I have completed writing four books. All four have been in different genres. The first, Trenchgold, is adult literary. The second, Birdsongs, is adult mystery. Third, Camp Timber View, middle grade mystery. And finally, the fourth, The Big Stinky City, middle grade literary.
Did you follow all that?
I like to write in different genres. I can see how you could get stuck writing in one, but I think that would be very boring. It would be like being a painter and only painting in one style. Or being a cook and only making one dish. A songwriter who only wrote love songs. (If you would like to add one that would fit, add yours in the comment box, please)
Which brings me to pen names. 20 years ago, before the information age and the Internet, they were cool. You cannot hide things as easily as before and if everybody knows who you are—what is the point? I don’t want to have something printed on the front of my book that reads, “Jason Deas writing as Butch Candles.” I always want to be Jason Deas writing as Jason Deas.
Summer is over and school is back in session, and I have still not made any decisions about what I am going to work on next. I keep thinking that I am going to write another middle grade novel, but tonight I wrote about a thousand words on The Painter. I love this book but I have a bunch of problems with it, which are all personal. The book begins and centers around an art student at the University of Georgia. I went to the University of Georgia and studied Art Education. This book is NOT a memoir, but I write about what I know and I know what the University of Georgia campus was like in the 1990’s. I have it in my mind like I walked it this morning. I can see the visual arts building like it was something I laid eyes on earlier today. The main character, Andy (straight rip-off from Warhol) is fascinated by an artist he meets named Henry, whose art changes his life. I have a friend, whose art changed the course of my life at the University of Georgia. But the book it still NOT a memoir.
The places in the book are places I frequented. There are stories in the book that have truths in them that are changed to be more interesting and to fit into the story. The girlfriends are what worry me the most. I have combined familiar locations with imagination to create the girls and just pray that past girlfriends will not see themselves in the characters. I especially hope my wife, who supports my writing career like no other, will not feel betrayed by my imagination and think the words relate to real people. The girls I am making are mostly, purely imagination.
Which brings me to a dilemma all writers may have. My first book centered around cops. There was foul language, murder, and I am sure if I had time to think, a bunch of other actions and habits that I don’t personally adhere to. I had one lady tell me after reading it, “I just don’t talk like that.” She was commenting on the cursing. I told her that I understood. After she walked away, I got to thinking. I don’t act like most all of the people I read about. I don’t kill people. I don’t commit adultery. I rarely use foul language. Just because one of my characters smokes a cigarette does not mean that I love cigarettes and advocate the use of tobacco. I wish I had that moment to do again. I would have answered differently. I would have said, “I hope you don’t murder people either, ma’am.”