Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Interview with author C.A. Jackson


Thank you for taking the time to interview with us. C.A.'s newest release is The Chosen, which came out in July 2008.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

A part of me has always wanted to write. My first experience with writing came in high school when in English class we were asked to write a book report. Instead of writing the report, I decided to do soemthing different and write a 4 page short story and submit that instead. For my effort I got top marks and was embarrassed infront og the classas our english teacher decided to make a class announcement about my venture. Needless to say I didn’t write anything more after that, until 1989 when I sat down and wrote 26 short stories. In 1989 is when I knew I wanted to write.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

From the first draft of The Chosen that I rewrote back in 1994 til 2008 was 14 years. But it was much longer than that.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Clive Barker, Stephen King, H.P.Lovecraft, E.A. Poe.

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

I would say that after reading Misery by Stephen king, I knew that I wanted to do the same, although not exactly the same, if you get what I mean.

5. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

It takes me some months to gather ideas from what I see when I travelling.

6. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

I think it is a little of both. Personally I would like to think that real books are alive as they always were, but I know that is not true, when with how everything is readily available today on the I-Net, it does make it a lot easier for readers to download a book to their Palm PC.

7. How long does it take for you to write books?

The Chosen took me 9 months to write. So far, Bloodline of Darkness has taken me 10 years. Of course, I haven't been writing it the whole time, but for a number of years I put Bloodline on the back-burner while I lived in the real world, you know the scenario. Starving artist needs a real job to pay the real world bills, and somewhere along the line I became a work-a-holic and forgot about writing for a long time. FAR too long.

8. Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?

I would like to say that there is a part of me in each character. That's not to say that I am like Jamiesonn, where I am scheming to take over the world! But, some of his traits are from my own deep flaws.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 years? If not then what?

After Bloodline of Darkness then Prophecy's End, I believe that I am going to venture into films and produce a sci-fi/fantasy short. I have wrote several different genres in my time, such as fantasy, futuristic, drama. I stay clear of comedy and romance though. I tried those genres once and I discovered that I cant write those.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

There are probably a lot of new writers out there who have no idea where to start, but, if you are an aspiring writer looking to get your first work out there, start with a good letter to an agent or publisher. That is your starting point. A good letter with the synopsis of your novel will get the attention of the agent or publisher, even if the response is a polite “No thank you”. Learn by my example. It took 14 years from the main draft of The Chosen to now to get published, which shows that it is worth the wait. That is not to say that it will take 14 years for you to get published! I am saying this as I left mine sitting on the back-burner until I was ready. Yes, you will get rejection letters, or even worse yet, no reply at all. Don’t worry about that as it will happen. Those rejection slips only tell you that you are on the right (write) track! Okay, now that you have your email draft ready to go out to agents/publishers, make sure you do your homework, by checking out what genres they represent. If it is unclear on their web if they are accepting new clients, don’t be afraid to ask! Make a mental note on some of the authors they represent. Also, if you come across an agent or publisher that charges a fee of any kind, stay away from those. They are predators who will take your money and you will never hear from them again. I don’t have to ramble on about this topic as there are dozens of websites about this. But what I will say in concluding is this: If you have the ability to write, you have a gift. Like any skill, it is a talent that should be nurtured and polished. Find your niche, and keep on writing, no matter what wanna-be’s may tell you.

11. What do you do when preparing to write a story?

I sit and stare at the laptop.. No, I try and get an idea from my own experience and put that into a character. When I get stuck, I work around it. Like, in Bloodline, the main character, Alex, was in an elevator with an ever present darkness growing around him… and there he sat for a year as I had no inspriation on where to take the plot. So as I sat infront of my lappie recently, I came up with this idea, "Dream sequence". Okay, that works! He wakes up and finds himself in the elevator.. I will not sday what happens next, but I will say that in this next book, Illusion IS reality..

12. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

Sometimes I base a character on a mixture of people I have known in my life or from the profiles of tyrants of history. Other times I will develop a character from scratch.

