Interview with Jay Erickson

How do you approach cover design?
I am a very visual person. Though I love novels dearly, I grew up as a child with movies like Willow, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. As such I've always found myself enthralled with a good movie poster. One that shows the heroes, the villains, and some action. Whenever I think of a cover, I start with that poster, and then whittle it down to something a little less Hollywood, but not quite traditional novel.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1.) Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind
2.) Prey by Michael Crichton
3.) The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
4.) Dune by Frank Herbert
5.) Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Now I know what you're thinking. For a fantasy writer there's not much fantasy in there. Truth is, I've always loved Science Fiction, over dragons and magic. I just seem drawn to writing Fantasy better.
What I love about Wizard's First Rule is that Goodkind doesn't coddle you. He introduces you to a dark world with unique and engaging characters. He's not afraid to do dark things in a fantasy novel. Touch on taboo areas. Granted many authors have done this for years, but I like Goodkind's style. There is an underlining narrative even when terrible things are happening. Very skillfully done.
Crichton is probably my favorite writer of all time. Though his work can sometimes start out difficult to read, there was a genius to him and his work. I choose Prey from all his other works just because of how damn scary things could be if Nanotechnology became self-aware. Crichton addresses very real concerns, with startling facts and applicable science. His level of detail and research before every novel was without peer. He did all of this while weaving an engaging tale, and how he did it I have no idea. It's mind-boggling.
Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy will always have a special place in my heart no matter what happens to the Star Wars canon in the future. Though there have been many writers who have tried to tackle the SW Expanded Universe, none captured the essence of the original trilogy quite like Zahn did. His story, his flow, his characters, they all felt authentic to the universe. His character, Mara Jade, is my favorite SW character to this day.
There's not much to say about Dune that you haven't read/heard a million times before. It's riveting and groundbreaking for its time. Herbert's character depth is phenomenal, and his warfare and politics have always been highly entertaining.
Dan Brown is another writer that dives into research. Of his Robert Langdon series I like Angels and Demons the best. Probably because I'm a fan of the Renaissance, and of the Illuminati. But also his usage of real locations, real historical data, and real architecture and art. The way he twists facts into a gripping and tense thriller is the true mark of a great story teller.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Suspense mostly. With a drizzle of military thrillers here and there.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Amazon Kindle 2nd Edition, with the E-ink style. I like the feel of it, the fact that it doesn't just have wifi, but an actual 3G network of its own, and it's mad just for books. Not apps, games, movies, or any other garbage. Just books.
Describe your desk
A hot mess. No seriously, how I can find anything at all is a miracle in itself. Every time I clean and organize it, it winds up covered in external drives, maps, pens, and printed up papers within days, usually hours if I'm to be honest with myself. There's always a glass buried in there too.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Midwest. South suburbs of Chicago. I think being surrounded by such a mixing pot of cultures, races, and poverty levels has given me a unique outlook on characters, and their psychological make-up. I enjoy characters with a lot of depth, and often try to convey that in turn with my own writing.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing, in earnest, when I was in eighth grade. I would tell these tales, in comic book format, of my favorite heroes teaming up with my own created heroes to battle the forces of evil, whoever they may be.
What are you working on next?
I am currently writing the sequel to Pariah, tentatively titled; Recreant.
Who are your favorite authors?
Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Terry Goodkind, R.A. Salvatore, Frank Herbert, Timothy Zahn, and about a hundred more.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Knowing that I have to provide the best life possible for my children.
Published 2015-07-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Recreant
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 172,910. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
A wizard without magic. Ashyn Rune has become a recreant. He made his choice willingly, now he must live with it for as long as he can. Wounded, alone, and stripped of his power, Ashyn enters the Shalis-Fey forest in the slim hope of finding the hidden elven city of Feydras' Anula. He knows in all likelihood that he will die in those fated woods. Still, he must try. He is his sister's only hope.
Pononga
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 54,200. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
As the Mandragora Umbraticum attempts to eradicate the ancient Pononga warrior in preparation for a more Easternized, trade-friendly government, Stormwind finds himself unexpectedly nominated as accuser and investigator of the corruption within the Pononga themselves. Placed at the center of a struggle between two eras and two worlds, he has only his own sense of honor to guide him.
Dark Consort: A Blood Wizard Chronicles Novella
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,950. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Vagabond High Elf, Stormwind, is badly wounded and imprisoned by the Dark Elves following a conflict with the Pononga- a sect of hereditary warriors who remain devoted to their sacred dynasty, the Singh Imperium, and who vehemently reject modernization. Captured by the enemy, and forced into servitude, Stormwind slowly learns to know and respect what it means to live by a true code of honor.
Blood Wizard Chronicles: Pariah
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 139,530. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
In the aftermath of the brutal destruction of his village, a stranger appears to rescue the young boy Ashyn Rune. The stranger can see Ashyn is unique. So he offers to help this sole survivor . . . and more. In his darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by sorrow and loss, this stranger offers Ashyn an escape . . . Become that which the world around him hates and fears. Become a wizard.
The Blood Wizard Chronicles Novella: Stormwind
Series: The Blood Wizard Chronicles Novellas. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 42,960. Language: American English. Published: July 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
For thousands of winters the war has been over. The fires of hatred that once burned bright have diminished to little more than ash and dust to all but a few. But for one, those ancient struggles still burn strong. Then there is Stormwind. A wandering Elf who just happens to stumble into this ancient conflict. Will he become the hero that everyone hopes he is, or will the trial prove too great?