Interview with Jason Mott

What is your e-reading device of choice?
My favorite e-reading device? I would have to say the e-ink Kindles are my favorite devices to read e-books with.
I've used various methods to read e-books in the past, and the best experience, for me personally, are the Kindles with e-ink displays.
I currently own a Kindle Touch, which I love, but I hope to purchase a Kindle Paperwhite in the near future.
Describe your desk
That is a simple one to answer. My "desk" is anywhere that I can fit my laptop. I have a desk of the traditional wooden variety, and an office in which to write, but with the birth of my youngest son, I have little to no opportunity to use it, so I make due with anywhere that can accommodate an antsy writer, a precocious baby boy, and a laptop.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a housing project outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and I would say that that experience had a profound effect on my writing, in the sense that much of what I write is dark or negative in nature.
That is not to say that I didn't experience anything good during my childhood, but overall, it wasn't exactly the type of setting in which happy-go-lucky, or optimistic attitudes are forged.
When did you first start writing?
I've always enjoyed writing, even as a child, but I was never really encouraged to pursue it. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I began to seriously engage in it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well, my motivation to become an indie author was a two-fold one. I enjoyed writing, and knew that I was capable of doing it professionally, but the daunting task of pursuing traditional publishers and the prospect of a long period of rejection, prompted me to publish myself.
I'd decided to let the reading public be the ones that said "no" to my work.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean the world to me. They are the ones who validate my work.
Each and every sale of my books is like an igniting spark, pushing me to write more stories.
While I can't say that if I never sold a single copy, I'd stop writing, but it would definitely curb my desire to increase my personal output.
What are you working on next?
I have several projects simmering at the moment, but the one on which I've worked the most recently would be a new High Fantasy novel featuring a world of my own creation. Though I've primarily worked in horror, the High Fantasy genre has always been dear to me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Great question! Also a difficult one for me since I read so many authors, but my favorites would have to be J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King, as I have read the Middle Earth saga repeatedly, and am currently working my way through The Dark Tower.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My family. Without them, I'd be utterly useless.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Chasing a baby, and working a regular 9 to 5 job. I'd love to eliminate one of those (I'll let you guess which one that is).
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I wrote a story called "I'm Walking on Sunshine" when I was very young. It was a very upbeat and optimistic story, written on an old typewriter in the basement, that I was very proud of. There wasn't really any kind of positive reinforcement as far as my writing went. It was "Oh, that's nice." and not much else. School wasn't much better as far as encouragement went, in fact, one particular teacher helped to push me away from writing altogether.This is something I have drawn from as an adult and parent to encourage my own children in whatever artistic endeavors they might dabble in.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story that I ever read (of my own choosing) would be 'The Hobbit' by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'd always loved watching the animated films based on the book, so it was a 'no-brainer' for me to choose.
To this day, even with the more recent motion picture trilogy, I still picture much of Tolkien's work as Rankin and Bass animated characters
The impact of this book , for me, was the realization that an entire world could be created from nothing more than my own imagination. If Tolkien could do it, why couldn't I?.
How do you approach cover design?
I design all of my own covers. The reason for this is that, mainly, I'm broke, and secondly, that I want to avoid any copyright issues. It also allows me to express myself artistically in another way.
The tool that I employ to create my covers is Paint.net; it's free, and powerful with the right plugins installed.
When you became a writer, did you ever consider using a pseudonym or pen name?
Absolutely. At the outset, I was a bit nervous about attaching my name to my work; what if people hated it?
After some thought, I decided that it was my work, and regardless of the response, I was going to stand by it for all to see.
It wasn't until I'd already published that I found out that there was another author with the same name, at which point, I was considering a pseudonym once again. Ultimately, I decided that my name was my name regardless of the fact that I shared it with another author, and I chose to continue using it (not to mention that choosing a new name for yourself is annoyingly difficult, and I couldn't begin to think of one that I liked enough that I would publish with it).
So Jason, if you're reading this, no harm meant on my part, but after all, there are only so many names in the world, and I was born with this one.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given me a tool by which I am able put my books on the digital shelves of many distributors, as well as providing me with the most grueling of standards by which to publish; the 'Grinder'.
By perfecting my manuscripts to the point that the Smashwords 'Grinder' would accept them as 'Premium' upon first submission, I know that my e-books are formatted properly regardless of which device they are read with.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy or writing for me is the freedom to mold the world into whatever I choose it to be. In a sense, I'm playing God when I write; my characters bend to my will, the world itself, does as I tell it to.
It's a bit overwhelming at times to truly love a character, and then to know that with a keystroke, they can die, or prevail in their current situation.
