I'm really excited about my guest today. Look at the fabulous cover up there: it screams pulp detective novel with a twist, my favorite genre! Jason Anspach does the hard-boiled detective genre so well, adding a dash of paranormal as the detective, Sam Rockwell, deals with a unique kind of death cases: Returns, i.e. ghosts. Filled with humor and witty lines, 'Til Death is a book you won't want to miss. Nick Cole, author of The Old Man and the Wasteland, calls it "Sweet, melancholy and hilariously witty."
Welcome to Chimeras, Jason, and congratulation on your first book!
EEG: 'Til Death is your first novel, but you've been writing for a while. Tell us a bit about your writing background.
JA: I majored in journalism and public relations in college, did a bit of that after graduation, and then settled into a day job where I wrote marketing and PR copy in addition to other duties. I also freelanced for a while building websites and writing copy for small businesses.
As far as writing fiction goes, it's been a lifelong goal to write a book. I'm a dreamer, and by that I mean that my mind will constantly come up with vivid stories or what-if scenarios. So this was a process of forcing myself to be consistently disciplined enough to sit down and write one of the stories that ricocheted within my mind.
EEG: What inspired 'Til Death?
JA: I think with most first novels, there's a lot that goes for the inspiration. 'Til Death is set in the 1950s and Sam Rockwell, our hero, is doing his best to imitate the hard boiled noire detective of pulp fiction. He's a great guy that thinks he has to present a certain image to be successful, not realizing what impact that has on being truly happy.
The story is paranormal in the way it deals with Returns, ghosts who come back with unfinished business. Part of the origins of this story was the death of my mother-in-law and the aftermath of all of that. As a Christian, I believe there is life after death. I asked the question, what if the entire world knew with 100% certainty that there was life after death (because of the Returns). How would they act towards death?
Lastly, but not finally, I grew up on a steady diet of old movies from the 1940s and 50s. I wanted the novel to have a certain feel, like you were watching a Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart picture.
EEG: You are also working on an Apocalypse Weird novel. Can you tell us a bit about that project?
JA: Absolutely! At this point, I think I'll be the first contributor to put out something other than a novel.
There was a writer's workshop about the time the first five Apocalypse Weird books launched. I attended and got some great advice from Kim Wells, Nick Cole, & Jennifer Ellis. Part of that workshop involved a pitch contest. My pitch was about a super-violent earthquake that obliterated the Pacific Northwest, leaving pioneers living in a New Oregon Territory. Bob Crosley won the pitch contest, but Nick Cole messaged me a month or so later and said he liked my pitch and asked if I would consider putting together an outline.
I flipped out with excitement and joy.
So now, the project has the green light and has evolved. Originally we were going to do release serial episodes in Oregon, 3-5k each. Now, it's morphed into a CBS Mystery style Radio Drama. If you've got a good voice, we might be interested in casting you... unless we change it up again. ;)
EEG: Wow, that's really cool! Haha, I'll audition if you need an Italian accent in the cast! ;-) Switching topic completely: what's a regular day like in a household of 8?
JA: I love it.
Never a dull moment, but so much to be thankful for. My oldest child is ten and my youngest was just born. Having a large family is NOT something my wife and I expected, but life sort of happens and each new character that enters our lives belongs there.
It's not nearly as hectic as folks might think. You just have to be deliberate about what you do and when you do it. I wouldn't trade it for anything, though.
EEG: Where do you draw inspiration from?
JA: From an idea or muse perspective, a good part of it just happens. Lame answer, I know.
But like a lot of writers, what I love or believe comes out in my work. I never set out to be heavy handed or write a story about a particular theme, mind you. A good story has to be first - I don't ever want to be the guy who declares, "I'm going to write about the injustice of x,y,z" and then sit down and figure out a story that will deliver my message.
Still, things I love like family, faithfulness, life, and humor tend to keep popping up.
EEG: That's a great answer! :-) Best of luck with your book, I hope Sam Rockwell will have many more Returns to deal with. :-)
'Til Death is now available from Amazon. Here's the blurb:
Sam Rockwell is a fledgling private investigator specializing in Returns, or, recently deceased ghosts with unfinished business. After his no-nonsense father is murdered and comes back, Sam takes the case hoping for a big break and a chance to win the heart of his Girl Friday.To find out more about Jason and his writerly projects, visit his website or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Short on experience and long on the swagger of the dog-eared pulp fiction he keeps in his desk, Rockwell sets out to find his father’s killer only to find himself caught up in a deadly game of Cold War Intrigue at its most horrific as the Doomsday Clock inches closer to permanent midnight in this witty throwback to the Golden Age of Hollywood noire.