Your debut novel, THE SIMPLISTIC APPROACH: A NOVEL came out earlier this year. Can you tell us a little about it?
JL: It most closely resembles a romantic love story trapped inside a dark comedy. Aren’t all relationships? Intricate conflicts between mismatched addictions and obscurely fascinating obsessions become the uneven balance which divides simple and sophisticated lifestyle. Anything but normal. And completely relatable.
Charlie Waters, an architect by trade, develops mind-altering plans for his future wife. His best friend, Bulldog Fred, engineers the design into reality. Together, Charlie and Bulldog are on an endless search for the perfect counter; never quite satisfied with their significant other. Selfishly trapped inside an analytical obsession for perfection, constantly, they rethink what a beautiful love story is made of; continuously reworking the equation. All of the insecurities, nuances and flaws in a relationship, lead them to the ultimate encounter; an ending approach that will leave any simplistic questions answered and oddly redefine the definition of love.
JS: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel?
JL: It began inside a holiday toy house decoration… of all places. Just in time for Christmas. A few years ago at about this time, my son and I were at a restaurant waiting for our food. He must’ve been two. They had an entire Christmas Village display on the window ledge above our table. My friend was with us. We were asking my son if he knows who lives inside this mini model home. Bulldog Fred was born. Apparently, he was the chosen one inside The House of a Thousand Characters. Unfortunately Santa didn’t make the cut for this novel. But then again, this is a Fiction Novel. Not to worry; Bulldog Fred is as giving as Santa.
One of the ending scenes was inspired from a single sound in a song. I listened to it, the entire song, non-stop, over and over for probably thirty or forty times in a row to create this scene. I get into it.
JS: Are you planning a whole Charlie and Bulldog Series?
JL: That could be dangerous but I wouldn’t rule it out. They may resurface in the future. Now that Charlie and Bulldog have been extracted from their previously festive home, in a previously simple life, they’ve managed to cause mentally explosive diarrhea damage to everyone around. Yet it’s done in such an inviting and elegant way, that you almost relate to, dare I say appreciate and validate their addictions and mentally unstable ‘Questioneers’ way. I believe Charlie would say, “It’s never over.”
JS: Are you working on anything now?
JL: Yes. Another fiction novel. It takes place inside the healthcare system -- which is already disturbing. I bring it to that next level. Think of it as the inspiration for medical advances; when doctors get bored with everyday practice. Similar to the Mayo Clinic, these highly skilled community of professionals team up at a hospital to test their proficiency, using unconventional Continuing Education procedures which fall slightly outside of their scope of practice. Penalty for failure is more than a reprimand. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
JS: How long did it take you to write your novel?
JL: One year of a creative word collage. Six months of organizing.
JS: What made you decide to write a book and have you always wanted to be a writer?
JL: I never decided to write a book. The book decided for me. I always enjoyed expressing myself through alternative communications. Growing up, I spent years performing as a drummer. Recently, I traded in the drumsticks for a pen. Is that a fair trade? Writing is new. I’m a late bloomer. This didn’t start off as a novel. It started off as a therapeutic word dump. After a year, and what looked like a large, disassembled puzzle, I slowly arranged the thoughts, working them into a story. Within six months of filling in the blank, the novel was complete.
JS: You went with self-publishing. Can you tell us why you decided to go in that direction?
JL: Once I realized I was writing a novel, like an afterthought, I had no intention of doing anything with it beyond finishing the story. It was completely a selfish journey. Getting to know the characters became my obsession. Even after completing the novel, I wasn't planning on putting it out there. Honestly, I didn't really care what anyone thought of it. It was a learning process and I accomplished what I set out to do. What happened was my sister read it in a word document format and wanted her husband to read it. He’s a socially defiant, technologically advanced individual and would only read it from his Kindle, refusing to read the word document from a computer. I was quite anxious to view it on a Kindle as well, seeing it come to life. So I self-published. For better or worse, no one changed or interrupted the direction of the story. Meanwhile, I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to publish this.
JS: What do you like best about self-publishing? Least?
JL: The process. And meeting other self-published authors who share in the experience. So far, no least.
JS: Did you send out query letters and if so how many?
JS: What advice do you have for any aspiring authors?
JL: Passion is transparent. Write what’s right for you. Whether your goal is to self-publish or work with an agent, find your approach and don’t be afraid to establish your creative place out there. I’ve met great writers who refuse to even self-publish for fear of rejection. Remember, every reader experiences a unique interpretation of your work. To me, I'd be offended if everyone loved my book. More than anything, I respect honesty, even if they hated it. And I’ve had people tell me how much they disliked the book. It doesn't bother me. I don't feel rejected. If it sparks emotion from readers, then you’ve made a connection.
Use your resources. Join or form a writers group. Every week, I meet with my sister and friend to discuss character development, review recent written chapters, and critique plot twists. They have a significant influence on me, challenging my concepts and taking my writing to another level.
Search for bloggers like Jessica who provide a great service; a platform to promote first-time, self-published novels right next to a Six-Time New York Times Bestselling Author! I hope I didn’t ruin it for everyone else?? If I sold a book, anyone can.
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Beach or mountains? Mountains
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Last book read? Gone Girl
E-reader or old fashion book? E-reader strategically placed inside an old fashion book. It reminds me of a Robert Gurney home.
Favorite author? Chuck Palahniuk. I also need to include Quentin Tarantino and Howard Stern as influential, captivating storytellers.
Most played song on iPod? Lately, the Gorillaz version of Crystalised. Crosses from Jose Gonzalez. Violet Rays from Smashing Pumpkins. Kindergarten from Faith No More. Diamonds from SIA and performed by Rihanna… Well done Sia.
Favorite movie? Shawshank Redemption
Favorite food? Chicken Tikka. No Masala. Just Chicken Tikka.
Outliner or panster? Panster
Unorthodox, like a ninja, Jason Lebowitz presents a rhythmically captivating sense of writing discipline. Silently secretive and invisibly disguised, the satirist will sneak up from behind, infiltrating your mind with psychological humor. He will lead you through narrow pathways of misinterpretation until you're unable to distinguish between realities. Everyday spent outside your four-wall comfort zone should be a constant reminder to look over your shoulder. The characters in his novels could be standing right next to you at this very moment. Welcome to his playground for the obsessed.
Thanks Jason. Sound like a book you might enjoy? Good advice for aspiring authors? Have a published book and want to be a part of my author interviews, please e-mail me at JessicaLSalyer(at)gmail(dot)com.