Sunday, March 28, 2010
Intimate Mondays with Author JD Mason
JD thanks so much for visiting my blog. Let's get started.
Q. Tell us a little bit about the day in the life of a full time writer?
A. Honestly, it depends on which day you're talking about. LOL Beng a full time writer is challenging, and not as glamorous as I thought it would be. It's taken me a long time to realize that I have to get up every morning and approach each work day as I would any job. If I can put in 8 hours a day at a 9-5, then I've need to be as dedicated to putting forth that same kind of work ethic towards being a writer. I have the luxury of being able to pick and choose how and when I put in my hours, but I am more disciplined now, and more committed to working a more regular schedule, and it actually helps me to keep the creative juices flowing. When I take too much time off from writing, I find that it's harder to get started again on a new project.
Typically, though, I get up in the morning and after dropping the kid off at school, I come home, make breakfast, check email, play around on facebook, and by 9 or 9:30, I commit to working on my novels.
Q. You currently live in Colorado. How is the literary environment/community there? what are some of the outlets that authors and readers have?
A. It's a bit more challenging here, for black writers in particular, just because there is no central hub like there used to be when The HueMan bookstore was here. Bookclubs are pretty plentiful, though, and always welcoming and eager to talk about your book, feed you, and fill you up with cocktails.
I am a member of a group of ladies who host an event every year called Valentine's Day For Me (vdayforme.com), and we try in bring in an author every year around Valentine's Day. This year, we hosted Earl Sewell. In the past, we've hosted Marc Lacy, Victor McGlothin, myself, Brenda Thomas, and others.
Q. Your debut novel On the Eighth Day She Rested, was originally self-published. What are the pros and cons of self-publishing and would you consider self-publishing in the future?
A. Self publishing is always an option for me, even though, I didn't prove to be very good at it in the past. But it's something I am happy to have experienced. It gave me insight into the publishing industry from every aspect, which I appreciate. It was hard trying to wear all the hats, though; publisher, publicist, distributor, bookkeeping, collections. Having a publisher handle the majority of those things for me, allows me to focus more on just the writing aspect, which, as it turns out, happens to be my favorite part.
Q. You have been around for a little while now. Do you still recall that moment when you knew your book was going to be published by St Martins Press?
A. Actually, the most exciting moment in my career was when the woman who is now my agent, told me that she loved reading my book (8th Day) and that it made her cry, and that she'd love to represent me. That was more exciting than getting the book published by St. Martin's, and I honestly don't know why.
Q. Of all the characters you have written which one stands out most and why do you think that is?
A. It would probably have to be Roberta from the Black King books (John King is a close second). And I think it's because her story was so compelling to me. I've asked myself several times; is Roberta crazy or just evil? I think it's a little of both. I loved exploring her childhood which held some of the triggers to her behavior later in life. Things like the time her mother left her alone when she was six with the dead man lying in her mother's bed, to her obsession for Charles Brooks and the terrible things she was willing to do to keep him (attempting to kill his son, Adam), her passion for what she loved ran dangerously deep, and because of that, I found her fascinating.
Q. Several of your books have recurring characters. Remind us which ones and was that intentional or the demand of readers?
A. One Day I Saw A Black King, Don't Want No Sugar, You Gotta Sin To Get Saved, and the upcoming Somebody Pick Up My Pieces (scheduled for release 2011), were all books with recurring characters, and that was due to readers. They loved these characters, and so, without really intending too, I ended up with a series.
Q. Your latest novel Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It, tell us about it.
A. It's the story of three women who were best friends in high school until a terrible secret tore their friendship apart. That secret turns out to be a woman named Tasha Darden, who is convinced that one of them gave birth to her and abandoned her in a hospital emergency room. The book delves into the lives of the three women, in particular, and how each of them has spent the last three decades living with the guilt, or avoiding it all together,
of what happened the night one of them gave birth to that child. It's not until the very end that you find out who the mother is (unless you're just brilliant and figure it out before that).
Q. What other writing avenues are you currently exploring?
I'm starting a new series surrounding a prominent and influential black family (the Gatewoods) that I'm really excited about. I'm working on editing my first science fiction novel, which will be written under a nom de plume, and I'm still not sure if I'll be able to share the new name with readers yet. And I've been toying around with writing a YA science fiction novel, which I'd like to see turned into a series.
I've had several production companies express interest in securing the film rights for Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It, and hopefully, one of them will bite.
Q. What is the most challenging aspect of being a writer?
A. I'd have to say writing. I wish I could write faster, because the ideas come so quickly. But also, this business definitely can test a creative person's resolve. On the one hand, seeing my books in print is amazing, and having readers say that they love them is even more amazing. On the other hand, though, it's not easy making a living at writing. If you're an aspiring writer, or even a published one, and someone tells you not to quit the day job, take that to heart, because it's definitely advice given out of love.
Q. What is your opinion about the big move toward digital publishing i.e., e-books?
A. The times, they are a changing. And it only makes sense. I haven't gone the e-book route yet, but I suspect that eventually I will. I love book, the paper, the glue, being able to hold it in my hands...but this business is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the digital age, which is as it should be. I think publishers are behind the 8-ball, though, and should've started putting more attention into the digital future of books a long time ago, though. Now, I think they're scrambling to make it work. They'll figure it out, eventually.
Q. Are your books available in e-book form?>
A. My last 4 novels have been published in e-book format; You Gotta Sin To Get Saved, This Fire Down In My Soul, That Devil's No Friend of Mine, and Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It.
Q. What project are you currently working on and when can readers expect to see it in stores?
A. I'm working on a novel called Beautiful, Dirty, Rich, which will be the first book in a new series and it should be out at the end of 2011 or early 2012. And I'm waiting to hear back from Simon & Schuster about a collaborative effort I proposed to them at the end of last year. This book will be one story written by me, and two other authors. Each of us will write a portion of the story. The last I heard, S&S was really excited about it, so hopefully they'll come through with an offer soon.
Q. Will you be touring or doing any signings for Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It?
A. I'll be attending the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta for the first time in my life this year, which I am really excited about. I'm also attending the Fall Into Books conference in Kansas City and the UCAAB conference in Los Angeles, both in September.
Q. How can readers find out more about J.D. Mason?
A. They can visit my website at www.officiallyjd.com, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you J.D. and continued success!