Interviews

Interview with Amos Cassidy

The Producer 1

AOTR: Please give the readers a brief Bio on you the person and tell us about yourself.

Jaden: I was born in New West Minster BC in 1972 and moved to Kamloops BC with my family before I could walk.

The decision to become a rock star or an actor bounced around until I finished high school and realized that I needed to get a job to pay bills.

Moving around the West coast of Canada for the last twenty years, I always had a journal with me. Through those years, many stage plays and stories made it to paper but few were selected to hit an independent theatrical stage.

I found that my passion for writing has hit a new level as the barrier that once held me from stepping into the world of “Author” no longer exists.

AOTR: When did you begin writing?

Jaden: I started writing when I joined my first band in Edmonton. We were writing originals in the hopes of becoming rock stars but like many would be musicians, it never became a reality. I had always been interested in stage acting and one summer around the age of 19, I spent most of my time at work or in my apartment. I didn’t have cable and the pad of paper and pen beside me called. I started to have a conversation on paper and within two days I had written a two act play. I never produced it, but it paved the way for more ideas that were floating around my head.

AOTR: What pushed you to write your book?

Jaden: My wife was away at basic training and after the kids had gone to bed and the evening cleaned up, I found myself back in that apartment when I was 19. A musician from Edmonton had pitched an idea to me and after listening to his CD, the ideas started to flow and I had written him a musical based on his idea and music. Once “The Ballad of Elvis Christ” was complete, an old idea that I had while back in Victoria BC flashed and I started the first chapter; it just sort of took off from there.

AOTR: How did you come up with the characters in your book?

Jaden: Multiple personality disorder? I wish I could answer that question easily. I suppose that the most logical answer would be to say, the story told me who they were. I had a concept when I first started, but as the chapters moved along and the characters developed, they sort of told me what was going to happen.

AOTR: Were the characters and writing the story easy for you, or did you have to outline and do research?

Jaden: I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it seemed to flow in a way that I couldn’t stop it. I have had this story bouncing around in my head for at least 20 years and since it takes place in a city that I walked around in for 10 years, the research was as simple as a map. It helps that I come from a technical background as well, so any plausible advancement is based on the things that I am already familiar with. There was a time that I had intended to find photos of either actors or models to place up in my writing space, but I could see them so vividly in my mind that none of the photo’s I found matched what I saw.

AOTR: How long did it take you to complete your book? Will there be a sequel. If so, when do you plan to release it?

 

Jaden: This first novel took me just over 5 months to complete, but it is only short introduction to the world that I am creating. “The Producer” will be the first of a trilogy. The next installment is entitled, “The Stage” and will be more involved as the intrigue moves out of the city and across borders. I’m hoping that I will have a release date soon, but I’m thinking probably near the end of the summer 2013.

AOTR: After reading your book, what do you hope the reader will take away?

 

Jaden: That’s a loaded question. I think once the shock of the ending sinks in and the unanswered questions start to raise questions of their own, I’m hoping that readers will take a look around at the world we live in and ask themselves, just how possible the world I have created is?

AOTR: Has anything about the publishing Industry surprised you?

Jaden: I come from a musical background in dealing with labels and distributing companies. I’m not surprised at all that finding someone that believes in your work as much as you do is a daunting task.

AOTR: Would you like to share a few things you learned while in the publishing industry?

Jaden: The things that I have learned are based strictly off the opinions that I’ve read on the internet, and I don’t trust those as far as I could throw a frozen cow off a moving truck. What does surprise me is that with the birth of Kindle and Kobo and every other digital format out there, that an agency/publicist hasn’t followed the trend and milked the digital world for all it’s worth. I think that making an individual known to the world for positive or negative can make the difference in how their art is produced to the world. In fact, I would challenge the lesser publishing companies to take a chance and open a talent division and start marketing authors the same way that talent agencies do. You’d see a change happen real damn fast.

AOTR: If you could write a book together with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?

 

Jaden: Rob Grant, hands down. Not many people will know who he is unless I say the name “Grant Naylor”. He is half of the entity that created Red Dwarf, a futuristic sitcom from the UK. The show has on occasion been very campy…lol, on occasion. The two writers do have a series of books that have penned from the world they created. Rob Grant is responsible for the book, “Backwards” and I recommend it highly. That book is a mixture of comedy and intelligence that gets me every time. If I was to ever have a chance to write with someone, it would be him.

AOTR: If your book was made into a movie, what actors would you choose for the characters? Why?

