Interview with Jason E. Fort

What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading fantasy from authors such as RA Salvatore and JRR Tolkien. I love reading Clive Cussler adventures, and reading up on the actual history of the many artifacts mentioned in his stories. I tend to read more political espionage and thrillers from the likes of Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Nelson DeMille, and Daniel Silva. But my favorite author, Ted Dekker, writes spiritual thrillers, where his main characters are facing internal struggles in spirituality, while at the same time facing real physical ordeals. I do not read romance, but I will read the occasional historical biography. Speaking of history, my latest trend is reading books of speculative fiction or historical fiction, which reference actual historical events but create fictional stories around those circumstances.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read eBooks on my Kindle app on my cell phone.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have found that anytime I have gained the most hits and visits to my Contacts page for my fan base ( www.jason-e-fort.com/contact ) during the free book promotions for my Kindle books. I have also noticed a spike in actual purchases whenever I run a free eBook promo. So I have decided to make one of my books free permanently. I recently started paying for short ads through Bookbub, and I've definitely picked up my sales and free downloads. I started publishing through Publishdrive.com to reach more international audiences; we shall see how that goes.
Describe your desk
HA! Which one? I do some of my promotional activity and web design and feedback with other readers at my desk at work. I am not always there because I teach training classes in law enforcement. But the desk at work is what I call organized chaos...really more just a little bit of organized clutter, since there isn't quite enough of a mess to call it chaos. My desk at home is really just the end of the open bar counter in my kitchen, where my lap top stays plugged in. I don't even sit down a lot when I write my stories; I stand up at the end of the counter and type on my computer.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing poetry to impress the occasional girl in college. Once I found the woman I love (my wife of course), we had a tragic loss of one of our twin sons seven months into pregnancy; I wrote a poem to help both of us cope with the loss. But it was not all tragic; we had one son almost go to full term, only to be born two weeks early. During the first three years of his life, I wrote poems about being a father often. I still have those poems somewhere; they were on a computer file, but somehow the file was corrupted. Anyway, the poetry writing led to several beginnings to stories. Finally, I read the words of Stephen King that said in order to be a successful author, you absolutely have to finish ONE story, so dedicate all your time to that story. The idea for Misguided came about one random night on night shift back in 2014.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. I was raised by a southern Christian family and grew up going to church. This definitely influenced my affinity to writing about spiritual themes, along with things easily influenced by southern culture. Some of the most interesting people I know live in the south, and their personalities make for great characters in novels. From accents, to southern cliches, I love the south. I will always live in the southern United States, so it is just easy to write about things that are embraced by the south, especially as they relate to stories with action. Racial tension, guns, religion, politics, how people talk, and even what they eat make up a lot of my references to the south.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest release is about a new version of America that is an ominous look at our future. But more than that, it is about several characters hunting for something; perhaps parts of themselves, or answers to questions they didn't even know had to be asked. Two FBI Agents who discover they no longer trust the government for which they work; a father and son hunting for a solution to their ongoing troubles with a radical Muslim in the family and they inact their apostasy; a rogue government agent hunting for links to his actual family history with the help of his adoptive father...in Tracking Game, all these courses collide, and make for a pretty significant ending that make you want to consider becoming a doomsday prepper.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Stubbornness - that's it. It boils down to the fact that if I create something for the sake of sharing it with the world, and it was mine to create - I don't want anyone else telling me how it should be. I'd rather put things out there, and if people like it, they get it. If they don't like it; they don't read it. Pretty simple, right? And, stubborn. My mom says the only man she ever met more stubborn than me is my father. My wife says I am the most stubborn man she's ever met. This does not bode well for my son, but at least I am honest about it. Stubbornness and impatience make for an even worse recipe, but that is the honest truth as to why I am an indie. My brothers told me I should be more patient in trying to impress that one literary agent or that one publisher. But I have a good friend who is a self starter in many ways. He just has a unique personality that motivated me to be a self starter myself. So I have developed Fortress Books. I have taken some twists and turns to get my stuff out there, but hey, it's out there for everyone to see who wants to, and it gives me even more purpose than my job in law enforcement.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well, I was able to self-publish an eBook on Smashwords I'd already written, and I have made it free. So we shall see how Smashwords helps. I have a feeling it will help, but time will tell.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Action on the page, and me being the one creating it! I never knew that this could happen until I experienced it myself. But this is why I write the way I do, standing up at the end of my counter in our kitchen at home. I will never forget, standing there typing on my laptop, and writing an assassination scene where my killer dropped down from scaffolding onto his target in the middle of a crowded football stadium, then escaped the oncoming angry crowd. I was literally sweating at the end of the chapter, and my heart was racing. If anyone had ever told me that could happen before I experienced it for myself, I would've scoffed at them. It probably helps that I love action in the stories I read, and my son and I thrive off watching action movies. I guess being a police officer has helped as well.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are everything to my writing. Without them, I only write to feel good about putting feelings down in the form of a story. But I don't want my stories to just be known by me. I want to share them, and I want other folks to want to share them as well. I want my fans to relate to my characters the way I do; to pull for my heroes the way I do; to hope for the worst for the villains the way I do. And the surge of anticipation that occurs when I notice a new review from a fan on Amazon (or Smashwords, soon) - there is only one way to describe it...the same way I felt when I was a little kid, waiting to see what Santa brought me on Christmas morning. I hope fans realize that about me; I hope I convey that idea strongly.
What are you working on next?
The next book I am working on ties very closely to my first novel, Misguided: The Jesus Assassin, even though it is the fifth book. I did something different; since this book is the first of yet another trilogy, its timeline spans from the very end of the first book to right where the fourth book drops off, even though they are two separate trilogies.

