Wednesday, 1 April 2015


Welcome to night three of the Dead Roses Special week.

Tonight sees the second author interview with Jason Parent. He will be answering some general questions about himself and his writing and then some specific questions about Eleanor, his story in the book.

Of course, at the end, Jason will take on The Ten Confessions!

If you don’t know a lot about Jason Parent, you will know it all by the end of this.....believe me! If you come to the end of this interview and think to yourself "Am I nuts or is he nuts?" that is perfectly normal. You will not be alone!

Grab your poison and tonight a huge burger and chips (fries for you American lot).......and most of all enjoy.

COAF - So tell everyone a bit about yourself in general?

JP - What’s there to tell? Hmm… let’s see. I’m a pet-friendly, hypoallergenic, cynical bastard who thinks Teletubbies merge together like Voltron (like Power Rangers for you young ‘uns) to form the Antichrist. I also like long walks on the beach, curling up to watch a movie, and plotting to destroy the world. Sadly, 90 percent of all that is true. I mean, really? Who likes walking?

COAF - Why writing? Why decide on that as a career? Did Judge Judy not do it for you anymore?

JP - I was actually partial to Judge Joe Brown. That’s my judge! Alas, I wish I could call writing a career, and I hope that’s the direction I’m heading. But it’s my day job that pays the bills. For more hours than I’d ever care to admit, I am still putting my legal degree to use, negotiating contracts for my employer and doing a little consulting on the side. But I don’t love it. I don’t even like it. I love to write. And if there are any sugar mommas out there who would be kind enough to let me leech… ahem, love… them, I give a heck of a foot massage. 

That’s all I got.

COAF - Your novel What Hides Within, is billed as a “horror / mystery with loads of dark comedy.” From what I can see on social media there are a hell of a lot of people that love this one. How did you develop the idea for this one?

JP - What’s grosser than a bug living in your ear? Yeah, I know, two bugs… or maybe a bug pooping in your ear… or a bug eating its own poop in your ear… or bugs making babies in your ear… or maybe, well, you get the point. As gross as it is, it has happened, and nasty newspaper articles conveying the atrocity tend to stay with me. I’ve read an article or two on head-dwelling spiders in particular. And I am not too macho to admit that if a spider ever made my ear its home, I would scream like a twelve-year-old girl at a Bieber concert. I am also not too much of a man to admit that I scream like a twelve-year-old girl every time I attend a Bieber concert.

Anyway, so I thought a spider in one’s ear could make a cool story, particularly if that spider spoke and had its own agenda. It might have been the mushrooms I plucked from my backyard that helped with the story’s conception.

COAF - Take us through your process for a story. How do you start it and follow through to the final product?

JP - I start with an idea, which I forget. So I go with the next idea that I happen to write down in time before I can forget it. Then I conceive of a vague outline for a story. I then handwrite the first few chapters of said story and toss it aside to start the better idea I came up with during the drafting of those chapters.

My first draft is handwritten on legal pads.  By the time it’s done, it looks like a toddler scribbled all over it with a red pen. Arrows and inserts, all around craziness that no one can understand but moi. C’est la vie.

Even in that form, it is barely more than a long outline. When I type up the legal pad monstrosity, the resulting words begin to resemble a story, and the page count doubles. Then it’s editing, adding and subtracting. Then editing. Then editing. Then sending out to a professional editor. Then editing. Then proofreading. Then enlisting beta-readers. Then tossing it in a pile in the corner to be revisited at some later date. I keep learning as I go, and keep backtracking to add new trick to old dogs? Prostitutes? I still need to work on my analogies.

COAF - What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?

JP - Finding the time to do it. I go crazy when I want to write and can’t, and I have been crazy a lot lately. I really have forgotten more stories than I will ever have time to write.

COAF - I’ve read a lot of your reviews of other peoples work. You seem to be quite good at it *snigger*. Do you find it hard to read books by others without wanting to jump in and change things or be overly critical?

JP - Well, no, because I do jump and be overly critical. I am not a particularly hard grader, I suppose, because I can generally tell what I am going to like before I pick it up to read. But even if I like a book, I want to give it a balanced review, and no book is perfect (except maybe The Stand, Slaughterhouse Five, Green Eggs and Ham…), for indies that might learn from it particularly. I do try to make it fun for them.

And I appreciate the same in return. One reviewer of WHW gave me a rather gruelling review, but it was also tremendously helpful. I hired her as an editor for three works since. And now editors looking for work are going to give me bad reviews…

COAF - When you’re writing, has it always got to be horror or do you dabble in other genres?

