For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box
Jason Brick reads everything they don’t take away from him, and writes in four genres: Young adult novels about courage, competence and loyalty; Nonfiction books about business, mindset and safety; Adult crime novels featuring sex, drugs and violence — often at the same time; and Role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS.
You’ll also see him ghostwriting e-books and print books for a variety of small business, subject matter experts and fictioneers…and editing the occasional anthology.
When not writing almost as fast as his imagination demands, Jason enjoys travel, role-playing games, cooking and martial arts. He’s based in Oregon, but you might catch him at a writing or small business conference near you.
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I’ve had a lot of good feedback about my writing since I was young, and I’ve written for pay since my early 20s. I went full-time professional after I decided I’d rather work from home and spend more time with my kids than go out and have a “real job.” I love that time with family the most about being a writer. As for writing itself, I really enjoy seeing my ideas and characters take on a life.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? What projects are you currently working on?
Wrestling Demons is out from Not a Pipe Publishing, and available on Amazon. Also on Amazon you can find Random Encounters and The Farkas Foxtrots. RE is a series of books about tabletop roleplaying games (one of my other two hobbies). FF is a morally reprehensible series of stories about a pair of drunk buddies and their vulgar shenanigans.
Right now I’m working on a sequel to Wrestling Demons, and a YA adventure story about quantum physics and zombies.
3) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
I was invited to write the Black Belt Magazine obituary for one of my personal heroes, Keiko Fukuda.
I was fortunate when it comes to rejection. I’ve studied martial arts since I was 11. An integral part of studying any sport (or musical instrument) is being told over and over again what you did wrong so you can improve. By the time I started submitting manuscripts, that kind of feedback was just part of my life. Thus, rejection has never bothered me.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
It depends on the project. Wrestling Demons had a vague outline, but many of the best scenes happened during the process. Other books were tightly outlined from start to finish. It takes me about 4-6 months to finish the first draft of a novel. How long rewriting takes has varied widely.
5) Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I’m in the process of moving my major sources of income from mostly doing work-for-hire for other people, to mostly making my living off books I wrote for me. I’m hoping to be there within five years.
6) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Sort of. If I were to do it over again, I would have gone big on my writing before I had children. There’s a level of financial demand, and time and energy demands, that — had I spent a decade without them — my career would be far more advanced than it is now. So…not age, but life circumstances, can be a serious hindrance.
Similarly, very few people made a success out of just one book. Most successful authors have a deep catalog — the younger you start, the more books you can write.
There is some ageism in publishing, but not as much as in many other fields.
7) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What’s the first book you read that made you know that you could do this for a career? What book are you currently reading?
Where the Red Fern Grows made me cry in fourth grade.
I don’t know that happened. I read Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies for Fun and Profit in my 20s, but the career part happened almost by accident.
Three books in rotation. #Republic, about social media and how it impacts informed democracy, Acceptance, the final book in the trilogy that begins with Annihalation, Assault on the Mountains of Madness, a tabletop RPG adventure set in WWII.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
Not really. But my wife is my alpha reader, and she has me read the books to her. We read to each other in bed many nights, and my work goes into rotation.
9) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing? Are you more of an e-book person or a traditional book person?
I like e-books and traditional books. I think the changes in the publishing industry are exciting, and great both for writers and for readers. Democratization of production, publication, and funding is a huge boon for everybody.
10) I feel like so many of us writers, us artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think we creative types should be unafraid to be whoever it is that we feel we have the right to be. So what is your write 2 be? What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?
I am 50% nerd and 50% jock, and have spent my life being a little uncomfortable in both nerd circles and jock circles. My books are full of both parts of me in equal measure. That may be one of my favorite things about writing and having written — seeing people interact with that and accept it.
That Writer Guy