Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name.
My name is Jason Austin.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am from Cleveland, Ohio, born and raised.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a member of the “loving generation”–so glad to have such a special name for it. My parents were married the same year the remaining laws against interracial marriage were struck down. I was born 3 years later. By then they had moved to a small 4-bedroom house in Warrensville Heights. Had the best childhood ever growing up there. There was plenty of fun, sadness, pain and joy to turn out a reasonably healthy kid and we were well taken care of. My parents were both public employees and we always had a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food on the table. Great Christmases and Thanksgivings I remember well. I attended all the public schools until we moved to University Heights when I was 16. I graduated highschool from there after plenty of drama started to take its toll on me. Went to Cuyahoga Community College for a couple years to work on a commercial art degree but never finished. I had been something of a self taught artist since I was about 7, but about 6 months into my college career I got overwhelming bored with drawing. I mean I went from desiring to be the next Stan Lee or Jack Kirby to just…not. What I dreamed of most was being an actor, but switching to any type of drama course, I think, was so terrifying that it never occurred to me as a serious way to go. What I also noticed was a burgeoning interest in writing stories. I mean I could draw them, but now I was really feeling a need to give them real-life experience. It was an interesting feeling, suddenly wanting to create lives and backgrounds and make people laugh and cry and feel like they were standing on the edge of a cliff with words rather than pictures. It was like I had so many more options with the vast array of words at my disposal and I just took to it.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I don’t really have any latest news, not in the sense you might mean. I continue to work on both acting and writing. My last interesting voyage into acting was being an extra on the set of a movie called Whiteboy Rick that had some scenes shot downtown. I played a stripclub patron…got to see real-life boobies for the first time in years.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing—in the sense I believe you mean—in highschool. Wrote my first hardcore short story then. However, I didn’t start my first novel until I was 25.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I really did consider myself a writer from the beginning of that novel. I really did. And the longer it got, the more I felt the label beginning to stick.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I can honestly say the biggest reason I started writing it was because the story wouldn’t stop bugging me. I mean this idea, this plot twist that ended up turning the entire story around, just would not go away. So I was literally left with no choice but to put it down on paper.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
You know I remember coming up with what I thought was the most awesome titles in the history of awesome titles ever…but then I forgot it. I never wrote it down and to this day cannot remember what it was. Anyway, I was doing research on the science surround Dues of Mortality and saw a phrase that was “bills of mortality” I think. The scientist quoted had been talking about the price we pay in our physical nature for being human…or something like that.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
All of it. All of it is challenging. There are rare occasions where the words flow like water, but when the brain decides to temporarily shut off the spigot, it’s maddening. I used to think my worst moments were in relaying action scenes. I write science fiction with all the thrills, chills, and spills to go with it, and I’ve never been in the military or know a lot about the kind of weapons and tactics my characters need to use in order to maintain their credibility. So it’s all research, research, research. But then suddenly I’ll have just as much, if not more trouble, with dialogue. I really have to plant myself in the shoes of these people to know what they’re going to say, really be in the moment. Which is the ultimate escapism short of virtual reality for me. I’ve been young, I’ve been old…strong, weak, male, female, predator and prey. My acting skills come in very handy at these moments. As far as style, I’d have to say I inadvertently developed something of a noir style…at least that what people tell me when I read them my stuff. I think about it and can totally see it. I can almost hear the 1940’s-era private-eye dictating my words line-for-line and it fits perfectly. I also love snark, can’t write without it.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s science fiction/thriller, so…To some degree, it’s based on a lot of people I know, including myself. Smaller supporting characters are fashioned from a specific person, but in large part, everyone is generally an amalgam. The same can be said about the more personal events as well. I can tell you that Xavier Hawkins is a big part me and that Glenda Jameson was mostly Teri Hatcher. Loved me some Teri Hatcher at the time I started writing it.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Nope. That’s what maps and research are for. It mostly happens in Cleveland anyway. And when was the last time you heard of a hardcore sci-fi/thriller happening in Cleveland?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. All photoshop and that commercial art degree attempt coming into play. What I didn’t glean from the internet and the software, I had help from family. The young man on the cover is my nephew, as a matter of fact.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There might be number of messages: advance our spirit before advancing our technology, life can change for the better in a single instant, be good to your momma.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
This is hard to admit, but I don’t read newer stuff to the point of waiting with bated breath on the release of the latest installment. If there was an author that came close to being that for me it would probably be Lee Child. I’m sorry, but Jack Reacher is a magnificent badass. I love how he calculates each of his moves down to the letter without making it just a pile of annoying details. Plus he’s a blues fan and I was partially raised on the stuff he’s been known to reference in the books.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
There was no one who didn’t support me. But then I guess it depends on your definition of support. It’s not like anyone contributed to a Gofundme campaign or anything…or refused to. Only time I ever had people question my ability was during critique sessions and I wouldn’t consider that necessarily unsupportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It’s already a career. I don’t currently have the mansion and fanbase that go along with it, but it’s a part of my career undoubtedly.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Of course I would. I’ve rewritten it so many times over the years that I will always consider it a work in progress until a publisher says “we got you”. There must be a dozen versions of it floating around out there.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
How to write. Can’t put it any more succinctly. I write way better now than I ever have.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Need I say it? Me. But it really would need someone younger at this point. Don’t know who. I’d like him to be biracial as he is in the book though. We still haven’t gotten to a point where we see the vast array of ethnicities or their blends on camera often enough. The list of actresses I’d like to see play Glenda are endless.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Reread, rewrite until that little voice can say, “we’re done” and it doesn’t feel like a lie. I feel like I don’t have to say the “never give up” line; that one has to be obvious by now to anyone who feels the itch.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you love a good—and I mean awesomely good—plot twist, this is the novel for you! There’s not a single line of it that feels like a cheat or something you weren’t told was coming. The “wow” moments are genuine gold. The “holy shit” moments are even better.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading vampire novels mostly. More research.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but it was most likely a Marvel comic or Dr. Seuss.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Fart jokes make me laugh every time, but only when they incorporate the sound of it into a movie or something like that. Oh and that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Hilarious. What makes me cry is a certain Celione Dion song…yes I said Celione Dion. It’s an okay song and I’m not saying which one it is, but it reminds me of my mother and breaks me every time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Stan Lee…because the man is God. I’ve been waiting my whole life for them to be able to make movies based on his creations and now that we have a good 20 years of them, I couldn’t be more overjoyed. I’d want to know what he felt, what he thought at those crucial historic moments he created all those iconic characters. The playground that must be the man’s imagination.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Video games. Sorry for the cliché. I do so despise them.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Need I say it: Marvel movies. I also binge old cartoons and TV shows from my youth on the internet. Can’t wait till they put all the episodes of the Six Million Dollar Man on Netflix…hint, hint.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Pizza, yellow, and 70’s and 80’s.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Act. Being an actor is more of who I am than a writer, it’s just a matter of opportunity.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Freaking the fuck out, are you kidding me? I don’t care what anybody says, more often than not if they were faced with that they’d spend it having the worst nervous breakdown of their entire lives, trying to figure out how to add another 24 hours.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
HERE LIES THE BEST LOVER ANY WOMAN EVER HAD. Even if it’s just some random homeless lady with a Sharpie.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?