Interview with Jack Swift

Published 2017-03-08.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The short answer-- punk rock and pride!

The long answer: in writing "Nik's Revenge Road Trip Mixtape," I'd birthed a strange, ugly baby. It was a book that early readers responded to extremely well, but at the same time, also a book that most conventional publishers would struggle to find a place for. Its extremely personal nature also made me reluctant to compromise on the story and content. Like I said, it was my baby.

Lucky for me, I grew up with a punk DIY ethic. Coming from that perspective, self-publishing just made sense to me. Indie publishing is booming right now anyway. I had every reason to go indie, and no reasons not to.
What's the story behind your latest book?
NaNoWriMo 2011 found me in a bad place. I'd just gone through a rough break-up and was deep in the throes of addiction. My emotional state was raw, to put it nicely. At 11:59 PM on October 31st, I still wasn't sure what I was going to write. For some reason, the title came to me first-- "Nik's Revenge Road Trip Mixtape." That title seemed to fit with a vague old story idea I'd had, so I went with it. And from there, the book just poured from me like blood from a severed jugular. Occupy was kicking off as I wrote. There are only a couple of references to that in the book, but I think the zeitgeist is definitely present. More than that, everything that was going on with me emotionally ended up on the pages. It was like an exorcism.

I finished the first draft within the month, and started sending it around to friends. Somewhat to my surprise, they loved it. Many stayed up all night to read it in a single sitting. I still think that's probably the best way to read it.

Their encouragement kept me going through many, many revisions, and now here we are. The book is done. The day it's set to go on sale will be my five year sobriety anniversary.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm a San Francisco native, and have lived in the Bay Area my entire life. I think my love of this beautiful city is pretty obvious in "Mixtape." My whole worldview, not to mention my use of language, is shaped by The Bay. Notably, spending my whole life in a place where there are a lot of queer and trans people has given me a level of awareness that allows me to explore what it means to be queer beyond my own personal experience.

The music scene of the Bay Area is very present in my work as well. As a teenager, I lived just a few blocks from 924 Gilman Street. Going there, I soaked up not just the music and aesthetic, but also a strong sense of DIY ethics. The punk scene encouraged me to make art in a bold and uninhibited way, without questioning too much whether it would sell.
What are you working on next?
I have a kinky erotic romance in progress. It features a gay trans male protagonist and a diverse cast of very fun characters.

I also have this screwy chimera of a historical fiction/erotic romance/gothic horror project called "The Conspirators," which is about Cassius and Brutus, the assassins of Julius Caesar. I've been working on it for about a decade and have no idea when it may be finished. It's another weird ugly baby, like "Mixtape," that I love with all my heart and that will probably never see the light of mainstream publication. So look for it here!
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Books by This Author

Nik's Revenge Road Trip Mixtape
You set the price! Words: 59,550. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Transgressional fiction
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Recovering junkie Nik hits the road, seeking revenge on those who wronged him. But cross-country killing sprees are complicated when your car is haunted, your 12 Step sponsor won't stop calling, and your targets lack the grace to be straight-forward monsters.