrelevant rant where you try to be funny?

A: You interrupted me. I’m trying to steer this damn ship back to normalcy. Maybe if you’d stick a cock in your mouth and shut the fuck up for two seconds we could get on with this show.

B: Whatever man.

A: Back to what I was saying which I don’t even know what I was fucking saying because some people around here decided to put in their two fucking cents. Let’s just start from the beginning. My name is Asshole and I’m addicted to vodka drinks and lesbian porn and I love life. This is Brim, a fat guy who delivers pizza and can’t write worth shit. Today we’re interviewing Jason Christie about his new ebook Pageburner. It’s good to have you on Jason. Introduce yourself and tell us about your book.

Jason:  Hi, Asshole. I actually have a character named Asshole in an upcoming novel. It's about a first-time serial killer/rapist who abducts a teenage girl, and they fall in love. It's set in the 80s, and is sort of a thrash metal book.

Anyway, I've been internet famous, like, four times, now, and it doesn't pay dick. I was big in the death metal, BeOS, nerd rap and reptilian kook scenes. Now I've sold the fuck out and am whoring my warez all over the net.

I wrote Pageburner in jail in Florida, spun out of my head. I spent the first three weeks in an isolation ward. When I finally took the damn TB stick, I got moved to general population. Some dude named Meth Mouth Larry (I named him that) told me an urban legend about a woman fucking herself with a live lobster. That gave me the idea to write about a female murder investigator. I had originally planned to just write her a series of cases ala Encyclopedia Brown, and I thought that would make a novel, my first.

It didn't. But I had been kicking around another story idea about a genetic researcher who wanted to create a virus to destroy the authoritarian element of society. It was all based on a pun: Fascist Jean. Eventually I wised up and merged the two storylines, and that is how Pageburner came about. I originally called her Paige Turner, but since I didn't have internet access, I learned later that the name was already taken.

I wrote 400 pages in 30 days, if that gives any indication as to how spun I was. It sat on the shelf for two years, unfinished. I write longhand, and my first wife never typed it up or encouraged me to finish it. Then I remet my own petite redhead, Johnnie. She typed it up, and two others besides, eventually using sex to get me to finish PB. So naturally, I had to get a divorce.

Literature destroys another home. Score! 

A: Happens to the best of us which is probably why Brim doesn't even have a wife to divorce.

B: Fuck you.

A: So do you think Jesus was really an alien? Or is that one of those nerdy conspiracy theories?

B: Out of the whole book, that's your first question?

A: Yeah. I've heard Jesus had a twin and also that he didn't exist but I've never heard of him being an alien.

Jason: His twin exists, and is an alien. You're interviewing him. Next question.

A: I fucking knew it when I saw your picture on Amazon.

B: So how much research did you have to do for this book and how much did you already know?

Jason: Well, everything I know about police procedure comes from not watching cop movies and TV shows, so I just made most of that stuff up. I've done tons of acid, gigatons of pot, but I've never gotten my hands on DMT or Ayahuasca. And, erm, I was sort of insane from meth when I wrote it. Well, not from meth, but from dehydration, malnutrition and sleep deprivation. That's my excuse, anyway.

I'm pleased to report that since then, I have seen the eel/snake/whale things, and, erm, nanobots went into my head, which are basically the snakes of ayahuasca. I did attend that Bad Brains concert, and also did the trip to Tennessee with my grandparents.

Wait, no one is going to read this, right? It's kind of funny because as I regained my senses (boring!), Jean Simons grows more insane. Some sort of osmosis was at work, there. In jail, I was accused of driving someone insane, and he declared himself Messiah. Clever way to deflect attention away from myself, I think.

I happened to somehow have a college level marine biology text with me in jail, and somehow learned about thermocyclers in there as well. So that's the only real research I did. I read just enough about those things to make it look like I knew what I was talking about.

Oh, and one time I almost shot this dude, and I was going to use a watermelon as a silencer. Square ones are much cooler.

A: Yeah no one reads this fucking blog. I think the three followers we have marked our emails as spam so welcome to your waste of time.

B: It's growing. Where did the idea for Paige come from? Was she based on someone(s) or your ultimate fantasy? On one side, she's a lot like these TV detectives that kick ass and are sexy as hell. On the other hand, she smokes pot, enjoys the taste of women and takes major steps in preventing a multiple murderer from going to jail.

A: She's my dream girl. Don't talk bad about her!

B: How was I talking bad?

Jason: Oh, you guys are going to be pissed. I'm engaged to her.

But I wasn't when I wrote it. I've been married for twenty-five years. I've known my fiancée for almost thirty. She babysat me, once... (I was two years younger than her, so it was hot.)

We were out of touch for a long time, and when we got together, we both immediately knew we should have been with each other the whole time. She's a petite redhead. I was pining for her, and I wasn't even aware of it at the time, consciously.

I read the book to my brother, and we were talking about her. He said, "Johnnie is Paige Burner," and it was somehow revelatory. I hadn't really thought about it before. So, yes, my girlfriend is a fantasy figure that sprang from my imagination, and she is really hot. I'm not making this part up.