 

Jaden: I can’t believe that I’m about to say this, but I think for my main character I would probably choose Zach Efron. Some of his work that people may not be familiar with, for example voice over that he did for Robot Chicken, tells me that he may have a darker side to his acting. Liev Schreiber would most definiatly fit into the role of Henry, he does cantacorous well. I think that I would have to say Emma Stone for the role of Samantha. Mainly because she would certainly be able to pull off the attitude. There’s more, but I’d start giving stuff away.

AOTR: Besides writing, what are some of your other talents and hobbies?

 

Jaden: I’ve been a singer since I was a kid and have had my fair share of bands that I have fronted. Singing is and will always be a big part of my life. My girls both make me sing to them before bed, my oldest has taken to making me recall all of the songs that I’ve ever learned and singing them in order…it’s not by the way. The other talent would be acting. I’ve had some roles, done some stage and it may be part of the reason that I find character creating so easy. The only problem is that because I am six foot two, I tend to be typecast as a police officer. LOL, it’s rather poetic actually. I once played a Victoria police officer on a TV show called, “Alienated” and ten years later, I’m writing about them in my first novel. In fact, to add to your previous question, I would like to play the role of “David”. He’s my federal agent in the book and a very complicated character; I’d like to give it a shot.

AOTR: What words of wisdom do you have for aspiring authors?

 

Jaden: Listen to the voices in your head. You’re not crazy; it’s just the many personalities that you’ve created over the years trying to get out…Wait, that does make a writer sound nuts. Well then I say enjoy the madness and write, write, write!

AOTR: What current projects are you working on? Will you be attending any events, book fairs or have any book signings?

 

Jaden: I am currently working on the next installment of the series without trying to let the other ideas sneak in. There was a time when I was working on three plays at once and it drove me nuts so I vowed not to do that anymore; nothing ever really came to completion. I am with the Canadian Forces and where we are at the moment is not very conducive for attending fairs. Once I gain a little more notoriety I intend to venture out more during times of leave and so on, but for now…Must pay the bills.

AOTR: Where can readers find more information on you and your work?

 

Jaden: Well, like most I have my Facebook page. It’s wide open, so send in those friend invites. I’m working on two blog sites. http://theproducerbook.blogspot.ca/ and http://theproducerbook.wordpress.com/ and I’m willing to answer any questions, queries or hate mail at theproducerbook@gmail.com

Your ten favorite things:

Shoes:

Jaden: LOL, my combat boots and my runners for the gym.

Season:

Jaden: Springer…That’s the season in between spring and summer and not the talk show host.

Food:

Jaden: I make a wicked Indian butter chicken!

Song:

Jaden: Not a fair question as I have been a musician since I learned to use my ears and this could spark an argument that could take down society. Needless to say if it’s played on a rock station, chances are I like it. Oh, and Cookie Monsters version of “You Have Cookie, So Share it Maybe”, mainly because he has more talent than she does.

Fruit:

Jaden: I’m partial to kiwis

Day of the week:

Jaden: When I was young and single, Friday. Each day for me now is pretty much the same and I like it that way.

Friend/why?

Jaden: My wife. Why, because she is the only true friend I have that will hate me, love me, tell me when I’m being an idiot and is not beneath joining me in being an idiot. Plus she’s really hot and I get to see her naked, like daily.

Radio station:

Jaden: CFOX in Vancouver will always be my favorite

Blog:

Jaden: http://theproducerbook.wordpress.com/ HA!

Holiday:

Jaden: That one that happens on the 25 of December. I say it like that because there are so many people in the world that get pissed off about this one that it makes me laugh. I don’t really care what anyone calls it. What I care about, is that I get to spend time with my family and watch the amazement in my girl’s eyes when they tear back that piece of paper. It could be a Barbie from the dollar store, they don’t care.

What inspired you to write your first book?

It’s just always something that I’ve wanted to do. I’ve written many plays and poems but never had the courage to tackle a full novel before. It was after I finished writing a stage play for an artist in Edmonton that I thought I’d take a shot and I’m glad that I did.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not as such. I supposed that I prefer a narrative in the past tense depending on what I’m writing. I suppose since this is my first book we all find out together.

How did you come up with the title?

Pardon the laughing out loud while I type this…The characters were having a conversation in my head and they referred to antagonist as “The Producer,” It just sort of stuck.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I think the message would be more of a challenge to readers to discover what the meaning behind the book is. There are multiple messages laid throughout the story, that’s why I have always found it so difficult to explain what the story is about.

