I have had the huge honor of being able to work with Jason Pere, author of ‘Calling the Reaper: First Book of Purgatory’, as both an editor and a writing friend. I am so excited to be able to say that the first book in this amazing Fantasy series is finally published and available for the masses!
I wanted to put him in the spotlight a little, so I conducted a short interview about his life as a writer and his work with ‘Calling the Reaper’.
1. What inspired the running story line behind ‘Calling the Reaper’ and the ‘Purgatory’ series?
C-C-C-C-Combo Breaker! Several of the great fighting video game franchises of the 90’s played a hand in the birthing of this idea. It was a fairly simple origin, truth be told. A lot of the inspiration was really derived from nothing more than the simplistic premise of “Who would win in a fight”. From that I plucked several classic historical warrior architypes and proceeded to build character concepts from there. I then needed a mechanism to get them to be able to interact with each other and that is where the concept of the great afterlife tournament came in. Bravery and conquest of fear are fairly pervasive themes in my writing so I wanted to create a tie in to that somehow and that is where I developed the Reaper and Valkyrie concept. I wanted a slightly new take on the Angel vs. Demon kind of image and I figured that these two examples of entities that were charged with the collection of the dying would make natural enemies. I wanted to tell a story of an unseen war between good and evil with the first book before getting much more “in your face” with the rest of the series.
2. A lot of writers find it difficult to create complex and fully rounded main characters in their novels. You have eight in ‘Calling the Reaper’. How did dedicating that much detail to so many vastly different characters compare to only one or two in your other work?
A character is a character and we as writers can make them as detailed as we want to. Purgatory is an epic sires that transcends our understanding of life, death, and time, so it was mandatory that my principle cast be epic themselves. The core at the heart of Purgatory is Death’s great tournament and I wanted to present each reader with an open option to pick any one of the eight to root for above the others. Initially I was thinking of writing some of the cast as expendable “Throw away characters” but in the end I felt that doing so would be highly disrespectful to the warrior concept that each one embodies. In this series nobody is going down without a fight.
I acutely found it easier to create an ensemble piece and hit the highlights of each character’s motivation as opposed to focusing on a smaller cast and having to write some filler material about who they are in order to fill a page. So I guess you could say I cheated in a way and instead of telling you every little detail about my protagonist I just wrote in more protagonists to satisfy the reader. Or maybe this was just my theater background coming into play and I found it easier to create a novel that had an ensemble cast.
3. Do you have a schedule for writing when working on a novel? If so, explain what that is and what your favorite part about that has become.
1,000 words a day 5 days a week. I don’t care what twaddle I have to pack on the page, I’m going to make my word count if it kills me. I refuse to accept the idea of writer’s block when I sit at my screen. I will not come up empty handed and I don’t care what horrible, twisted things I need to do to my characters in order to make my production quota. The thing I like most about this schedule is that it sets a rate where I can comfortably produce a full novel-sized work in as little as three months. That being said, I am not a writer before anything else. I am a husband and also one of those people with a full-time “Normal” job and I do have the thinnest trappings of a social life, so it is not uncommon to have a week or two in a row away from my keyboard. I don’t like it when it happens but the people in my head are far less important than the people that live with me or share a table with me at dinner. It would all be so much easier if I could just write as a full-time job. One day. One day.
4. What are the top three things that inspire you to keep working on a project, that get your gears pumping and help you make it through the “long haul stretch” of writing a novel?
1. The day the phone rings and it’s someone on the other end of the phone from Random House or any other big publisher telling me that they want to pick up one of my books for distribution. That moment is what I need to continue moving towards what I write in the first line of the dedication page of any of my books.
2. I refuse to be beaten by a blank page. I owe it to myself and my tremendous sense of creativity to tell the stories I have locked away in my mind.
3. 50 Shades of Grey…yup, right, that thing. The simple existence of that book never fails to inspire me to push on because if that is what passes for great literature, then I have a long career of many New York Times Best Sellers ahead of me.
5. Are you currently working on any other projects? If so, which are you most excited about?
Yes, I sure am. That’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. Of course they have one, but they can never declare it publicly. Speaking of children, I guess I would say that I am actually most excited for my children’s book. Mostly because it is a genre that I never would have thought myself capable of producing something in in a flibityjillion years. I think that the children’s book that I am working on is a sublime example of how an artist can be inspired by the simplest of things. One day, my amazing wife rolled over in the bed next to me and said, “Take a look at this. Isn’t this the sweetest thing ever?” The picture she showed me on her phone demanded that I write the story it depicted, and I did.
Grab your copy of ‘Calling the Reaper’ here on Amazon today! You won’t want to miss the first in this phenomenal new series.