Friday, January 3, 2014

Interview with Jason Donnelly.

Full Name:
Jason William Donnelly

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
That won’t do.  We’ll have to come up with something awesome.  I’m going to start calling you Wolf Donnelly.  I think it’s got a nice ring to it.
Actually, that works for me.  Wolf Donnelly… there’s a nice ring to that.
Now in the next interview that asks if you have any nicknames you can tell them that you do.
You sir, are a visionary.


Current hometown:
Brooklyn, NY

Birthday / Age:
March 30th, 32

How would you describe yourself physically?
I have boy parts.

How would someone else describe you physically?
He most likely has boy parts.

The first thing people notice about you is…
That’s a hell of a mustache.
That’s not a bad mustache, but it could use a little work.  Maybe get one of those little mustache combs.  Maybe some mustache pomade.  My friend Alex Hamilton can be your mustache trainer.  Drop him a message and tell him I sent you.
Just sent him a friend request and am willing to work my hardest to give you something special in the coming year.

Religion, if any?

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I hate ticks… that’s it.

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
I have a lot of bad habits. You’ll know them if you know me.
Yes.  But let’s assume that nobody reading this knows you.  I know that most of the people that are likely to bother to read your interview are your friends and family and fans of your writing, but let’s ignore that for now and give me something to work with here.
I’m a drinker.  If you want to make me happy, put a dark beer in front of me or an Irish whiskey.  My favorite being, Writer’s Tears.  Yes… it’s a thing and it’s glorious.

Current occupation / Dream job:
Copywriter / Author Only

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Read, write, drink dark beer and whiskey, hang out with friends.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
My parents have some acreage in the PA woods… they have enough guns to protect us from whatever comes our way.
That’s what I tell people that are worried about our government giving up its sovereignty to the United Nations and participating in world government.  I always ask those people if they’ve ever been to Pennsylvania.  There’s some serious pockets of humanity in some parts of this country and they are old-school patriotic.  Just because Boston is willing to knuckle under to martial law over a couple bombs doesn’t mean that the entire nation is ready to lay down and surrender.  I’m surprisingly optimistic about what would happen if there was a zombie apocalypse in America.  The cities would probably burn to the ground, but there are a lot of resourceful people out there.
I’m positive that my family and friends would be completely fine.  I have some friends who I’d refer to more as militants than military.

Weapon of choice:
Savage .223

Do you have any special skills?
I can juggle… 10 balls (seriously look on YouTube).
I did.  I was initially worried about clicking on a video where you flash your balls, but it was relievedly “safe for work”.
The last time I flashed my balls, someone called security, and I wasn’t allowed back at the waterpark.  Then again, I can’t juggle.
Ha ha, I can only imagine flashing two balls wouldn’t be as acceptable or legal as ten.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
I went to college for management, education, and writing.  I wish I would have committed myself earlier.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
I have so much debt… It’s honestly a house payment every month.  Thanks education!
I’ve given them up for lost.  Now the government keeps my tax returns each year.  I wouldn’t mind if it actually helped to decrease the balance, but it doesn’t even cover the interest.  I had it down to around 15K.  Now it’s back up to around 20K.  I just use it as a motivation to work harder than anyone else I know to get myself established as an author.  I know it’s not a high-paying gig, unless you win the book lottery, twice, but if I can stay at home and do what I’m good at it will improve my outlook significantly.
I couldn’t fathom being able to wake up in the morning and write for 4-5 hours, do some promoting, and that be my entire day.  I’m sitting here almost swooning over that life.
Well, I’d write for ten hours.  I can write about 10K words a day when I’m on a tear, and at least three or four thousand when I’m not.  This interview is clocking in at around 4,000 words, and I’m taking credit for half of the writing.  I do at least four or five interviews a day, so if I only get three or four thousand words down on my own writing projects I don’t feel too badly because I’ve still written around 10K words per day.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?

