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. What is your age?
Hi, Fiona. Thank you for inviting me. My name is Jason Bradley. My nom de plume is Jason Huffman-Black and I’m 38 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, GA but now reside on Ft Worth, TX.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
While I have a degree in psych, I am an editor by trade. My partner and I live together and co-parent with our daughter’s mother. Our daughter is a wonderful, active sixteen-year-old girl, and I feel like I learn something new every day.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve cut down on my workload and plan to dive back into writing. Until recently, I had allowed myself to become overextended as far as work, which gave me no time to write. At the moment, I’m rereading half-done manuscripts in order to choose a project to dive back into.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Since childhood, I’ve had a dissociative disorder. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t go into my head and make up stories. I would read books and construct my own unique character and add them to the story, then create new tales. As an adult, I started writing my own stories. It began with online role-playing, but then advanced to a writers group that gave assignments every few weeks.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s hard. I know logically that I’m a writer, but I still think I consider myself more of “a person that wrote a book” than a writer. I’ll have to work on that.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first short story was written for the Goodreads MM Romance Group during one of their writing events. It was inspired by a picture prompt and my love for BDSM. It’s a freebie that can be downloaded here:
Snakes Among Sweet Flowers is my one and only published novel. I was inspired as I daydreamed while driving alone. I came up with the first scene, wrote it, and then just kept writing until it was finished. It’s available through Dreamspinner Press.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title for Snakes Among Sweet Flowers came from Cam’s back tattoo. Cam has seen the underbelly of life and is cynical because of it. His tattoo says “snakes among sweet flowers do creep,” which comes from the saying: Look before you leap, snakes among sweet flowers do creep.
The title also represents quite well the situation Cam finds himself in. He’s an ex-con planning to run a scam in a small town full of welcoming friendly people.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I have a hard time planning out my books. I write where the story leads me. So, it becomes hard when the story stops leading for some reason since I don’t have a planned course for the story to take.
My writing is straightforward and definitely not flowery. Fully developed side characters are very important to me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Snakes is set in a fictional small town in North Georgia. (There is a town by that name in basically the same place, but otherwise, nothing about my town is based on the reality of that location.) I grew up in that part of the state, and even if I couldn’t name the person a character was modeled after, they are still authentic to my experiences. I think most of the characters have parts of me in them. I borrowed qualities and quirks from those I’m close to, but I tend to mix them up so that no character is based completely on one person.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, I didn’t have to travel to write the novel. I used my previous experiences. I’m not much of a traveler, so that’s for the best.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
AngstyG (http://angstyg.com/) did the cover for Snakes Among Sweet Flowers, and I cannot praise her enough. The cover model had absolutely no tattoos before she started work on him. She designed the back tattoo from my description alone. Amazing!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Oh definitely! This book is all about change. How it’s possible, how it happens when least expected, how painful it can be. It’s also about acceptance and being proud of who you are.
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?
Oh no! The favorite author question! LOL! There are so many authors I love. I can’t imagine only choosing one and saying THIS is my favorite. But! I will strive to name a few that I adore.
New author love: I had the pleasure to do editing work for Life at the Death House by Sean Kerr. It will make you ugly cry, but anyone that can pull that response from me is talented! The story is very solid too.
Another is The Moth and Moon by Glenn Quigley. Beautifully written. I would read this author’s grocery list.
Old author love: (not old authors, per se.) Here is a list of some of the authors I consider must-reads, from a variety of genres.
Sharon Kay Penman, Mary Renault, Neil Gaiman, Mickie B Ashling, Storm Constantine, Eric Arvin, J Scott Coatsworth…I could go on and on.
What strikes me about their work? Hmm… Their ability to pull me into the story and keep me there, to spark my imagination and keep me thinking about their book far after I am finished.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I had a wonderful second family within the Goodreads MM Romance Group who cheered me on. And a wonderful group of friends who beta-read for me. I couldn’t ask for a better support team.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
My writing? Probably not a full-time profession. I am a slow-but-steady writer who I don’t think could be prolific enough to make it my singular career. But! Paired with helping other writers as an editor through Superior Author Services, I have definitely made my career based on writing. And it’s the best job in the world. I get paid to read.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Since I am doing a reread of Snakes at the moment, this is a very relevant question. I have a scene in the book that is in a side character’s POV. I had some readers who didn’t like that at all. But rereading, I still think I would keep it the way it is. There is, however, some editing I would do. And I still feel some of the events in the final third of the book need tweaking. Maybe someday.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that beta readers are priceless. That getting stuck while two-thirds of the way through the book sucks. I’ve learned that I can write a long piece.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Cam would be played by Dawid Auguscik.
While writing, I found a picture of a random guy as my representation of Jackson. But if I had to pick an actor for him, maybe Chris Evans?
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t listen to anyone who says you have to use any certain method for writing. Do what works. Listen to your beta readers and your editors, but also remember that it’s your book. Do what makes you happy. Write what makes you happy. J
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you! Thank you for reading. Even if you don’t like it. Even if you gave a bad review. Just thank you for reading.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
As mentioned before, I am actually rereading Snakes Among Sweet Flowers. I also have the honor of editing a hot upcoming BDSM book from Mickie B Ashling, and I’m beta reading for the talented JP Jackson.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Hmm… No. But I do know that The Phantom Tollbooth is one of my favorite young reads. In fact, I read it with my daughter and loved it just as much as an adult.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love sarcastic humor. Right now, I’m rewatching one of my fave comedic animated series. The Venture Brothers.
What makes me cry? Hmm… nostalgic scenarios…um… This is hard. My big cry movies are The Green Mile and Forrest Gump.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Richard III, maybe? Alexander the Great? King John? Pope Joan? I have lots of questions and the best way to get answers is to go to the source. J
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to cook and bake. I also collect antique books and other antique oddities. I love video games and also anime and animated shows.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now, I’m rewatching The Venture Brothers. I’m following My Hero Academia and slowly working my way through all the Gundam shows/movies. I always plan on watching movies, but it never seems to happen.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Steak, I guess, is my favorite food. Although really, it changes with the day. Right now, I am on a Thai green curry kick. Purple is my fave color, but I also love the combo of teal and burnt orange. I like a little of every kind of music. As with food, it changes with the day.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would keep doing all my other activities, and I guess go back to creating stories in my head.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Enjoying the time with my partner and my daughter. J
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
You can find me at any of these locations.
Superior Author Services: https://www.superiorauthorservices.com/
Here is my author bio page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2379613-jason-bradley