This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. 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-- so be sure and leave a comment. And, click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Today, we welcome J.P. Lantern to the blog. Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I am pretty huge fan of wrestling. If I am surfing through internet message boards, more than likely I am reading about wrestling. I don’t post very often, and to be honest outside of PPVs I don’t really watch that much anymore either (the product seems to be in decline), but I do enjoy reading about what’s happening and what people think about it. People, including myself, get really into it and get attached to certain wrestlers, and create these elaborate scenarios (rationalizations) for why their favorite guy is going to get the big title shot. That’s more fun, a lot of the time, than actual watching what they’re putting out there currently, unfortunately.
Anyway, it’s all storytelling, and I think there’s a lot of similarities between what a wrestler does in the ring and what I do on the page.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Well, reading is obviously pretty high up on the list, but most of the time that practically counts as writing. I love to build with Legos, I love playing around with my dog and my new cat, and I am a huge Transformers nerd/collector. If you buy my book, you are probably feeding my collection of various plastics. If there was a way to pay me in Lego, I would probably take it. You can feed dogs Lego, right?
How did you choose the genres you write in?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. Speculative fiction or science fiction are really the only genres I’ve ever really been interested in writing. I feel like the only thing I can make interesting in fiction is when I’m inventing worlds or speculating on possible events. With the real world, I feel like my understanding is very limited, and grows more limited every day. It would feel dishonest to me to write a story that’s supposed to be about, like, someone who could live down your street. So, by making the whole world around the characters I want to write about, I feel like I’m a little more in control and a little more knowledgeable, and I’m able to be more honest about what people would and wouldn’t do.
Is there any particular author or book that has influenced you or your writing?
Oh, of course. I think Cormac McCarthy, Gene Wolfe, and Octavia Butler have probably had the strongest influence on what I do when I write. I have to be careful because I’m fairly good at imitation, and so whenever I finish reading something and then slide right into writing, I will, without fail, start writing like what I just read. So I have to shake that off for about five minutes of writing that I usually just cut.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
In a writing workshop one time, I had a very good professor who said to the class about a story of mine that, “About a third of this story reads like a top-rate Cormac McCarthy copycat.” So, I sort of became very aware of trying to write in that way after that, and mostly tried to avoid it.
The best compliment? I’m not sure. Lots of people have said very nice things over the years. I think I’m always just most happy when someone says they’re a fan of what I do. That’s a really cool thing, to connect with someone like that.
If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, fictional or real, who would it be and why?
Vince McMahon, maybe? I’m a big fan of wrestling, as I said above, and in a limited way I follow what’s called “dirt sheets,” which are like backstage reports of what goes on in the wrestling business. He just seems like the most fascinating, hardworking, completely insane man in the world. There are these stories—who knows if they’re true or not—but these stories about him like chasing employees around with poo-covered underwear and drag-racing with his writers and trying to run them off the road. I would absolutely love to sit down with him and talk about wrestling and storytelling and all of that.
You are going to be stranded on a deserted island and bring 3 luxury items. What would they be?
I would bring a diamond-encrusted knife, a ruby-inlaid water filter, and a platinum flare gun. I want to survive in style, you know?
Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Who are they and why?
Oh, um, Teddy Roosevelt and Muhammad Ali. I think that would be fun. I could learn to live outdoors and box, and then I could go and box bears like a champion.
What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Let’s see—lots of greek yogurt, some grapes, chicken sausage, almond milk, some of those pre-washed salad materials, lots of barbecue sauce, and like sixteen half-used jars of salsa. My wife and I try very hard to eat healthy, and we fail very constantly. The rule is that you’re supposed to not keep anything you shouldn’t eat in the house, right? But this just encourages us to binge super hard. I would be more worried, except for how pizza is delicious.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
A Whole Lot of Trouble
Summer or Winter?
Winter by a landslide. Winter by a continent-slide. Winter, by an avalanche of a thousand winters drowning out the hope for any summer ever again.
I don’t like summer. At all.
Coffee or Tea?
I am a fan of both, but I will have to go with coffee.
Cake or Pie?
Pie. Cake always seems like such a bully. A bully of the schoolyard of meals. Pie is like the ride home after a long day working in the sun.
Car or Truck?
Trucks have a special place in my heart because my first automobile ever was a truck, but I’ve found in the meantime that basically everyone who drives one seems to feel they have license to never park well. This is especially true, for whatever reason, for Dodge trucks.
Print or Electronic?
I read almost exclusively print books. I am a big hypocrite, I know. I don’t have anything against electronic, of course! I just haven’t been able to shell out for an e-reader yet.
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
Check out my book, Dust Bowl. It is dark and violent and good, and you will like it. Thanks for having me here!
About the Author:
Buy the book at Amazon.
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.