An Interview with Jackson Creed

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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.

Theresa Stephens and The Ghost Box

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We’re happy to say that The Ghost Box is now an audiobook available at Audible.  Very exciting stuff.  Theresa Stephens did a great wonderful job of recording it!  Her voice and presentation were perfect for the story.  Theresa also recorded The Terrarium Dragons for us.  It takes a real pro to be able to do both horror and children’s science fiction and to sound perfectly natural doing either one, but Theresa pulls it off in style.

Her bio reads:  “Theresa Stephens has been using her voice to make a living for most of her life.  Originally from Louisville, KY, she started in radio as part of the morning show on a local oldies station.  From there, she moved to Los Angeles where she tried her hardest to make the traffic reports sound as exciting as possible, along with memorable extra roles in film and television like “secretary” and “girl with banana.”  Moving back to her hometown of Louisville in her 30s, Theresa found her dream job – narrating audiobooks.  She’s worked for the American Printing House for the Blind and in her own home studio for almost 7 years, narrating well over 400 books.   She lives happily with her husband, Scott, and her 10-year-old son, Jack.  And Tucker the Dog.  And Mick the Rabbit.  It’s crowded.”

We asked her 7 questions about her career, and here’s how she answered:

1 – I’ve been in radio since college (a very long time!), and so I’ve been doing voice work all my life. My dream job was always to narrate audio books – this was way back before they became popular for sighted people. I first started when I volunteered in the ‘90s for a company which produced audio magazines for UK sports – which was difficult, being a U of L fan!

2 – Yes, I’ve worked at the American Printing House for the Blind since 2010. All the books I do there are for the Library of Congress. These book are available for free, but only for those legally blind. Recording for those who can’t see or for those who listen for pleasure are usually the same – the biggest challenge is describing photos or charts/maps. Very hard to put into words sometimes!

3 – I came with a radio background – which can sometimes be a negative. A lot of people in radio have a real “announcer” sound, which doesn’t work well with books. But I also have a background in acting and that definitely helps! It’s a one-woman play most days!

4 – If there are a lot of voices in a book, I usually write them down. I wish I was more creative, but I usually call them “tough guy” or “snarky girl” or “sweet mom!” As bad as it may sound, I am kind of stereotypical with my voices. When you read a story where the character is described as a big beefy guy, do you think of someone with a high voice? Nope! So when I see that, I automatically give him a deep voice, sometimes kind of, how do I put it? Not so smart?? haha The nice girl who is the best friend? High, sweet voice. The snarky sister? Totally 90s Valley Girl voice.

5 – For my work with ACX and other contract audiobooks, I record by chapter. For the printing house, we work in 2-hour increments, and we just record as much in that two-hour slot as possible!

6 – Honestly, I like it all. I’ve been a huge reader all my life, and I love variety. I read A LOT of romance, but I still enjoy it. I have a tendency to do a lot of Young Adult because my voice fits well with that genre, but there are a lot of good authors out there. My favorite author of all time is Stephen King, so I love me some horror, too!

7 – All I really want to do is continue what I’m doing. It took a lot of wrong turns to get me where I am today, and I just want to stay in this very happy place!

 

Breath

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Jackson  Creed’s new novel of dark fiction titled Breath is now available in Kindle version at Amazon.  It’s a remarkably creepy tale of dark spirits, psychological horror and warfare between the living and the damned.  As one reviewer put it, “Jackson Creed is the new exponent of quiet horror.  Touching the depths of darkness and human morality: read and be damned.”  Breath is guaranteed to keep you up at night.

It will be available in print version in another week.  The audio version is scheduled for release in early May.

Tainted Blood Now at Audible

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Our new audiobook werewolf novel Tainted Blood, is now available at Audible.com just in time for Halloween.  Tainted Blood is the story of a savage Russian werewolf who rips apart the city of Detroit while being hunted through its streets by a team of mercenaries.