Interview with Greg Jackson

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I think I was about 5 or 6 years old. My brother, sister and I were huge fans of Star Wars. I still am a gigantic fan of Star Wars and can roll with anyone when it comes to trivia. I've read most of the novels, own the scripts and still collect the toys. Wow, I sidetracked myself faster than Han made the Kessel Run. Anyway, the first story I ever wrote was considered what is now called "fan fiction". It was an adventure story with side adventures of Luke Skywalker that took place between films.
What is your writing process?
That's a tough question for any writer. It's so varied. I've been a single father for 14 years so my writing schedule constantly shifted, depending on what I did with my son. So I've started writing while he was in school, around my work-from-home graphic design business. As far as how I come up with content? Well, I'm a movie buff and I've read and written a lot of scripts, just to know the ins and outs of how they tell stories on the big screen. That being said, I tell stories a lot like movies (so I've been told) and I try to adhere to the 3-part script structure used in scripts. I make a loose outline in that structure and start writing. Character names, etc come as I write, because most of them have names that mean something to the story. It keeps the pace even and it makes it fun to read, in my opinion.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember just one. But I remember being in elementary school up in New Jersey and they had this thing called the BookMobile that came around occasionally. We'd get the order forms and the teachers would send us to this book trailer and I can still remember the smell of the ink on the pages. I still remember that sensation when I step into a bookstore as an adult. So I'd beg my parents for anything I could squeeze out of them.

If I had to pick one? It was most likely Star Wars related. I was a fanatic and still want to be a Jedi. That movie series shaped my imagination. George Lucas inspired me to tell fun stories and I carry that feeling to this day. As I grew up, the works of Philip L. Dick, Piers Anthony, Hitchcock and John Carpenter played a huge role in rounding out the stories I like to tell.
How do you approach cover design?
As a graphic designer, I try to make my covers dynamic but true to the source material. I like relatively simple elements that stand out, like in the Chambers-Riggs series and Fractured: Athena Rising. For Lankyman, I chose to go in the route of a poster from the old radio days, since the story is a modern day radio adventure in novel form. For Freakshow, I needed a lot of pictures to denote the many flash fiction stories within the collection. Flash Fiction Freakshow was written with a theme and a narrator, so I took Benjamin Blasko's theme, which was something like a carnival barker, and designed the cover accordingly.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I love the Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony. I also love Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick. I love writers who take someone and break them down into something almost primal and then set them in a place where you have to dive in to get into their world.

As far as the Incarnations of Immortality (there are seven of them), they helped me see how an author can interweave a giant story that arcs over seven novels, all while dealing strangely with forces that we all know: Death, Fate, Time, War, etc. That series took human conventions and conceptions and turned them into a science fiction fantasy epic that blended seamlessly together seven times over. It's incredibly underrated as a series.
What do you read for pleasure?
Besides comic books, I like to read classics. I'm known to settle down with some Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson. And I'm a big fan of the 90's genre of "Splatterpunk" and will reread John Skipp and Craig Spector whenever I can.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
As of right now, it's my phone. I have a difficult time keeping many things in one place at one time and decided that my phone did everything all in one spot. Now if I can get people to stop calling me while I'm reading! Just kidding. It's all good but my phone is the way to go for me.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Managing my websites and doing it the old fashioned way: handing out business cards and meeting people. As an author, you need to be your own brand and there's no better way to do that than to let people meet you. They meet you? They meet the very tip of your imagination.
Describe your desk
I don't have a desk. I have a laptop on my coffee table, which usually has a Dunkin' coffee on it. Sometimes I will sit at my art desk when I'm not drawing or painting. On that I have two Funko Pop figures watching me as I work (X-Wing Luke Skywalker and Roger Rabbit). What can I say, I'm a big kid in most ways and even a little Pop figure can slip your mood into an imaginative state. Don't judge me! Haha. Just kidding. Seriously, get something to make you return to when your imagination soared. You'll be happy you made the small choice to do it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in New Jersey and had two siblings. I was always outside playing and coming up with my own adventures, complete with characters and story lines. My friends and I would be out from dawn to dusk and in between was nothing but fun and exploration, unless school ruined it, then we'd work around it. But doing that and always playing was freeing. You could be whoever you wanted and since I watched so much TV and movies as a kid, the two just blended into what I've always wanted to do: entertain people with my stories.
When did you first start writing?
For fun? As a child. But my first novel was in 2007, which I mostly wrote because I was working from home and decided that it was time to stop talking about it and start doing it. In doing that, my son was inspired to write at a young age and now he's writing his own material and starting on his passion much earlier than I did. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it's all experience to infuse into your material. Bottom line? Don't ever give up on what you're passionate about. Just do it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book was The Legend of the Christmas Stone, which was written as a young adult adventure that deals with family, loss and the meaning of Christmas. Again, if you look at my previous answers, you'll realize that I like to play around with conventions myself. It's a lot like Operation Mistletoe, but that was written solely for twisted adults who like twisted, dark humor. Christmas Stone was a straight adventure story that played with that grey area of imagination versus reality and the dreaded age where you teeter on believing and not believing in Santa Claus.

