Interview with Charles W Jones

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a town of 500 people--Shoshoni, WY. It's the Center of the Universe, or so I thought growing up since it is in the exact center of the state. We had a quite a few "characters" in our town and it was one of those places that everyone knows your business. The thing that stuck with me the most was, how dark it was at night. I was a jumpy kid at night. Anything that moved in the dark, any sound made my heart pound in my chest. Thunder had the same effect. My first book, The Second Plain, was extremely influenced by that town. Most of it is actually set there. Darkness is a deep influence for me and I have Shoshoni to thank for it.
When did you first start writing?
My first short story was in the 2nd grade in 1977. My teacher was very impressed with it and thought it a wonderful story. It was supposed to be about something happy that happened over summer, I think. Well mine was a complete lie. (I laugh writing this.) It was about waking up one morning with the sun shining brightly, going to the mailbox to find a letter from my grandmother saying she was coming to town that day (she lived in Minnesota, so it was possible that I'd get the letter the same day see arrived.)
What's the story behind your latest book?
The idea came from my brother actually. He thought it would great if I wrote a story about a man that did justified killings, i.e. rapists, child abusers, etc. Well, obviously, that is Dexter, which, oddly, he was not aware of. It came to me at that moment that I could actually do it and not be fan fiction to Dexter.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I don't do well with rejection and the whole idea of sending my manuscripts to publishers, to in return receive a rejection letter did not sit right with me. Also, I don't do well under pressure and it seemed like deadlines weren't for me--I get enough of those at my day job.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The creative outlet and, well, scaring people. I especially like it when people find out I'm a horror writer. They look at me strangely, like I'm going to do them like one of my characters would. The most recent was from a cousin on Facebook, she could not wrap her head around how someone in her family could write horror. She thought the whole family was angelic for some reason.
What do your fans mean to you?
If it weren't for my fans, I wouldn't have any sales. I don't just look at them as a financial resource, they give me inspiration to keep going.
What are you working on next?
I have a couple things cooking at the moment. Hunger is now finished and waiting on editing. I'm working on the third in the Circus Tarot trilogy and poking around at a Gothic novel.
Who are your favorite authors?
Clive Barker is, without a doubt, #1 in my book. Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, Peter Straub, Stephen King and Frank Beddor fill the rest of the short list.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My cat, Bella, she won't have me lolling around in bed all day. Besides, her, I have quite the glass-is-half-full outlook on life and I want to see what's going on. I love being a creeper, watching people do whatever it is they do.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching an excessive amount of TV. Don't ask me what I watch, though, I couldn't tell you half of it. I don't think I'd watch as much if I didn't work for a TV provider. I read books and comics. I listen to a lot of music.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I search random words and see where it takes me.
What is your writing process?
I start writing about anything. I like doing flash fiction contests, it gives me a place to get things sorted out. When I don't have, what I consider a firm grasp on the mechanics of something, I'll research--it's important to know what you're talking about.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
This Time of Darkness by H. M. Hoover is the first story I remember reading (I was twelve). The thought of living below ground scared me to death. I've read the book again, in fact is on my bookshelf, and it gave me the heebeegeebees again. That is the feeling I want people to have when they read my books.
How do you approach cover design?
I look at book covers of top selling books, looking at the elements they have. Then I start with playing around on the computer. I'll do a few different versions of the cover and see what I like the best, then post them on my blog and ask for feedback.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Weave World, this was the first Clive Barker book I read and was hooked. The beauty of the words flowing together to create a fantastic world in a carpet.
Alice in Wonderland, this is one of my favorite books. Wonderland mystifies me.
1984, the absolute horror of the world turning into something like what is portrayed is chilling.
The Dark Tower series, the strong imagery Stephen King displays as he takes Roland basically through a nightmare world.
Practical Demon Keeping by Christoper Moore, who doesn't want their own demon?
Published 2014-09-14.
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