How much of the book is realistic?

I come from a technical background and as I see it, the story is not that farfetched, which is to me a very scary thought indeed. It takes place in Victoria, BC. A place I called home for the better part of ten years, so I know the city quite well; both the underbelly and upper crust as it were.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not any one particular person or situation, just the place. As I was writing the story I was able to put the characters in a situation in the city and could vision it quite well. I believe that it made the story more vibrant. But no, any similarities to any person alive or dead are strictly coincidental.

What books have most influenced your life most?

“The Chrysalides” would be a major influence. Its views of control through religion and lack of acceptance from even an advanced race speaks volumes to society, even today.

“The Fionavar Tapestry” showed me how every story in life can be tied to an individual concept.

“Red Dwarf and Hitchhiker’s” series, mainly because nonsensical British humor just makes me laugh.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Rob Grant would be on the top of that list. I read his book “Backwards” and couldn’t put it down. Being a “Red Dwarf” fan was one thing but reading his mix of comedy and drama mixed in with time paradoxes twisted me in a way I can quite understand. In short, it made me want to write.

What book are you reading now?

My next book in the series, it’s called “The Stage”.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

New to me – Guy Gavriel Kay

What are your current projects?

The next in the series of three, this one is called, “The Stage”.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

That would be my friend Jenna Autet. There was a point when I was about to stop all together and give up. She convinced me that it would be a complete waste and that what I was writing was worth my time and effort. That and if I didn’t finish it, she’d kick my ass.

Do you see writing as a career?

I can more than just see it; I can taste it between my teeth.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not a damn thing, in fact I don’t even think I’d add anything. This first book is the backbone to the rest of the story. It’s quick, full of twists and possibilities and it’ll leave the reader with a need for more.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was living in Edmonton, working full time, playing with the band on weekends and when I had spare time at home I was bored out of my mind. I didn’t have a TV and money was not abundant, so I grabbed a pen and paper and started to write. It started off as more song lyrics and started to turn into conversations on a page. At first I thought that I was starting to go a little mad, just from being alone in the apartment, but the more I wrote the better I felt. In about three days I had written a two act play. It never went anywhere, but it kindled something that has never gone away.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’d love to, but I can’t. The end of the first story has such a twist to it, that any preview of the second book would spoil the surprise. It may sound like a sales pitch, but it’s the truth. Everyone that has read it so far has sworn up and down that they know who “The Producer” is but is more than shocked in the end. I’m going to have to up the ante for the next book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The nagging guilt that I’m ignoring my family is my biggest challenge. Even though they know what I am trying to accomplish and have shown their support, it still sits at the back of my mind, occasionally stopping me from getting to my keyboard.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Again I would have to say Rob Grant. He tells a story and doesn’t feel the need to fill the pages with descriptions about walls and furniture unless it’s absolutely necessary. He also seems to have this ability to feed information into the oddest places, so that when you get to the inevitable conclusion, the triggers he laid go off.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not as of yet, I’m still a puppy in the author world. Eventually I may have to venture out and show my face, but for now I’m hoping that the book will speak for me.

Who designed the covers?

I bounced the idea off of my wife and took the necessary photo’s myself. Once I had the cover designed, she had final say on colour, font and placement; after all, this book was a gift for her birthday.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part was knowing where to end the first story. It’s a short novel to begin with as it moves along pretty quickly but carrying it on for too long would have made it drag uselessly.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I am currently in the RCAF and for the past three and a half years I have had to push myself to prove that I can be an older man in a young man’s game.  Writing a book is not an easy thing to do and probably just as much a mental challenge as some of the physical ones the military can throw at you.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Listen to the voices in your head. You’re not crazy; it’s just the many personalities that you’ve created over the years trying to get out…Wait, that does make a writer sound nuts. Well then I say enjoy the madness and write, write, write!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

This story is not outside the realm of possibilities and if we are not careful as a society, we may see these things occur in our lifetime. Be them good or bad, each choice we make for our future has consequences.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

There were plenty of challenges. Hell, getting onto the keyboard and trying to regain the flow you had from the night before was a challenge. I guess the biggest challenge for a new writer trying to figure this authors world, was format sizes, word counts, what’s acceptable and what’s not. Do I self-publish or look for an agent? I guess in the end, I’m just going to keep moving forward until the universe decides what the hell it wants to do with me.

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