Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Looking over there...forever.

For a month, Jason's tractor eluded him. It had been continuously visible, in the only other news item on the front page with our Nestor Maronski story - right under the foul critic's own photo. Posted on election day, but previewed at Bestsellerbound for more than a week, the entire joke fell flat because it was never noticed. So I mentioned it below, in the interview, and voila!...wild goose chase.

But now, our featured author JASON MCINTYRE

That's a Richard Widmark stare. Now I know why the ladies have been thrashing at me to hurry this post. Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra both tried to emulate it, but kept their eyes more open. It might have originated with Kirk Douglas, but Widmark nailed it. Hollywood loved it so much, it seemed a requirement - leading men, put your soul into your eyes - well, there's Jason, by giffy.

I've gotten a dozen femails from my teaser page - "Who IS that guy?"  Even my wife; walking past as I diddle with the images in the post just now - "It's about time," she mutters. But, he's painfully shy, I'm told.  He even scheduled the birth of his daughter to derail the timing on this post....his new daughter is so beautiful, I relented to wait but didn't have to.

Me, jealous of whose looks my wife admires? Hell no. Ask me if I'm jealous of his writing...go ahead. I'll admit that. Almost with pride.

Taking time from his busy life: editing, designing, blogging, coaching swim teams, freestyle rock climbing, coloring with his son and singing songs while they fight over the color red...Jason types a few stories and teaches me how it should be done. I play with sparklers in my tales. Jason is firing repeated aerial bombs, and the ground shakes, moments after you are blinded by the text.

If there is an omnipresent, over-arching theme to describe this fellow, I would pick a single word: LIGHT.
He plays with light in your mind, changing single-odd words into something jarringly visual. That's the reason he's perfected the Richard Widmark jab with the eyes; slightly closed. He's modifying how they shine out from his thoughts, or you might be burned with a glance.

Oh COME ON! Some of you are musing.
Ok. Silly. Look at this; the trailer for his book 'On the Gathering Storm.'

I was so confident of that statement in blue, that I didn't even view the trailer until I posted the link here. Jason is that obvious, and damn, he even used the word himself in his own teaser, amid the flash of images which evoke the same word.

Jason doesn't think like you do, or I do. He can't write, without bending light. He is a graphic designer/commercial artist deep inside; and he's smart enough to let that shine. Reading him, is an experience similar to fireworks. It is explained, somewhat, in my review of the book. His style, in 'Storm', is close to the way Eddie Izzard does comedy; a stream of conciousness. But, I would add, with a streak of absurdism mixed in. You find yourself somewhere in time with his character, Hannah, and her thoughts seem to have nothing to do with .... anything. Don't be fooled. Every minute detail relates to the whole.

"But," you are wondering, "you aren't being very funny about him."
"That takes a bit of familiarity," I reply.
'On the Gathering Storm,' his first novel, and the Nestor Maronski story on Bestsellerbound; those are the only two points of reference that I have for him.  Yet.
Well...discounting the fact that he adores the funny things his son might say. (I'm dying to know who Kevin is.) He Tweets those wonderful, sweet kid-mutterings, and wrote a bit of the same humor into the Maronski text, with the cute, three year-old daughter of a character. "Outtadabed! OUTTADABED!"

Yes, he is the second half of the Nestor Maronski incident. From that event, I can assure you, Jason has a wicked humor, and is very open. Maria Savva says that was a great deal of fun for her. Jason talks about it a bit, in his interview. Before we get to that, however, you deserve to know that he has written more than a dozen short stories; blogs at every whim; wrote three other novels...let's get you updated....

'Thalo Blue' is available now after a groundbreaking run as a web-serial. 'On The Gathering Storm' is breaking records for the voice artist, Jeffrey Kafer, it is now an audio book. Jason likes to be ahead of the curve. 'Shed' is also storming the web with outstanding download stats. There couldn't be a better time to grab something by this author, and discover why Indie books are becomming the first choice for readers all over the world.

Here are Jason's collected works, lined up. (and you can find them all at this link) Those images are not in order....

