Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
The genre really chose me. A story came to me gradually, from experience leavened with imagination. I write literary fiction because that’s what I love, in fact. I need to explore the questions that occur to me about this strange thing called “life” that we all share. A story seems the most interesting and entertaining way to do it. It is just so much fun and fulfilling at the same time.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
Oh, do I wish I could be a full-time writer! I tried to do that as an actor in a prior life and there were many months I wondered if I would be able to make my mortgage payment. It’s a drag when I have an idea and must put it aside while I work as an interpreter. Keeping a notebook always handy is a must.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Started out as a melon washer in a cantaloupe-packing shed. Worked in a psychiatric hospital with adolescents, a day program for the mentally retarded (excuse me, the mentally challenged!), as a waiter, bartender, proofreader, actor on stage and screen and now interpreter.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Basically, I write whenever I can. I’m an independent contractor, so I have weekends, some mornings, some afternoons, and some whole weekdays. I tend to save evenings for reading and research, although I have to find some time to hone my interpreting skills.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve realized with my first novel that I was trying too hard. I love writers who can turn a phrase, evoke extraordinary images in words (Cormac McCarthy comes to mind). But I’m not Cormac McCarthy or William Faulkner and trying to be them tended to get in the way of the story. I hope I’ve amended that error with my second novel.
What have you written so far?
I’ve written seven full-length plays, a one-act, a children’s story, and two novels. The most recent being And Ye Shall Be As Gods.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
Actually, I kind of do both. I might start with a bit of dialogue, make preliminary notes when some narrative occurs to me. After all the free-associating and letting my imagination go haywire for much too long a time (that’s the fun part!), I’ll knuckle down and try to bring some order to the mess with an outline—or…not.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
Oh, boy, I ran into the same Catch-22 as a writer that I did as an actor: you have to be successful to get an agent, you have to have an agent to be successful; you have to be a celebrated writer to get published (by a conventional publisher), you have to be published up the wahzoo to be considered by a publisher. I write because if I didn’t, I’d put a gun to my head. So, indie’s the way for me.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
And Ye Shall Be As Gods is the story of Jake Kazmareck, and ex-lawyer, ex-teacher, and hopeless idealist who must find the source of his beloved baby sister’s descent into darkness and despair. In that journey, he is assaulted with examples of evil past and present…and must learn from them.
How can you learn more about Jan and purchase the book?