Jon Lang

Biography

I was raised deep in the Midwest, where the land is sold in acres and the horses, cows and chickens outnumber people. I fled as soon as I could by going to UC-Berkeley, and ended up graduating with a degree in Japanese with a few years of molecular cell biology on the side. Fleeing even further, my travels took me to Tokyo, where I discovered the best sushi and the worst weather. The wind has now blown me to Seattle, where I can be found running down Pike St. yelling, “Go Seahawks!” at the top of my lungs, in turn scaring small animals and children.

Smashwords Interview

What is your writing process?
I have a book in storage right now, that I got about 33k words through. It was a free-form exploration of death, and ironically, the book is pretty dead right now. I've learned that in order for me to write a book from cover to cover, it has to be completely plotted out in an excel sheet, with all the kinks worked out, before I put words to the page.

That being said, I have these key scenes that come to me for each book, and I can't resist writing them down and seeing them unfold. But each one is addressed in one cell of the excel sheet. The characters, the setting, what happens...these items all have to be clear in order for me to complete the chapter without pulling my hair out.

I have every intention of finishing that 33k book above. In fact, it's saved as book one on my computer, and Ashra is actually book two. But much more planning will be necessary.

Other authors have different writing processes of course. Stephen King does a fantastic job with creating characters and seeing how they interact and thrive in the setting he puts them in. But I just need my plots pre-written or else it spirals out of control.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Hojoki (Kamo no Chome). This Classical Japanese text has shaped much of how I view the world, and its sparse yet beautiful prose, especially in the original, captures a way of looking of Buddhism that doesn't really exist today.

2. Halo: The Fall of Reach (Eric Nylund). This is military sci-fi that's entertaining and riveting, though the story is relatively simple. Even though the book may have lost some its power as I've aged, it's still a great coming-of-age story in a warring future.

3. The Art of Dramatic Writing (Lajos Egri). This is my go-to resource for writing. Though it's geared more towards playwrights, the information distilled within the book is useful to anyone looking to write. His treatment of the premise as the foundation on which the rest of the story rests resonates with how I like to write. His scathing interviews are also brilliant.

4. Holidays on Ice (David Sedaris). Or really anything by David Sedaris really. His memoirs tend to blur from one to the other, with the exception of Naked, which hit hard, and showed a deeper side to Mr. Sedaris that I had always imagined was there. But his self-deprecating humor combined with his astute and quirky views on events are perfectly encapsulated and brought to life through his writing.

5. A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin). I love reading Le Guin's books, because within the first paragraph my reading speed has slowed down. I normally blow through books relatively quickly, but her words are dense, and each one is important. Her stories are simple yet profound. I can't imagine a story completely told in dark caves (The Tombs of Atuan) keeping my attention for the span of the book, but her writing makes it so.

There are many more books that I love, but these are the ones that came first, so I guess they take up the prime real estate in my brain? The Romance of the Three Kingdoms comes to mind, as does Eighty-Sixed, along with the Tale of Genji.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jon Lang online

Twitter: jonlang108

Books

Ashra
By
Price: Free! Words: 113,630. Language: English. Published: August 27, 2014. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Military
During a failed mission against the Sanctum Empire, Alan Belmont, an Einhart officer, rescues an escape pod from a doomed ship. He learns that it contains Ashra, a young Sanctum princess whose psychic powers make her wanted by every side. Alan is forced to balance his duty to the Einhart with keeping the princess safe, all while he and his team continue fighting the Empire's royalty and creations.

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