JDM: James Daniel Mader, or Reginald Spartakus MCsexypants
Ed: Where you from?
JDM: My Dad was in the Navy. That’s a real tough question to answer. I’m not really “from” anywhere. I have chosen to live in the SF Bay Area, so that works. Been here half my life, too. But I’m a weird person. I lived overseas, in the deep south, in Southern CA, in New England…also, from a vagina. That’s not really a lie, I just want to see if you’ll put it in your blog.
Ed: Yes, I will. That should be good for some hits from search engines. You got a day job, vagina boy?
JDM: Freelance writer. Male model/Firefighter.
Ed: Gotta be rough fighting fires in high heels. How about a dream job?
JDM: Rich Freelance writer. International man of leisure.
Ed: And the inevitable, why do you write?
JDM: I write because it is something that I was always kind of good at. And I love to read. Don’t get me wrong…I have gotten much better at it. Practice is everything. I have some kind of manic compulsion to write, now. If I don’t write I get very…well, weird. Pent up. I keep my cards pretty close to my chest in real life, so I think I need writing to let my neurotic side(s) play around a little. Now, I write for money, too. But that’s a more recent thing. I write because I love it, I need it, and I don’t suck at it.
I write because the man with the whip tells me to. (Stephen Hise)
Band – The Kinks, or Hanson
Food – Club Sandwiches, or Brussel Sprouts
Game – Soccer, or Chess (I wish I could be the intellectual chess guy, but no)
Album – Deltron 3030, or Nineties Dance Favorites
Word – Discombobulated, or Past-due
Color – Brown, or Teal
Animal – Peregrine Falcon, or Cockroach
Piece of clothing – My Dad’s old pea coat, or G-string
Movie – The Jerk, or Twilight
TV show – MASH, or Glee
Drink – Bourbon Rocks (though I don’t drink it anymore), or Gin (really, England, are you fucking kidding?)
Song – “Red and Black (7 seconds)” – this is my rally song, or “The Barney Song”
Line from a song – “Life’s a bitch but god forbid the bitch divorce me” or “I have loved you in a tame way, and I have loved you wild”
Pizza topping – Black Olives, or Bodily fluids from the delivery guy
Crime – Jaywalking, or Littering
Place – Phoenix Lake (Ross, CA), or The DMV
Quote – “Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live” – Bukowski
“We’ve been smoking PLASTIC?!?!” – me after making my first homemade pipe
Ed: Now, some random things about yourself, please.
JDM: I really, truly hate waking up. It’s my least favorite activity. I hate it with a passion. It makes me unreasonably angry.
I have a perfect ballerina point. I don’t dance, I just have it.
I’m very insecure about a lot of things. I hide it well.
I have a full head of hair.
Nothing about me is random. It’s all part of the plan.
What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?
JDM: Genre, which usually has to do with my mood.
Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?
JDM: I like character based, literary fiction, genre be damned.
Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
JDM: I don’t really have a favorite author. John Fante is always my go to answer because I got into his stuff at a very important part of my life and my development as a writer. I don’t think I am influenced by him stylistically, but I have taken a lot of his advice.
Ed: Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
JDM: Stop-Time, by Frank Conroy. I have read it too many times to count (with students, too). It is the most underrated book of all time.
Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
JDM: Wow. My parents supported my reading a lot so it was probably something they wouldn’t have wanted me to read. Do magazines count?
Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?
JDM: Pretty much everything Ayn Rand wrote. Don’t know why.
Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
JDM: Both. But it was a long time ago.
Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
JDM: Hell yeah. The Great Gatsby. Good book, but I don’t like it.
Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?
JDM: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (by Dave Eggers)
Ed: What’s your favorite line from a book?
JDM: “He had a tendency to take off his trousers and throw them out the window.” (Stop-Time)
How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?
JDM: Usually halfway through the piece. I don’t really know how. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I think about it very long and hard before it clicks. Sometimes I let other people pick the name.
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
JDM: They all start out named John and then I wrack my brain to come up with a name that is not John. I usually have to force it. I suck with names.
Ed: If you could live in the world of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?
JDM: I would live in my new novel The Biker. I like the neighborhood and it would be fun to hang out with the characters.
Ed: What do you think your books say about you?
JDM: That I am stubborn. And that I have psychological “issues”.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
JDM: I wish I had put more effort into the articles I wrote when I was a reporter. I was in High School and wrote for the local paper. I didn’t realize at the time what an amazing opportunity it was.
Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.
JDM: Chet, from Joe Cafe is my favorite character. He’s a terrible person, but he fascinates me.
Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.
JDM: “Dan? Sorry JD. He’s just like everyone else. Too big of a pussy to be a real person. He got trapped, you know. People get trapped in magazine cutouts and expectations. He may be honest compared to most people, but that’s different than being honest.”
Ed: Back to Dan, what’s your favorite line which you have written?
JDM: “To live like God, in fiction, as water flows through trembling hands.”
Plotter or Pantser?
Ed: Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
JDM: Write 500 words a day. (Fante) / Write what you know (everyone).
Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
JDM: I like creating things by myself. I like control. / It’s lonely.
Ed: Why Indie?
Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?
JDM: Yeah. In the back of my mind I always knew I would be a writer. I taught for years. I loved it. But I always wanted to be a writer. What can you be that’s better?
Ed: I’ll ask the questions here! Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?
JDM: I have, recently. I don’t know if I’m supposed to talk about it or not. But yes, I have. Once.
Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?
JDM: I wouldn’t think I was such hot shit when I really wasn’t.
JDM: It has to be honest. Even when you are writing fiction, it has to be honest. And you can’t worry about how people will react if that takes you to some weird places.
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
JDM: The grapes probably were sour. Take that, Aesop.
Ed: And finally, some real answers to HYPOTHETICAL questions.
Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back. You can save one thing off the hard drive. What is it?
JDM: A picture of me and my daughter when she was just born and is sleeping on my chest.
Ed: You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever. What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
JDM: Character development – yes. Sparkly vampires – no.
Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales. What do you do?
JDM: It depends on how strongly I feel about it. If it’s a little thing, change it. If it is important, fuck sales.
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
JDM: Write a letter telling the offerer to go to hell.
Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?
JDM: What are you wearing right now?
And of course, do check out his books.
Joe Cafe – No one is good/evil. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZG8KRK
The Biker – Vengeance is good in theory. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0076FZLLU