13. What is your favorite part of writing?

Getting involved in the story. I am very a very visual person, so I write exactly what I see. I never see what is infront of me, like the PC or whatever else. That for me is the favorite part, and seeing exactly where I am taking the story.

14. Do you have a specific schedule in which you write?

No. I write when I get inspired.

15. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

I am writing the second book, Bloodline of Darkness, and I have a book in the pipeline that is non-fiction, which is based on my journeys here in Russia.

16. Are you ever influenced by something you see and think, that would go great in a book?

Well without telling to much, but when I went on a day trip to a city called Chapayevsk, I had been told about the state of this city, and you can bet that my imagination went on a field trip! From the legends I had been told, Chapayevsk resembled the town Silent Hill, so you can imagine for a second that I was expecting to see flesh-eating zombies from beyond the grave, and paint ascending into the sky, but no such luck. No flesah eating zombies and no dudes wielding a 20-foot steak knife! But, the city of Chapayevsk is really run down, to the point where they want to relocate everyone and demolish the town, and that is enough to let my imagination run riot!

17. Did it take a lot of rejections for you to finally get published or was it pretty easy for you?

Yes. When I sent out a query letter, I got 51 rejection emails.

18. Do you write your stories out with pencil and paper first or do you work straight on the computer?

I do it on the lappie (laptop)

19. You just recently were published. How does it make you feel?

To be honest, when The Chosen first came out, my wife and I were going through a lot of turmoil in Sydney, so for a while it was hard to get into the realization that I had been published. It wasn’t until maybe November when I could sit down and take a look at my book and start to feel good about what I had accomplished. Even now, I still look at my book and I am still amazed that it is finally out. Finally! It is a dream come true..

20. Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.

In Bloodline of Darkness, it is set 10 years after The Chosen. Alex has gone through a lot of hardships in the past decade, and now everything he was and knew is nothing more than a distance dream. Before he can understand his otherwise mundane life, he is once again pitted against dark forces that have arisen, only this time the battlefield is his, with visions and dreams so real and frightening that he begins to think he has gone insane. Tanzac has found his way back into the world, and Alex has to relearn everything he once knew, and in doing this he is sent back in time to witness the downfall and destruction of the ancient ones. Only he has the power to stop the forces from arising, but his time is running out.

21. When and where can we purchase your books?

The Chosen can be purchased through Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Chosen-C-Milson/dp/1934475815, and through many other book retailers online.

22. How do you feel about fans doing fan fiction and/or roleplaying on the web based on your or other author's works?

I think a RPG based on The Chosen would be good to see at some point.

23. How has being recognized in public affected your daily life or has it?

Sometimes the celebritism is nice, being known as an author rather than an unpublished author. I do get a lot of looks and stares from people in the street, which, although flattering, can be unnerving. I am a private person and rather introvert. So the thought of doing things like public speaking are as about as thrilling for me as a labotomy. But, I am not going to shun that as it is nice to be seen, which I think everyone likes on some level. I definitely don’t let it go to my head though, and I don’t think I ever could. I am approachable as anyone else would be.

For your chance to win The Chosen, make sure to leave a comment and check back in the comments section after 11 pm EST to see if you won!

5 deadly screams:

Sierra Wolfe said...

Great interview Chris! I enjoyed reading about you and your writing. I'm so sorry your emails wouldn't come through, I don't know why they wouldn't let you through.

Tierney said...

[I would like to say that there is a part of me in each character.]

This is so interesting. I wrote about this. About how I create my characters. In every one of them they possessed a bit about me--flaws, strenghts and even glasses.

I enjoyed reading your interview.

Tierney

tetewa said...

Nice having you here today, I enjoyed the interview!

macbeaner said...

sounds like an interesting book! And what a great interview!

Sarah Mäkelä said...

And the winner is...Macbeaner! Please send The Deadly Vixens an email to thedeadlyvixens@yahoo.com to claim your prize. =)

Thanks for interviewing with us, Chris. It was great. Thank you.