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Jason spends his days writing, but it’s mostly drafting legal memoranda as a civil litigator in New Bedford, MA–not exactly a venue conducive to creativity. But during his lunch breaks and after hours, you can often find him at one of the area’s charming coffee shops, huddled over an unadulterated iced coffee with a pen and paper in hand (somewhat old-school in his methods). Hopefully, when you see him, the pen’s moving, and he hasn’t dozed off.
What’s it like being a civil litigator?
Hmm . . . let’s just say I’d rather be writing. I guess like any job, it has its highs and lows. Specializing in civil litigation rather than a specific area of practice, we take cases to trial—all types of cases. So remember cramming for exams? Preparing cases is often like that, on repeat, a never-ending cycle, spiraling downward through Dante’s circles of Hell (though some would argue us lawyers stop at a reserved location on Level 8). But we’ve helped out some very deserving clients, fought some good fights, which in themselves are rewarding.
I have read that you are a dog lover. Do you trust people who are not dog people? What do you think of people your dog doesn’t like?
You’re either a dog lover or you’re wrong. I don’t trust dog haters, but then again, I don’t trust anyone. Especially not those cat people, except the Grumpy Cat people. Okay, honestly? I trust all animals . . . and some people . . . and that street peddler who sold me the Rolex that turned my wrist green. Yeah, I trust him. But not giraffes. Their necks are unreasonably long.
Have you always enjoyed horror and dark fiction?
Yes. But Jaws scared the piss out of me. I can’t step in a puddle without thinking a 12 ton shark is going to emerge from its “depths” and devour me. Thanks Jaws. Thank you so much for that. F-ing stupid sharks.
What is the first book you read in these genres?
I remember my babysitter who I thought as perfect as melted marshmallows on hot chocolate when the cold is enough to blister your ass cheeks through Christmas Story-type bundling up telling us all those campfire-type horror tales, like that dude with a hook for a hand too stupid to try to open the car door with his non-hooked hand while stupider teenagers refuse to turn the key in the ignition and drive the f#*k out of there . . . I forgot where I was. Oh yeah, this babysitter then gave me a book with those stories in it. From there, it was nothing but horror. I picked up every “Choose Your Own Adventure” book and somehow always managed to be chain-sawed in some dark hallway by some rather misunderstood psycho killer within twenty pages. Then, I graduated to King’s Skeleton Crew. The Mist remains one of my favorite short stories to this day.
If I took Stephen King out of the picture, what other authors would you like to collaborate with?
I’m really enjoying all the modern horror I’ve been reading since I broadened my horizons to e-books (always technologically behind several curves). Greg Gifune, Tim Curran, and William Meikle (DarkFuse staples) all have such talent for atmosphere and mood that they leave me in awe. I believe my strengths are in plot construction and dialogue (but I am always working to better my craft). I would love the opportunity to collaborate with these authors. Jonathan Janz and the Samhain authors are producing some high-paced, in-your-face horror that I thoroughly enjoy, too. And then there’s Kealan Patrick Burke, whose first name I have difficultly spelling and whose work not only stands out for its exceptional writing, but also for the portfolio of covers he has created for himself and other authors. If I self-publish anything, he’s the first person I will contact for cover art. But really, I would collaborate with anyone having a passion for horror and the talent to write it, big or small.
What authors have inspired you?
Definitely can’t take King out of the equation here. I grew up reading his work, and for a time, he was the only author I read other than what was assigned in school (where I fell in love with Vonnegut’s work). Reviewers have equated my first novel to Joe Hill and David Wong, and I thank them for it! But the truth is that I began What Hides Within before I knew who they were. King, Barker, Lovecraft, and Poe: those were my literary inspirations. But I’m not anything like them because one must also account for my film muses: Carpenter, Raimi, Corman and the various scriptwriters for Tales from (a) the Crypt and (b) the Darkside. I love me some cheese with my wine . . . or some filet mignon with my Faygo.
Alright, let’s move on to “What Hides Within”. I’ll try to keep things unspoiler-y.
Do you like spiders? What gave you the idea for a talking alien spider type thing in someone’s head?
I do like spiders. In fact, I’m fascinated by them. Is that weird? They say truth is stranger than fiction. Well, the idea for WHW came from fact: spiders have been found living in people’s ears. If you don’t believe me, then prepare to be disgusted –http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08…
Anyway, that concept alone doesn’t make for much of a story. Make that spider a manipulative little bitch named Chester, and the fun (I hope) begins.
The Nephilim? Where did you come up with that idea? Did you do much bible reading when you were a kid?
Isn’t religion one of those taboo topics to bring up at dinner parties? Do people go to “dinner parties?” God, I’m so lonely… ahem… I mean, uh, I’ve always been fascinated by religion and its many denominations. I didn’t do much Bible reading as a kid, but I did study it in college from both literary and theological standpoints. The differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament are particularly interesting, and the Nephilim are barely touched upon in either book. But they’re in there, and they receive further treatment in ancient religious works, such as the Book of Enoch, that are generally not considered canonical. The treatment I give them isn’t found anywhere else: bizarre, unabashed, and wholly deviant. My mother is not proud of her little boy. I’ll let her get back to her softcore porn romance novels with hairless men on their covers.
I really liked the character of Victoria in WHW. Will we be hearing more from or about her?
I really liked Victoria, too. I have quite the soft spot for her, actually. She’s the only one I never considered murdering, and if that ain’t love, I don’t know what is! Whether her story makes it to paper depends on how much time to write my future holds. If I win the lottery, definitely. There are so many stories floating around in the vast space between my oversized skull and tiny man brain and so little time to express them. Anyone up for dictation? I told you I was technologically defunct.
What do you have in the works now, Jason?
I have started many things. I have finished a few. Several short stories should be published by the end of this year. For novels, I have two horror/psychological thrillers and a science fiction thriller I am shopping to publishers. I have started another novel, a horror/dark comedy, dangerously first person and bound to offend. I have no idea where I am going with it, letting the story kind of craft itself, where it will probably find its way into the shitter. But you know what they say: one man’s shit is another man’s . . . nope it’s always shit. Back to the drawing board.