What is your favorite animal?
White tiger.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Turn signals.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Sushi or Pizza/ anything green.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
Favorite quote is from Amy Hempel, “The year I began to say vahz instead of vase, a man I barely knew nearly accidentally killed me.”
Did you get into Hempel through Palahniuk?
I did, actually.  Back in 2001ish.  Went to Chuck’s writing conference in Edinboro and he spoke highly of her.  Was lucky enough to meet her a few months ago and she signed my ARC of At The Gates of The Animal Kingdom.  Huge fan of her.
I got into Hempel through Palahniuk too.  Probably due to his non-fiction collection Stranger Than Fiction.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Met a girl who wanted to move to NYC.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Let’s not focus on that, shall we?
Fair enough.  Let’s not.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Who hasn’t?
You’d be surprised.  As for myself, I never trust anyone who hasn’t had their heart broken.
I don’t think that love is the only way to break a heart.  I’ve done far more things to myself that have broken my heart than anyone else could ever do.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Yep.  Every time I walk out of a room.
They hate to see you go… but they love to watch you leave.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
I once got a job by talking about myself in third person.
I’ll have to try that next time.  Although I hope to never have to apply for a job ever again once I get my writing game lined up and running.
One time I was in a job interview, and the interviewee asked me if I could have any job I wanted what job would I want.  My brain panicked and I said “Batman”.  Still got the job.  Moral of the story?  When in doubt, always answer “Batman” unless it’s a history question.  Then answer “Treaty Of Paris”.
I really hope the writing game pays off for you.
As do I.  I wish the same for you.  Just as long as I still sell more books than you do.  I’m kind of competitive that way.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I’m positive I haven’t done it yet.
You seem like a smart fella.  I shouldn’t have to explain verb tense to you.
I was thinking the same thing about you.  I shouldn’t have to explain why this question isn’t something I would want to answer.
You shouldn’t.  I’ll read the first answer as “I’d rather not say.”

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
Anyone who crosses my friends and family.  Tread lightly.
Duly noted.

What do you do?
I’m a writer.

How did you get started doing what you do?
A buddy in college told me I had to read Fight Club.  The rest is history.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Don’t.  Writing is hard and lonely.  Find something else.
That’s what I tell people too.  And if they say, “Fuck you!  I’m going to do it anyway!” they’ll probably be okay.
Exactly!  When I say that (I’ve said it multiple times before) and someone who knows me overhears it, they almost always ask, “How could you say that? They were looking for support!” If you’re a writer and you quit because I told you to, you would have never made it to begin with. If you’re a writer and you need to ask what the secret to writing is, you’re never going to make it.  If you think there’s a magic potion (other than a lot of writing and a lil’ luck), you’re probably not going to make it.
Same thing goes for film-makers.  My friend Josh and I would crash the Ivy League Film Festival director receptions at Brown University, and all of these Brown University film students would always ask the same carbon copy questions at every Q&A and one of them was always, “What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?” and the director always looked non-plussed and says something like, “Uh… start making movies?”  That’s my advice for aspiring writers.  You wanna write?  Write.  Good luck.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
I have two novels out there, Gripped and Five Stitches.

What projects are you working on now?
My next novel, Oxygen.  Check out the beginning, here:

What are you watching?
JUST caught up on Parks and Recreation.
I just finished Eastbound & Down.
Watched that a few weeks ago.  I’m still on the fence about it.  I loved it, but I might have hated him enough to not like it.  Does that make any sense?
It makes total sense.  It’s one of those things that you either like or don’t.  I feel the same way about a lot of stuff.  Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I don’t get it.  And trying to explain it to me isn’t going to make me like it any more.  See: Firefly.

What are you listening to?
Sadly, not really listening to anything… what do you suggest?
Oh my… what are you in the habit of listening to?
Everything from Brand New to Skrillex.  Love vindictive lyrics and heavy bass lines.  Best running song ever is White Zombie’s More Human than Human
I think you might like Drowningman.  Their How They Light Cigarettes In Prison EP is one of my favorite releases ever.  You might like Fall Of Troy and The Number Twelve Looks Like You.   There’s a post-hardcore band named Tragedy that’s killing it pretty consistently.  Bong-Ra and Drumcorps are also amazing.  I’ve been getting into a lot of Doom/Trance like Earth, Deafhaven, Cough, Thou, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Moss.  I wrote my first self-published novel under a pen-name listening to Through Silver In Blood by Neurosis.

