For the first time ever, and probably the only time ever, I was in the room when this interview took place, but still using current media to be as detached as possible from this process – I emailed him the questions, he emailed me the answers. Still, watching him answer was sometimes better than the answers themselves. What you guys don’t know about Jason is that he’s got a wicked sense of humor, and being around him is like being around somebody you’ve been friends with for decades – even if you’ve only known him ten minutes. Anyway, before I start to sound like a groupie, I should end this introduction. This is Jason Cordova…
Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
My name is Jason Cordova. Yeah, that guy.
Tell us (briefly) about you…
I live in Lexington, Kentucky and have a BA in History and an MA in European History.
…and a bit about what you’ve written…
To date, I’ve sold 5 short stories and one novel.
…and what you’re working on right now.
At this time, I have two short stories sitting in an editor’s box awaiting the infamous yea/nay. I also am working on a short story called “Nightwalker” (horror), and a SF piece called “The Gods Anointed”. I also have two novels (including the sequel to my first novel, Corruptor) about ready to go to their respective publishers.
What are your earliest book-related memories?
Where the Red Fern Grows. I really don’t have any book memories before then, even though I’m sure I’ve read before then. However, Where the Red Fern Grows is the first book to truly “stick” with me throughout the years. It remains one of my top ten favorites of all time, in spite of the ending.
What are your three favorite books?
They tend to fluctuate, but right now they are 1) Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, 2) The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffith, and 3) The Last Centurion by John Ringo.
How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I try to keep it at one at a time, but this is an advantage because I read very fast. It allows me to focus all that insane energy onto one subject before moving on to the next one. As for what I’m reading right now, I’m actually re-reading Edward VI: The Lost King of England by Chris Skidmore.
Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
…stretch out, flip onto my stomach, wait for the cat to hop onto my back and prop myself up on my pillow for an easier reading angle. Curling up with a book seems so awkward.
To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
Definitely re-read. Wise man say, A book is never the same thing twice.
How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Pretty likely. My friends know my taste in books. That being said, if the book they recommend is utter crap (I’m looking at you, Leo), then they go on a little list which begins with the word “Beware…”
Granted, that list also contains people who have recommended a book that sucked away days of my life because it was so engrossing. Perhaps I should rename that little list.
How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Unlikely. My tastes are my own (as evidence to the military science fiction books resting next to my Percy Jackson books) and I wouldn’t wish them onto anyone else.
What do you look for in a good book?
Plot. A beginning, middle and an end. Humor helps. Making me laugh is a great way to ensure I will finish the book.
Why do you write?
I write because my shoulder actually won’t let me be a baseball player anymore.
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
…is this a trick question? This seems like a trap. Is it? It’s a trap!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Life. It’s all around me and there’s no escaping from it. So I figure I might as well use what bothers me most, or expand upon what makes me happiest.
What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I am a twisted individual with a warped sense of humor.
How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
“You’re a writer? Bless your heart. My son once tried to write a story but…” seems to be the usual response.
Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I don’t own a pipe. I hate J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and… well, crap. I do have cats, but I don’t have The Writer’s Beard (TM).
What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Not reading the submission guidelines. A lot of new writers are so eager to get their Greatest Novel Evar! out that they miss some of the important stuff, like sending a SF Romance novel (with sex scenes included) to someone who publishes Nature and Wildlife books. Also, they (okay, sometimes me) don’t seem to take criticism well.
Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Oh wow, there’s a list that various publishers use when dealing with me. But the one that sticks out the most is word usage. I lock onto a word and beat it to death, revive it with my wicked awesome necromancer powers, then promptly flog it some more. I also finally understood the use of track changes (after nearly driving an editor insane).
Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
I would love to write John Steakley’s sequel to Armor. I doubt his estate will let me come within fifty miles of it, but that would be my dream. I know John had a lot more of Felix to write about (we met and chatted in 2006) and there was definitely more story there.
How do you deal with your fan base?
I usually respond with “I have fans?”. Then we all laugh and talk about that time I got really drunk, jumped into the pool and ended up in the ER.
Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
…that I’m a fan myself.
Anything else we should know?
I think of myself as a very boring person.
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