Q. What was your inspiration for Deadbeat?
The financial crisis, and the Bernie Madoff fraud in particular, gave me the initial nugget for Deadbeat. That and the idle thought "if one of these greedy bastards the government is chasing dies, who gets the money?" Throw in a morally flexible lawyer and we're off and running.
Q. I see that you also write for younger readers. Which audience did you first write for, and why?
Back when I started, I wrote sweeping, epic, dramatic Fantasy novels. The kind that beg to be trilogies (and/or HBO series, if there's anyone from the network out there).
Sadly, those did not sell (though I'm sure Cinemax could do lovely things with the core concepts - call me).
At that point I took a detour and wrote an amusing short story about a troll that moved into a boy's room and not only refuses to leave, but charges the boy a toll to sleep in his own bed! The combination of humor and fantastical elements proved to be a winner, and I wound up writing a number of short stories for kids that were eventually collected into the volume Bobby's Troll and Other Stories.
Following that success, I started writing humorous stories for adults, of which Deadbeat is the most recent.
"First there's blood. Then there's sweat. And I usually finish with the tears."
First there's blood. Then there's sweat. And I usually finish with the tears. Sometimes I vary the order just to keep life interesting.
All kidding aside, one of the keys to my process is a mini-notebook I always keep in my back pocket. Whenever I get even a whiff of a possible story idea, I jot it down. Then later, when I'm trying to think of something to write, I'll flip through the notebook for ideas. Some are garbage ("Werewolf eats a milkman - discovers he's lactose intolerant?" - I mean, what the heck is that!?!?) but others bear fruit. Deadbeat started as a few lines in that notebook.
Then I whip out the first draft. And then I revise. And revise.
The other tool in my chest is my story blog, Titles Are Hard at www.johnmlance.com. I regularly post flash fiction stories out there just to keep the creative juices flowing.
Q. We know you're an author. What do you enjoy reading?
Fantasy was my first love. Insert the obligatory, and honest, homage to J.R.R. Tolkien here. A close second is Terry Pratchett. I think his Discworld is one of the most fully realized worlds in all fantasy. The fact he leaves me in stitches doesn't hurt.
Recently I read a Den of Thieves which is about the insider trading scandals of the 1980s and just serves as a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm also working my way through a collection of stories from H.P. Lovecraft, which ensures I get a regular dose of monsters and ghouls.
Thanks for talking to us today!
Bobby's Troll and Other Stories recently became available on Kindle, so click on the pic above or click here to learn more.
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