If you've not visited his website yet, please do so, and read this post, Jason teaches what he so easily demonstrates. While you are there, look over the rave reviews being posted. He has an enthusiastic following, many of whom love the word 'weird' when they speak of Mr. McIntyre, and those are other authors saying that. His wife will call him weird, and understand it better than any of us. But, she would also tell you that, though he will almost never dance with her, when he does, he sings in her ear.
Yes, ladies...her guy matches those eyes.

His infant daughter decided to take a nap, so he snuck those moments to answer a few questions... Grab some coffee - this is great.

You count things, compulsively. Don’t you?  14    77     943    2       244
Well, I don’t know as I count things in an obsessive way, but I do have a strange draw to numbers, sequences of them, how they add up and reveal patterns. I use a lot of that in my writing and more all the time. I think we are tied to math, as humans. The need to explain things pulls and pushes us towards the numbers, in all things. Astronomy, history, geometry. Literature is the only art form that doesn’t rely on them. I guess I feel a responsibility to pull them in somehow.

How many nicknames does your son have?
Ha! A LOT! His real go-to name is Squeaky, derived from Squeaks which is because, as a newborn, he, well, squeaked.  For consistency, my new baby daughter goes by either Sneaks or Cheeks. Variations, my goodness, where to begin? Squeaky McGee is a popular one for my older boy. Cheeky Monkey for the daughter. They change from week to week. My wife and I have names for everything in our lives. (Man! Did I nail that analysis, or what!)

Your writing for the Nestor incident is markedly different from ‘On the Gathering Storm’. Which is closest to your natural style?
The style used for ‘On The Gathering Storm’ is closer to my natural voice. I worked with the incomparable Maria Savva on the Nestor Incident and I think, to a degree, I mirrored a bit of what I was reading in her voice. It’s not really method (and I hate that word) but I do have a pattern where I re-read what I wrote yesterday a couple of times to get the rhythm of its voice engrained back into my head. When writing Nestor with Maria, I did the same...and, of course, my re-reads were of Maria’s work from the day before, not my own. I’m like cottage cheese that way: very malleable. I’m a sucker for good advertising. My kids will be able to get whatever they want from me!

Your work as a graphic designer is evident in your writing. Are you still very busy, as a designer?
My day job involves managing bigger Communications and web projects. We don’t always have the proper budget to keep on top of the associated design needs so I end up doing a lot of that. I also have a side business as a designer where I continue to work for clients to get their ideas represented in visual form, whether it’s for ads or websites or other creative. As you can imagine, I’m extremely busy.

You sit down and draw with your son a lot, don’t you?
You know, Joel, when he was born, I went out and bought art sets and markers and all kinds of paper. I was so excited for that exact thing: drawing with my boy. He’s just two now so we’ve yet to really get into it, but I’m itching. We have gotten crayons and paper out a couple of times but he loses interest in two or three minutes. I usually end up sketching cats and puppies and things to make him laugh. I say “What should I draw?” and he’ll point to a kitchen counter or a cup. In those instances, he’s usually pretty underwhelmed with the result.

Your family is growing again, quite soon? Boy or Girl?
We are so fortunate to welcome a baby girl over this last weekend. She is doing well and so is her mum.

You have written a ton of short fiction. Is that a cleaner format – compared to writing a novel?
So much! I like writing a short story, 2,000 words, or even 8 or 9,000 because you can immerse yourself in it but don’t have to give your heart to it for weeks or months. It’s getting harder for me to write 150,000 words. You’ll notice that ‘On The Gathering Storm’ is just around 70,000 or so. It’s a deep read but not a lengthy one. My life is getting more fragmented and I have less time to read so I end up choosing shorter books. Inevitably, I seem to write shorter ones too.

Plus, in long fiction, you may have a story element or character arc that doesn’t see its payoff for 50,000 words. As a reader, it might be a couple of days to get to it, long enough for it to stew in your subconscious and have some meaning. As the writer, 50K can mean a month of distance from the first kernel of thought to the payoff. In reality, I may have been committed to a mental institution in that span of time and may never be able to see how it turns out.

