Joel Jenkins lives in the heron-haunted shadows of the Rainier Mountains, and finds the perpetual twilight conducive to writing. He is the former front-man for several obscure rock bands, was once nearly shot by the law for appearing ‘intimidating’, and impersonated a ghost on a number of occasions.
Interview with Joel Jenkins author of Weird Worlds 3/05/2015
What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
Weird Worlds of Joel Jenkins 2 is the latest collection of stories from my overwrought and fervid imagination. Ever wonder what would happen if a zombie bull and a skateboarder with a cavalry saber were trapped in a bull ring together? Well I did. And I wrote a story about it. And I wrote stories about a lot of other weird stuff as well.
It depends on how complicated my story is. If it’s complicated I’ll do a brief outline. However, I don’t force the characters to follow my outline. If they break out in some other direction I let them, and then I find out where they are going. Mostly I have an idea where the story starts, a couple of points in between, and an ending. I get the characters moving and then let them go. Sometimes they surprise me and do unexpected things.
Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
If my story is based in the real world I’ll research certain pertinent areas, things, and events. Some or none of this will go into the story, depending upon where the story heads. I try not to get too bogged down in research. I try to get the facts I need and get back to writing.
Are you a full time writer?
No. However, I did manage to write about a quarter million words last year.
I get up at 5 am, eat breakfast and make lunches for the kids. Then I start to write. I try to get two hours in before work. If I write a couple of sentences outlining the day’s writing and then focus like a telephoto lens I can put a fair number of words down. My goal is 2,000 words a day Monday through Saturday. I take Sundays off. I don’t always reach my goal, but I frequently manage it.
Can you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both?
My experiences are strictly with a number of independent publishers. I have a good working relationship with a number of independent publishers, but there are some that I would never work with again. One publisher tried to sell me back the rights to my own novel one month prior to the contract’s expiration, at which time the rights reverted to me automatically. They were hoping that I was ignorant of the contracts terms, so that they could make some more money off me. Needless to say, I waited a month and took my rights back at no cost.
Rappers used to run around shooting each other all the time. I wondered what it would be like if rock musicians were toting guns and I wrote The Nuclear Suitcase, The Gantlet Brothers Greatest Hits, The Gantlet Brothers: Sold Out, and The Specialists based around that premise.
Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction)?
I’ve got nineteen books in print (maybe 20 by the time this is posted) and they all (even the children’s book, Pirates of Mirror Land, and the nonfiction book, One Foot in My Grave) have an action adventure theme, though the genre designation may vary from Weird Western to Science Fiction.
A productive and prolific author must have blind, unreasoning persistence flying in the face of all logic.
Who is your favorite author? Tell us what makes this author stand out in your mind, and what book would you recommend to someone new to that author?
I look for vivid and poetic word usage and wild imagination, and though I have difficulty narrowing authors down to one favorite, I would recommend Homer (The Iliad), Robert E Howard (Kull), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Warlord of Mars) Josh Reynolds (The White Chapel Demon), and Derrick Ferguson (Dillon and the Golden Bell) among others.