“…as water flows through trembling hands.” – Tag Line Tuesday with JD Mader

28 Feb

This week Tag Line Tuesday is happy to welcome JD Mader, author and raconteur. Let us begin, as always, with two answers to the standard bio-type questions, one honest and one “creative.”

Ed: Name?

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)

Ed: Now, THE LIGHTNING ROUND (for which I told JD he could return to complete honesty, but I don’t think he heard me)

Quick! favorite:

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’m rich.

I have a full head of hair.

Nothing about me is random. It’s all part of the plan.

Now back to full honesty (possibly) for the Book Chat portion of the show. Let’s start with some stuff about books which you did not happen to write yourself.

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?

JDM: Romance

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)

Ed: Now on to some books that you did write.

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.”

Ed: Now to the more “process” kind of questions about how you do the writin’ thing.

Plotter or Pantser?

JDM: 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?

JDM: I got tired of trying to jump through hoops and missing.

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.

Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?

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?

JDM: Fish.  Easy.

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?


Thanks JD, and to see Mr. Mader arm-wrestling demons in his own neck of the woods, do feel free to take a trip over to Unemployed Imagination. Or, you can hear him making music.

And of course, do check out his books.

Joe Cafe – No one is good/evil.

The Biker – Vengeance is good in theory.


Posted by on February 28, 2012 in author interviews, Tag Line Tuesday, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

11 responses to ““…as water flows through trembling hands.” – Tag Line Tuesday with JD Mader

  1. JD Mader

    February 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    McNally! Thanks for letting me come on by. 😉

    • medmcn

      February 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Anytime, Dan.

  2. Yvonne Hertzberger

    February 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Ok, Dan, now I know everything/nothing about you. You make me laugh, you make me think, you keep me guessing. You are an enigma. But that’s what i like about you.

  3. tomszollosi

    February 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Mr. Mader, sir, you are one amusement park of a dude. Just one suggestion: next time make it a pizza GIRL.

  4. JD Mader

    February 29, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Thank you both. I shall now ringeth the pizza girl. 😉

  5. jensmithsick

    March 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I like this form of interview. It’s fun and entertaining. Mader, I like that you state that your writing has to be honest and that you can’t worry about people’s reactions. My stuff is out there for some folks so it’s good for me to hear that. Sooooo what were you wearing?

  6. Jen Smith (@JenSmithSick)

    March 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I have one more interview question for the mad Mader…
    If you could keep someone in a cage in your basement, who would it be and why?

    • JD Mader

      October 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Myself. I’d get into a lot less trouble.

  7. stephenhise

    March 2, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Nice job guys. The body count was surprisingly low.

    • JD Mader

      October 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Or we are surprisingly good at disposing of corpses…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: