Interview with Jesse Kaellis

Would you ever want to go back to Las Vegas and live there again?
I think about it. I can’t work for the casinos again. That’s over. Do you know the movie, ‘Leaving Las Vegas’? If I went back to live it would be for that, to destroy myself.
What is the name of your book?
I named it Early out. Early out is casino terminology that any dealer will understand. Basically it means you get to go home early. For me the name had more sinister connotations given my propensity for pushing the envelope during my Vegas life.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's the way the money just keeps rolling in. I also like how it's a different woman every night, ALL RED HOT BABES, and I just love the new apartment in Yaletown and the new sports car.
What do you read for pleasure?
I don't read much but for a while I liked True Crime and I went through the entire genre. Murder books -- I liked them.
What is your writing process?
I never finished grade seven. I write in sentence fragments. I write almost entirely on instinct -- as I write my lips move. I'm writing in the first person. I think about what I want to say first and then I'm looking to get there as directly as possible. I'm not real patient. After the piece is finished, I read it over, I may do some minor revision, I proof it. I'm possibly one of the laziest writers alive. I have very little formal academic education, certainly no creative writing classes.
I don't write for catharsis, I’m leery of that. But it was a catharsis for me just the same. When I touch readers, when my vision and perceptions made manifest in words resonates in another human being’s heart and mind it levels me. I’m reaching out of my isolation and it is a privilege that is difficult to articulate.
If there is any one thing that I write for it is to bring the scene to life, what I saw, what happened. I’m putting you there. The first story I wrote was called Knock Out. That day is burnt into my memory. A lot of my experiences were lonely, lonely memories. I’ll bring the reader there with me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I missed with HarperCollins, I found out that a small start up can be worse than self-publishing​ but if I could get a Big 5 I would do it in a heartbeat. I hate self-marketing, and surprisingly enough, I'm not very good at it.
What do your fans mean to you?
What fans? Haha, no, I have some and I feel bashful. I do appreciate it.
What are you working on next?
A little something I like to call, 'War and Peace.'
Actually I have a file of culls from my first book as well as some material from my website. I'm editing this material now, about 70,000 words and I'm thinking, "Christ, what am I going to do with this shit? I can use maybe half of it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I don't want to wet the bed.
How do you approach cover design?
I source it out. It's worth the little bit of extra money. Forty or fifty bucks. My last cover I used author Gisela Hausmann. Great author and a friend of mine. I like her and I admire her. She's a go-getter.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Is this a trick question?
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
This is one of the first. The first one that I posted online, on a writers forum. This is an excerpt. Factual, of course. All my stuff is my memories. I lived all of it and I write without embellishment. I want it to be flat. No pyrotechnics, I eschew that.

"The bell rings. Like most fights, I just remember fragments. It was the same combination. The whole fight. Three quick, hard jabs and a right hand. The first knock down I thought he slipped. I didn't feel any contact. It felt like I was punching a sheet hanging on a line. I was punching right through him.
The second knockdown was -- I started to get excited. I realized that I could get out of there RIGHT NOW! I never wanted anything so bad in my whole life. And then it really hit me. I could win!
This kid was backed up on the ropes getting an 8 count.
The ref had waved me to a neutral corner. I looked to the corner where the judges were. There was a lady judge. Blond and good looking.
Her lips were parted and her eyes were shiny. She looked hungry. They all did. I felt this huge rush of adrenalin. I started to jump up and down in place. The murder came up in my eyes and I turned my eyes on my opponent. I had picked up the count at five.
The ref waved me in and as I closed the distance I felt my head lower and my chin tuck and it was like I was outside of myself and within at the same time. But the point is this: I was being careful.
I saw the brass ring. I had him on the hook and I wasn't going to let him off.
Three hard jabs and he brought his gloves in front of his face. He's trying to hide behind his gloves.
Now here is the peroration of my whole story. I saw an opening, a space between his head gear and his glove. It was like the clouds parting for the sun. Time warped. Slipped away. Disappeared. A moment that was frozen in time. I was in hyper-focus.
I decided that my glove would fit through that little opening. I pulled the trigger and knocked him out. At the moment of impact, I twisted my hip into the punch. I put my ass into it. A perfect right hand and the hardest punch I ever threw and I could really punch. That punch would have knocked out any amateur at my weight anywhere.
He went down and his neck was on the bottom strand and his eyes were wide open but sightless. The doctor came running.
I looked into the audience. Two teenage girls, about 16, were looking at me, their eyes shining with lust. So that's the way it is! Power.
There was such a confluence of feelings going through me. Deep, deep pathos. I thought: “This is one fucked up world.”
Describe your desk
It's made out of some kind of particle board with veneer and it weighs fifty million tons.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't rightly remember. I was an undiagnosed dyslexic and I couldn't read until I was eight. I don't remember the very first book I read but I remember reading early on I was reading, 'Manchild in the promised land' - Claude Brown. Also, "The Autobiography of Malcolm x' - Alex Haley. I was fascinated by these authors depiction of street life. Years later I would be doing some of my own research into street life. I read a lot of good books. I couldn't hope to be what some of these authors are.
Published 2015-07-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.