JP - I would say most of what I write has elements of horror, but only a fraction of what I write is horror alone. For novels, we have WHW – try to pigeon-hole that bad boy in a genre if you dare! My next novel, due out in a few months, will be a psychological/light supernatural thriller. I will also have a science fiction thriller, a horror/thriller and a horror novel on the way. I have experimented with literary fiction and science fiction when I participate in charity anthologies. 

And there’s other stuff out there, if you are clever enough to find it.

COAF - Who would be the authors you would give the credit of being your influences and who do you just not “get”?

JP - Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe easily get the nod for influences, with Kurt Vonnegut and Oscar Wilde rounding out the bunch. More inspirations than influences, I think, and I certainly don’t profess to be their equals. Of all, Poe would creep into my work the most.

Who do I just not get? Well I’m sure I could belittle Stephanie Meyer or E.L. James, but that wouldn’t be fair since I am not either’s target audience. So, I will go with Dan Brown. There’s nothing particularly wrong with his books and he crafts unique and intricate plots, but I find his style jarring. Just a matter of personal taste. I’m sure if he read my stuff, he’d want to shove razorblades into his eyes just so he’d never have to see it again. He does seem the melodramatic type.

COAF - What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

JP - I love to travel. Well, not the actual traveling part, but the part where you get to be someplace different. My bucket list has African safari and Mediterranean cruise on it, but there are few places I wouldn’t go. But of course, no sugar momma here, so my travels are limited. I also like kayaking, tennis, movies, and yep, I’m still a gamer. Ain’t ever gonna die, girls. We men are what we are – boys at heart.

COAF - What’s coming in the future from Jason Parent?

JP - Seeing Evil, a psychological/supernatural thriller, will be published by Red Adept Publishing this summer. I am excited to show readers another facet of my writing and hoe that they will enjoy it. My craft has evolved since WHW, but of course, there will always be those qualities that scream me. I have a lot of projects in the work, and for fans of WHW’s dark humor, I have a special treat coming just for them.

COAF – Moving on to Dead Roses, give us your take on Eleanor. What did you want to get across with this story?

JP - I believe stories are whatever they are to one reading it. We all bring our personal opinions and experiences to everything we read. Yeah, I hate it to when a director doesn’t want to tell us what the #*&@ing ending of the movie meant, too. So, the non-copout answer would lie in the poisonous fruit references, the nods to original sin, the fallibility of man… all in the most secular of constructs.

That, and that I want to get freaky-deaky with the freaky deaky.

COAF - It’s set in England and uses what I picked up as a sort of olde English narrative. Was this intentional? Do you have any idea in your own mind of a time period this is set in?

JP - I most certainly do! I was obviously purposefully vague with the time period, but the literary works cited by Stuart and other descriptive elements suggest the story isn’t set as far back as one might think. Still, I did go for an older feel, and I tried to pour this feeling into the words, into what my modern American idea of what an “olde English narrative” might be. In truth, I always preferred British to American classic literature.

COAF - Where on earth did you come up with the idea for this one?

JP - This story is very loosely inspired by the song, “Eleanor Rigby,” originally by the Beatles, but as performed by the modern rock band, Letters from the Fire. 

The modern rock beat gives it an entirely different feel from the morosely poetic original. Then there’s the line, “wearing the mask that she keeps in a jar by the door,” which my imagination began to take way too literally.

COAF - This is very dark and doesn’t possess any of the dark humour people love in your books. Why so serious this time?

JP - Wait a minute? You didn’t find this funny?

No, I suppose it isn’t. Though WHW has several laugh out loud moments, I actually prefer more tongue-in-cheek humor (which I hope it has too). But I write what fits my characters and the feel of the tale. There was no room for humor here. Dark? Yeah, that word seems to fit nicely as an adjective to most my work, whether it be a dark thriller, horror or dark comedy.

COAF - It’s a bit sexy this one as well. How do you feel about adding sex into a horror novel? Is it something you are comfortable with?

JP - Wait a minute? You found this sexy?

Hell yeah, I’m fine with adding sex. I don’t just throw it in needlessly, and when I do throw it in, it’s rarely the conventional-type. See chapter 5 of WHW for what is probably the most often commented upon scene of my writing to date.

Certain family members no longer speak to me.