But the funny thing is, having reinvented her when I needed her the most, she went on to become Janique Turner, megaporn goddess of "Penultimate Hustle" (the already written sequel to "Radar Love") and Prail Abraxis of "Perfect Me". Janique became such a powerful character, I invented Prail to counteract her. And then they started working together...

It's fun. We do stuff and then write about it (research), or I write about stuff and then it happens. (Be careful when writing about going to jail...)

I write all my books for her. There's nothing I like more than pulling the tray out from under the couch, putting on Bad Brains and grabbing the Hello Kitty vibrator. Erm, you guys don't believe she's real, do you? The more I read this, the more even I realize I sound delusional.

Adding to that is the fact that some people have said that Paige Burner sounds suspiciously like a female me...

A: A female you...this interview just got really awkward. There goes my fantasy. I'm done with this interview.

B: Ever since Chuck Palahniuk got on the scene, new writers have been trying to set their own style throughout their books. Some people say that's just plain dumb but you can tell if a book has been written by a certain writer. I'm guessing I could tell it's a Jason Christie book if I picked up Perfect Me or Zombie Killa. How would you describe your way of writing to someone on the fence about whether or not to buy your books?

Jason: That is a damn good question. I know I have a detectable style of some sort, but I'm not sure what it is. I try to write good stories and not let the language get in the way. I loathe the idea of "literary fiction". Isn't all fiction literary? I've never read any Thomas Pynchon. I don't even know how to spell it.

I guess, at times, I try to put insane concepts in lucid terms. It's both good and bad that I'm not a genre writer. I don't have six vampire books, if that's what you're into. Like thrillers? I have one. Adventure? Done it. There is an element of romance in many of them, but it's not cliché bodice-ripper stuff. I strive to find a balance in writing things that would probably appeal to both male and female readers. My next books are about the porno industry, a funny fantasy novel, and a construction murder mystery. So I'd say to the reader, "If you didn't like that one, try another one."

In terms of mechanics, my stuff is probably more Stephen King than Tom Robbins, but I'm a huge fan of both.

A: I can do good questions too! What is your opinion on the deforestation of South America and its impact on the planet? Ha!

B: Don't answer that. In fact, don't even listen to him anymore. 

A: I started this show motherfucker!

B: Most writers say that their book doesn't really have a theme just so they don't get shitcanned with someone's negative interpretation of an issue they found in their book. When I read yours, I could probably pull out any number of themes discussed in it. But if I were to ask you what the overarching theme is, what would you say?

A: I wrote that question by the way.

Jason: While a lot of people might say psychopathy, drugs, authoritarianism, something obvious like that, the real underlying theme to me is nostalgia. It's perhaps not apparent at first read, but it sort of permeates the whole of the book. I don't think it was entirely intentional, but it sort of developed on its own as I was writing it. There's also a hidden hip-hop subtext. Several phrases in the book will jump out at hip-hop heads. Not the obvious stuff like Pookie and Third Bass, or that Maxine seems to be Ice Cube's cousin, but little pieces of lyrics are hidden in the text. But that's a subtheme.

Nostalgia. Almost everyone in the book seems to be longing for a simpler time in their lives when things were better.

B: I had that feeling when Paige was on her vacation.

A: I had a feeling when she was on vacation too, in New Orleans.

B: You’re a perv.

A: Jason just knows what a guy wants in his detectives.

B: What are your writing habits? How long do you sit on an idea before diving into the writing process?

Jason: Oh, man. I have the worst possible writing routine. None at all. Ok, I'm not being accurate, here. I did a lot of my writing in jail.

I used to write about girls, now and then. Short stories. Then I wrote Pageburner in Chipley, Florida, in jail, all tweaked out. It's actually the merging of two short story ideas. My breakthrough into novel form.

Hurricane Regina came from a two page short story I wrote for one girl. Another read it and wanted to read more. By then I was with my fiancée. I wrote it while I was at work doing industrial pipefitting. I would come home every night and read her the dailies.

When I wrote "The End" on Hurricane Regina (then called Overboard), she said, "Well, that's half of the story..." So I had to write another hundred or so pages, and top the first half of the book.

She asked me to write one for her, so I wrote Radar Love, then called Life In The Fast Lane. Finished that one at work. These are big chemical plants we build. Real crazy work, sometimes. I'd be writing with welding sparks falling on me, cranes moving stuff over my head. Supposed to be working and stuff.

Then I went to jail again. I wrote the sequel to Radar Love, Penultimate Hustle, and Perfect Me, and the end of Hurricane Regina there. So jail was a like a spa I could go to and write. Fucking fights going on, hustling, all manner of craziness. The TV is loud as fuck, people playing dominoes and shit. Plus I'm defending my rap title.

I can write in a warzone. But I can't seem to sit and write when my girlfriend and I are together, too much. Or when I have a net connection and I can promote my books. Luckily, I'm back at work, writing three more novels. And I think I'll stay out of jail from now on. Although...nah.