In the beginning, I suffered from a touch of megalomania and a good deal of my characters died horribly; I'm learning to calm that part of my nature and to allow my characters to flourish; after all, the protagonist has to win sometimes, doesn't he/she?.
What is your writing process?
Some writers go all out and pour everything onto the screen and edit later, some plan their stories rigorously before ever typing a single word.
I self-edit as I write. It is a bit of a longer process in the sense that a chapter will take me some time to finish, but overall, I'm happier with the outcome. I will then have a test reader and my in-house editor (my wife) go through the book, and present the issues that need to be addressed.
While in the process of writing, I also design my book cover during breaks.
What's the story behind your latest book?
As I do not generally plan out my stories beforehand, that is always a fluid situation in my work. If the course of my writing no longer fits my preconceived notions for the story, I change the story on the fly.
Most of my published work are short stories and drabbles (100 word flash fiction), so this has, at times, had the effect of completely altering whatever it was that I was working on.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Through friends and randomly noticed advertisements, mostly. Though I may be a fan of Stephen King, I do not stay on the lookout for anything new from him, if I happen to come across a new release, I'll get it.
What do you read for pleasure?
That varies. I can't read my own work, as every time I do, I'll be plagued with the need to alter it or toss it out (which, since it's already published, can be a bit troublesome).
For pleasure, though, I'd have to say any kind of Horror or Fantasy novel that I have at hand will do.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'll let you know when I find one that I think actually works for me.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (for its epic story and incredibly lush and fanciful settings), 'Lucifer's Hammer' by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (for the believable presentation of a possible end to the world of materialism that we all currently enjoy and take for granted), and 'Jaws' by Peter Benchley (I grew up watching the movie which has always been my favorite film, and read the book later in life, only to discover that I liked it even more than Spielberg's wonderful interpretation).
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
Most of the time, it is music that inspires me, but I am often plagued by random thoughts that morph into full scenes of dialog all on their own.
In your opinion, what time of day is the most conducive to writing?
Any time of day is good for writing, but most of the time, my ideas come as I'm drifting off to sleep. This makes it difficult to recall them in the morning unless they've impressed me to the point that forgetting them is impossible.
Do you have a favorite fictional character in literature, and if so, who is it?
That is a difficult question to answer with conviction, but I'll give it a try.
Though I've read a great many books, and have had a multitude of characters that I've identified with, I would have to say that my all-time favorite character has to be Sherlock Holmes.
I've read every story that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has written about the great sleuth multiple times, and each time I find myself wishing that I'd been born in the fictional 19th century London of Doyle's stories, only so that I could head over to 221b Baker Street and pay the inemitable Mr. Holmes and his utterly loyal friend, Dr. John Watson a visit.
Based on the stories, I'm sure that within moments of my arrival, a client would appear at the door with a mind-boggling quandry for the pair, and Holmes would undoubtedly find a reason to invite me along on the investigation.
Published 2014-02-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Here A Drabble, There A Drabble...
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,680. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Contained within this book is a collection of 40 flash fiction stories known as 'drabbles'. A drabble is a short, 100 word story that is designed to tell a story as briefly as possible. They're great for when you want a quick tale to satiate your literary appetite. The subject matter of the drabbles varies from the humorous, to the macabre and the strange. There's something for everyone!
The Random Drabblings of a Madman
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,760. Language: American English. Published: December 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
The stories contained in this volume are a collection of 100 word shorts known as 'drabbles'. The purpose of a drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in an extremely confined space. Exploring various topics, this book endeavors to show its reader how much can be said in a very few words. Consider this a dare to read just one.
Dark Musings, Special Edition
Series: Dark Musings. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,650. Language: English. Published: August 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Dark Musings, Special Edition is a combination of Dark Musings, Volumes 1 and 2 with additional editing and polish. Prepare to experience things that go bump in the night, haunted dolls, twists of fate, and even an old west showdown. Dark Musings, Special Edition manages to bring forth the same experience as its predecessors, with a more polished and complete work.
Dark Musings, Volume 2
Series: Dark Musings. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 10,940. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
In the spirit of its predecessor, Dark Musings, Volume 2 contains tales of the paranormal that will touch home with many readers, whether they are infatuated with the macabre, enjoy a good western showdown, question reality, or have fears of the paranormal. Tear into this volume and satiate your tastes, whatever they may be.
Dark Musings, Volume 1
Series: Dark Musings. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 16,070. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
The human mind is a mysterious place; capable of concocting strange tales of the world we live in crossing paths with the world beyond the veil. This volume contains such tales. Whether a person fears the paranormal, the strange and unusual, or childhood memories that raise the hair on your neck, You the reader must always remember: IT CAN ALWAYS BE WORSE.