Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BRoP Interview with Jason Jack Miller

This week Jason Jack Miller the Blog Ring of Power's guest author.  Today he is going to discuss his current work.

For the other parts of Jason's interview here is the schedule...

Part 1 @ Teresa - Thursday, November 22nd
Part 2 @ Emily - Friday, November 23rd
Part 3 @ Sandra - Monday, November 26th
Part 4 @ Dean - Tuesday, November 27th
Part 5 @ Terri - Wednesday, November 28th

Jason Jack Miller hails from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, as in, "Circus freaks, temptation and the Fayette County Fair," made famous by The Clarks in the song, "Cigarette." He is a writer, photographer and musician. An outdoor travel guide he co-authored with his wife in 2006 jumpstarted his freelancing career; his work has since appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, online, as part of a travel guide app for mobile phones, and in a regular column for Inveterate Media Junkies. He wrote the novels Hellbender and All Saints during his graduate studies at Seton Hill University, where he is now adjunct creative writing faculty. In 2011, he signed a multi-book deal with Raw Dog Screaming Press. When he isn't writing he's on his mountain bike or looking for his next favorite guitar. He is currently writing and recording the soundtracks to his novel, The Devil and Preston Black, and writing his next novel, The Revelations of Preston Black.

Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?  

The Devil and Preston Black is about a man at a crossroads. Anybody who has ever had to choose between growing up and pursuing a dream knows how it plays out. You can gamble with fate and win big, making that impossible dream come true. Or you can lose it all. Preston Black doesn't have anything to lose. Despite money problems, family problems, and creative problems, Preston lives life with the best of intentions. But Preston's road to hell starts in the record shop where he meets the mysterious stranger who makes him believe in love at first sight, and finds the vinyl he believes will lead him to his old man.

His trip to total self-destruction is a slow burn. Even with his brother, his boss, and the ghosts of John Lennon and Joe Strummer throwing up warnings, his early demise seems all but inevitable. The only thing keeping him from imploding is the unlikely beauty who shares his passion for music. Like Preston, she longs for something greater. She sees Preston as being more than the sum of his many flaws. 

The trade paperback will be available in early December from Raw Dog Screaming Press: and The eBook is available now on  

Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?  

This book sits at a nexus of genres, so it is finding readers from a variety of reading backgrounds. I describe it as urban fantasy/horror with a love story at its core. But a recent review riffed on several literary elements that really looked at the book from a much deeper perspective. This is the kind of thing a writer hopes for, but can't come right out and ask a reviewer to comment on. I knew as I was writing the book that it worked on several levels, and am happy to see that it succeeded, for at least one reader. 
For years, people told me I shouldn't try to compare writing to music, especially when I was working on my master's thesis. But musical themes run rampant through the book. Music fans will be able to pick up things on several different layers, maybe even an inside joke or two in addition to the changes in tempo, the shifts from adagio to presto. After all, this book, in a way, was a love letter to all of the bands and artists I grew up with. 
What was the hardest part of writing this book?

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?  

The last one, of course! Sometimes I still get goose bumps when I reread it.
Without giving too much away, I wrote a chapter as if it were a concert, building and manipulating energy like a band does on a stage. Using 'tempo' and 'volume' to generate excitement was a lot of fun. I put myself on that stage and listened to the same few songs over and over as loud as my eardrums could handle. And in the end, it really worked. In my opinion, it's the only way the book could've ended. 

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?  

Awesome question!
I learned to trust myself as a writer. Hellbender was written when I was working on my Master's degree at Seton Hill, so it had passed through the hands of eight or nine critique partners and two mentors. It goes without saying that I learned a great deal from that experience. I learned what to look for in my own work, and I learned what kind of passages worked best for readers. But the only person to read Preston before I sent it off to Raw Dog Screaming Press was my wife. I didn't have anybody looking over my shoulder or any voices in my head besides my own (plural.) 
This book made me feel like a writer instead of just a kid with a keyboard. My confidence skyrocketed because, unlike earlier projects, I chased an idea in my head and actually caught it instead of veering off course. The end result of Preston was a book with the feel and flow I'd hoped for when I typed 'Chapter One' in that brand new Word file. For me, I put my ideas on paper instead of compromising because I didn't have the skill set to approach such lofty concepts. It felt like a real victory. And on top of all that, it was probably the most fun I'd ever had while writing. 
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?  

The Devil and Preston Black came into this world as a self-published novel. The cover needed to have a concert poster feel because of the book's content. I spent hours weeks working with images and fonts but the end result inevitably disappointed me.

When I scoured the internets looking for printers who specialized in concert posters, the same name popped up over and over—Nashville, Tennessee's Hatch Show Print. They are a traditional print shop—no computer-aided design. They still take orders on a rotary phone and utilize hand carved plates and wood type from as far back as the 1880s. They've dealt with some of the biggest names in music—Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, The White Stripes, Bruce Springsteen, Wilco, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, B. B. King, Pearl Jam…. I figured I could trust them with my little book cover.

After a few phone calls to Hatch's Jim Sherraden to nail down specifics, I was handed over to artist/designer Brad Vetter who spent a great deal of time listening to my suggestions and walking me through the process. The end result, in my opinion, was a thing of beauty. When I finished Hellbender I called Hatch again even though the book wasn't as 'musical.' And instead of the long list of suggestions I'd given Brad with Preston, I had just one—make it green. 
Hatch Show Print

Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?
Paperback and eBook


Jason Jack Miller said...

Thanks for posting! Had an amazing time with the interview. You guys have a great gig going with the Blog Ring of Power!

Heidi Ruby Miller said...

Wonderful energy in your responses, Jason!

I would have also liked to see your answers for those questions listed that you didn't answer. ;)


Travesti said...

As you sow so shall you reap this proverb seems very much perfect for you. Now after working hard for a long time its time to get reward.