Author Spotlight Interview: J.D. Gordon
Today’s interview is with author J.D. Gordon (who writes under JDG). JDG blends science fiction and humor to fabulous results, and it was a pleasure getting to know more about his writing and interests. We hope you consider checking out his work!
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
JDG: My goal in writing is always to say only things that need to be said, and to do it without pulling punches. Typically each of my stories has one element of the impossible in the premise, but otherwise stays grounded in reality. I also have a strong humorous streak, so don’t be surprised if I make you laugh in the process.
HG: Tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind your stories or where you get your ideas.
JDG: My inspiration for Surviving the Bomb was the 2017 North Korea nuclear missile crisis. Living in the general vicinity of Washington D.C., I heard from many people at the time who wrongly assumed they would simply die if a nuclear missile hit. In reality, anyone who is outside the immediate blast radius will survive a nuclear event if they take reasonable steps, like taking shelter indoors, staying away from windows, changing out of exposed clothing, etc. I decided to write the story to teach this lesson through narrative influence.
HG: Very interesting. Your debut novella that you just mentioned, Surviving the Bomb: That One Time I Broke into a House, Killed the Homeowner, and Took His Family Hostage, released in 2020. What more can you tell us about it?
JDG: While driving in the countryside, James narrowly avoids being caught in the explosion of an off-target nuclear missile. He tries to take refuge from the coming radioactive fallout in the nearest house, but finds the family inside unwilling to give him shelter or even believe his story. Can James defuse this violent confrontation and convince the family of the peril of their situation? The answer to both is no.
Surviving the Bomb is pretty much what you’d get if the creators of South Park and Deadpool teamed up for a story about the mid-apocalypse. Wrongly funny in all the right ways, you’ll be mad at yourself for laughing, but you’ll still be laughing. It also won 2nd place in a nationwide contest, for those who care about pedigree.
HG: Fantastic. Tell us, do you have any interesting writing or brainstorming quirks?
JDG: I typically write a numbered list of every single action that occurs in a story, or chapter, before writing the actual prose. The characters usually stick to the script about 90% of the time. Whether this qualifies as interesting is up for debate. Perhaps more quirky is the fact that I write on a tiny laptop older than most dogs. It has never once been connected to the internet because staying focused on writing while connected to the internet is nigh impossible for me. I’m sure anyone who saw me working on this relic would laugh, but I will never give it up for as long as it lives.
HG: Oh, I love that! What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?
JDG: Authors are at a severe disadvantage compared to other types of entertainers, as you can’t simply expose people to your work the way a singer or dancer can. You have to convince them to try your work, and I’ve learned that people don’t have much interest in trying new authors. It’s extremely difficult to convince them to read a single word written by someone they don’t already know. That’s why all my future books will be co-written by James Patterson and Stephen King.
HG: Ha! Great point though. What was the best advice you ever received related to writing and/or publishing?
JDG: Submit your work everywhere you can. The odds are heavily against you so you have to take the shotgun approach to stand a chance. And don’t put too much credit or blame on yourself for the outcome; people’s decisions in life usually have more to do with random things like how recently they ate lunch than anything that you did. (That’s true, look up the hungry judge effect to learn more.)
HG: What can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works?
JDG: I’ve been working on an audiobook version of Surviving the Bomb, but it’s a lot tougher than I originally imagined. It turns out things like pitch, speed, and speaking intensity are all extremely important. And my microphone keeps inserting clicks that ruin half of the recordings! I suppose I could hire a professional, but I feel like I understand the characters and how they should sound better than anyone else.
HG: Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
JDG: One of my favorite things to do these days is perform comedy. I’ve been doing both standup and improv for a while, without putting any expectations on where it has to go. I also enjoy singing, dancing, and other forms of creative expression. On the flip side, I lead monthly personal finance seminars and do one-on-one coaching to help people improve their financial situations. I’ve learned from several years of being a coach that basically everybody can benefit from a financial coach, no matter how good or bad they feel about their current situation.
HG: Fantastic. What was your last 5-star read?
JDG: My last 5 star read would be Sophie’s Choice (I haven’t seen the movie). I loved the extremely honest first-person perspective that portrayed a young man as he truly is. I would say it made me feel freer to write Surviving the Bomb in a raw first-person voice that doesn’t pull punches or play nice.
HG: For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…cookies or cake?
JDG: I’m a sucker for a fresh oatmeal raisin cookie, or the ones with macadamia nuts in them.
HG: Movie or book?
JDG: Unpopular opinion, but cinema is a terrible medium for telling a story. It leaves you out of the character’s heads and has to rush headlong to a conclusion in 2 hours. But it does it with lots of bright, flashing lights and explosions! If you want to have an experience, see a movie. If you want a story, read a book.
HG: Pool or ocean?
JDG: I’ve definitely never thought about this, but I feel like a pool is much more convenient, and usually cleaner. I would choose a Caribbean beach over a pool, though. I visited a few of the islands as a child and still remember how crystal-clear the waters were.
HG: Introvert or extrovert?
JDG: I’ve never been a big fan of putting labels on myself. Labels make life more convenient, but don’t always improve our ability to accept and relate to one another.
HG: eBook, print book or audiobook?
JDG: I’ve always been a print book reader, but I have to admit I’ve become a big fan of audiobooks since I installed the Libby app on my phone. I’m just not sure if I get to take credit for “reading” the book that way.
HG: You totally get credit for reading that way. For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
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