Saturday, October 17, 2015

THE GAL'S 31 DAYS OF HORROR: AMONG THE STACKS: Jay Wilburn


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Jay.   Welcome to The Gal and thank you for being a part of The Gal's 31 Days of Horror.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jay Wilburn:
My name is Jay Wilburn.  I live in South Carolina near the coast.  I'm married and have two sons.  I taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full-time writer.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Jay Wilburn:
I have two tattoos.  I practice archery.  My wife is a Christian missionary.  I have ghostwritten for about every genre imaginable.  I graduated second in my class from my junior college.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Jay Wilburn:
The first real book I read through by myself was The Hobbit in fourth grade.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Jay Wilburn:
I'm rereading all of Stephen King's books in the order of publication.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Jay Wilburn:
As a kid, I was handwriting my own stories that were imitations of the fantasy and sci-fi that I read.  I seldom finished and never let anyone read it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Jay Wilburn:
I have a room off the bedroom that is on the back of the house set up as a writing hut.  It is pretty cluttered right now, but it has a good view.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Jay Wilburn:
I keep a lot of post-it notes with details on jobs that are due, deadlines, and then story notes.  I have lots of notebooks marked with post-its that have notes for old and new stories, too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Jay Wilburn:
Continuing to believe my own myth so I can keep pushing when evidence and voices around try to convince that I can't make it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Jay Wilburn:
The Stand by Stephen King was instrumental in my thinking about dystopian literature.  Elmore Leonard and Kurt Vonnegut influenced me in the quirky and raw nature of their prose.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Jay Wilburn:
A journey that captures a reader with travel companions they are interested in following.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Jay Wilburn:
The character has to have some vulnerability that makes their struggles worth watching.  I use elements of real people I have known or observed.  I try to understand the thinking of people that believe differently from me so I can present different characters as strong and real.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Jay Wilburn:
I actually wrote myself into a story for a Vonnegut tribute anthology.  I think I captured my flaws pretty well in that one.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Jay Wilburn:
I've utilized Luke Spooner a lot lately.  I don't have a great eye for art, so I rely on pros that can translate a concept into something great.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Jay Wilburn:
No one knows what they are doing.  People that claim to know typically reveal how much they don't know the more they explain it.  I only have the vaguest notion of what makes a good story and I don't even agree with myself on that.  Even people that are successful don't really understand what they did differently than others and why it worked for them as opposed to others.  They almost never know how to communicate the difference in a way that would be useful to anyone listening.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Jay Wilburn:
I don't like happy endings very much.  Ghostwriting romance requires wrapping up in a nice ending.  Those are tougher for me to sell in a meaningful way sometimes.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Jay Wilburn:
The characters in my zombie series are music collectors that record mash-ups of musical styles that formed after the apocalypse.  I actually hired a producer and we created five of the songs from the stories.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Jay Wilburn:
Somewhat important.  I think it may be more important to make it different than other titles out there than it is to perfectly match the story.  Easy to spell is probably important, too.  Beyond that, I think it might just be that one set of words may be aesthetically more pleasing than another by degrees.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Jay Wilburn:
Writing a novel seems to matter more in terms of defining a career.  Short stories have potential to burn more brightly.  I work harder on the novels, so I might feel something more for having them completed.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Jay Wilburn:
The main characters of my current zombie series are gay men.  I've picked up a few LGBT readers from those depictions and the marketing for that series.  The audience in some cases, though, should be the folks that need to hear the message.  I deal with religion, politics, social norms, the fullness of the American experience, etc. in my genre writing.   A well written story probably doesn't preach at the readers, but a well written story can deliver a message weaved into the fabric of the story.  A really well written story allows the reader to construct the message from what they bring to the story and the pieces that are presented in ways that are open to interpretation.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Jay Wilburn:
I cut back story most often.  I also cut from the front with set-up.  With short stories especially, I'll cut the first paragraph and then the second and I'll keep going until I get to the paragraph that has to stay. That's usually the true beginning of the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Jay Wilburn:
I have hundreds of unpublished stories in the trunk.  Most are finished in terms of drafts.  Most have been rejected somewhere at least once.  Probably a half dozen books that are one chapter to several chapters in are in there, too.  The biggest monster in there is a weird fiction steampunk reimagining of the Bible.  I'm several thousand words and chapters into that.  It may be unreadable.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Jay Wilburn:
I'm probably going to cowrite another novel coming up soon.  Book 2 of the Dead Song Legend is coming and I'm drafting Book 3 slowly.  I have work for a couple collections of wieldy size in the pro editing phase at this point.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Jay Wilburn:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
It was great having you here today, Jay.  
            One more thing before you go: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Jay Wilburn:
Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato are wonderful together and can never be over appreciated in other forms either.


About the author:
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States.  He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer.  He is the author of many short stories including works in The Best Horror of the Year Volume 5Zombies: More Recent DeadShadows Over Main Street, and Truth or Dare.  He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within he world of the novel The Sound May Suffer.  He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters.  He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy.  Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest.  Follow his many dark thoughts on TwitterInstagram, and Periscope (@amongthezombies), his Facebook Author Page, and at his website.

About the book:
The Dead Song Legend Dodecology 1:
Genre: Horror, Occult
Publication date: 5.27.2015
Pages: 318

In a world where Twilight has the balls to call itself a 'saga,' I think it's time to take a step away from that word.  I go to a book store and see a book proclaiming to be the first in a dodecology, I'm gonna buy that book just cuz the author decided to throw down that gauntlet from the start ~Indy McDaniel, author of Nady's Nights: Road to Vengeance.

Truth is lost in legends and legends grow over time.  They grow because we need them to be bigger and we need them to explain the things we fear.  We write them for ourselves and for our world.  The Dead Song Legend of Tiny "Mud Music" Jones has captured the imagination of everyone that survived the apocalypse even as he captured the music of the survivors and the music that helped us all to survive. ~B.B. Tarmanacula, Dead World Memorial Dedication

Get the soundtrack to this book, called The Sound May Sufferhere.

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