Interview with Jason Micheal Dunn

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Back when I was obsessed with poetry, there was this state of mind when writing which was timeless. I would think little time had passed afterward, but I had lost so much time, and the thing was that it was irrelevant when my mind was occupied with the realization of this concept into word combinations. The image when finished, the play of images, was captivating, something beyond authorship. Poems were found objects for me.

As for writing science fiction, I found it far more intoxicating. It's pretty much the same except vast in comparison. As the novels neared completion I felt like I was bursting with creativity as my mind was absorbed with the generating of another world and in awe of all these ramifications. The joy of writing is in witnessing the scene, whether it's in a poem or a novel, whether writing it or reading it, the movie that is projected by the written word is a joy to behold, don't you think?
What do your fans mean to you?
When someone has appreciated what I've written, and I can see the faces of some other writers actually who loved my poems, I feel like I'm home, you know. I don't mean that I feel like I deserve the approbation or praise or anything like that. I just mean that I love to share the experience I get looking at beautiful art, moving art, breathtaking creations. A lot of the poems I've written I'm not the biggest fan of myself, but someone else likes that one and I'm happy for them, I put some of those poems that embarrass me in there anyway because I discovered that some people found more in those poems than I did. I couldn't begrudge friends that look in their eyes, that light.

I like Stereolab. She likes Kanye. But it turns out we both love Sonic Youth and boom, we hit it off, we're raving to each other about this song and that. I'm my greatest fan, I love that club, the more the merrier. I'm a fan of film, comic books, etc. A fan is a lover of human creativity, so I'm a fan of fans, of fanning, so to speak.
What are you working on next?
I'm writing a fantasy called the Lightening Tree. This is my biggest novel yet. I've already got my smile on just thinking about it. The first chapter is almost done, early draft anyway. Most of the motivating forces get my smile blazing, internally at least, those forces must remain 90% hidden below the surface I'm afraid. I've never been much of a fan of spoilers so trust me, if you enjoyed Sure Fire and Infinite Day then you'll love The Lightening Tree. It will be double the length of my previous novels and at its conclusion only 30% of those forces will have been revealed. Hint. Hint.

Wizards, monks, assassins, arcane weapons, martial strategies. It's been fun getting it down all linear and particular like. Can't wait to share it.
Who are your favorite authors?
Wow. That's like asking who my favorite superheroes are. Stephen Donaldson. David Gemmell. Peter F. Hamilton. Trudi Canavan. Cathrine Asaro. Iain (M) Banks. Arthur C. Clarke. China Mieville. Orson Scott Card. Robert E. Howard. Just to name a few fiction writers I've lived in awe of.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I suppose it's an evolutionary drive, some biological push from the primeval compressed files in our DNA, but if not that, if under duress, faced with overwhelming odds that threaten instinct and reason enough to elicit that flight response back under the covers, then experience and logic come to the fore, eventually.

The first choice is between the attainment of complete fulfillment and the achievement of utter ruination. When one realizes that this is the ultimate choice we face in every moment of our lives spent solving problems gargantuan and minuscule, do I want to be happy or sad?, then we realize that it isn't really a choice. Unless we've tricked ourselves into a willful tragedy, then we have to unmake that decision to bum out.

I know there is real tragedy, I am human, don't misunderstand me, please. I'm not heartless, I know what it's like to have my life destroyed and to see the lives of those I love destroyed and have to rebuild everything from nothing. Like you, I've got the gaping holes and the scars. I'm just saying that we are already here, in the bed, alive, the only way out might be just as painful either way, so why not imagine the day when everything goes right in order to battle the day when everything goes wrong which is remembered over and over, as equally imagined in a manner of speaking. Imagining, over and over, the sweet fruits of my labor is what gets me out of bed. I imagine a better future for me, my wife, my son, for everyone. Sci-fi, man.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Marketing. These days I have a little bit more time as my son is nearly two and a little bit more independent, running, climbing, touching everything. I've got a lot to learn about marketing and I'm learning it. Slowly, I'm implementing what I have learnt and I'm growing ever more hopeful. If I'm not taking care of my son, or spending time playing with him at home or in the park, I'm cooking, reading (The Luminaries at the moment. Wow!), or watching the Flash or the Mentalist on TV when I'm a little burnt out, love those guys.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, well, it's the earliest story I remember. I wrote about how I had woken up one morning, got out of bed excited simply by the prospect of walking through the house. The door frames were so tall, the carpet was so thick and cushy. The silvery stereo player must have been left on the previous night and the radio was quietly playing Riders on the Storm by the Doors with that rain effect playing in the background of the song. "...into this house we're born..." Jim Morrison crooned. I was three and my parents weren't up yet, the drapes were all pulled except for the street facing ones which were slightly parted. Through the curtains between the heavy drapes sunlight shone a beam of golden light onto a section of carpet and I can still remember being captivated by the dust moving in that Brownian motion within that column of warm sunshine. "...into this world we're thrown..."
What is your writing process?
I think that there are parallels between the careers of writers, artists, and magicians. Now bear with me, all of them like to keep secrets, it's part of their mystique. Andy Warhol virtually ran a factory which he called 'the factory.' But he never ever openly said that he was a businessman. He maintained his mystique as an artist, obfuscating the automated process. For many his methods were despicable, but from afar I can't help but admire the veil of his charm even though the idea of having others make his art for him and even sign his art in his stead is not for me.

