Jack Swift is a writer and musician native to the San Francisco Bay Area. He lives with his boyfriend and three black cats. As Johnny Truant, he is the frontman of SF post-punk band The Truants and bassist for Cardiac Dream. He edits Cruising for a Bruising: The Premiere Shitty Zine for Violent Queers under this name as well.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The short answer-- punk rock and pride!
The long answer: in writing "Nik's Revenge Road Trip Mixtape," I'd birthed a strange, ugly baby. It was a book that early readers responded to extremely well, but at the same time, also a book that most conventional publishers would struggle to find a place for. Its extremely personal nature also made me reluctant to compromise on the story and content. Like I said, it was my baby.
Lucky for me, I grew up with a punk DIY ethic. Coming from that perspective, self-publishing just made sense to me. Indie publishing is booming right now anyway. I had every reason to go indie, and no reasons not to.
What's the story behind your latest book?
NaNoWriMo 2011 found me in a bad place. I'd just gone through a rough break-up and was deep in the throes of addiction. My emotional state was raw, to put it nicely. At 11:59 PM on October 31st, I still wasn't sure what I was going to write. For some reason, the title came to me first-- "Nik's Revenge Road Trip Mixtape." That title seemed to fit with a vague old story idea I'd had, so I went with it. And from there, the book just poured from me like blood from a severed jugular. Occupy was kicking off as I wrote. There are only a couple of references to that in the book, but I think the zeitgeist is definitely present. More than that, everything that was going on with me emotionally ended up on the pages. It was like an exorcism.
I finished the first draft within the month, and started sending it around to friends. Somewhat to my surprise, they loved it. Many stayed up all night to read it in a single sitting. I still think that's probably the best way to read it.
Their encouragement kept me going through many, many revisions, and now here we are. The book is done. The day it's set to go on sale will be my five year sobriety anniversary.
Recovering junkie Nik hits the road, seeking revenge on those who wronged him. But cross-country killing sprees are complicated when your car is haunted, your 12 Step sponsor won't stop calling, and your targets lack the grace to be straight-forward monsters.