What are you reading?
Again, I don’t have a ton of time for reading right now, it’s horrible.
Neither do I.  I’m too busy trying to keep up on this interview blog and trying to make time for my own writing.  My review queue is already backed up until the thaw and I get new books every day.  I’d love to have the time to read everyone’s books before I interview them, But I simply don’t have the time.  But after I finish the ten or so book projects I’m working on I look forward to reading everything everyone has sent me, writing up reviews, and revisiting their interviews with follow-up questions.
That’s an awesome goal!  I really hope you get the time to make it happen.
I’m going to make the time.  I’m getting really good at flipping these interviews.  Having a formula really helps.  “Everyone gets the same questions?”  Yes.  They’re awesome questions.  And I’ve been doing this for three months, have almost a hundred interviews finished and the blog has received almost seven thousand page views.  I think I’m doing something right.  I know that to be a writer I have to want it more than anyone else wants anything else.  I have to write more and work harder than any other author I know.  Most of the full-time writers I know have a two thousand words per day goal.  Mostly because that’s what Stephen King recommended in On Writing.  My daily word goal is ten thousand words.  You write eight hours a day?  I’ll write twelve.  You put out five books a year?  I’ll put out one a month.  This is what I want to do.  No one’s going to just give it to me for free.
I hope that works out for you.

Favorite author / book?
Fight Club by Palahniuk because he started this whole career thing I’m doing.
Have you read the rest of Palahniuk’s books?
I read him until 2007 and I will say this, I love his earlier work. Everything up until Rant I would recommend (as long as you look at Haunted like a short story book and not a novel of any kind).  Haven’t read anything since Rant.
Eye to eye on Palahniuk.  Everything up to Rant is excellent, but I stopped reading after Rant too.  You’d probably love Douglas Coupland too.
Coupland is awesome. Again, recommended by Chuck back in the day.

Favorite band / song?
Turn the Page – Bob Seger

Least favorite band / song?
Country music as a whole.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I’d probably do something in front of people.  I like being the center of attention. Maybe a comedian or something.
I’ve done stand-up a couple times.  If you think being an author is competitive and difficult and you’re looking for an even harder challenge, I definitely recommend you try doing some stand-up comedy.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
I like the people I’ve met so far.  If I get a chance to meet you, I’m pumped.  Not really a big fanboy in that aspect.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Worst job, enrollment counselor at University of Phoenix.
Best, currently a copywriter at Vaynermedia in NYC.
Isn’t the University of Phoenix that online college?
Yeah.  They are in it for the money.  Period.
I used to work in psychiatric case management and one of the other case managers got his degree from the University of Phoenix and I could never take that guy seriously and couldn’t believe anyone else would take him seriously either.  So, let me get this straight, you were awarded a degree from an online university?  So, pretty much, you expect people to take you seriously for just spending a couple months on the internet?  Does Wikipedia award degrees too?
It’s funny you say that.  I believe that education is going to slowly move away from the brick and mortar education system that we have today.  Maybe k-12 will stay in schools, but we’re too connected to stay with the same system we’re running these days.  Kids have so much access to education that they’re going to go find what they like, find what they’re passionate about, and then do it.  Period.  Portfolios are going to be where the hiring managers look for prospects, not degrees from school x, y, and z.  In a lot of ways, Wikipedia IS the next education system.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Where can you find my work? I’m so glad you asked!

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Michael Kun.  Love his writing.  Great guy.

Got any questions for me?
How did you get started in doing interviews? Who are some of your favorites?
Alright, are you comfortable?  Have a full glass or mug of the beverage of your choice?  Maybe a light snack?  No?  Then go get one.  How about now?  Yes?  Then here we go!  I started the interview blog because I was trying to get coverage for the crowd-funding campaign for my post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic book project I was working on.  I sent a press release / request for interview to Fangoria Magazine, Rue Morgue Magazine, HorrorHound Magazine, Famous Monsters Magazine, Ultra Violent, Girls & Corpses, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, , Fear Net, Shock Till You Drop, Horror Society, Horror Happy Hour, Horror Etc., The Providence Journal, The Providence Phoenix, Motif Magazine, Providence Monthly, and The Valley Breeze.  The only one to follow through was Motif Magazine and that was mostly because I had a friend that was a staff writer that put in a good word for me.  Coincidentally, that interview earned me a $100 contributor, so I can only imagine what might have happened if I had been able to receive better coverage for the campaign.  I thought that it was unfair that I wasn’t able to get any kind of coverage without purchasing advertising space so I decided to start interviewing my Facebook friends that were artists, authors, musicians and film-makers to give them something to use to help them promote their work and upcoming projects.  I started the blog on October 1st, and as of today, January 3rd, I’ve completed almost 100 interviews and the page has received almost 7,000 registered page views which isn’t bad.  Actually it’s quite good, considering it’s something that I’m doing by myself to help other people promote themselves.  I was trying to think of a way to monetize the site without having to resort to running advertisements, which I’m not even sure if you’re able to do on Blogspot.  I decided to put out collections of interviews in print-on-demand / e-book format of each twenty-five interviews as I finished each twenty-five.  But not all of the interviews came out good enough that I’d want to put them into a collection for sale.  I put out a “Best Of” as the first volume collecting what were, in my opinion, the best interviews from the first 50 or so interviews.  I noticed that a theme was emerging.  I had been interviewing a lot of artists, because when you interview one artist and they post the interview, and you check out their friends lists on Facebook, you end up interviewing a lot of other artists, so the second volume of collected interviews is “artist” themed.  I noticed that there was another trend of interviews with authors working in the zombie genre so I decided to work towards putting out a collection of those interviews.  When I put them all together, I noticed I only had around six interviews, and I wanted to have between twenty and thirty interviews, so I cruised the zombie groups on Facebook looking for zombie authors to interview.  The list of authors in the Zombie Book Of The Month Club was really helpful as it contained the names of a lot of authors actively looking to promote their books, and each author usually promoted other authors so I’ve got around 30 interviews in various states of completion and I’m shooting for the end of January to put out the collection.  My intention is not to profit from the interviewees and I’ll be sending every interviewee a free PDF copy of the book, and what do with the book is none of my concern.  I’d kind of appreciate it if they kept it to themselves, but if they decide to share it with their friends, family and fans there’s nothing I can do about that.  Either way, at least they’ll be reading the book.  It’s true that if you interview someone, you get their fanbase for free and I’m not oblivious to that.  The blog is called “You Are Entitled To MY Opinion” after all.  If an interviewee isn’t quick on their feet and able to keep up their end of the interview I’m going to treat them as a hostile interviewee.  I can’t make anyone be interesting, but hopefully they know how to be interesting on their own.
My favorite interviews are where the interviewees take the questions and run with them or at least either do something interesting with the questions or provide an interesting answer.  I don’t necessarily want people trying too hard and trying to be a sarcastic jack-ass or a hack comedian, or trying to be funny.  If you can make me laugh, that’s great.  I get jokes and I like to laugh. But if not, at least be interesting.  I’ve worked the last three months and over seventy interviews refining the initial interview survey and I think I have it about where I want it.  None of the questions are accidental and if you skip a question or just give me a one-word answer, you’re fucking up the rhyme scheme.  I’ve made one special exception for an artist that refuses to use capitalization or punctuation because he was a really nice guy and a talented artist aside from that unusual affectation.  And I’m about to make an exception for an author that refuses to capitalize the first letters of their name because it’s their “thing” for whatever fucked up reason.  But I’m at the point that I’m not going to make special exceptions because you’re too crazy to use spelling and grammar like everyone else anymore.  Either write sentences with capital letters at the beginning of them and punctuation at the end of them or fuck right off until you learn how to.  I don’t mind editing for spelling and grammar, I understand that not everyone has their “there”s and your “you’re”s locked, I’m naturally dyslexic and I feel your pain.  But if I have to reformat your entire interview because you “don’t believe in periods” then I don’t believe I’m going to waste my time and effort editing your interview so that it doesn’t make you look like a complete and total idiot.
That being said, my favorite interview was probably the one I did with Mike Resnick.  When I was a kid, I got a copy of his The Wild Alien Tamer and I read it until it fell apart.  I was working n another interview with a girl that said she was born in a space carnival and it reminded me about that book so I decided to try looking up Mike Resnick.  To my pleasant surprise, he was still alive, and had a Facebook so I sent him a Friend Request and then an interview invite.  He was really nice to me and quite accommodating of my questions.  He didn’t have to be that nice.  He’s got more award-winning books in his bibliography than I have in my entire library.  But he was generous with his time and we still chat every now and then, and as a practically life-long fan of his work I appreciate it.  Plus his middle name is “Diamond”.  That’s pretty bad-ass.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.
Twitter: @jasonwdonnelly

About the Interviewee:

Jason Donnelly is a writer in NYC currently seeking world domination.  He has an MFA in creative writing and a horrible amount of debt from a University in Pennsylvania that shall not be named.  Over the years, he's held the title of juggler, college recruiter, adjunct professor, headhunter and is currently a copywriter at a NYC ad agency.  Find out more than you ever wanted to know about him here, and then like the book page here,

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

No comments:

Post a Comment