This next title is Dead Memories: Book 1 of The Brady Chronicles. Follow the story of a man everyone thought was dead, as a mysterious faction helps him regain his memory and identity. But when he finally remembers who he truly was, will he allow himself to be a pawn in the upcoming battle between good and evil? I am really excited about this book. It has been the most challenging to write because I am telling the story in the form of first person point of view, as journal entries, or chronicles. I can say this for certain; anyone who pulled for the Jesus Assassin in my first book, will like the main character even more after this one. Imagine Jack Reacher, meets Wolverine, meets Desmond Miles in Assassin's Creed...and prepare to hold on to your seats.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ted Dekker, Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Nelson Demille, Daniel Silva, RA Salvatore, Tolkien, Clive Cussler, Bernard Cornwell, in that order...for now. Though Glenn Meade may end up being one of the best after I read a few more from him. Whoa - I almost forgot...I love Lee Child's Jack Reacher books...one of the toughest fictional characters ever written.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I ask myself, 'What can I do to help Fortress Books reach one reader at a time today?' Not only that, but can I help promote a good Christian message simply by what people see me do today?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In my off time from both work and writing, I read for leisure, I lift weights, I watch action movies with my son, I love to eat, I enjoy playing the occasional video game, and I play with our three dogs. When we get a moment, or the money, I go on a date with my wife.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
BookBub, or search new titles by my current favorite authors
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Jack the Bouncer...Jack was loosely based on my five years experience working as a bouncer. The main character, Jack, is considering hanging up his late night job after a rough night...but receives a visit from an angel. The angel, Astrid, shows Jack three specific events (based on actual events that went one way when I was the one bouncing), and shows what would have happened if Jack had not been there for those events. Imagine It's a Wonderful Life meets Road House...you would get something similar :)
What is your writing process?
I make an outline of chapters, based on main events in those chapters. I list them like a table of contents. I come up with characters I can envision carrying out the events in those chapters, and I expound on each line from the table of contents. Once I have a pretty detailed description of each chapter, I expound even more in paragraphs and dialogue. It's worked pretty well for me so far, and I am receiving great reviews.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Danny and the Dinosaur...it has been so long since I read it, I don't remember the exact events or story. But it seems like the theme that stuck with me is how I try to live my life...just be who you are; don't think you have to be like someone else i norder to be happy.
How do you approach cover design?
The first three self-published novels, I used CreateSpace, and I illustrated my own covers. But when I decided to do special editions of my first trilogy, I met a friend of mine, Caleb Rivera, who draws the way I wish I could. I love comic book art, and he has that magic touch. So Caleb drew the illustration for the cover of Misled: the Klansman (Book 3 of the Knox Mission), and also the cover for Tracking Game (Book 1 of The Hunters).
Published 2018-10-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dead Wrong: Book 2 of The Brady Chronicles
Series: The Brady Chronicles. Price: $4.59 USD. Words: 49,110. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense
An ancient evil has awakened, forcing readers to see Robert Brady like they never have before. Prepare for a confrontation with evil unlike any other, and the man willing to take it on has to know he isn't alone. Find out more by reading this exciting sequel to Dead Memories, and see what Brady is up to next.
Hunting Parties: The Hunters - Book 2
Series: The Hunters. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 55,020. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense
An ex-con sits in a cell; An assassin and his female counterpart are hunting down ISIS leaders; A former federal agent is helping a former killer and his cousin in the mission field, and they’re not just preaching the gospel. Muslims and Christians, killers and pacifists, and children and their parents are all at odds with one another. Can the Hunters all find what they seek?
Misled: The Klansman (The Knox Mission - Book 3)
Series: The Knox Mission. Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 76,270. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Agent John Knox faces ghosts from the past as he and Malik have to track down a mysterious killer who is creating social disorder by killing both cops and black criminals. Join your favorite two agents again as they take on their most challenging mission yet, in this thriller ripped from the headlines that will have you look inward at your world view and ideas of how people treat each other.
Tracking Game: The Hunters - Book 1
Series: The Hunters. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 67,300. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
A form of martial law is already in place. A subversive entity has infiltrated the American government. A radical form of religion has its hands in US business, and US military leaders are running out of options. Lives become intertwined; people die; yet some still find hope. Find out what happens in this character-rich story, as they all play a part in the Tracking Game: Book 1 of The Hunters.
Dead Memories: Book 1 of the Brady Chronicles
Series: The Brady Chronicles. Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 66,580. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Sometimes a person has to die to their old selves and become something new entirely. Robert Brady is such a man. Follow a former assassin; a former SEAL; a husband...a father; as he learns about his past, faces death, and wins. But can a man as dangerous as Robert Brady ever find redemption?
Mistaken - Book 2 of The Knox Mission
Series: The Knox Mission. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 78,260. Language: English. Published: November 18, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense
Malik Sharif is a man who i seeking more than just a career in the FBI. He and his new partner, John Knox, are seeking a killer of Russian mobsters within the walls of a federal prison. But something leads the investigators to believe they're up against more than just another stealthy assassin, and when everyone thinks they have the answers, they may all realize they were wrong.
Misguided: The Jesus Assassin
Series: The Knox Mission. Price: Free! Words: 80,010. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
An Egyptian holy man for the religion of Islam is assassinated, and the killer leaves a gold cross as his calling card. The same Christian assassin kills on US soil, and it is now up to the FBI and Interpol to bring him to justice. FBI Agents John Knox and Beth White team up with Interpol Inspector Malik Sharif in this thriller that will make you not quite know who to pull for in the end.