My current project is a supernatural young adult novel that's based in the realm of Lovecraft and Poe.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love to tell stories. I could have sent Mistletoe out to see if I could land a deal somewhere but while I would be waiting, other stories were climbing out of my head. Once I start writing, I keep going and to me, banking it all on one title stifles the other stories that I want to tell. My goal is to someday be noticed by a publisher, but at the time, I wanted to share my story. When it was done, I wanted to keep telling more and I couldn't do that if I was in "waiting" mode for a big break.

Just keep pushing yourself forward and things will start to happen. I still stand by that.
Published 2015-04-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Chambers-Riggs Detective Stories (Shill for the Kill and Blood Runs Deep in the Gutter)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 143,230. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
The Chambers-Riggs Detective Stories is a bundle of two crime novels! So take a walk into the dark alleys of 1938 New York City! Follow Private Detective Jack Chambers and Elle Parker/Madison Riggs from the beginning. Watch as their cases take them into the murky depths of a gritty, corrupt and violent New York. Shill for the Kill and Blood Runs Deep in the Gutter included in the bundle!
The Legend of the Christmas Stone
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 39,530. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
Since her life turned upside down, Katie Grey definitely wasn't in the mood for celebrating Christmas. But on one snowy, New Jersey day, Katie and Ethan find Elwin the North Pole Elf rummaging through the frozen woods in search of the lost Christmas Stone, Follow their adventure as they race against time to save Christmas in this heartwarming story by the author of The Legend of Pumpkin Boy!
The Holiday Legends Bundle (The Legend of Pumpkin Boy and The Legend of the Christmas Stone)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 75,780. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
The Holiday Legends Bundle is a collection of the two children/young adult novels by Greg Jackson. Contained in this bundle is the spooky story, The Legend of Pumpkin Boy and the heartwarming Christmas tale, The Legend of the Christmas Stone. That's two entertaining books in one collection! Both books are suitable for all ages from 9 and up. Enjoy the holidays with 2 entertaining books!
The Legend of Pumpkin Boy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 36,280. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
A new town. Strange new neighbors. It seemed like the perfect new start for the Myers family. Until they soon realize that during the month of October, their new neighborhood isn't quite normal. No decorations on the doors, no one walking around on the streets, no jack-o-lanterns or trick-or-treating. It was like everyone was hiding from something terrible and unknown...The Legend of Pumpkin Boy!
Blood Runs Deep in the Gutter
Series: Chambers-Riggs Detective Stories, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,040. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
1938. New York City. A woman hires The Chambers-Riggs Detective Agency to tail her husband, Simon Weiss, a comic strip artist and creator of The Adventures of Bucky Mars. They accept the job but soon realize that there's a lot more to Simon Weiss than what they see in the funny pages. A simple tail job pins Jack Chambers and Madison Riggs as pawns in a sinister game of deception and violence.
Broken Doors
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,040. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » Inspirational
Marty Webber is a man who has lost everything but refuses to be beaten. Living on the streets, Marty spends his twilight years living day to day to make ends meet. Until he revisits the shelter he's known off and on for over a year, where Marty meets Riley, a young girl who's struggling to make sense of her life. Broken Doors is a short story about two lost souls find hope within the darkness?
Lankyman - A World Without Heroes
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 103,250. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
With a new rise in Villainy and a heinous plot unfolding to control the world, Brandon and Kit are thrown together for the ride of their lives, where they think they don't belong...or do they? So join Brandon Barker, aka Lankyman and Kit Cassidy, aka Jet Lass as they strap on their rocket packs and fly face first into adventure! Hidden secrets, double identities and lots of humor!
Shill for the Kill
Series: Chambers-Riggs Detective Stories, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,180. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
New York, 1938. The country is slowly climbing out of the depression and work has never been better for Jack Chambers, a private eye with a scattered past. But when a young socialite hires Jack to find her lost sister, Jack slowly begins his descent into the seedy sides of New York, with the help of an unsatisfied New Jersey housewife who bears an uncanny resemblance to his missing girl.
Flash Fiction Freakshow
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,070. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
Welcome to the Freakshow! This is a collection of flash fiction stories from the warped mind of Greg Jackson, author of Operation Mistletoe and Fractured: Athena Rising. There are 32 Flash Fiction short stories centered around the human condition. Sadness, despair, love, redemption...vampires and werewolves! From gritty Westerns and behind to the future and beyond, the Freakshow has them!
Fractured: Athena Rising
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 104,200. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(5.00 from 1 review)
The United States is in a state of organized chaos. It is a melting pot run by the corporate-appointed President, Walter Kane. The military has been eradicated, democracy has been abolished and the citizens are kept in line under the strict word of God. But a revolution has been set in motion with a ground-breaking technology eighteen years in the making. Welcome to The Athena Initiative.
MacGuffin Files: Carats and Cold Meat
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 115,430. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Thomas Foolery is a man living in his own world, surrounded by fictional, televised tales, scripted worlds of crime and endless Hitchcock marathons. He's unfit, he smokes like a chimney and sees nothing wrong with his voluntary agoraphobia. He's living life on his own terms...and under the watchful eye of his therapist. Until he sees a flaw in a major crime, which he has to rectify!
Operation: Mistletoe
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 90,990. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Santa Claus has been institutionalized. Jack Frost has turned the North Pole into a Vegas-style resort. Can two humans return the North Pole to its former glory? Casinos, racing reindeer with horrible attitudes, elves with semi-automatics and Nutcracker warfare! No Christmas icon is spared! Join the Revolution to take back Christmas! Recommended for mature readers.