B: I can't even write in Starbucks cause everyone's talking and you're writing while people are literally shanking each other in the background. Is that a real word, shanking?

A: You're so lame, man. So where's the initial idea come with every book? Light a bong and start typing? When I smoked, I used to get some great ideas before I stuffed my face and fell asleep.

Jason: This will sound entirely false and hollow. I'm usually straight when I write.

When I was younger, I used to think I needed to be high to write. I went through college high, every song I wrote was when I was stoned, etc. Of course, I was high for twenty-five years in a row. So I did everything high. I think I'm spun enough now that it doesn't matter if I'm high or not. I have written some stuff after I've been up for three or four days, but it's sort of hard to decipher. I call that experimental writing. I plan on using some of it, but it needs to be massaged and made sensible.

I also don't want to be lumped in as a drug novelist. Sure, Pageburner is in part drug-based. Ok, so is Perfect Me, to a degree. Oh, and so is Zombie Killa. Um, Radar Love deals with drugs as well. Four out of five novels? Damnit. There are no mentions of drugs in Hurricane Regina. Lump away.

One book seems to lead to another. I like to introduce a character in one novel and eventually give them one of their own. So all of my books are sort of interconnected, and the more of them you read, the richer the tapestry becomes. Renee Hollander, a minor character in Hurricane Regina, has her own book in the works, a construction murder mystery. I work industrial construction, so I really don't get too high at all, anymore. Which is why I'm going all out to become a novelist, instead...

I've found that too much weed, or not enough, impedes my productivity. I need a certain balance. I did set out to write one novel differently. It's about the circus, of all things. I decided I would switch things up and write it only while high, in first-person perspective, and on the computer. It turned out to be a sweet short story, so far, but will eventually become a full-blown novel or novella.

Shanking, that's funny. When I was writing Penultimate Hustle and Perfect Me in jail, and finishing Hurricane Regina, I was slapped by a deputy, punched in the mouth by a deputy, and stomped by five psych techs until I literally shit my pants. Some of my pages have my blood on them, the folders have bootprints on them, pages were ripped and had to be recopied. In Florida writing Pageburner, I was tased four times, once until I hit my head on the concrete and pissed myself. But I made it out with every page I had written... How's that for dedication?

B: Well Jason, I have to say this has been the most interesting interview we've done so far.

A: He means the best, go ahead and blow smoke up his ass you brown noser.

B: Do you have anything further you'd like to add? Or release dates for any of your upcoming works? I know you said Zombie Killa just came out.

A: I'm already reading it. Next book has to have a centerfold though. That would complete the trifecta.

Jason: It was great fun doing this interview. I have to say you two really enliven the somewhat stodgy ebook scene, and I think that's really what's needed of late. Zombie Killa is really taking off as my most popular work to date, somehow, due to it being narrowly targeted to the nerd rappers involved. And that's both pleasing and dismaying. Pour your heart and soul into your "serious" works, and the book that's well received is the one you toss off in a week without any real thought behind it.

You guys are in luck. My next novel will be extremely pornographic, and epic, about 100,000 words. It's the second of the Ultimate Hustle series, the sequel to Radar Love, and it details Chris and Janique's visit to Japan and subsequent start in the adult film and sex industry. It's the sort of thing a new writer would have a lot of trouble pushing to the print world. Thanks to ebooks, I can release it uncut. It is absolutely filthy. But it's also my best writing to date. Sort of real romance instead of what I consider fake romance novels, which is most of what's out there. I don't know, honestly. I've never read a romance novel.
I don't have a release date planned, but it's all written and just needs to be typed up. So let's say March 23rd of this year, the same day I am set to marry "Paige Burner", my muse and editor Johnnie. Hi sexy!
I also have a poetry book tentatively entitled "This Book Will Get You Laid", which will encourage men to copy poems out of it and text or give them to their wives, girlfriends, women they want to date. I might include several short stories in it that will appeal to women, so they get busted doing it. My next three beyond that are "Reduction of Forces", a construction murder mystery, "Cure For Sanity", a companion to "Perfect Me" about Project X, Prail's brother, and a funny fantasy novel that I was calling "Princess Academy", until I found out someone already has a novel by that name.

Thanks guys. To all you readers out there, support independent authors! Buy my books, or read them, at the very least, and tell a friend. War!

A: And thank you to Jason for being on the Smart Weiter’s Blog 2. If you’d like to win a copy of one of his ebooks out there, simply post a comment on the blog and leave your email address. He’ll be giving away one free copy of each of his books so post about your bills, your cat, how the deforestation of South America is destroying the world-

B: Shut up about that!

A: Or how much of a fucking bitch Brim is. But hurry, it ends on Friday, January 27th at midnight.

1 comment:

  1. First post. Thanks for the great interview! - Jason


    Perfect Me

    Zombie Killa

    Hurricane Regina

    Radar Love