Interview with Jon Chaisson

Published 2021-04-15.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a self-published writer who's been releasing books at the rate of at least one a year since 2015. It's an insane way to go about making a buck, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I currently live in the west side of San Francisco with my wife Amanda, far too many books, a few guitars, and a ridiculously large digital music collection. Oh, and a lovely view of the Golden Gate Bridge from my office window. I've been writing since I was a teenager, but it's only recently that I've made the decision to go DIY and self-publish my works, and I still think it's the best career move I've ever made.
Why self-publish?
That's a good question. I've blogged about it here:

I self-publish for many reasons...the quick turnaround, the freedom it provides in my career, and especially the DIY attitude, for starters. I've always been a bit of a nonconformist in my own way, and I was drawn to the idea that I could release my novels on my own terms. I wouldn't do it half-arsed, of course; I'm well aware of the amount of work that goes into releasing novels this way, as well as how much work comes *after* the release, with the post-production (such as the cover art and the formatting) and the promotion. I choose to look at it like a punk band would have back in the 80s: do it the way you want to the best of your ability, don't worry about being the square peg in a round hole, and remember to have fun doing it at every moment. And above all, be creative about it. I still think it's the best decision I've ever made in my writing career.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm working on what...three or four different projects at once? This tends to happen when I'm at the start of the writing cycle. I don't always have a strong connection to the stories I write just out of the gate...sometimes I need to figure out what those stories are, what direction they should go in, and what I'm trying to say with them. That's the interesting thing about writing...sometimes I'll just connect with a story immediately (like I did with In My Blue World) and sometimes it'll take me ages.

I do have one book that's finished, entitled Diwa & Kaffi, which is currently getting a cleanup. I'm quite proud of this one and I'm hoping it'll do well.

And yes, I am indeed toying with a Book 4 in the Mendaihu Universe, set seventy or so years after the events of the Bridgetown Trilogy!
What is your writing process?
I keep my eyes and ears open for new inspiration. Sometimes it's an idea inspired by something I've watched or read. Sometimes it expands from a dream I'd had. Quite often my openings take three or four attempts to get right, but eventually it'll click, and I'll work straight till the end. I'm part-pantser, part-outliner, with just enough planning to know the direction I need to go in, but enough flexibility to figure out different ways to get there. Recently I've been using index cards for outlining, but my writing will almost always be straight to PC. [I've been using MS Word for years and have no reason to use anything else at this point.]
Who are your favorite authors?
I've got quite a few favorites from different genres and formats: Kate Elliott, SA Chakraborty, Makoto Shinkai, Susan Dennard, Yoon Ha Lee, Haruki Murakami, and Becky Chambers, for starters. I tend to be drawn to writers that create unique worlds and take me on journeys I wouldn't have thought of. My favorite books are the ones that make me want to drop everything and run back to my PC and work on my own!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm usually listening to music. As mentioned in my profile, my music collection is ridiculously large (I've been collecting since my mom gave me The Beatles '1967-1970' (aka the blue album) as a Christmas present in 1978), and I'm also often streaming my favorite independent radio stations online. I also play music too, though not as proficiently as I'd like. I own a Gretsch Electromatic and a Squier precision bass that I bash around on quite often, and I record my own demos under the name Drunken Owl.

And when I'm doing none of that, I'm either reading, watching British mysteries, or taking walks through our neighborhood!
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Books by This Author

In My Blue World
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,370. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » LGBTQ+ » Lesbian
Zuzannah is not your typical magical girl. She's from your future, and she's in desperate need of your help. But are you up to the task?
Meet the Lidwells! A Rock n' Roll Family Memoir
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,050. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Literature » Literary
The story of four siblings and two cousins who start a band as teenagers and achieve success beyond their wildest dreams. But while they consistently top the charts with their irresistibly catchy tunes, they're also fighting their own demons: perfectionism, disenchantment, addiction, exhaustion, sexism...and figuring out how to become an adult in front of millions of fans.
The Balance of Light - A Novel of the Mendaihu Universe, Book 3
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 192,560. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
The greatest spiritual war Earth has ever witnessed has begun.
The Persistence of Memories - A Novel of the Mendaihu Universe, Book 2
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 161,510. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
A new Season of Embodiment has come, and the One of All Sacred must decide whether to avoid a potential war between the Mendaihu and the Shenaihu…or provoke one.
A Division of Souls - A Novel of the Mendaihu Universe, Book 1
Price: Free! Words: 154,000. Language: English. Published: September 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(4.00 from 1 review)
Caren Johnson’s younger sister has been forcibly awakened as a powerful and supernatural deity, revered by multiple worlds...and a war has just been declared in her name.