Are you missing a right ear? We can’t tell from your posted pics.
I talked on the phone with my wife when we were courting, always on the right side. I had to get that ear surgically closed because it became very finely tuned to only her voice. The chores would get done and the garbage would be taken out but a strange, female-sounding tinnitus developed only in that side. The procedure what quite simple. Think of stuffing insulation into an old fireplace chimney. I hear almost nothing on my right side and the lobe has turned to leather. That’s where you can stand if you want to talk about me and not have me listen in.

Who is the one literary figure you would love to hand your books to?
Jeffrey Eugenides. I would want to know what this particular, living Pulitzer winner would say and to see if I could raise his eyebrows while reading - even once.

Are you involved in the endless agent-chase that consumes so many new authors?
I simply don’t have time for it. I’ve seen marginal success in e-format in a self-published venue and have had numerous folks suggest to me particular agents that might be interested. I’ve looked into some but have not queried for more than two years. I have so little time and would prefer to spend what little I do have in exploring new written worlds that I create for myself and the readers who come along. Plus, I have little interest in sanitizing or streamlining my work for a traditional audience which many publishers wish to do.

Light in motion. That’s a common visual theme for you. You even mention it, almost in passing in Hannah’s story – with her photography work. Can you define why?
I’m a visual guy. I even love how words look on a page and I pay attention to the size and spacing of paragraphs, where quotations marks fall and all of that. It is almost unconscious how I put the light movement into Hannah’s story -- at least at first. As I re-read early parts, I noticed it too, and began to play it up, using it as a motif tangentially to her love of photography, something I share with her. My upcoming novel, THALO BLUE has another young artist at its center. He is a painter and is obsessed with colour. So much so, it actually manifests itself for him physiologically.

One of your readers said she almost felt like calling you a liar. I rolled at that, but understood it. She reviewed ‘The Night Walk Men.’ Can you tell why she would say such an odd thing about you?
Hmmm. I must go and see if I can find that particular review. Would you mind waiting a moment? I’ll grab you a cup of tea while I’m up. ‘Twon’t be but a moment...

Oh yes, I quite liked that review. I don’t take it personally as the narrator of that short is being a bit of a jerk and telling things in a way that makes you think he’s being, at the very least, selective. It was quite intentional. I like stories that mess with the reader’s attention, aptitude and trust. My hope with the entire ‘Night Walk Men’ series of books (forthcoming) is to take readers on a ride they enjoy but have them constantly unsure of whether the narration is being truthful. I want it to be packed with surprises. And maybe some dynamite.

“Billy Boy...” You’ve certainly damaged that song for me now. How did you select it, and did you try any others? I would be disturbed to know you sing that with your son. (ha!) Do you?
I’ve never sung that and will not sing it to any children I come into contact. It is ruined for me as well and I apologize to anyone else who’s had it ruined. My mother knew this song from when she was a little girl (though she did not sing it to me, either). When I was writing ‘On The Gathering Storm’ I was visiting her at her house and she was making cherry pies. For some unknown reason she started singing this song, dug up from her subconscious. It transferred over to me, and that afternoon, I sat down to write and the song made it onto the pages. Like I said, I’m a marketer’s dream. I have nine hundred of those blankets with the sleeves that you wear like a backwards coat. I also have a lot of potato peelers and can openers and food processors.

Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?
I have loads of them. Joel, you may not be surprised to learn that a great number of my stories have their beginnings from a dream. I also dream a lot about my stories as I’m writing them. It scares me but also fuels the process as I strive for a meaningful, thrilling end.

I hear Andrew Bird as a very young Lou Reed, but maybe, without all the resignation and anger. Do you agree?
I’ve never heard that comparison but love Lou Reed as well as Andrew. Bird is a musician I’ve only discovered in the last two years and adore every note he’s recorded. I would agree with the assessment of Reed as expressing some resignation and anger. Bird, however, has the resignation only starting to peek through. He looks at the world, with all its quirks and quarks and can’t help but comment on his own way. But without really passing judgement, I think. Some of my writing is similar actually, but I still fight with my inclination to share my opinion. That’s where a fellow like Sparrow, the narrator for ‘The Night Walk Men’, comes in handy. I can mask some of my perhaps distasteful passing of judgement as his and not confess that it may be my own.