It could be worse. I could have written Gregor’s story in Dead Roses. Try facing your in-laws after that, man! (insert evil laugh here)


1 Who would you view as your main competitor in the writing world?

I know everyone probably says this, but I don’t think of anyone as my competitor. I can’t stomach the mentality that we are all competitors – while it’s true we all compete for the genre’s limited fan base, much of that fan base consists of us writers. So when a book is good, we all benefit from reading, sharing and learning from it. I have given many good reviews to writers I don’t know and who might be considered my competitors. Tim Curran, Jeff Strand, William Meikle, Kealan Patrick Burke, Jonathan Janz, the others in this anthology – all some of my favorite authors, all immensely talented, all “competitors.”

To be fair and objective, I guess it is easier for me to take the high road since writing is not my primary source of income.

2 What book or author have you read that you think should never have been published?

Henry David Thoreau – there I said. On Walden Pond is perhaps the most boring, useless trite so utterly laughably trumped up to be something extraordinarily intellectual—oooh, I pulled a block of ice out of a pond. That’s existentialism!—oh yeah, man, look at that fucking awesome squirrel! It moves me ‘cause I’m so fucking transcendental!

Okay, perhaps I take this a bit too seriously. Maybe it’s because I was forced to read the damn thing four times for middle school through college. Four fucking times of endless boredom and monotony.

Anyway, I totally nailed that impersonation of Henry David Thoreau. Just sayin’.

3 Are any of the things your characters have experienced in your books been based on something that has actually happened to you? What was it?

Yes. Many things. Some, at the risk of self-incrimination, cannot be disclosed. I will reveal that the scene in “Easy Pickings,” my tale in Bad Apples, where Rascal sticks a dollar to dog shit so that he can watch some sucker pick it up was a patented prank of a member of my inner circle.

Perhaps a worse admission, Clive Menard is largely based on me.

4 Have you ever blatantly stolen an idea or scene and adapted it for one of your own books? If so, care to share?

No. Who knows what my subconscious draws its ideas from, though? I am sure I am heavily influenced by the horror I watched as a child. And you might think you have a totally original idea but there’s just so much out there you can never be sure if it’s been done before.

For example, WHW came out in July 2012. Believe me, it was written several years prior. It is largely about a spider living in a guy’s head and controlling him from within. About three months after my book came (thank God after!), David Wong’s sequel to John Dies at the End comes out. What’s it about? Fucking spiders in peoples’ heads controlling them (he chose some big ass spiders, too – not sure how they biologically fit, but…)

Anyway, I was devastated. Then I read his book. It’s awesome. I highly recommend it. And it is nothing like mine.

Weird fact: David Wong’s “real name?” is Jason Pargin.

5 Have you ever anonymously left a bad review for someone else’s book? If so, care to share?

Nope. I had to double check that you said “book”. Restaurants and hotels are another story. I don’t leave many bad book reviews, although I’ve noticed some authors think 3 stars are bad…. Cough… assholes….cough… I review on Amazon and Goodreads as myself.

6 What’s the one thing you are least proud of doing in your life and why?

Woah, shit just got real. Bullying a childhood friend, on and off for years. Though we are still friends today, and I have apologized many times to someone who forgave me long ago, I will deservedly live with the guilt of being that shitty heel forever. Good things don’t happen to bullies in my work.

7 What’s the one thing you are MOST proud of doing in your life and why?

As a lawyer, helping an elderly woman with severe mental issues regain every last dime of her benefits wrongly taken from her and leaving her destitute and without proper care all because the insurance company saw someone it could take advantage of. I received no payment, no recognition and not even the thanks of my client, whose condition had deteriorated so much that I doubted she even knew who I was. It was one of the few times I felt good about being a lawyer.

8 What’s your biggest fault?

Impatience. Temper. Honesty to a fault. Shall I keep going?

9 What is your biggest fear?

Jaws. And not the one from James Bond.

10 If you had to go to confession now, what would be the one thing you would need to get off your chest?

Well, I have a whole boatload of minor transgressions that don’t weigh too heavy on me, so other than the bullying, my conscience is… mostly clear. It’s the future that keeps me awake at night, not my past.

Those are some serious and somewhat unsuspected questions. I don’t even know how to be funny after that. Maybe I’ll go watch The Following to cheer myself up. J


My huge thanks to Jason for agreeing to take part in this interview and for giving up his valuable time to provide this enlightening insight into the man behind the stories.

I didn't know a lot about Jason before doing this and just have to say what an all round brilliant guy he is. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon and show him some love and grab some of his stuff.

You can see more of Jason at his website.

Jason's author page is here.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for night four when I have the next in the series of interviews for you. This next one is with Gregor Xane.

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