Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Author Jason McKinney

I met Jason McKinney on the indiehorror website. Big surprise, huh? I hang out there a lot. You should probably be checking the site out. I liked Jason right away because he was funny and I like people who can make me laugh. He also seemed to know his way around the horror genre. And so I offered to review one of his books and do an interview here on my blog.

Jason currently has two full length novels out- Dog World and Memoirs of the Walking Dead. I decided to read Memoirs first because you know I like my apocalyptic fiction and zombies! The review is up at See Spot Read so you should definitely head over there and check that out! I'll wait. Back? On with the interview:

1.) How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was twelve, but I’ve only been writing seriously for the past five years.

2.) I know that you quit your day job to focus on your writing. How is that working out?

It’s been rough but we’ve kept our head above water so I could follow my inspiration. “I left a job making $500 a week so I could make that a year. So far it’s working out beautifully.” I paraphrased the comedian Greg Hahn there. That line has stuck with me ever since I heard it because it seems to sum up the situation perfectly.

3.) Is this your fist published novel?

Yes it is. Oddly enough I finished my other horror novel Dog World before Memoirs, but I was compelled to kick Memoirs out of the nest first.

4.) What made you decide to go the Indie route and what problems have you faced?

I didn’t want to spend “X” amount of years looking for a publisher especially with the economy being what it is and affecting the publishing industry the way it has.

I wrote middle grade fiction before horror and was rejected for two years. The rejections weren’t horrible, though. They mostly said, “You’re story’s good but…” or “We would publish it, but…” and that got old. So instead of going through all that again I went Indie.

Surprisingly, a lot of reactions I get from people when I tell them I have gone Indie are positive. I have meet a lot of comic artists and writers and authors that are extremely talented, but are having the same difficultly breaking in to the industry that have gone Indie also.

Going Indie is not easy. It is a lot of hard work to do your own promoting and marketing, but the main place I’ve faced problems is my extended family. They think going Indie is the equivalent of failure or not bothering to try at all.

I tell them that it’s a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is scenario. It’s kind of like college in a sense. You spend the money to get something that later on may get you where you want to be. Either one is not a guarantee but it boils down to having faith in yourself and your work. A bit of “Screw what everyone else thinks” doesn’t hurt either.

5.) What made you decide to write about Zombies? And how did you come up with the idea of doing the story from the Zombie point of view?

Actually, that’s kind of a funny story.

I go to the local Books-A-Million to write a lot. With three kids in the house there’s no such thing as peace and quiet so I go out.

One day a barista asked me if I was writing a book and I said yes. I was finishing Dog World at the time, but when she asked what I was writing I told her something completely different.

I was feeling kind of zombie-ish that day so I said, “Memoirs of the Walking Dead. It’s a story from the zombie’s point of view so it’s a biography”. I went on to finish Dog World but the title and subtitle stuck with me. My wife thought the idea was crazy, but interesting. She thinks the book is funny so I know I have at least one biased fan.

6.) What scares you personally? Do you have any silly phobias?

I have three phobias and you’ll laugh yourself sick about them.

One is people with their faces wrapped in bandages scare me. That’s partly Claude Rains’ fault but mostly my parents. I don’t know what they were thinking when they let me watch The Invisible Man at six years old but I am glad they did.

The second is that I can’t shower near a drain. I know that’s personal but hey, it’s my silly phobia. I saw Psycho when I was eight and the shower scene, along with the drain, scared me to death. Now every time I see a shower drain I cringe.

The third is I will not fly at night while sitting next to a window overlooking the wing. It’s amazing the things that stay with you from your childhood.

7.) What is your writing routine?

Every morning I go to Books A Million, pop in my earphones and let the evil that lurks within me run riot. I have a play list of music that I listen to while I write and I begin and end my music repertoire with “All These Things That I’ve Done’ by The Killers.

8.) Have you always been a fan of horror?

Yes, yes, yes. And… did I say yes? I love horror and the supernatural. The classic stuff mostly. The Twilight Zone has given me so many wonderful scares and fears that I would have to be stuck on stupid not to love Rod Serling. Eye of the Beholder and Nightmare at 20,000 Feet are my two of my top five favorite episodes. The Grave, The Purple Testament, and The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms fit in there somewhere, too.

9.) What other authors inspire you?

Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King are the big three to me.

10.) What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?

Follow your inspiration and your gut. If you are compelled to write and/or self publish then do it. It bears repeating: screw what others think of you and your work. Do it primarily for you; everyone else comes second.

Jason McKinney is a writer, storyteller and collector of comics. A busy husband and father of three, he started writing fiction in his spare time for his wife.  He is a former accountant who got tired of keeping track of other people’s money and decided to follow his inspiration to make a little money of his own.

Jason is the author of the zombie comedy, Memoirs of the Walking Dead: A Story from the Zombies Point of View.

His most recent book, Dog World, has just been published and is available in his e-Store or on Amazon.  Dog World is the written answer to his seven-year-old daughter’s questions: Are there any good werewolves and what do they do when they aren’t hairy?

Follow his blog

Follow him on Twitter @jason_mckinney

Buy his books on Amazon.

Happy Monday,


Blaze McRob said...

This is my kind of writer! What a great attitude! And funny, too. I can understand his head bandage phobia thing. I still think "The Invisible Man" is the greatest horror film of all time. That maniacal laugh was sooo cool!

His outlook on Indie publishing is great. Why waste your life waiting for the call when you can do it yourself? Sure, we all need a good Editor and cover designer and such, but a writer certainly stands to make much higher royalties. Everyone has to market, so there's nothing different between traditional and Indie there.

Great interview. I'll go over and read the review now. So shoot me! I stayed here and read this first.


Scott Niven said...

Great interview! I love getting glimpses into the minds of other indie writers!