Name the one film that stunned you visually.
Only one? Forgive me if two spring to mind. The Shawshank Redemption shows sweeping crane camera movements of this dirty old brick prison yard. Such a breathtaking view of something so horrific for the characters appeals to me as I like the dichotomy. I also appreciate the film’s use of lighting, something you noted in my novel. Blacks against colour. Dark corners grow and receded. We move with characters throw brightly lit areas to darkly mysterious ones. It mirrors the ups and downs of life, the in and out of the shadows we all witness.

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is also a stunning flick because here’s a man who now lives his entire existence in his own mind after a startling accident. As a person who’s writing has been described as ‘heady’ I suppose I can related a bit to the expanses this man travels inside himself. Some of this is tied to why my website is called The Farthest Reaches.

You don’t like clocks?
Hate ‘em. They are constant reminders of what we haven’t finished, what still remains to be done, who we’ve lost, what we don’t know yet. I do not understand why watches and clocks are considered fine gifts to hand out at retirement parties. Would I really want such a ticking thing to remind me of my impending doom?

“Words are powerful things but intent is nine-tenths of their meaning.” Is that yours?
Yes. Did I tweet this? Things occur to me and I used to write them in a notebook or in a text file on a computer. I have a Twitter account now which is a perfect outlet for mental cases like myself. Short, rapid bursts of gunfire. 140 characters? No problem. I’ll give you exactly 140. Just don’t tell me I can’t give you another 140 in an hour.

Whether in a notebook or on Twitter, these little bits of oddness have a way of bobbing to the surface and floating there like a plastic fishing lure until my mind scoops them up and uses them. Sometimes they find their way into stories...or, more likely, they form an idea in a story. Or something for a character to latch onto as a mantra.

That quote, perhaps unintentionally describes poetry – a writing form that lets words become something other than their obvious. Have you attempted poetry? Care to reveal any?
I have written a bit of bad poetry, yes. THALO BLUE, my upcoming novel, showcases some. My best poetry is probably similar to my best prose -- that is, I write it fast and without agonizing over the word choice to much. If I do, it loses itself.

I know where your tractor is!
When Nestor Maronski came to life on BestsellerBound, we recognized it instantly as something unique. Tell us what it was like to trade narrative content with Maria Savva.
It was so satisfying on a number of levels.

One, because it grew organically out of a simple comment that bestselling author, Darcia Helle made. We should write a story about a reviewer who gets what’s coming to him in the most awful way. On a lark, I wrote the intro of the book and was astonished when Maria picked up the torch and kept going.

Two, because it’s the kind of story I don’t write. But I found real joy in learning to write some funny, satirical situations mixed with my usual heavy drama. If there’s something I fall down on it’s probably putting enough humour in my writing, even though I’m, ahem, a wickedly funny individual. There were also some straight ahead action bits that were fun to write. I think every writer, even as an exercise, should write in a different genre than her own.

Three, the fact that we actually gained a small following over the weeks as the story unfolded. People were interested and made comments that spurred us both to keep going. It was exhilarating and I’m toying with doing a larger project as a web serial. Keeping readers up until all hours, keeping nursing mothers from being able to sleep because they’re too scared of my particular brand of monsters, it’s so appealing to me. I really do have issues, don’t I?

I’m terribly interested in writers who put their characters into disturbing, horrible situations. Has any of your family glanced at you with worry, after reading your work?
While supportive, my family has not read one word of my work. I’m not really sure why. I only charge them cover price for the books and require that they purchase multiples if others would like a copy. It’s very odd, but I come from a family of non-readers. People in my family read short magazine articles or the sports section, but they don’t seem to read fiction. As a kid, I was going to the library by myself and filled bookcases at our house with books but others didn’t bother with it.

My wife, however, read an early draft of ‘On The Gathering Storm’ and loved it to pieces. She is incredibly excited that other readers are discovering it. She thinks this indie e-book movement is very exciting because it means more people can share the burden of her husband’s overactive imagination.

