Interview with Donald Jans

Published 2015-09-03.
When did you first start writing?
I made my first book in 6th grade in Athens, GA. (Home of Ne-Ne Leakes, et. al) The teacher was an absolute female dog in heat (and hadn't had any in a while, and took it out on all of us) so when my book was selected to be sent to the principal's office as proof of what a fabulous teacher she was..not, I knew I was on to something.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Born in Salt Lake City, then Monrovia, CA(LA) then Moraga, CA (SF), then Portland Oregon, Athens Georgia, and high school in Jefferson City, MO, and the college in Spokane, WA. Gonzaga. All of these places had a big impact, because they were so different. Moving around a lot, I always felt like a fish out of water. Some places got things I thought everyone knew, other places did not, or maybe I was the clueless one. When something wasn't going my way, my internal humor was the best way I could get through it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To be able to make people laugh, and ponder their own life, and motivate them in some positive way, even if just for a laugh.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are awesome. They buy books! They send positive energy into the ether for me, and I send it back in return.
What are you working on next?
Putting some of my screenplays into novel form, as well as writing another humorous novel, "Treasure Island" about two white trash reality TV stars from Missouri who end up on an island where things go terribly wrong.
Who are your favorite authors?
Spalding Gray, David Sedaris, John Irving and many more.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To take a pee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have two kids, a girl 9, and a boy 5, so they keep me plenty busy, in between yucking it up with friends, and writing.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Word of mouth, if someone is really excited about it, I usually check it out, unless its from a nun or something, but I've learned to never judge a book by its cover.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it is called "A Day in Chinatown", and its about a kid who goes on a trip to SF with his parents and gets separated from them. Its got elements of "Man in a Suitcase" combined with boyish adventures.
What is your writing process?
Always initially spit out on a yellow legal pad, before I enter it into the computer. I'm old school.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, "The Little Soldier", (Hans Christian Andersen) the story about this boy who has a one legged tin soldier who falls in love with a ballerina in the toy box who only has one leg too (cause she's on point) and he somehow gets tossed out the window, where some other little boys put him in a newspaper boat and he ends up in the sewer, then dumped in the ocean, only to be eaten by a fish that gets served on his dinner table, where he is reunited with the family, and the ballerina, until the same little dickhead throws him into the fire with the ballerina where they live for eternity. Love conquers all, was the message I took from that.
How do you approach cover design?
Something that grabs you, if you are going to be taken for a ride. or soothes you, if you are going to be soothed.. and on.
What do you read for pleasure?
Things that make me laugh, where I could possibly learn something.. oh wait! that's my book.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I phone
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Hiking up my skirt and getting out there.
Describe your desk
A mess, books piled high, receipts, cancelled checks, pens, scissors, tape.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The desire to do it my way. The gate keepers of the publishing world might be tried and true, but there is ABSOLUTELY no way they can pick out what is good and compelling, only the public at large can do that, but even they miss gems that appear 20 years later. Same with music.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I initially started writing a tell-all book, after the brokerage company I worked for was blown up in the World Trade Center, and after the back office embezzled ten million dollars, but it was very depressing. Instead I gave that story to a Fortune magazine writer, who did an expose entitled "The Shabby Side of the Street". I wanted to laugh, and people and their quirks and their lack of self-awareness are my finest entertainment, so I went that route instead... minus the terrorism.
How much of your book is true?
I get asked that a lot! I would say 1/2. As far as the characters, some are just as you see them, some are 5 people mashed into one, and some are inspired by their quirks on steroids. But, the craziest parts are the parts that actually happened, and the rest was interjected to make the story flow quickly, because if there is one thing I hate, it is to be bored while reading with flowery description.
Why such a young protagonist?
Why not! As Blink 182 said, "No body likes you when you're 23", and Jack Fitzpatrick, the protagonist knows that better than anyone else. "Freaks" gives solace to college grads suffering from "graduate disillusionment", as well a walk down memory lane for others. Everyone has someone they are trying to prove something to, either in a positive or negative way.
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Books by This Author

Freaks I've Met
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 61,410. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire, Fiction » Coming of age
Determined to prove that money does buy happiness, a Spokane college grad heads to California to find his fortune via the sleazy underbelly of the 80's bond market.