An Interview With Jerry J. Davis – www.jerryjdavis.com
- I’ve had several short stories published in various magazines, including Aboriginal SF and Apex SF and Horror, and one story that appeared in the anthologies “Houston, We’ve Got Bubbas” and “The Best of the Bubbas of the Apocalypse.” I’ve also had a novel published by Time-Warner called “Travels” (now handled by Grand Central Publishing) which is a kind of satirical SF version of Revelations from the Bible. In it, the Antichrist is an AI program, and the second coming of Jesus is televised.
What inspired you to write those things?
- An overactive imagination.
Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?
- Usually the very last thing I’ve written, that’s always my current favorite thing. It’s a lot like whatever my shiny new gadget is, is my most cherished object. My iPhone was my ultimate gadget until the iPad came out, and then that was my favorite until I got the new Macbook Air — it’s the same with my writing.
Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.
- My favorite character is also my most hated character, because it’s my ego character and he screws up everything I put him in. But he won’t leave me alone! So I’m writing something now where nothing but bad, awkward and horrid things happens to him. Serves him right, too.
Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?
- Biggest current inspirations are Philip K. Dick and Chuck Palahniuk. Dick was wonderfully paranoid and insane, and Palahniuk is just evil.
How long have you been writing?
- All my life.
When did you start writing?
- In grade school. I used to write stories to amuse my friends, usually stories about horrible things happening to the school bullies that were the bane of our young existence. One of my friends plagiarized a story of mine that described the student body president being smashed by some piece of technology and submitted it for a contest. The payback was that he won the contest and had to read it in front of the whole school — with the student body president right there next to him.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why
- I tend to write really strange Flash Fiction, and there’s two in particular which I think tie as the strangest. One is about a piece of cookie that tries to escape being eaten, and the other describes a love affair between Charles Darwin and a large marine iguana. That’s all up at http://flash.jerryjdavis.com and sometime next year it will be in an anthology. Part two – you ask why? Why did I write it? Because I AM strange. J
Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was
the case with you?
- My parents were supportive in that they didn’t discourage me, but I could also tell they didn’t think I had a chance in hell getting anything published.
Who drives the story, you or your characters?
- The characters, mainly. It starts with an idea, and the idea of course comes from me, and then I have to think up the most likely (or in some cases, unlikely) characters to use to illustrate the idea, and then the characters once created completely take over and half the time wander off into some unknown direction. I give them minimal guidance and just see where they go. That to me is most of the fun of writing. If I plan something out and stick to the plan, then it gets boring and I usually don’t finish the project — or if I do it’s so dreadfully dull I end up trashing it.
Who proofreads and critiques your work?
- My friends in the Future Classics writer’s group.
Where do you get your ideas?
- In the shower. Sometimes when driving. But my best ideas hit me in the shower. Which is why my girlfriend will sometimes knock on the door and ask what the hell is going on — I’m in the shower for 20 minutes laughing my head off.
Where do you write?
- Anywhere. I have a writer’s cove in my man cave, but I also like to take my Most Cherished Object (currently the tiny little Macbook Air) out to a coffee shop and go crazy.
When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?
- Anytime. Well, let me qualify that — anytime that I’m not sleepy or have a headache.
If you could take a character from someone else’s book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it?
- I don’t really have an answer for this, but if I could extend it outside a book and to SciFi / Fantasy in general, I wouldn’t mind taking Leeloo from The Fifth Element out on a date just so I could watch her eat a whole roast chicken and then pistol whip a bunch of shape-shifting aliens. If not her, then Amy Pond from the current Doctor Who series, even if she’s young enough to be my daughter, it would still be fun to take her out to the movies. As you can tell I like redheads.
If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?
- If time travel is allowed, I’d invite Samuel Clemens out for dinner and drinks. Hilarity would ensue. If it has to be someone alive I would probably love to spend an evening talking to Tim Powers over some good food and drinks. (Tim: offer is open, dinner on me next time you’re in Chicago)
Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?
- Internet. Faster and more efficient. Paper books are dead. But also I find I use Google Street View extensively now. I can get the lay of the land just about anywhere without having to fly across the country. AWESOME.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
- I’m also an avid photographer and I enjoy podcasting as well.
Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?
- Not since I discovered absinthe.
Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?
- It’s extremely hard for me to pick one author as a favorite, just like there’s no way for me to say I have a favorite beer or favorite type of food. I can dovetail this around to my biggest influences – Philip K. Dick, Chuck Palahniuk, Tim Powers – just to name a few. I’d have to say these three have had the biggest impact on me as a writer, and being that Chuck and Tim are still alive, I can hardly wait for them to produce new things for me to read.
What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?
- Like choosing a favorite author, there’s no way for me to choose a favorite book. I can say among my favorites would be Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven and Pournelle, and On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, and The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson, and Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem.
What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?
- I recently read Under The Dome by Stephen King, and really enjoyed it right up to the end, where King seemed to have choked and didn’t quite know what to do next. In a way I really enjoyed it, but ultimately I was kind of angry that it wasted my time. I was expecting something brilliant and it ended up being idiotic. Other than that, a book I really enjoyed recently ALL THE WAY THROUGH wasn’t even a novel, it was a science book called Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness by Fred Kuttner. I’m fascinated by quantum weirdness.
Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?
- I only do this during the month of November.
If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?
- Indiana Jones, of course!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
- Everyone go to YardDogPress.com right now and buy some wonderful things to read!
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