You can find Michael Jasper’s blog over here.
Michael Jasper: I grew up in the small town of Dyersville, Iowa (home of “The Field of Dreams”), but I now live with my wife Elizabeth and our son Drew in Raleigh, NC. My story collection Gunning for the Buddha was released from Prime Books in January, and my pseudonymously written novel Heart’s Revenge is coming out from Five Star Books in June ’06. I also have a couple other novels out to various editors, and of course I’m working on a new novel. I’ve had stories published in Asimov’s, Polyphony, Interzone, Strange Horizons, Writers of the Future, the Raleigh News and Observer, and PIF Magazine, among others.
I’ve been keeping an online journal since 2000, and I have a sort of love/hate relationship with it. I always wonder why I’m sharing some of the things I share, whether it’s progress on my current piece of fiction, or bragging about my son’s latest skills. But if I go too long without an entry, I feel like I’m losing touch with the online community out there, and I just keep on hoping that there’s someone out there who’s interested in all this (Hi Mom!).
You can find my current entries at http://www.journalscape.com/mjjwrecked/, and the old version is at http://www.sff.net/people/michaeljasper/journals.htm.
Simon Owens: As a new father, how has having a baby affected your writing life?
MJ: This was a concern to me, before we had our son Drew, but even in the months leading up to his birth, I could sense a change in both my attitude about writing and my writing itself. On the one hand, writing and getting published were no longer the end-all, be-all of my life (as it was for a while there, let me tell you, while my wife was busy with grad school), but on the other hand, I felt like the writing I was doing was stretching me in new ways. I think I was writing with that unborn child as my future audience — what sort of fiction would I want Drew to remember me by?
Now that he’s born (and just turned one!), I’m more focused about my writing — I get up at 4:30 most mornings to write for an hour or two before he and my wife wake up. That gives me the rest of the day to spend with them (except for the days I’m at work, of course). Having a baby is great for resetting all of your priorities.
SO: You have a novel coming out from Five Star Books. How do you plan on promoting it?
MJ: Oh, you mean I have to promote the book, too? It’s not enough to just write the dang thing?
Seriously, I’ve got a couple things planned, as the release date approaches. Using the money I get from a recent story sale, I’m hoping to buy space in a group ad in Romantic Times next year (I like the idea of using money made from previous fiction to promote upcoming fiction). I’ll probably do some contests from my Web site, but I doubt I’ll do the whole bookmarks and postcards thing. Hopefully I’ll get some good reviews and generate some buzz, but my expectations are low, because Five Star sells mostly to libraries, though the books are available online at Amazon.com and Clarkesworld Books.
SO: Why did you choose to do a pen name for your novel?
MJ: I did this for a couple reasons, and I’m not sure I did the right thing doing it. I always figured that, due to the romance aspect of it, it had to come out under a female name, because I doubted many women would buy a romance written by a guy). Of course, there’s always Nicholas Sparks and Robert James Waller, and other guys who write what could/should be classified as romance. But I felt like my stuff was different from that stuff as well — this book is more of a mystery than a romance in a lot of ways.
Also, I didn’t want this book to be my “debut” novel as Michael Jasper. I have a couple other novels — one SF, one historical/fantasy, and my current novel, which is a contemporary fantasy — that I think would work much better as my “first” novel. I could be totally off-base on this. But I’ve been having some fun with the secret identity aspect of the book over at my other blog, which I set up for Julia C. Porter at http://juliacporter.blogspot.com/ (as you can see, I need to add some new entries over there).
SO: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading (besides your own)?
MJ: Well, I feel like I should be plugging informative, topical blogs like the Mumpsimus, Nick Mamatas’, or Gwenda Bond’s, but to be honest, I don’t really have time to surf that much any more and read some of their lengthy postings (plus their blogs just put mine to shame).
What I’ve been doing more of lately is just keeping up with journals by friends, most of whom I’ve met online first, and in person later (if at all!). What fascinates me is reading about other writers’ writing processes as well as their obsessions. This list includes friends like Tim Pratt, Jenn Reese, Greg van Eekhout, Haddayr Copley-Woods, and Jason Lundberg.
But I have been quite enjoying the food blog Belly-timber, which makes me realize I really need to learn how to cook.