I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Jackson Creed, author of “Breath” the hottest new dark fiction writer around, and here a few excerpts from it. The complete interview will be published later this spring.
• First things first—tell us what about your life experience compelled you to write.
Ultimately, it’s the result of being a voracious reader growing up, the flashlight under the bedcover, that sort of thing. I was never comfortable without something to read. The ability to transport a reader to those other worlds was something that I admired. I though maybe that was something I could do. I wrote stories in school and beyond, but it wasn’t really until later that I began to see it as a viable option. When that transition happened, it became a vocation. Now it is more about the fact that I can’t not write. It is a compulsion. I’m not quite sure that I’ve sat down to analyse what makes that so.
• Nothing reveals more about an author than what their top favorite books are, so what are yours Mr. Creed?
Hum, that’s quite a complex question. I think that your reading patterns evolve as you move through life. I finished The Lord of the Rings in a three day weekend when I was young. I devoured the Mary Renault stuff. I read all of Poe, Blackwood, others. These days I have another perspective on what makes a great and important book and they are legion. I guess there are three that I would single out for the things that I love in storytelling. James Lee Burke’s Joli Blon’s Bounce has one of the most palpable portrayals of evil that I have ever come across. Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn is, to my mind, almost the perfect novel. From the first couple of pages, you get caught up in the protagonist’s thought patterns, riffing on the same things that his Asperger’s drives. Then, and always, there is Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer. Wolfe has such a facility for language and character portrayal. Immensely dark, but lyrical. Great books that series.
• Breath is a complete reimagining of the traditional vampire tale and just begs for a sequel. Have you begun working on one? If not why? You are planning to do a sequel, aren’t you?
Certainly, I can see Lilith re-emerging. Her hunger is endless. I think Avram, however, has his closure. In the end though, the story is about Lilith, about that original set of myths, so that works. I am not quite ready to build a world around her yet, but I believe it will probably happen soon.
• As something of an international man of mystery yourself and world traveler, do you find that your introduction to so many cultures has enabled you to broaden your scope beyond that of those writers who only research differing locales on line and thus miss the direction experience? Certainly your novel “Breath” portrays so many of its locations so well that it seems like the reader is joining in with your main character Avram’s struggle.
I grew up in several different countries and I’ve traveled quite a bit. You can do things virtually, but nothing beats smelling the chemistry in the room, or the city or the country. There are nuances that you can only pick up yourself. All literature is about holding a mirror up to ourselves, whether it comes in the guise of an evil monster or the guy next door. Unless you can gather those pieces of human interaction into your armory, then you are missing something. A writer has to be two things–a reader and an observer. Observation happens on the ground.
• “Breath” delivers a riveting plot woven through with compelling characters. Because you’ve done so well with this novel, will you be staying with the horror genre or are you open to writing in different genres?
I am a bit leery of assigning genres to work. That’s ultimately a marketing device. Yes, the fiction I write is dark, unashamedly so, and horror probably fits Breath, though quiet horror. I write what I write. I don’t consciously restrict myself to a predefined set of genre boundaries. I could see maybe a crime novel, or perhaps a mixing of genres, but I know from experience that the work will take me where it wants to. I do know, however, that all of that work carries shadows within its heart.