Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 38: Among the Stacks with Jason White


Jason White is one super cool dude... and someone that I am very excited wanted to come back and sit down with me for a second interview.  If you have not read anything from this man yet, you really need to.  The word "talented" doesn't even begin to encompass it.  He is also a podcaster, which I should have asked him some questions about (hmm... sounds like Jason and I need to sit down for interview #3, huh?)... one of my favorite podcasters, to be precise.  I download his stuff to my iPod and listen to it when I go out walking.  I find him so interesting and entertaining, that it is HIM that motivates me to walk "just a few more blocks."


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Jason!  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Jason White:
Thank you, Meghan!  It's always a pleasure.  I've been really busy lately with three different podcasts and raising my little man, who can be a handful.  He's a high-functioning autistic four-year-old.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are you outside of writing?

Jason White:
Serial kille... I... uh... I mean to say that I work full time at a plastics factory.  I'm an extrusion operator.  We basically melt plastic pellets we call resin and turn it into plastic sheeting.  I'm also a husband and a father.  I also love podcasting and interviewing other horror writers.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Jason White:
My family doesn't really read my work.  My father is too immersed into his religion.  He thinks that I'm going to burn in hell for the music I listen to and the books I read.  I have given him some copies of my books, but I doubt he's read them.  My mother cringes at the stuff I write.  She's a softy.  And, in truth, I don't think I'd be all that comfortable having them read my stuff.  It's not for them, really.  And sometimes, it's about them. *laughs*
            My wife used to read my stuff, but she's not really into the dark things I enjoy writing, so she doesn't as much anymore.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Jason White:
I used to think that it was a gift. There’s nothing like feeling as though you nailed something you were trying to say when all the work that goes into writing a story is finally done. These days, however, it feels more like a curse. A curse because I like writing. I love creating worlds and characters. But time is becoming more and more restricted with the podcasts and I end up sacrificing the writing to either that or for work, or for family. It has become a lot more difficult despite my desire to get behind the keyboard and pound out words.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Jason White:
I’ve always been emotional. Emotions are what drives me to write, be it anger, sadness, or even happiness. I’ve also always had difficulty identifying with other people, so I was alone without friends for a good part of my childhood. Despite my inability to relate to other people, I have always been very good at figuring people out, or figuring out what makes them tick.  Whether wrong or right in my judgements, I’ve come to realize that this was instrumental in creating realistic characters when I decided to take up the pen and write fiction.
            When I was a kid, I was also utterly terrified of anything that defied what was perceived by me as concrete reality until I was about nine or ten years old. The Incredible Hulk television series freaked me the hell out, for example *laughs*. When I got over those fears, I found myself obsessed with the fantastique, so to speak. I discovered Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, Stephen King, and Edgar Allan Poe, and my world never looked the same.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Jason White:
I once stumbled upon the picture of Chris Farely’s dead body while researching drug overdose for a story. While not completely in tune with the question, it was a very strange experience for me to see that picture. I wasn’t expecting it and it disturbed me for months.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Jason White:
Oh my god! It’s always the middle for me. I always know how a story starts and most of the time know how it’s going to end. It’s that goddamned middle part, the connecting the dots, that can drive me insane! *laughs*

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you outline?  Do you start with characters or plot?  Do you just sit down and start writing?  What works best for you?

Jason White:
At the beginning, I always start without any outline. For me it usually begins with an image or a ‘what if?’ scenario. With it usually comes an idea of who and what I’m going to be writing about. Because of that horrible middle part I described in the previous question, I tend to write bullet-point outline sometime during the second act to help me figure things out until the end of the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Jason White:
This is sometimes why I struggle with the middle. Characters rarely do what I want them to, and so things, including the end of the story, is always altering. It can be unnerving.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Jason White:
I look to the people who inspire me. I am in no way prolific. I am the complete opposite, in fact. But I wish to be prolific. So, I have a list of authors that I admire for not only their writing, but their prolific output. Writers like Stephen King, Mark Allan Gunnells, Caitlin Kiernan, Laird Barron, and Tim Curran. I also think of writers I love like Mercedes M. Yardley, who is probably busier in real life than I am, and still produces fantastic work.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you an avid reader?

Jason White:
I am indeed.  Although, not as much as I'd like these days.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Jason White:
I read every genre. I’ve even read some romance, though I’d say that that is the genre I’ve read the least of. If the story and characters are good, and the prose is like cold water on a hot day, I’m in for the long term.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Jason White:
I love reading the book, catching the movie adaptation, then comparing the two.  I've done this with great joy since my adolescence.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Jason White:
My hands are stained with blood I cannot wash off.  So, yes.  I indeed have.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Jason White:
No. I don’t, actually. The good ones, anyway. The bad guys, or perhaps I should say, the assholes, I love to make suffer. But not the good-hearted characters.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that you've ever come up with?