Haven’t you noticed the tractor story yet?
I have no idea what you’re talking about Joel. I worry a bit because you’re so astute that you may be referencing something I should know. I think, “I wrote a short story, very specifically about a man driving a tractor in his field near a slew, but this was years ago and it has not seen publication. Is Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick actually able to read my mind now? And, more importantly, is there a novel idea here?”

Thanks, very much Jason. I’m sharing nothing about the tractor; I’m less astute than cunning. Any of you readers who clue him in, will have your keyboard glued shut. I’ve been painting a bit myself, and used Jason in the art. He has to find it.

So, I’ve introduced you, gentle readers, to three outstanding authors in this blog-beginning. Implicit in those mentions is my belief you each should read them. I couched that plea with humor, thinking you would understand it. I will state it plainly for Jason McIntyre: you should buy his first novel ‘On the Gathering Storm’. You need to know it. No chill has ever run your spine as it his words will bring. Another of his readers states; Jason is writing “- some of the most beautiful sentences being published today.”

That means, he’s impressed me?

Here is his picture again, so you don’t break your thoughts to go see it at the top. That stare. Why did I make so much of it in the lead notes? I experience this fellow in flashes, and those silly words about the stare were a flash. He calls it a Grasp. I wrote those words before he answered the interview questions, before his darling little girl was born. One answer in his interview made it all come clear. He hates clocks, and I understand him suddenly. I don’t even understand my own wardrobe retentions, but, I understand Jason. The clocks were the key.

Jason is staring into something that fascinates him, deeply. It’s drawing from his inward energy. He is watching every second of the journey around him, memorizing it; drinking in the light. And he is writing his journey down for us; the first steps to immortality. Look at his stare. He is fascinated by the light in his life. If he can write it, use it, turn it, master it, achieve its speed – Jason will have outrun time.


  1. That guy looks creepy. Why would your wife want to look at his picture? It seems like he was maybe, uh, making fun of those overly serious, black and white jacket photos of the travelled author looking off to the horizon, deep in thought.

    Or. Maybe he's really like that. ;)

    Seriously, Joel, great post! (And not just because I'm in it. I'm not *painfully* shy but do recoil a bit at being the centre of attention, even for a sec). You've managed to even make ME think my book is worth checking out. I'm one layered dude, according to you, my friend. Thanks for your energy and your truly unique interview style!

  2. Awesome interview, Joel and Jason! Joel, you truly are a master at this.

    Jason, I already knew you were brilliant but it was fun getting to know more about you. I, too, hate clocks. In fact, aside from the essential (and highly irritating) alarm clock, I don't own any. Drives my mother crazy when she comes over!

  3. Yes, we have abandoned all clocks in our home, too, Darcia. In fact, even the alarm clock has been disengaged. Is it ironic or fitting that my little boy has an exacting clock embedded in his DNA? He's all the rousing we need in the morning and his timing is faithful and precise.

  4. Another fun interview, Joel :)
    I enjoyed learning more about you, Jason. I have yet to read your books or stories, although I do have two of them on my computer waiting in line to be read in my never-ending to-read list. After my experience of writing the Nestor saga with you, I know you're an excellent writer and am looking forward to reading all your books.
    I like the idea of of you writing a web serial. You should definitely do it, Jason :)

  5. Ah, Maria, you make my head swell and my heart fill with your kind words. Writing with you was a joy and I only hope to do a similar justice to the written word on my own.

    Your wish is my command: THALO BLUE, Book One begins as a web serial on my blog on MONDAY. Yep, this Monday.

    Darcia, rest up over the weekend. Sleepless nights await you. ;)

  6. Excellent news, Jason! I'll be reading it :)

    Joel, what is all this about a tractor? And, you still haven't told me who Julia is!

  7. Does Julia know where the tractor is?

    And, quite frankly, do I need to care about this bloody tractor? ;)

  8. Put Nestor under the tractor and we'll all be happy. :)


    Too bad I never read that faux newspaper, Joel!

    (No wonder I can't get any bites for the bloody tractor on eBay. No picture and the darn thing's damaged to boot!)

  10. Finally got around to reading the interview. Great one, Jason. It's nice to learn a bit more about you. And that pesky tractor...


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