Thursday, June 24, 2010

Interview with Jesse Greever

Available for sale at Untreed Reads Publishing

Welcome Jesse!

Briefly describe your journey in writing your short story. 
Over the past couple of years, I have written a number of short stories, although mostly for my own benefit.  My professional life centers around very technical literature (I sell lasers for a living), and so in my down-time, to give myself some balance, I’m either reading fiction voraciously, or trying my hand at creative writing.  Most of my short stories have been born from music.  I’m a very auditory person by nature, and I’m very moved by music.  Many times, story ideas come from the mood of a particular song that strikes a chord in me (no pun intended).

Ironically, “A Summer Wedding” was conceived in a very different way.  I was tooling around various writing websites, and one of them (I can’t remember which), had a “Story Starter”.  It gave me the first few words of a sentence and four words I had to incorporate into the story.  I remember very clearly that the first few words were “The wedding was”, and I also recall that at least two of the words that I had to incorporate into the story were “washing machine” and “beekeeper”.  At first, I balked at the idea, but I decided to give it a try, and within an hour I had the first draft of “A Summer Wedding”.  Within a week, I had revised it to the version that is now for sale.

A funny thing happened during the week of revision.  I realized that, rather subconsciously, the story was an allegory for the stages of love.  It starts with a rather idealized childish sort of infatuation, and by the end of the story, the relationship has matured from one of youthful fascination to something more profound.  As I realized the more universal theme that was woven into the story, I found it much easier to sharpen it into a brief but poignant story that, I think, can resonate with anyone who has experienced love at any level.

What genre are your books?  Do you write in more than one genre?
I never intended to write a romantic story, but somehow, that’s what “A Summer Wedding” turned out to be.  When I’m reading, I tend more towards horror, suspense and science fiction.  I do dabble in that with my writing, but I find myself gravitating more towards real-life drama.  Usually, my attempts at other writing in these other genres have a tendency to fall flat, but nevertheless, I’m working on a supernatural novella right now that I’m very excited about.  I know that some writers revel in fantasy because there are no rules to the kinds of worlds that are created, but to a certain extent, I find myself overwhelmed by that.  I think as I grow as a writer, I might be able to tap into the discipline required to create a world entirely unlike our own.  We’ll see.

What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
What, you mean other than the fact that they were the first to respond with an acceptance?

Actually, I like the idea of digital publishing.  I think that, to a certain extent, there is less overhead, and because of that, digital publishers have a tendency to maybe take more risks than traditional publishers.  It means that more of us amateur writers get a chance to expose our works to the light of day.

How did you feel when you got your first sale? 
Shocked.  Delighted.  I never actually dreamed that someone might someday read one of my stories and say “Wow, that’s actually pretty good!”  When I received my acceptance email from Jay at Untreed Reads, I initially thought it had to be a mistake.  However, as I worked with K.D. and Jay on finalizing my story for publication, they helped me appreciate that there was a good deal of intrinsic worth in the story, whether they know it or not.

How do you feel about the world of digital publishing?  Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
Yes, and no.  I don’t think the book will ever entirely disappear.  I think an appropriate analogy is the vinyl record in the music world.  While digital music is ubiquitous in our society and fast becoming the dominant format for music, there are still those out there who appreciate buying an album on vinyl and listening to it on their turntables, crackles and all.  And there are artists who still produce music on vinyl.  I think that traditional “paper and glue” books will stand the test of time, but their place will one day be among collectors and enthusiasts, while the general masses will eventually forsake them for more convenient media.

What’s next for you?
I’ve got a few more short stories that I’m currently polishing for submission.  However, the lion’s share of my writing time at this point is devoted to a Novella (or hopefully a series of them) centered on a mysterious protagonist that I have dubbed “The Deleter”.  The Deleter concept is actually inspired by my love of the “Repairman Jack” series by F. Paul Wilson, as it involves mostly modern-day, real-world action and drama, with a generous helping of the supernatural and a even a dash of more esoteric Biblical History.  This is a more long-term project, so I’m sure I’ll publish some more short stories in the interim.