J.P. will be awarding a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and one commenter on each stop will receive a digital download of a backlist book. Follow the tour and comment at all stops to increase your chance in winning.
Hello and thanks for stopping by and visiting with me and the bunnies. It is so nice to have J.P. Lantern here. Readers I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Oh, hold on J.P. Lantern, every time someone new stops by the dogs and bunnies go crazy.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I work as a writing tutor and adjunct writing instructor at a community college in a rather poverty-stricken urban area. Other than that, I hang out with my wife and my dog, I read a lot, I build lots of Legos, I play video games, and I collect Transformers. I am a horrible homebody.
Do you buy a book by the cover?
Not very often! I usually go to the nearest used book store and look around for my favorite authors, or people my favorite authors say have influenced them.
I am actually more prone to buying books due to shame—I have like five or six Faulkner books that I haven’t picked up yet which I bought purely because I felt bad that I hadn’t read enough Faulkner. I might get to him in 2025 or so at my current rate.
Do you write under a pen name?
I do! Believe it or not, “J.P. Lantern” is not my actual name. I liked “Lantern”—I thought it was sort of rustic but also still very useful. When I envision a lantern, I see something that could be used in basically any environment, offering some small amount of clarity and vision in a world of darkness. That’s sort of how I see my writing.
Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
My wife and I are both huge anglophiles, and would love to visit London. There’s so much history there! One of my life goals has always been to visit the Museum of London. We never really got to have a proper, long honeymoon because she was starting a new job, so we’re hoping that maybe in late 2014 we’ll be able to get there.
One of your favorite quotes?
“All novels are fantasies. Some are more honest about it.” – Gene Wolfe
What is your favorite type of pet?
I am your pretty typical dog person—however, we just got a cat who is completely adorable. Perhaps my favorite pet is some kind of dog with paws made out of cats and a kitten hanging off of its tail? Like a kitten/puppy gestalt sort of thing, except without all the trauma that would make it a horrible monster.
Tell us about the first story you ever wrote and how old you were.
I was fifteen, I believe, and I wrote something about a town of werewolves. As I recall, it was just following a guy in a bar getting drunk and learning that everyone around him was a werewolf. It was very Terry Pratchet/Douglas Adams-lite and not very good. But, you’ve got to start somewhere.
What types of books do you write?
I write speculative science fiction. I think sometimes it’s called “soft” science fiction? Basically I write about characters in worlds outside of ours. These characters don’t really have much understanding of the technology around them or the circumstances that made everything the way it was—they’re just sort of operating with what’s around them in the best way they know how.
Who’s your main audience?
Fans of science fiction, fans of speculative fiction, fans of dystopian fiction—I think anybody that digs darker sorts of sci-fi stories that are a little more personal will like what I have.
To make an analogy—I really love superheroes, and a lot of the superhero movies in the last fifteen years or so have been great. But what I’ve never quite liked about them is that so many of them are about saving the world or the city—these big huge plots that endanger everything possible just for the sake of conflict.
But one of the things I always loved about comics is watching these larger-than-life settings and characters dealing with smaller problems—working through their sense of identity and grappling with emotions, that sort of thing. So I don’t write the save-the-world type of stuff, but I do write the find-out-what’s-going-on-with-constant-high-stakes sort of stuff.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Pretty much the kind that I try to write. Something sort of speculative and immediately engaging with good dialogue and a lot of dynamic characters. My favorite authors would be like Gene Wolfe and China Miéville, people like that, who really do a lot of crazy, fun stuff with genre and explore concepts in these brilliant ways.
What does your writing schedule look like?
Generally speaking, I’m writing in the morning from whenever I get started for about three-four hours. I take a break for lunch, do social media stuff and answer emails, that sort of thing. Then I’m writing for another three-four hours.
Sometimes it’s just me staring in front of a screen, but a lot of the time it’s me busting down words. On a good day, when I have lots of projects to work on and I’m just producing content, I’m putting out about four or five thousand words. When I have to do a lot of editing or revising, that number goes way, way down.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
I’m not sure, really. I think that there are certain bits or images that I just see all of a sudden—some result of all the neurons firing around in my brain. And I’ll really attach myself to that image or thought or scene, and I have to work forwards and backwards from there. For Dust Bowl, that image was when Ward (the protagonist) meets the little girl Dummy for the first time. So, that’s in the last third of the book—so there was a lot to work my way up to.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Dust Bowl comes about as a sort of conglomeration of a lot of ideas I had floating in my head after learning a ton about the actual, historical Dust Bowl, and a lot about genocide through the twentieth century, and there’s just a lot of my own general fear about the state of the world. I don’t know that there was one big eureka moment, really. For me, novels are more like the natural progression of my bursting point—I’ll get to a point where I’ll just feel completely full of information and thought, and the only way to get rid of it is to write a novel.
What was your vision for the book cover?
I love how it turned out! I don’t know that I would have asked for something different—so I hope it does well, otherwise I’m going to have to start taking some marketing seminars or something like that. I have a great relationship with the cover artist, so my thoughts and ideas were easy to communicate.
Is your book similar to any other authors work? If so how? Characters, plot, writing style?
I feel like it draws a lot from the setting and tone of Octavia Butler’s Parable series. I really, really love Gene Wolfe and Cormac McCarthy but I don’t know that I actively tried to pull from them with this book for anything major (outside of the setting generally being somewhat like The Road).
What are you currently working on?
Resting! 2013 has been a wonderful but rather tumultuous year for me. I’m taking a break from everything for about six weeks to just relax and let my body rest. Writing all day is actually quite trying on your posture and so forth.
Any upcoming events?
This blog tour continues out through the end of the week, takes a break for Christmas week, and it continues again the week of New Year’s! You can see each stop at GoddessFish, who put everything together..
Where can your followers find you?
Any last words?
Read my book! It is good and you will like it. And of course, thank you for having me.
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today J.P. Lantern. It’s been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
With the world ending around him, Ward flounders for purpose and survival. Resources are gone, disease is rampant, and governments have all but dissolved. The only way off the broken planet is with the Order. Obsessed with technology, the Order is a cult that has developed the means for faster-than-light travel. They claim they can populate the galaxy and save humanity.
Ward joins the Order, inspired by sudden and irrational love for a mysterious beauty named Kansas who saves his life. But quickly, he finds out Kansas and the Order want him to kill adults and kidnap children from across the country. With impressionable youth filling their starships, the Order hopes for their tenets to be spread to all future generations of humanity.
The Order is Ward’s only chance for survival in the wreck the earth has become. Worse than that, those in the Order come to accept him and value his skills for their nightmarish quest across the dystopian landscape of America. But, somewhere inside of him, still, is the strength to strike out on his own and protect whatever good he can find left in the world.
“Would you be willing to kill a thousand parents so that there might be a thousand million more in the future? Would you orphan a thousand children just so they could foster thousands of their own? That is not a name put to courage. That is not something you don’t understand. That is something very simple to understand, you just don’t have the will to do it yourself. That is a name put to strength. To resolve. That’s what a set is.”
There was a light in the office behind the booth, flickering every so often and casting strange, entacle shadows into the room. Joe looked at Ward and his face was sagging with fear. Maybe understanding had not quite dawned in the liquored canals of his mind but it showed in his eyes, and Ward felt satisfied for the first time all day.
Joe shook his head. “Why you telling me this?”
“I thought you should know what’s going to happen here.”
“Just what exactly is that gonna be,” asked Joe. “Or have you told me already?
Ward looked at him for a moment and took his gun out of its holster. He laid it on to the table with his hand resting on it, just in case he needed it. In his imaginings, usually people tried to run.
“Every adult here is going to die. One by one, mostly. Some of this will be done by me.”
The eyes of Joe stayed fixated on the gun on the table.
J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed “rugged,” though he would also be fine with “roughhewn” because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.
Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.
Amazon Author Page: