Today we have J. L Bryan, author of The Haunted Ebook and Jenny Pox
About The Author
J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He is the author of five novels and one short-story collection. He enjoys remixing elements of paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, horror and science fiction into new kinds of stories. His goal is to provide highly original fiction like you won’t find anywhere else. His new novel is The Haunted E-book. The sequel to his novel Jenny Pox will be available by summer 2011. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina, as well as some dogs, cats, and domestic plants.
1. What made you want to start writing?
I’ve been writing stories about as long as I can remember, so I’m not entirely sure! I read a lot as a kid, and as soon as I realized I could write my own stories, I was pretty much hooked.
2. What does your typical writing day consist of? I typically write in the middle of the day and in the evenings. I also enjoy writing late at night when I can…I basically write whenever I can get away with it, often to avoid doing household chores. I take my netbook everywhere, so I can write at coffee shops and in waiting rooms, or pretty much anywhere I can sit for half an hour. I’m not very organized but I do it a lot, that’s my secret.
3. Jenny Pox and The Haunted Ebook are two very different styles of book, was it hard going from one style to another? I think Jenny Pox was more challenging because it’s more emotional and internal, really more of a character study in a lot of ways (though there’s a lot of supernatural activity around that!). The Haunted Ebook was more of an experiment with storytelling and how to create a plot that kind of folds in on itself.
4. Are you currently working on a new book or planning to? I’m working with my editor, Scott Nicholson, to prepare the sequel to Jenny Pox, which is Tommy Nightmare. That should be available in April. My next project will be a third Jenny Pox book, which completes this trilogy—the third one will be out by the fall.
1. Jenny can be related to any girl her age because of her personality and realness, was this intentional or a happy accident? Thanks for saying that! I had no idea whether people would find it relatable or not. I did try to write her as truthfully and honestly as possible. I had a very strong sense of who she was and what her life was about, so it was almost like the character was writing herself.
2. Jenny pox and the others with powers are different from normal people, would you call them angels? demons? other? We’re exploring that a little more in the upcoming books, but my sense of them is that they are like the very old beings in H.P. Lovecraft stories—evil things from a time when the universe was only chaos, before the coming of light and order. In Jenny Pox, some of these particular spirits learned to incarnate as human beings.
Some of them have become more and more human by incarnating as so many times, and learning pain and compassion…but some of them stay evil! And really they’re all somewhere in between good and evil.
Each one has a unique power that is transmitted through touch, but they only have these powers when their spirits are incarnate in flesh—they’re basically powerless when not incarnate. On the other hand, while they’re incarnate, they don’t remember all these past lives or what they really are, which is one thing that gives them the opportunity to grow and change.
3. If Jenny and the others were potato chips, what flavor would they be, and why? Jenny – Barbecue, because she’s country Seth – Cheetos, because he would probably think Chester the Cheetah is fairly cool Ashleigh – Any chip made with Olestra, which seems tasty but gives you stomach cramps later
The Haunted Ebook
1. In the book there is a lot of printing terminology and tools, did you have to research a bit to find the information you needed? I really enjoyed researching the history of printing technology, and of books themselves. New inventions change our idea of what a “book” actually is, from a scroll to a codex to an ebook. With each evolutionary jump, books because cheaper and easier to create, distribute, find and read. The last big leap forward was the printing press, which brought the Reformation, the Enlightenment and revolutions that for the most part replaced monarchy with various forms of democracy throughout the West. I don’t think we’ve really begun to see the vast social changes that will result from instant global digital communication, though it looks like some of the revolutionary activity in places like Egypt today is being organized through Twitter and things like that. Which I think gets totally off topic from your question…
2. Was it difficult to tie in all the characters since the book is a bit of a story within a story, within a story? From my perspective, it wasn’t shaped like a story within a story, but more like a ring of characters each interacting with this book at the middle. And the book put them in contact with each other. But from the reader’s perspective, that’s exactly what it is, one character reads about another, who may read about another, but the reading of the book is what’s tying them altogether—and the ghost that they’ve woken by reading the book is feeding off all of them at once…
4. At any point did you get a bit scared or creeped out by your own story? It could get pretty weird because Jonah was writing all the stories, and as the writer he had power over each of his readers. He has all this power over them because they are essentially characters in his story, once he starts reading this book. And so I almost lose track of what my own role is while I’m writing it. And as the writer, I really am the one putting the characters through such a miserable time, getting stalked by this wicked ghost. So from the characters’ perspectives, I guess I would be considered pretty evil!
4. How did you come up with a great, complex villain such as Jonah? Jonah was a tramp printer in the nineteenth century, which was a subculture that interests me and I wanted to explore a little bit. It meant he could be pretty well-read but also a dirty thug, a nice combination of traits. He was also pretty twisted because of a certain ancient evil book he read, and then he passes the evil on to his readers as he creates his books…he was fun to write.
1. What is your favorite: Color: Green Animal: Cow Food: Also cow
2. If you were stranded on a desert island with NO possible chance of escape (but plenty of fresh food and water so you could survive), what three things would you definitely have to have? My first thought was a Kindle, a stereo and a laptop. But those would all run out of power, so I’d settle for a box of notebooks, a box of pens, and a copy of Leaves of Grass.
3. When not writing, what other activities do you enjoy? I enjoy reading, sleeping, cooking, and trying to figure out what’s wrong with the world. In that order.
You can read more about J.L Bryan and his books at his Website Here
Here are the covers for Jenny Pox, Tommy Nightmare (the second book in the Jenny Pox series) and The Haunted Ebook, aren't they lovely?
Last but not least, if you leave a comment here within 7 days you are automaticly in the running to win a Kindle, or the haunted library as part of The Haunted Ebook Tour
Yea, seems like we get to know you a bit better day by day, following you around this blogtour! And I've got to know about a lot of other blogs about interesting books - and I love learning new things!
After following the tour from the beginning, and, you know, living for almost 36 years, I'm beginning to feel like a dummy for never picking up any Lovecraft. Perhaps you'll suggest a good starting point for me, Jeff.
Thanks for doing the interview and letting us get to know you more! I wish I would have known about this blog tour sooner, but I'm hooked! Love your books and excited for what you are bringing this year! :) Best wishes to you!
Love your description of Jonah, he sounds like a very interesting villain. I am definitely intrigued by the subculture you mentioned. Great interview and a lot of fun finding out more and more abut you and your craft.