What I'm saying is forgive my lack of details, a wise fictional character once said, "Hide your working." It's the opposite of what Art Lecturers want from their students, but exactly what one of the most successful artists of all time did, and in his own lifetime. Its exactly what magicians are supposed to do, or there is no magic. I believe writing is the same.

For me, there are 3D mind maps, lists, walks, late night lying in bed over-thinking sessions, pacing, and years of daydreaming certain stories, before the tipping point, and a decision is made to sit down for long periods of time creating at the speed of light and coming back to reality and everyone else is just that little bit older and the day's nearly over while I've experienced such a short span of time in another world.
What do you read for pleasure?
I usually read sci-fi or fantasy for pleasure but fiction in general, like the fountainhead of course, or a thriller, I used to read horror as a kid. That isn't to say that I haven't read non-fiction for pleasure, like every tome by C. G. Jung. Though it is old school psychology which might be considered closely akin to fiction. It's full of comparative religion, mythology, symbols, so I guess anything with fantastic storytelling and cracking imagination is compelling for me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in New Zealand, mostly. We lived in Singapore for two and a half years when I was a kid. My parents were in the army so there was a fair bit of moving around. It's actually a tough question but I guess you could say that NZ has never been the best possible culture for me. I've tried a few. At least Koreans love nerds. My essentially introverted personality plus a periodically nomadic upbringing divided by a family tragedy equaled a typically depressed teenager ill-equipped for the repressively egalitarian rugby obsessed nation I was born into. There has always been the impression that the equalism Kiwis espouse actually means that outsiders should equal the insiders. I love New Zealand's positive aspects, but I don't have to be willfully blind. I can dislike bigotry wherever I find it. Thankfully it's not a given and simply an insidious encroachment.

Growing up with the billboard ideal that Aotearoa, 'the land of the long white cloud' is clean and green and fair has influenced the principles that drive my writing by showing me what it is to lose the liberties NZ citizens used to have, what it is to lose the pristine cleanliness of our rivers and lakes and oceans, and what it is to need an imagined future more than the obvious trajectory of our current future. Having experienced the generosity of my culture and country growing up, my writing strives to inspire a return to that vital presence of mind which frankly gives a damn about people and consequently the biosphere.

Whoa! Sorry. Didn't quite realize that was back there. But, yeah! Hell, yeah!
When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first poem when I was 13. I won 2nd place in a poetry competition and got to leave the boarding school grounds for the evening to recite my poem at the local art gallery. I was shaking with nerves. That 50 bucks came in handy.
Published 2014-12-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ever Again
Price: Free! Words: 6,170. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
JMD's latest and last book of poems provides once more beautiful gems aplenty, this time imbued with a new strength and warmer comfort in spite of it all. In this collection of poems the poet's greatest achievement is realized; conveyed within via mood well coined the very personal and individual joy of fascination.
Something I Wrote the Other Day
Price: Free! Words: 5,970. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
The last book in a series of creative writing experiments that sought to clear up the clutter of poetical and existential impetus. Containing experimental essays, slice of life short stories, contemplative poetry, and cathartic illustrations. It reads like an art gallery, confronting, baffling, disturbing and beautiful. Something I Wrote the Other Day is a poet's shrine to the creative spirit.
Dirty Pure
Price: Free! Words: 6,550. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs, Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Romance
'Dirty Pure' is an illustrated poetic memoir. Strangely compelling, the overly loquacious stream of neurosis takes the reader on a boat ride to crazy town where one is confronted by anxious ultra-analysed, near-issues that border on full blown psychosis before being blindsided somehow by the bizarrely captivating doodles drawn by the poet himself. It's so weird and abstract and yet addictive.
Philosophy for Depressives against Empirical Vampires
Price: Free! Words: 2,950. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
Philosophy for Depressives against Empirical Vampires is, on the whole, JMD's finest work yet. The style is more consistent and many of the poems exude subtlety and maturity. Poems otherwise are meditative. His brand of magical realism, populated with cameos from classical deities, places his modern narrative in the sphere of universal significance for Depressives everywhere in need of an updraft.
Jason and the Golden Thesis
Price: Free! Words: 3,350. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
Jason and the Golden Thesis is somewhat tongue in cheek. For those critics fighting on the front lines, no firing squad yet, please. Moments of modernity dominate many of the metaphors, as in the melodic A & E which effortlessly glides between free verse, subtle usage of alliteration, near rhyme and true rhyme whilst seamlessly gluing together imagery from Math, Theology, Pop media, and Biology.
Poems by Metazoan
Price: Free! Words: 2,240. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
Defined by minimalist expressions of haunted disenchantment questing for those legendary molecules of hope. 'Poems by Metazoan' projects that searching variety of inner life despite the grubby film of reality. The poems are very personal paroxysms. They capture the exquisite horrors of a waking life that, when it comes to the weight of the world, cannot yet shrug.
Infinite Day
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 42,210. Language: English (New Zealand dialect). Published: April 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
A woman programs enzymes to reassemble the molecules of her living cells. As a nanocarbon based life form her perception of time is transformed; impulses closer to light speed make a moment for us a lifetime for her. Driven, she isolates herself, striving to find answers to the world's greatest problems... A boy formulates a new theory drawing radical conclusions and unwanted attention.
Sure Fire
Price: Free! Words: 45,320. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
The wishful thinker finally has his fill, taking the next logical step toward a world of truth more devastating than his frail grip can possibly stand, revealing the power of our dreams to be more than just imagination. A psychological fantasy set in the here in now to the strains of science. An intense novel that loses touch with the reality we know in favour of a reality we should know.