Jaidis Shaw of Juniper Groove Books fires off a few questions about The Final Book: Gods–from favorite characters to who would play the leads in a movie–and then things get random.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It will force you to contemplate your own life and either reinforce, or contradict, everything you hold to be sacred—we need more of those uncomfortable thoughts in our society.
Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Pom Hork. I really enjoyed writing this character as she’s incredibly powerful, confident, and sultry while at the same time has these deep undertones of uncontrollable rage and jealousy. She has matured in recent years—earnestly committed to improving herself and transcending beyond her temper, though it’s a constant inner battle. You can feel her teeth grinding while “doing the right thing”—she’s trying so hard to lead by example. However, when William pushes her a little too far, hell hath no fury…
Have you experimented writing in other genres? If so, which one(s)?
My first book was a compilation of personal essays that were based around music, movies, and tv shows. Kind of like a memoir, but you didn’t really need to be interested in or care about my life to get something from it. The Final Book is straight up supernatural, sci-fi, fantasy—it’s much different than anything else I’ve written, but I really tried to ground it in history and philosophy. Doing so added a sense realism to the mythology—bring the Gods down to earth.
Right now I’m working on this super-sugary bubblegum-poppy LA-starlet-meets-starving-artist love story… with a devastating twist. I love it and I’m super excited for it. My writing is all over the place—and I like that.
Do any of your characters have qualities/characteristics that are similar to yourself?
Everyone thinks that I’m Josh—I didn’t realize I had so many Dionysian tendencies, haha. Yes, I put a lot of myself into Josh just because we have a similar profile—I know what it feels like to be disenchanted with society, single, and looking for a bit more meaning. However, Josh is playing up big stereotypes that represent who his character is really based off of—and that should not be confused with me, haha.
Do you ever experience writer's block and if so, how to you overcome it?
I heard a bit of advice about writer’s block and I wish I could remember who told me about it—basically, the inability to move forward in a story is because you’re unable to make sense of the past. When I have writer’s block, I go back and re-write and revise. You can never have enough editing, and usually by going back you’ll fix some problems that bogged you down or create new opportunities for the future. Rewriting gets the juices pumping again.
If your book became a movie, who would be your first choice to play the lead roles?
I think if Bradly Cooper had a few more years to age, he could play a good Dr. Hork—give him a thick salt and pepper beard and fancy suit. I always saw Ana as Zooey Deschanel—carefree, adorable, attractive, and the smartest one in the room. Hands down, Antonia Thomas would have to play Cloe—she’s absolute perfection for the part. I’m not sure of who should play Josh and Pom.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
How long everything takes, oh mah gawd… In literature, things are measured in months. Six to eight weeks seems to be the average response time for everything—whether it’s talking to agents, publishers, editors, creative artists, reviewers… Start practicing waiting two months just to get rejected, haha. You really have to learn to enjoy the process, and I do now, but you can easily begin to feel like you’re sinking if you’re focused on the goal.
Now for some random questions: what would we find under your bed?
Munsters. You’ll never convince me otherwise—and a sheet is an impenetrable force field.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Aspasia—probably the most influential woman of all time, and we know basically nothing about her. Athens, 470 - 400 BC, she was a big influence on Socrates and Plato. We likely attribute her philosophy to them—never giving her credit. She also ran a brothel, so, you know, there’s always that if dinner gets boring.
If you could travel into the past or future, where would you want to go? Why?
The future where I’m loved and adored—or is that an alternate reality??
What is the last book you read?
Gandhi’s autobiography, finished it a couple of days ago. Not a light read.
What hobbies do you actively pursue?
I have a Jeep that I like to work on. There’s something about tangibly building something with your hands and seeing the progression as it develops. I’m slow and meticulous about it. I like the contrast it provides from writing—completely different set of skills and level of attention.
If it was mandatory for everyone to read three books, what books would you suggest?
The Little Prince, The Kybalion, The Republic (I like books that start with “the”—makes them official).