Welcome to Indie Author Spotlight #14, where I’ll be introducing you to Jeremy Jones. I thoroughly enjoyed Jeremy’s first book, Ruins of Empire #1: Saturnius Mons, which I just finished up last week in preparation for this post. I’m impressed by the professionalism of Jeremy’s book, and the complexity of his story. He leads each chapter with an excerpt from a fictional book about the fall of civilization as it happens in the world of the story, which means he wrote the book AND its history. It really is fascinating, and works incredibly well. Jeremy provided me a free copy of Saturnius Mons, but I’ll be purchasing book two and eagerly awaiting whatever else he writes!
Welcome, Jeremy, and thank you for being interested in the Indie Author Spotlight! I’ve already given readers an inkling of what you write about, but please tell us about your favorite writing genres.
I’m most interested in sci-fi and speculative fiction, although recently my short stories and random projects have taken a distinctly dystopian, cyberpunk direction. My interest in those genres lie in my fascination with technology coupled with a growing dread about where it will lead us.
I think you do a fabulous job of following that thread in Saturnius Mons. Please tell us about the series!
The first two books of my Ruins of Empire series are out. It’s a pulp, sci-fi space adventure series that blends some Cowboy Bebop/ Firefly action with some larger questions about Civilization and human nature. You can find them on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel. Both are also available as a free podcast novel. You can find them if you look up Ruins of Empire on iTunes or Stitcher. They are pretty good if I do say so myself.
If the first book is any indication, they ARE good, and I do intend to read the second (and subsequent books!). It definitely displays a development of craft. Let’s talk about your writing – how long have you been writing?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in writing on some level. My mother has stashed away somewhere my first indie book that I wrote, illustrated and bound (with staples but still…) when I was five or six. It was a crudely drawn children’s book about a bird that eats a bug. It was kinda cute and had all the elements of a story:
Motivation: the bird is hungry.
A Goal: the bird wants to eat a bug.
Conflict: the bug does not wish to be eaten.
Climax: the bird chases the bug down a hole
Resolution: the bird eats the bug.
Not exactly child prodigy material but not bad for a booger-eater.
Well I, for one, am glad that you continued writing. Why do you keep writing stories?
Because people got really annoyed with me that one year I followed them around trying to tell them my stories out loud.
Seriously though, writing is simply the medium that I can best use to communicate stories right now. And stories help the world make sense. They bring a sense of order in a Universe built on chaos. There is something deep in our collective psyche that gets excited by the phrase, ‘let me tell you a story.’ I am naturally drawn to that.
I love that! I definitely read to help me make sense of the world, and I appreciate you authors who write for the same purpose. Can you tell us a little about the development of your writing process?
It took me well into my 30s to get to a point where I could start writing a book and part of the reason was that I refused to outline anything. I stubbornly believed that sitting down and thinking about things like structure and characters would crush the frail flower of creative genius under the boot of organized oppression.
I was kind of an idiot in my 20s.
It wasn’t until a few fellow writers patiently explained over and over again the value of an outline that I sat down and grudgingly did the work and it worked. So I did more outlining and suddenly my first drafts were better than my second or third. Consequently my Ruins of Empire series is heavily outlined.
But deep in my heart I am a pantser and so last year, just for fun, I started a side project that was much closer to how I used to write when I was younger. No outline. No plan. Just page after page of one thing leading to another. I don’t know what will come of it but it’s a fun experiment to see if an older, wiser Jeremy can pants an entire novel.
Don’t be so hard on your younger self! We all learn and grow as we age, right? So, how do you fit writing time into your life?
I have a pretty strict window of time that I reserve for writing. Five days a week, two hours before work every day: that’s Writing Time. No chores will be performed. No meals prepared. No errands run. Just a man, his coffee, and his WIP.
And so far it’s worked out. My wife is very supportive and respectful of that window of time. Life does get in the way, as it tends to do, and occasionally steals it right out of my hands. But there’s always the next day and another chance to fight for that precious time.
That said, I’m proud to say that my wife is pregnant with our first kid. He is due in October and I imagine that it’s going to erode the defenses around Writing Time. I will lose more battles for that time but, at this point, writing is such a part of my daily routine that I can’t imagine a lot of it going away.
That sound you are hearing is a hundred writer-moms giggling at my stunning naiveté.
Congratulations! Once you’ve worked out your post-baby writing routine, what can we look forward to seeing from you next?
So Ruins of Empire is a seven-part series sci-fi space adventure series about a group of explorers visiting lost human colonies scattered around the solar system. Each one takes place on another planet or moon. The first two take place on Titan and Venus respectively. The third, which is in progress, is a medical mystery in the asteroids. The fourth will be a pitched land battle on the Martian plains and after that . . . well you’ll have to see.
And once that series is done I probably have ten or more outlines waiting to be lifted up and built into real books. I will be as excited as anyone to see which ones make the cut.
That is a LOT, which, as a fan, is really exciting! I’m intrigued to watch Althea unravel the medical mystery . . . you’ve gotten my high-school-wanna-be-a-doctor self all interested now! Let’s move on to what you like to do for fun; tell us what you like to read and about any other hobbies you have.
I read a lot of sci-fi, dystopian and any genre with ‘punk’ in the title. A little bit of fantasy, some literary fiction. A lot of humor and dark humor. And I enjoy dipping my toe into non-fiction especially on topics concerning history or science. My writing heroes include Hunter S. Thompson, Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, and Terry Pratchett. I also have a soft spot for trashy pulp sci-fi and adventure novels from the 70s and 80s.
Outside of books, I’ve made homemade beer for a number of years, a hobby that has morphed into a strange career for me so I’m not sure I can consider it a hobby although I do spend a lot of time doing it in my off time. I’m also an amateur musician and have recently discovered backpacking and am slowly exploring the back country of my home state of Idaho. There’s a lot of it so it might take me a while.
What is your goal as a writer, and is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
My dream is to make a living telling my stories. I’d love to wake up, slam some words together, sell some books, and have that be enough to keep food on the table. It’s a modest dream but, when you think about how few writers can actually do it exclusively, even fairly successful writers, it becomes more daunting. I dream of a world that respects artists more and has systems in place so that they can do their art and not have to waste their time making coffee or waiting tables for a class of people that produce nothing . . . but I digress. That’s not the world we live in.
About me . . . I look at the world differently than most. I suppose most artists do, otherwise why would we bother? But my greatest hope is that the reader gets taken on a little journey. They get flung through a madcap world and, on the other side, maybe they see their surroundings with new eyes.
Find Jeremy and his books:
You can find my stuff at www.sagaofinsanity.com
Also on Twitter and Instagram @alleywayrover
Or look up Author Jeremy L. Jones on Facebook
And my books on Amazon:
Ruins of Empire: Saturnius Mons
Ruins of Empire: Templum Veneris
And, of course, the free serialized podcast version!
Would you like to be featured, too? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!