Interview with Nath Jones

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was about Strawberry Shortcake. I can still feel that old pulpy paper, the kind with the blue and red lines that help you learn letters. God love the '70s. The whole story was done in Mr. Sketch scented water color markers--hot pink, turquoise, purple.
What is your writing process?
I write constantly.

I am incredibly self-critical. That's a killer for creativity. It took me forever to turn off my internal self-censor and just let the pipes run clean. But I wrote until I overcame that nullifying voice inside.

The stories always take too long. I absolutely haven't the patience to wait for any given piece of work to come to fruition. So I'm always working on lots of stories. If one is dormant, likely another is having some lovely vibrant spring.
What do you read for pleasure?
Non-fiction. I love it. Cannot get enough. I love learning how things work, where things are, who's doing what--all of it--policies, white papers, land surveys. I just get into it and get lost. With fiction, I have a tendency to rip the stories to shreds analytically so it's not as enjoyable.

Of course. There's also poetry. No greater pleasure exists.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle. I also read on my phone and PC.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
The grassroots flyer campaign. It's taken me to over a thousand locations already--coffee shops, boutique hotels, cigar shops, salons, tattoo parlors, Gettysburg, and everything else you can imagine.

It's the most fun. Just chatting with people all over the country. I get to go to arts districts, historic districts, small towns, big cities. Everywhere I go people are recommending wonderful food, local spots to explore, and books they love.

The flyers have gone further than I have, too. One of my friends is a trucker and he posts them all over along his route. Friends have taken them to London, Copenhagen, and Australia.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Never, ever, ever, ever would have happened without Jane Friedman. She's someone I respect very much and she said it was now fine to be an indie author. I did have a zine, so there's a bit of indie history there. So. Okay. With a couple nudges from some amazing people, I said: why not?
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I wouldn't phrase it in terms of inspiration. I'm not really a go-getter. I get up because I can't lie there all day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a pharmacist-in-charge at an independent pharmacy in a Medicaid clinic. It's a great education to help keep that place in business. We do a lot of related community outreach. Otherwise I workout (a bit), read (as much as possible), date (when I can't avoid it), and hang out with friends almost every day.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow. Okay. I'll give it a shot.

D.H. Lawrence nails the unification of domesticity with THE RAINBOW.

Jonathan Safran Foer's EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is a truly 21st century novel. He uses visual elements to augment the reader's experience. It's so well done. Where the gimmicks in post-modernist works can scuttle the reader's attention, his additions provide us relief while breaking our hearts. The voice is our voice, an infantile nation's asking: Why?.

Luigi Pirandello's THE OIL JAR AND OTHER STORIES is still alive with torque. I just love it.

John Knowle's A SEPARATE PEACE is so heart-rendingly beautiful. I absolutely love how he captures that devastating anticipation of a time when all the teachers must have known what these young men were about to face. I mean, the setting of that book--in terms of time more than place--could not add more to the text. It's just such a lovely yet dark shadow that adds exquisite contrast to the light and life of the young men in the story.

Eleanor Perenyi's GREEN THOUGHTS: A WRITER IN THE GARDEN was a favorite of my grandparents. It's still such a well-written wealth of information.
Describe your desk
There's crap everywhere: flashlight, Triscuits, an hourglass, Sharpies, highlighters, notes, prayers, business cards, dietary supplements. There's a balloon on a stick, a ruler, some hand lotion, a cup of tea, a rhinestone bangle bracelet, speakers, a wrought iron paperweight, some reminders, shredder oil sheets, pens, nail files, bookmarks, reference guides--you name it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm working with this idea of refining the storytelling impulse from catharsis to craft. It's a humbling undertaking. The fourth collection of stories (How to Cherish the Grief-Stricken) is supposed to be some apex of literary craft. I'm not sure I'm capable of writing such a thing.

The theory is great, though. We can tell our tales in kneejerk off-hand ways that bear little meaning over time or we can really tap that universal experience, really refine the work for a world of readers, really give a gift to the world.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Greatest joy? It's the ultimate liberation.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are really still my friends and family. So. Pretty much everything.
What are you working on next?
Radar Road: The Best of On Impulse will be out after Acquainted with Squalor. I'm also working on some novel manuscripts. I want to get the rough hewn plot drafts of several stories down on paper.
Who are your favorite authors?
D.H. Lawrence, Earnest Hemingway, Luigi Pirandello, Jane Austen, L. M. Montgomery. I love any writer who uses the full canvas.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'll be honest, I go for the deals. I love to find goodies in the bargain bins. I also check titles out from the library. Chicago Public Library has a great selection of ebooks and it's growing fast.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
GOODNIGHT MOON made an impression. I memorized the whole thing. I think I wrote a letter to Ezra Jack Keats about something. My mother has that letter somewhere.

Later it was Fitzgerald's TENDER IS THE NIGHT and Dostoevsky's THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. Those two books had an enormous impact on me in terms of becoming aware of what a writer can make a reader feel and experience.
How do you approach cover design?
Wow. Yeah. It's been a lot of trial and error so far. I wouldn't say I have any insight. A friend, Chris Foresman, spontaneously offered the cover we're using for the ebook of Acquainted with Squalor. We were just brainstorming on Facebook and he came up with this real gem.

For the print edition of the series, it's been a real challenge. Coming up with one great cover is tough enough for a visual artist. But to come up with five? That have some continuity while each can still stand alone? That's a huge project. Hopefully we've got it. But getting it done has taken all of four years.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Rensselaer, Indiana. Hugely. There are a lot of stories that draw from that rural experience.
When did you first start writing?
I think I was two.
Published 2014-10-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Radar Road: the Best of On Impulse
Series: On Impulse, Book 5. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 38,950. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors, Fiction » Literature » Literary
In a series that begins with the question: what is a book? This is a book. Morgan Sorvillo Kiger takes what the On Impulse series offers and gives us a portion to desire.
Acquainted with Squalor: Short Stories
Series: On Impulse, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,130. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors
Fourth in an exploration of narrative from catharsis to craft, the nine stories in Acquainted with Squalor showcase Nath Jones's descriptive literary talent.
Love & Darts
Series: On Impulse, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 48,940. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors, Fiction » Coming of age
(5.00 from 1 review)
2012 Anderbo Self-Published Book Award Entry of Note Honorable Mention at the 2012 Paris Book Festival You'll be entranced by these twenty-four stories as Nath Jones finds her way into this fun and biting life. She does not shy away from mortality but conducts you from the kaleidoscopic moment when a toddler loses her innocence to the last breath an old man takes in a rowboat at sunrise.
2000 Deciduous Trees: Memories of a Zine
Series: On Impulse, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 40,390. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mashups, Fiction » Coming of age
2000 Deciduous Trees is an exploration of individual experience selected from Nath Jones’s ‘90s zine, The Skirt. The writing resists losing its balance during a time when gas was cheap and no one drove slowly on the cusp of a new millennium. The voice yearns for change. But nothing can be done in a twenty-something world where one-night stands get forgotten with execution-style murders.
The War is Language: 101 Short Works
Series: On Impulse, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 32,020. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors, Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
Winner of the 2013 Eric Hoffer E-book Fiction Award The War is Language is a destruction of narrative, an experimental collection of flash fiction. These often humorous pieces exist at story's amorphous limit of spoken word and deconstruction. This disordered collection makes a mosaic with cathartic, inflammatory language.