Jason White:
In my novel, The Haunted Country, I wanted to challenge the Darwinian theory of Survival of the Fittest in a post-apocalyptic setting. So I created Charlie and Cindy. Charlie is a fifteen-year-old boy, and Cindy is his twelve-year-old sister who is also severely mentally handicapped. I wondered how and even if a couple of kids like that could survive and what would it take for them to survive. That novel took me into some dark places.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best piece of feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Jason White:
The worst was a rejection from a publication situated in Australia that told me that I was perhaps better suited to selling shoes than writing.  That one hurt.  It was mean-hearted and unnecessary.
            The best I got was another rejection from one of the largest genre literary agencies around.  It was a two-page rejection that basically told me that I was a good writer, but laid out some areas where I needed to improve.  I took that advice, bought and read the books he suggested, and moved on.
The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to you?

Jason White:
I love the people who read my stories and listen to my podcasts.  They make it all worthwhile.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Jason White:
That is a great question. I think that I would love to play around with a George R. R. Martin character a little. I would take Tyrion from the Song of Ice and Fire series, not really the HBO version. We would drink wine and exchange sarcasms and irony. It would be a blast.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Jason White:
That’s a tough one. I’m not sure I could do that. I’d be too frightened of fucking it all up *laughs*. But if I could, I would write the next Song of Ice and Fire book. I love that series.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Jason White:
I’ve been meaning to collaborate with Michael Schutz who co-hosts The Darkness Dwells Podcast with me, but we never seem to get it going. Other than him, I’d love to collaborate with Mark Allan Gunnells or Tim Curran.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Jason White:
You can find my short story, Dweller Messiah, in the upcoming C.H.U.D. Lives Tribute anthology, coming out early 2018. I’m real proud of this one as C.H.U.D. has always been a favorite 80s horror movie of mine. I’ve seen it countless time. And the table of contents is mind-blowing!
            You can also catch my short story, House of Dandridge, in the Group Hex Vol. 2 anthology, which is was just released! It also has one heck of a lineup of fantastic writers that I’m really excited to be a part of.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (STaLKeR links.)

Jason White:
You can friend me on Facebook - I'm usually lurking around there somewhere.  Search for darkfiction74 in Facebook's search bar and you'll find me with no problem.  You can also catch me on the main podcast I produce, The Darkness Dwells Podcast.  I'm also on Twitter.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview or the last?

Jason White:
A BIG thank you to everyone who enjoys the things I put out there.  I love you guys!


About the author:
Jason White is a writer and podcaster from the frozen lands of Ontario, Canada.  He has interviewed many writers for The Darkness Dwells Podcast, such as Laird Barron and Ramsey CampbellJohn Langan, and John Palisano.  His novel, The Haunted Country, is available on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere good fiction is sold online.  He has also published 18 short stories in various magazines and anthologies.

 

About the books:
Charlie and his sister, Cindy, are going to die.
            Charlie knows this deep inside his bones.
            The World has become a dark and cold place where the dead have risen and taken over the world.  But they're not the worst threat.  With a small number of the living stumbling around to survive, humanity's biggest problem is itself.  Since the end of civilisation, people have tried to kill or enslave the brother and sister.  Everyone who's tried to take care of them since the dead started rising has died.  They've died horribly.
            It only makes sense that Charlie's and Cindy's number will soon be up, as well.  If the dead don't get them, the living surely will.
            They should already be dead.
            Charlie is only fifteen.  His sister, who's severely mentally handicapped, is twelve.  Together they can barely survive other survivors.  Enter Grant, a gun wielding badass who accidentally saves their lives and then wants nothing to do with them.  A reluctant hero, he eventually decides to take the brother and sister under his wing.  Is he enough to take them where they can live free of the ever hungry dead and other, psychotic survivors?  Or will he join the others who've tried to help only to end up food for the dead?

From the twisted mind of new horror writer, Jason White, comes 3 short stories.
            In "Room 118," a young man just graduated from university finds himself working nights as a janitor at his hometown's gymnasium.  He works with a cast of weird characters and a room everyone's obsessed about.
            In "Chemical Burn," Alex accidentally creates a new drug by mixing chemicals at work.  He shares it with his co-workers, but when he discovers how dangerous the drug is, will he be strong enough to overcome its hallucinatory and addictive effects?
            In "Divorce & the Black Cat," Nick's wife wants a divorce, but he is still in love with her.  He's also been unable to control his behavior lately.  It's as though someone or something is taking control of his mind, leaving him a helpless passenger to a life that is going completely insane.
            Enter these strange and eldritch worlds populated with people you will care about and creatures that will make your skin crawl.  Maybe you will find something of yourself breathing within...

From the twisted mind of Jason White are nine previously uncollected stories of isolation, desperation, horror absolute, and despair.  Within these pages you will meet a man who becomes obsessed with a room that whoever enters does not come back out; a woman learns from a demon how to protect herself from the man who's been hunting her; a man who has lost his family to a house fire finds that there are creatures living inside the ruins of what was once his home.  Within you will also find a young couple who see a poster advertising a heavy metal concert and decide to go, but find that the musicians and fans are from the deepest pits of Hell; a woman suffering the loss of her husband in the Afghanistan war finds that her family cottage is haunted with a darkness that looks all too familiar to her own soul; a young janitor creates a new drug by accidentally mixing cleaning chemicals, and when he goes to destroy it, his fellow users are not so enthusiastic to get clean.

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