Jarod Powell


Jarod Powell is a filmmaker, actor and award-winning author. He was born in Sikeston, Missouri, and has worked in media and entertainment since 2006. He is best known for his work on the documentary "A Letter to a Terrorist," which garnered international notoriety, as well as his books: "Inheritance and Other Stories," and the poetry collection "Poor Man's Imaginary Friend." His debut novel, "Boys in Gilded Cages," is available in eBook format now. He resides in Los Angeles, CA, and Saint Louis, MO.

Smashwords Interview

In Boys in Gilded Cages, you reference Westboro Baptist Church quite a bit. Any particular reason?
Well, I don't just reference them, I sort of create a whole world around them, and Christian extremists in general. But, yes, I do name them. I started writing this book before Fred Phelps died, and for a while I thought I might just scrap it, because I assumed the church was on the wane. But quite the contrary! They are very efficient attention-hogging machines, now more than ever. Look, no one takes them seriously; and yes, they're easy targets. But it is my belief that while they may be good for a laugh, they are detrimental to humanity, every time a news corporation decides to give them any attention. I have the same disdain for the Westboro Baptist Church that most of America has for the Kardashians. It's the same thing to me.
What are your five favorite books? Why?
Oh, geez. Okay! I'd have to say number one, hands down, is 'Light in August' by Faulkner. His execution of symbolism, the way he handled such heavy themes - Isolation, racism, self-actualization...the prose is perfectly balanced. It's so very controlled. He was truly the master of his universe, and his craft.

Number two would have to be 'The Bluest Eye' by Toni Morrison. Can you tell I'm a fan of first novels? She experimented in such a way that was a pretty big gamble - the use of primer books to illustrate an epidemic of illiteracy. It doesn't hit the gut of race and culture much harder than that. Plus, it's a real heartbreaker.

Number three is probably Mysterious Skin, by Scott Heim. I often found myself comparing that book to 'Lolita,' which isn't apt or fair at all, but underage male hustlers are probably the last taboo, except they don't seem to be taboo at all for whatever reason. The book examines child abuse in a way that is unflinching, but tender. It's a beautiful book, and the film by Gregg Arraki is definitely worth seeing, as well. Joseph Gordon Levitt should have won some awards for that, if he didn't.

I'm picking number four purely out of nostalgia: Catcher in the Rye. I don't think I could read it now, but when I was sixteen, that was the book that inspired me to write. I'm absolutely sure I'm not alone.

Number five: Candide by Voltaire. I love incendiary satire.
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Where to find Jarod Powell online


Inheritance and Other Stories
Price: Free! Words: 17,060. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » American / General, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
In this deeply sardonic debut collection of short stories, Jarod Powell masterfully intertwines the bitter traumas and sweet victories of humanity with a hypnotic style, subversive wit, and a powerful, concrete narrative.
Boys in Gilded Cages
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 51,540. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Transgressional fiction, Fiction » Coming of age
In gloomy southern Missouri, meth-addicted preacher's son Eric Redmond--idealistic, eccentric, and wise beyond his years--warns us of an impending apocalypse of our own doing. With a wide cast of characters that exist in the periphery of unreliable source Eric, we see both dysfunction and beauty in this hypnotic and fragmented novel of adolescent self-destruction, bad medicine, and death.

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