Today I am happy to have Jason Parent on The Scary Reviews for an interview. His new book A Life Removed was recently released on May 23rd, 2017. Having just finished the book last week I can say it was a great read. In my opinion, it is one of his best to date. The review is posted on my site and you can see what I thought about it. Jason Parent calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.
When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody’s head off – he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes. With that said let’s get to the Q&A. It was really cool to talk to Jason about his love of writing and learn what he has planned after his latest release.
The Scary Reviews: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! For those who may be unfamiliar with your work, how did you first get started in writing and what led you to pursue it professionally?
Jason Parent: I think like any of the arts, writing is a creative outlet for those embrace it. As with anything that is also a business, there are times when it can be frustrating or worse, but the act of writing itself… I’d say there isn’t many writers who don’t do it for the sheer love of it, myself included. Doing it “professionally” began really as a s desire to see if I was any good at it.
TSR: What is a typical day of writing like for you? Do you have a set process or is it something that varies depending on the day?
JP: Writing has been hard as of late. I have no set schedule and squeeze it in when I can. With a couple of recent releases and more coming, I have had to fill much of my free time with promotion, but that goes in waves for me—write a bunch of stuff, publish a bunch of stuff, write a bunch more stuff, publish (hopefully) a bunch more stuff.
TSR: I’ve noticed New England is a hot bed for horror writers. What effect has this had on your writing career and what is it about the area that breeds so much success?
JP: I am a member of the New England Horror Writers, a group that is very supportive of the genre and established, new and prospective writers. It is nice to have a collaborative group to bounce ideas off of, talk about publishers and editors, and just generally learn and grow with each other. What it’s done for my career is hard to measure, but it’s comforting to know I have a support group standing with me.
TSR: Your bio states you were a civil litigator in a past life. How do the challenges of writing your next book compare to the challenges you faced in the court room?
JP: If I fail in writing, I hurt mostly me, my publishers and my readers, the largest investment into the work coming from me. In litigation, if I fail, it’s my clients who suffer, and potentially at a large scale. In the end, though, it’s the same pressure: I don’t like to let anyone down.
TSR: You have written several novels and many short stories in various genres. Do you prefer one length and or genre over the other?
JP: The story I want to tell dictates its length, but I find the novelette to novella seems to be a perfect length for telling horror and there seems to be a shift among readers of the genre that way, too. As a reader, I like stories of any length, with the only requirements being that they’re good and not loaded with unnecessary filler just to make them longer. I get bored easily.
TSR: What do you like to do when you are not writing? Is there a hobby or activity you always wanted to try, but haven’t?
JP: I’d like to travel more, see the world. The opportunities to do so don’t come around as often now that I am ready to do so, but I’ll figure it out.
TSR: Your last novel ‘People of the Sun’ was released this past March. ‘A Life Removed’, your new crime thriller, has just been released this month. Was this the result of a blazing creative session leading to two closely released books?
JP: It’s the result of having different publishers for different genres, I think. My novels were written in this order: A Life Removed, What Hides Within, People of the Sun, Seeing Evil. These were written over a ten-twelve year period. I don’t have the release dates for my next four, three of which are with publishers already, but they were written in this order: Wormwoods (to be published by Sinister Grin, like People of the Sun); Molli (publisher unknown); Hearing Evil (to be published by Red Adept, like Seeing Evil and A Life Removed); and Victoria (which has a publisher, but has not yet been announced). The first three of those were written over a four-year period (I’ve gotten better at it). I leave publication dates up to the publishers. It’ll be interesting to see how the cards fall there. After that, who knows?
TSR: How much of yourself do you find that leaks into your characters, especially in your crime thrillers?
JP: There is a whole lot of me, and the worst parts of me, in my characters. Though the characters in A Life Removed are just that, characters who act according to the fiction they live and breathe, many were inspired by real people and are perhaps the broken, shattered versions of good people, myself included, if I can call myself such.
TSR: What novel had the biggest impact on you as a writer and who are some of your favorite current writers that you recently started reading?
JP: As a novelist, I’ve had to follow a number of rules to get published and establish myself. Cormac McCarthy is an author who no doubt knows the rules, and with The Road, decided to break a shitload of them. Yet, the book works for many, including me, while is absolutely atrocious to others. With each of my preceding novels, I’ve broken small “rules” certain types profess against to small degrees: written the POV of a creature, interjected politics, etc. I’ve intentionally broken a bigger rule with A Life Removed that some won’t like though it will be obvious why to those who read it cover to cover. It’ll be interesting to see how the reviews pan out in that regard.
As for my favorite current writers that I’ve recently started reading, the list is endless. I love modern horror and those who write it. Hunter Shea, Michael McBride, and Tim Curran are all go-tos for creature features with substance, superb writing, and, of course, imaginative monsters. Greg Gifune, Mercedes Yardley, and Laird Barron (three vastly different styles) are go-tos for when I want to think and feel my way through my horror. My most recent discoveries (though some have been around a while) have been Bracken Macleod, Kevin Lucia, Curtis Lawson and Tom Deady, all of which have impressed me in different ways. And Jeff Strand never fails to make me laugh. The guy I’ve really haven’t tried yet and have been meaning to read is Ronald Malfi.
TSR: I can highly recommend Ronald Malfi. I’ve had the pleasure of reading a few of his novels and they’ve stuck with me over time. If you could choose any writer to collaborate or talk about writing with, who would you choose and why?
JP: Other than Stephen King, you mean? I am finding many of the authors in the genre are quite approachable and enjoy engaging in discussions with fans, readers and other authors. I’ve heard the same about Jack Ketchum, and I think I’d like to talk thrillers so dark that they must be horror with him next, maybe find out if he’s got the same screws loose that I have.
TSR: Thanks again for stopping by The Scary Reviews, Jason! I very much enjoyed talking with you. Lastly, is there anything else you would like to let readers know?
Thanks for having me, David! If your readers have any questions about me or my books, or want to tell me what they liked or disliked about any of my work, or if they just want to talk about books, the writing process, their own work, or life in general, they can feel free to hit me up any time at any of my links: