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An Interview with Jennifer Brozek

An Interview with Jason Bovberg

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Author of Blood Red

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers. Tell us a little about yourself…

I’m a father. (I have two daughters who challenge me every day.) I’m a book collector. (My favorite books are I Am Legend, The Silence of the Lambs, and To Kill a Mockingbird.) I’m a movie buff. (My favorite movies are Raiders of the Lost Ark, SE7EN, and Raising Arizona.) I live in northern Colorado. (My books Blood Red and the forthcoming Draw Blood take place in my town, Fort Collins.) I love In-N-Out Burger, good mechanical pencils, the Rubik’s Cube, well-tended used bookstores, LPs, scream queens, and great BBQ. I don’t care much about live music, beaches, or large dogs. Oh, and I’m a leg and thigh man. (I’m talking about chicken.)
 

2. When did you first begin writing and what was your inspiration?

I’ve been writing my whole life, but I started getting serious about it only in the past 10 years. My late father—a US History teacher and natural writer himself—was my inspiration. I wrote some short stories and a few unsuccessful novels through my thirties. A few years back, I wrote what I consider my first “good read,” and that was The Naked Dame (http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Dame-Jason-Bovberg-ebook/dp/B004UVQS7O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406072020&sr=8-1&keywords=naked+dame), a nostalgic noir in the vein of Hard Case Crime. I published that myself, and it was enough to get my foot in the door.

After that, I returned to the genre I’ve always loved, post-apocalyptic horror, with the intent to create a no-holds-barred, real-time, gonzo splatterfest—all from the perspective of a young girl. And the inspiration for that is that I have two daughters, and I want to protect them from all the horrors of the world.
 

3. Who are your main influences? Have these influences changed over the years?

Most of my influences are probably the same as those of a lot of Permuted Press authors (George Romero, Stephen King, and so on), so I’ll mention three big influences on Blood Red and Draw Blood specifically. First is John Carpenter’s The Thing. That legendary gonzo sci-fi/horror flick has always been one of my top two or three horror films, and in my novels, I followed its example to just go for broke, to enthusiastically embrace the horrifically weird.

Second is Matt Reeves’ film Cloverfield. My trilogy hews to that movie’s real-time narrative—an intimate, immediate perspective of an apocalyptic event. In fact, the Blood trilogy is following Cloverfield’s original intent: to offer further films about the same event, from different perspectives. The first sequel, Draw Blood, continues the narrative of Blood Red from a different character’s point of view.

Third is Alden Bell’s The Reapers Are the Angels, which is just about the most gorgeous book I can imagine about a crumbling, post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world. What inspired me was the character of Temple, a young girl simply trying to find beauty and meaning in the End Times. I’ve plugged this book a lot because—seriously—it’s outrageously good, and because I’m proud as hell of the blurbs Alden Bell (aka Joshua Gaylord) gave me for both Blood Red and Draw Blood.

4. How would you describe your writing?

No-nonsense, immediate, not willing to let you put the book down.
 

5. What is your book about?

Blood Red is the real-time story of a teen girl, Rachel, who wakes up to find that 96 percent of the population has fallen to the ground—no pulse, no respiration—and some kind of energy has inhabited the unresponsive bodies. As things get progressively weirder and darker in her new reality, and as the bodies begin inevitably to reanimate, she has to not only discern the mystery of what’s happening around her but also search for her missing father.

Draw Blood, told from the perspective of a new protagonist, gives us a view of this gruesome apocalyptic event that we haven’t seen before. Plus, this new protagonist has inner demons that are at odds with the real ones surrounding him. And everything gets more aggressive. This is the Empire Strikes Back of the series, where our survivors take a stand against impossible odds. It’s a lot of bloody fun.
 

6. As an author, what makes you tick? i.e… What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What drives you to write? What motivates you? Etc…

I believe there’s a lot of truth to the old adage “Writers write.” We just have no choice; it’s a compulsion. The trick—as a father, as a husband, as a member of the workforce (all those things have to come first)—is to find the time. I find that my best writing time is at night, when everyone else is dreaming. I’m just indulging in nightmares of my own design.

I also believe that we all have an obligation to determine what we’re good at, and do that thing as much as we can. Call it your gift or your hobby or, if you’re lucky, your job. Find out what you were meant to do, and master it to the best of your ability. If there’s a god out there, that’s probably what she wants you to do.
 

7. What drew you to your chosen genre?

The earliest spark was probably the Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough At Last.” You know the one: Voracious reader Burgess Meredith survives the nuclear apocalypse, settles himself down with a thousand books from the local library, and then breaks his bottle-thick eyeglasses. But the chief inspiration was Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, which brought the apocalypse to suburbia. Later came Stephen King’s The Stand and Robert McCammon’s Swan Song. I’ve been fascinated by end-of-the-world scenarios for my entire adult life, it seems. I’ve watched the genre ebb and flow.

Apocalyptic horror has been hot for quite a while now, and I noticed that it was starting to get into that dread realm of self-parody. I was starting to see too many humorous zombie titles at Barnes & Noble. So I decided to spin the genre on its head, re-introduce mystery and dark awe into the proceedings, and I came up with the Blood trilogy. Others will have to judge whether I was successful. But it sure was fun to write. Especially, in Blood Red, the part about the pregnant lady.    
 

8. What do you feel is the biggest challenge to being a writer?

It all goes back to finding the time.


9. What is your personal philosophy about life? How does it apply to your writing?

I believe we’re on the planet for a ridiculously short amount of time, and we only get to enjoy the ride once. We’re extraordinarily lucky—unimaginably so!—to have every single moment. We have to make the most of it, and live every day as if tomorrow it all comes to a crashing end. 

That perspective shapes my apocalyptic horror fiction, believe it or not! My characters value life, crave it, and learn from it. They’re human, they make mistakes, they celebrate their successes, and they love each other—despite the fantastic horrors surrounding them. I like to think my gooey, splattery stories have a lot of heart. That’s what I’ve aimed for.
 

10. Where can people find out more information about you and your work?

Check me out at my website, www.jasonbovberg.com, and on my Facebook author page, https://www.facebook.com/jasonbovberg.author. Those are the best destinations for keeping up on blog posts, events, and new releases.