Friday, March 11, 2011

Interview with J.E. Cammon

1. What is your upcoming release called and what is it about?

Where Shadows Lie: Bay City is the full title of this book, and each in the series is similarly named. I wanted each to be a place intrinsic to the book, be the locales metaphorical or literal, but all having to deal firstly with the murky realms of the supernatural. And primarily, the book is about relationships, such as between friends, or family members, or lovers, or even sculpted pieces on a game board. The novel is paranormal in genre, set in a time and a world very similar to ours in the present. It’s about people who are monsters, but are trying, just like the rest of us, to not be monstrous.

2. Could you give me a short sample passage?

David took a direct route home at a brisk jog. He needed a good sweat. He set a pace where he could hear his own heartbeat drumming in his ears. The streets were empty, and although it had somewhat of a dearth of tall buildings, Bay City did have lots of alleyways to cut through. A left here, two rights there, and David had forgotten about that direct route home. He skidded to a stop, trying to force straight the smile on his face. His arms and legs felt active and strong, and he had to take a moment to calm down. He wanted little else but to cut loose and scream but that wouldn’t have ended well.

He took in deep, slow breaths. That was when he heard the footsteps. No, not really footsteps—the person was sprinting. David looked around and realized he had little to no idea as to where he was. He kicked himself mentally and walked slowly around the intersection he found himself in. If he smelled the air he could ascertain where he had come from, but that was about it. Eventually, he found which direction the person was going and moved that way. He didn’t know of anyone else crazy enough to run through Bay City alleys at night. Besides, this person sounded like they were unused to it. There was pain in the haggard breathing, and moaning. As he got closer, David could smell the fear, and once he got close enough that he was on the next street over, he heard the steps of the pursuer. Whatever it was, it was heavy, yet it seemed to move silently at times; it plodded on two legs, sometimes four. Something chasing someone, and it was gaining. An ancient riddle echoed in David's mind. He was faster than both pursued and pursuer, which placed him helpfully in front of the prey, who was faltering.

David heard the man smack painfully into a garbage can and stumble. He grabbed the stranger on his third step and spun him around a corner, out of sight. He clamped a hand over the man's mouth and pinned his arms so he wouldn’t make any noise flailing. David whispered to him to be quiet, and thankfully, the stranger thought that was a fine idea. David couldn’t help himself and peeked around the corner to get an eye on whatever was chasing the guy. As he had hoped, it moved into the intersection. As David looked on, he saw horns, a face with shifting, wavering features and red eyes. Claws sprouted from the ends of darkness-shrouded members. Shadows seemed to follow and cloak the creature as it moved. It had furry hooves, which explained the almost soundless trait of its steps. For all its strangeness, however, the creature possessed human-shaped ears. It peered around for a moment and then sprinted off. David leaned back and removed his hand from the stranger's mouth.

“What the—” the man rasped, and David quickly covered his mouth again.

David spied around the corner. He shook his head and removed the hand.

“You must want to be eaten,” David whispered, standing back and helping the man up. The stranger stood awkwardly, groaning. “What was that? And who are you?”

3. Who do you consider your writing influences?

Along with the novels, short stories, and essays of Ralph Ellison, August Wilson, Earnest Gaines, and Earl Lovelace, I also read Jordan’s Wheel of Time, and Goodkind’s Sword of Truth, some of Pratchett and Isaac Aasimov and Card’s Alan Maker. So far as fantasy and science fiction works go, Glen Cook’s Black Company is the one I hold most dear. I still go back to this day and re-read specific parts. I love the story and style. All of these things came together in me at different parts of my life to create a blender of mysteries, a device which conspires to produce my characters, which are cocktails of confusing questions themselves.

4. Where are you from?

I was born in Chicago, Illinois on a cold day in April, but my family didn’t spend but a few years in the Windy City. I spent my formative years south of Dallas, Texas, an only child pondering the clear horizon and how he might reach out and touch it, and maybe ask it questions. In the middle of high school I moved to Decatur, Georgia, and before I knew what had happened, I was at the wrong school in the wrong major, but still writing. Short answer is I’m not even sure of that myself.

5. How experienced are you as an author?

That’s a tough one, too. I’m in my 20s, so I feel like the answer is ‘not very.’ I’ve been making attempts at writing for over fifteen years, but just over two of that has been spent trying to be a professional at it, and I’m not even completely sure what that even means, yet. I have a handful of novels drafted, and have more underway. I’ve sent some submissions, got some rejections and less acceptances. Instead of answers, all that I’ve mostly figured out is how to better ask the questions.

6. Is there anything else you would like your readers to know?

Well, not really. I mean, I hope they are enticed by the book’s beginnings, and find themselves reading it and thoroughly enjoying the experience, but I’m sure the same goes for most authors. I suppose there’s also the generally useful information they may not know but would likely be served to have: don’t feed the bears; never divide by zero indoors; 42.

7. If I lived in an enormous mansion where you were welcome to stay, what would you want your guest room to be like?

Well, I guess if I only got the one room, I’d want it to be a completely malleable inter-dimensional pocket. Or the holo-deck from Star Trek. Sometimes, it would look like the cover of a decorating catalog, like for when my mother visits. On other occasions, such as when my friends stop by, it would be an entertainment palace, perhaps even with fireworks chandeliers and animal conversationalists dressed in smoking jackets, and a racing pool with lines wide enough for jet skis.

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