We have Bret Jordan with us today talking about his work and his life. Drop a comment below and have a chance to win a free ebook copy of his story The Haunted Brothel!
WR: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you write? Why?
B: In elementary school, more years ago than I would like to count, I picked up a book my grandmother had read to my grandfather. He was a quadriplegic, so I imagine books and movies filled in the time on some very long days. The book was The Hobbit. I was hooked on the first page. Once I’d read The Hobbit, I devoured The Lord of the Rings and then anything I could get my hands on. My love of books started out with Fantasy, then Science Fiction, Horror, Westerns, just about anything I could get my hands on. I often read during lunch, after school, before bed, I took every opportunity I could get to immerse myself in another world. By the time college rolled around I wanted to be a writer, unfortunately life took my in a different path for several decades. I made a living by programming computers, married a wonderful woman, and had four daughters before I decided to tackle writing again.
I began with short stories of horror submitted for e-zines, and anthologies. As I wrote my new stories became more involved and longer, and they slowly took on a fantasy element as I got back to my childhood roots. Today I write fantasy stories with a twist of horror, and often a bit of romance.
WR: If you could be any one of your characters, who would you choose?
B: Several years ago I wrote a story about a druid who has an affair with a dryad. It was a short novella length story that had a sad ending. A year after writing the story I returned to the druid and dryad’s world and gave them a daughter named Shaylee. She was a young girl on the brink of womanhood. Unlike other women her transition from child to woman brought about an unexpected change as her dryad side emerged. Shaylee: Druid’s Daughter was a sweet tale about change, people, friends, and magic. This story was followed a year later by Shaylee: Druid’s Staff. Shaylee is a young adult in this tale and she is coming into her own as far as her powers are concerned. Writing about Shaylee over the last few years was like watching a child grow up, and she is a character that I have a soft spot for. She is a troubled girl, but centered and ready to deal with whatever comes her way. Of all the characters I’ve written about I think Shaylee is the one I would choose, not only because of her special abilities, but because of her personality, and her desire to overcome any challenge that comes her way.
WR: What is your creative process like? Do you need music to write? Silence?
B: My stories begin with notes scratched on everything from paper napkins to receipts. I like to think about a story for a good while and make sure all the pieces fit before I start. My notes and initial ideas aren’t set in stone, but they give me a solid foundation to start with. Once my notes are taken and the story has a solid form in my mind I begin the rough draft on my iPad. Each evening I write a thousand words or so and when I’m ready to call it quits for the night I send the document to my computer to add what I’ve done to a rich text file. Months later, when the story has completely written on my iPad and transferred over to my computer I begin to go back over it. I add ideas that I jotted down while writing - I often think of details later that I have to go back and fill in. I also do what editing I can and make sure the story has good flow. I repeat this process several times until I’m satisfied the story is what I want it to be. Once I’m a happy camper I button it up and send it on to the publisher.
While writing I’m one of those guys who has to be completely focused on the story. No background music for me. I try to time my writing for when the kids are in bed or otherwise occupied, so things are as quiet as they can possibly be.
WR: What is a guilty pleasure of yours?
B: I’m not sure how guilty I feel about it, but I suppose if I had to say I had a ‘guilty pleasure’ it would be beer. I like dark beers, such as Guinness. I like having a beer or two while watching a movie, or reading a book.
WR: What inspires you?
B: Of all the questions, this one is probably the most difficult. It’s not because I’m hard to inspire, it’s because I can be inspired by darned near anything. Driving in the car and listening to music might bring on a stray thought that gives me inspiration. Mowing the yard might get my brain working toward an inspiring story idea. I suppose the common theme here is doing something that is monotonous so that I can crawl inside my head and just think.
WR: What is one of your worst pet peeves?
B: You know how, when your driving your car, and the passenger reaches over and changes the radio station? That would probably be my worst pet peeve. I don’t mind if someone asks to change the station before they do it, but it’s just darned rude to do it without asking. I think this pet peeve comes from when I worked construction and car pooled with another guy. He not only changed the radio station to music that I absolutely hated, but he went through my glove compartment, and just generally fiddled with everything he could. I kept my cool and just fumed until one day he reached over and honked my horn at a girl he didn’t know as we were passing. At that point I had no choice but to say something…and I remember saying a lot.
WR: Describe what a perfect day would be for you.
B:A perfect day for me would be a day where I ride my motorcycle a couple of hour to the lake and meet up with my family. At the lake I would take a hike with the kids and read a good book under a tree. That evening I would sit by a campfire with my wife and enjoy a few beers while visiting with her and the kids.
WR: If you could bring any fictional character to life, yours or anyone else’s, who would you pick?
I’m sure nostalgia is playing harder here than anything else because I’ve got three names in my head on this question: Allanon from The Sword of Shannara, Gandolf from The Lord of the Rings, and Duncan Idaho from Dune. All three of the characters were introduced to me in my earliest reading years and they seem to have stuck the hardest. Of the three I would have to choose Allanon. He’s a mysterious, brooding druid and he’s been with me so long and I’ve read the books so many times he almost feels like a family member now. LOL
WR: If you could shape-shift, what animal would you turn into and why?
B: I think I would turn into a hawk. Having the ability to fly would be awesome, and they look so noble and strong, like they could stand up to anything and come through it unscathed.
WR: Where can we find you and your work around the web?
B: Many of my books are available through the Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles online, Smashwords, and through purplesword.com and dopamalovibooks.com. If you check out my website at bretjordan.com you can find links to all my books in the writing section of the site. I’m also on facebook at facebook.com/bret.Jordan.