My guest today is a guy who wears many hats. He is an amazing writer, musician, and an all-around cool person to know. What stands out about him to me is that he doesn’t play games or dance around what he thinks or believes. He speaks his mind and stands by what he says. He is also extremely funny and I am a die-hard fan of his though-provoking blogs and posts. It is an absolute thrill to introduce him to you. He is the man, the author, J.D. Mader.
“About the Author”
I began writing at a young age. My first professional gig was at age 14 as the sportswriter for our town paper. I also covered feature stories and anything else that needed to be done. I had a weekly column where I ranted about the problems in organized sports. It was all quite surreal. More so, in hindsight. I played in a punk rock band in San Diego at the same time. Writing was a big part of my life. I wrote for the newspaper, I wrote lyrics, and I wrote the things they made me write in school. I was fortunate enough to have a creative writing class at my high school. When it was time to go to college, I knew that I was not meant to be a journalist. I majored in CW at San Francisco State University. I have spent the time since then writing and teaching.
How long have you been writing?
Seriously writing? Since fourteen. I don’t think my writing started getting good until my early twenties, though.
What was your life like before becoming an author?
As I said, I got a head start. I guess author implies novels. I wrote short stories for a long time…still my favorite form. I read a lot and found less healthy means of escape. I was a decent athlete, and I have always loved fishing and motorcycles. If you change ‘author’ to ‘writer’, it is a much easier answer. I can’t remember much of my life before I started writing.
Who or what inspired you to write?
My sister was very, very good at writing when we were young. I wanted to be better than her. So, I worked my ass off. Same reason I play guitar actually. She quit trying. My sister is an amazing and talented woman, so I did the things she couldn’t do as well as me. There were only a few.
Do you have a specific writing style or genre?
I write very character driven fiction. Psychology and human quirks (and failings) fascinate me. I write lots of different genres, but the main thing is always character. Same with what I read. I will read anything that has engaging, honest, believable characters.
Tell me about your latest book? What’s it about?
Please, no eyes. by JD Mader
I just released a collection of short stories: ‘Please, no eyes.’ Stories I wrote over the last ten years give or take. I’m pretty excited…I definitely consider myself more of a short story writer than a novelist. Most of the stories take place in San Francisco and reflect how my life was before I got my act (sort of) together.
What was your favorite part of the book to write?
Those stories are spread out over so many years. I’ll answer this one about my last novel, ‘The Biker’. It is a tribute to Louis L’Amour. This is not to say it is fan-fiction or anything like that. Some people pick up on the LL references, most don’t. But that was a fun book to write. I liked playing with the constructs and subverting them. I love Louis L’Amour…I like to think he would have liked the book but disapproved of most of the language and content.
What was the hardest part to write?
That book came kind of fast and furious. ‘Joe Cafe’ was much harder to write. Chet, the killer, is a seriously depraved man. Probably the best character I have ever written…I am fascinated with him. But he did and said things and behaved in ways that are so foreign to me. I am a non-violent type – weak stomach. It was hard for me to take him to some of the places he needed to go. And to wonder if people would believe in him like I did. It turned out well.
What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?
I find writing rewarding, period. That’s a bit selfish, though. I like it when I can tell a reader “got it”. I get emails from people who so completely understood the book – that makes it such a wonderful experience because I also get emails from people who did not get it. Creating anything is rewarding. Sling-shot or book.
Do you have any other books complete or in progress?
I am currently working on the sequel to ‘The Biker’. It will be a trilogy. Unless it sells really well, then I will write them until my fingers fall off.
What are your future plans in regards to writing?
To keep going. To not get discouraged. To find new ways to have fun with words. To tell more people’s stories and thereby come to understand myself a bit more. To help my fellow writers.
Are you listed on the major social networks like facebook, twitter, goodreads, etc…
Yes, although I alternate between loving social media and absolutely hating it. If it weren’t for book promotion, I would not be.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Be honest with yourself and your writing. Be patient enough to publish when you have something ready to be published. I wrote hundreds of stories before I ever submitted one. When I did submit a story, it was accepted by The Berkeley Fiction Review and The Chicago Quarterly review. I was stoked, but I was smart enough to wait until I had a story that I knew had value. I am really glad I didn’t submit the stories I wrote when I was learning how to write.
Outside of writing, what is your most favorite thing to do and why?
Fish. It slows my mind. Hang out with my family…I love them. I like motorcycles quite a bit, too.
Anything else you would like to add for future fans and friends?
I know a lot of writers, so I am speaking for a lot of people here (which hopefully makes me sound like less of a selfish dick). Buy some books. Support writers. I know some fantastic writers who can’t afford medical insurance or a decent meal out. If you like a writer, spread the word. Help us keep writing books to entertain you.
Amazing, JD. So happy to share your wonderful journey. “Joe Cafe`” was the first of your stories that I read and I thoroughly enjoyed the emotions I felt from each of your characters therein. I can only hope to be able to follow your lead in my quest to create such memorable characteristics in my writing. You’re a stand-up guy and I appreciate this opportunity to get to know you better. Big thanks for joining my interview series and all my best to you and yours.