Irredeemable blog tour: Interview with author Jason Sizemore
Posted June 17, 2014on:
After reading Jason’s short story collection Irredeemable (watch for the review later today!), I was brimming with questions for him. The interview below just scratches the surface of everything I wanted to know about the collection, where his ideas come from, all the other projects he’s involved in. Luckily I’ll have plenty of time to question and pester him later this year when I see him at ConText! And if you’ve got questions yourself, be sure to pester Jason on twitter, @apexjason. We should probably ask him when he finds time to sleep. 😉
Let’s get to the interview!
LRR: You know those “book blind dates” at bookstores, where they cover a book in brown paper, and write things on the paper like “historical fiction!”, “dinosaurs!” and “ray guns!”? What should go on the outside of Irredeemable when it’s covered up to be a book blind date?
J.S.: “Just deserts!”
LRR: What are some of your favorite stories in the collection? Which ones were the most challenging to write?
J.S.: As a huge geek and software developer, I find myself interested in issues involving artificial intelligence and evolving consciousness. “Mr. Templar” is my post-apocalyptic take on that concept where humans destroy the world and only a small handful of androids and robots still exist. Mr. Templar is searching for his creator. It is a bittersweet, touching, and charming story, and by far my favorite.
The most challenging to write was “For the Sake of Pleasing.” I wanted to write something longer than 10,000 words outside a sub-genre I usually write in. At the time, I was reading the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, and wanted to try my hand at a dark fantasy similar to his. It took me months to get “For the Sake of Pleasing” to a point that made me happy.
LRR: “Plug and Play” is one of my many favorites in Irredeemable. With its snarky dialog and androids you want to punch, and let’s not forget the gangsters and humorous nudity, I think it would make an excellent graphic novel! What are your thoughts on graphic novels in general, and would you ever adapt any of your short stories into graphic novel form?
J.S.: You know, I wrote a series of stories with snarky dialog and asshole androids! “Plug and Play” happens to be the best one. My writing alternates between dark and depressing to slight and humorous.
Oh, right, your question.
I agree with you, this is the one story I think might make a good graphic novel (and perhaps “Mr. Templar”). One big gap in my geek credibility is my lack of interest in comics and graphic novels. They’re an amazing form of storytelling. Gaiman’s Sandman, Garth Ennis’s work, The Watchmen, all have been a major influences on me. But unless a friend strongly recommends one to me, I stick with books.
As you might guess, I would totally let someone adapt my work into graphic novel form!
LRR: Where did you draw inspiration from for some of these stories?
J.S.: I consider Irredeemable my “purging my childhood fears” book. As a kid, I had many religious type fears: fear of death, fear of Rapture, fear of demonic possession, etc. Starting at an early age I attended a Southern Baptist church that liked to scare you into faith.
The other half of the equation stems from my mother. She was a huge science fiction and horror movie fanatic. I was her movie companion.
Combine these two facts, and that explains most of the stories in Irredeemable.
LRR: Any other writing projects on the horizon?
J.S.: I’ve gotten into collaborative fiction of late. I am co-writing a story with Sara Price. Just finished a horror short with Elaine Blose. My biggest project is a novel I’m co-writing with Maurice Broaddus.
LRR: Who are some of your favorite writers and novels or short stories?
J.S.: My favorite writer is Mary Doria Russell, and her The Sparrow stands as my favorite novel. My favorite short story is “Stone Animals” by Kelly Link (who is also my favorite short fiction author).
LRR: Like a transformer, you’re not just a writer, you’re also an editor and publishing company owner! Let’s talk a little about Apex Magazine and Apex Book Company. How were the magazine and publishing company born? Did you just wake up one day and say “I’m gonna start a magazine and a publishing company!”
J.S.: Ha, that’s exactly how these things happen!
Actually, it was a bit more considered than that. I had turned 30, had an itch to accomplish three things: do something in the creative arts, run a small business, and be a positive force in the world. It started with the magazine and soon after books.
LRR: Where do you see Apex Magazine and Apex Book Company going in the next ten years? Are there certain areas or directions you want to expand towards?
J.S.: The next few years for Apex will be finding ways to take advantage of all the same opportunities that have made many self-publishers wealthy. We’re in the middle of a great transition that I think strong small press publishers can come out of better than they were when all this started.
LRR: I met you and the Apex team at ConText last fall. What’s it like attending a convention as a fan, an author, an editor, and a vendor, all at the same time?
J.S.: It is a bit much. I find myself exhausted after a weekend of playing all those roles. These days, I’ve learned to be less ambitious and to enjoy conventions more by narrowing down my goals for the three days. Naturally, I can’t get away from any of those roles, but scaling them back makes things easier.