This is Jason’s second nomination for a NITH short list. Considering we’ve only done two awards that gives him a hundred percent success rate. Like all our short list authors we threw a few questions his way. Jason’s submission for the ROSA is here.

 

The Ed: Tell us about your ambitions as a writer. What sort of fiction do you prefer to write?

Jason Fink: My first ambition is to be able to find the discipline to get my ass in a chair and write; that’s the hardest part for me as I’m always distracted by shiny things and squirrels.  As for the kind of fiction I enjoy writing and what I want to write… it varies depending on the time of day you ask.  I’ve started a dozen different novels in various genres & this is the first year I’ve managed to complete any, and I managed to get in two, one fantasy, the other sci-fi (I hate the term speculative fiction).  There are three others I’m trying to decide between now: a thriller, a crime novel, and a follow up to the fantasy.

Oh, and I’d really like to get published,  heck, I’d like to have someone read the books & tell me if I’m on the right track or if I should go back to avoiding the keyboard!

Tell us about food you like, or prefer to eat on those tough writing days. 

I’m a vegetarian, sort of, and by “sort of” I mean I’m more of a junk-fooditarian, much to my wife’s chagrin (there is much chagrin to be had on her part when it comes to the subject me).  When I sit down, I usually have a small glass of  sweet red wine & a New York style cheese pizza from a local joint, followed by Ben & Jerry’s “Late Night Snack” ice cream (vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge-covered potato chip clusters).  Don’t knock it – it’s frikkin’ tasty.

Where do you think the publishing industry is heading over the next five years?

We are going to see a shift from the traditional editor/publisher model to one focused more on niche marketing.  There is obviously a lot of self-publishing going n, and going on successfully.  There are more and more mini companies that will help a writer achieve this goal.  This will be for the better, as there are a lot of people with fantastically intelligent, wickedly insightful, or bitingly humorous (or just good old-fashioned fluff) pieces to present.  We’re in the middle of a publishing revolution in an curmudgeonly industry that doesn’t like to change.

What authors to you admire, or aspire to be like, and why?

The list is long.  Seriously, I could write an entire article dedicated to each one & not make a dent.

The first author that really got me reading was Lloyd Alexander.  I hated to dread before that 4th grade teacher stuck The Book of Three in my hands.  Once I started, I didn’t stop – I read everything I can get my hands on now.  I actually wrote to Mr. Alexander after I finished the series, and he wrote me a nice little blurb back & a signed picture.  I lost the blurb in a flood, but still have that pamphlet.

There was one person who struck me over the head with the idea of “Hey, I can write like that!” When I was 12., I found him and his series. It wasn’t that the books were deep or world changing, it was just that it was written in a fresh, accessible way that I could relate to Robert Aspirin’s Another Fine Myth.

From there – Asimov, Gaiman, Butler, Kingsolver, Atwood, Cummings, and many, many more. Probably most notably would be Kurt Vonnegut.  I keep going back and rereading his body of work.  I love the style, the whimsy and the depth he uses, and it’s a voice that really stands out.  This was another person I was turned onto by a teacher; she said that a story I’d written for class (this was while I was in college) had a Vonnegut feel.  From there I picked up Breakfast of Champions and it was all over.  I’d love to have lived inside his brain.

I know It’s getting wordy, but in looking back at the authors I admire, I would not have found any of them without the help of teachers along the way.  Regardless of what I read or what I write, if I hadn’t had the teachers that I did, I’d probably have been content to live life watching The Jersey Shore.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.