By Janet Fogg
We’ve been asked, so today we’re offering answers to questions such as: Chiseled Staff? Are they really that chiseled? Are they completely off their Rockers? And what do they do behind that closed door?!
Over the next few months you’ll see interviews with our own Chiseled Staff, and today we’re talking to j.a. kazimer.
With a master’s degree in forensic psychology, j.a. has worked as a PI, bartender, and at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Books include The Junkie Tales (Obscure Publishing, 2010), Stolen Kidneys, Dead Hookers & Other Nursery Crimes (Obscure Publishing, 2010), and The Body Dwellers (Solstice Publishing, 2011).
Forthcoming books include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale (Kensington, March 2012, with the second book in her Fairy Tale series scheduled for 2013), and Holy Socks and Dirtier Demons (Champagne Books, April 2012).
CIR: j.a., thank you for joining us today! How do you describe yourself (the top three things that come to mind)?
j.a.: Writerly nerd with delusions of grandeur and a cat.
CIR: Please describe the path of your writing career.
j.a.: I started writing in 2001, nine years, seven manuscripts, an agent, and over 1,000 rejections later, I landed my first big publishing contract with Kensington for the F***ed-Up Fairy Tale series.
CIR: What are your current writing goals and challenges? (What are you working on?)
j.a.: Keeping sane with my first big book release on March 1st. There is so much self-promotion to do that I’m finding it hard to write new stuff.
CIR: What are the two toughest things about writing?
j.a.: Writing and writing...oh and spelling, that’s a bitch at times...
CIR: Do you prefer igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary?
j.a.: I’m a fan of shale. Not sure where that falls in, but I like a rock that I can use as a chalkboard.
CIR: How has RMFW helped you advance your career?
j.a.: Other than being the very reason I got a book deal (met my editor at the 2010 Colorado Gold Conference, where he requested the full manuscript and we signed a deal less than a month later) I’ve met so many excellent writers and now friends, I can’t begin to say how much I love RMFW. In fact, if you buy CURSES! you’ll see that I’ve made a special mention of RMFW and its wealth of talent.
CIR: As we know, RMFW is an all-volunteer organization. Have you or do you volunteer elsewhere in the organization?
j.a.: I volunteered as well as taught at the 2011 conference. I hope to do so again this year.
CIR: What writers inspire you?
j.a.: Christopher Moore is the big one, but I also love Tim Dorsey, Mario Acevedo, Jeanne C. Stein, Cindi Myers, Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Oh, I could go on all day.
CIR: What genres do you read?
j.a.: Mystery, romance, urban fantasy, biography, thrillers. More to the point, I read anything with a fancy cover.
CIR: Do you ever get writer’s rock, er… block? If so how do you break through?
j.a.: Why would you curse me like that?
CIR: What do you feel your stories are born of?
j.a.: The need to answer a question. For example, CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale was born of the question, What if being a villain was merely your job instead of a way of life?
CIR: What one piece of advice would you offer to new writers?
j.a.: Read. Write. Try again. Very few of us sell our first manuscript.
CIR: What’s your favorite rock and roll song?
j.a.: Oh, the pressure.... Let’s go with...Lou Reed’s Ecstasy...oh wait, hope about Jim Bianco’s I’ve Got a Thing For You...But then again, I do love the song La Vie Boheme off the musical RENT’s soundtrack...I’m also a sucker for Jesse’s Girl...Damn, why would you do this to me? I have a deadline to meet... Okay, final answer....
CIR: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
j.a.: Two days ago, but I’ve since revised my opinion.
CIR: Do you still have a “day” job? Other interests or hobbies?
j.a.: Since my cat and I like to eat, yes, I have a day job at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics...yeah, you should see my business card.
CIR: What books have most influenced you?
j.a.: Where the Sidewalk Ends. I still pray each night for the Lord to break my toys so none of the other kids can play with them.
CIR: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
j.a.: After 9/11, I couldn’t emotionally process what was happening, so I started to jot down notes filled with statics, which then morphed into stories of survivors. Now I write f***ed-up fairy tales. I think I’ve come full circle.
CIR: Do you like rocking chairs?
j.a.: The rockier the better.
CIR: If you could time travel, when and where would you go?
j.a.: Not the holocaust or the assassination of JFK. I selfishly (and guiltily) would travel seventy-five years into the future to check to see if I was right about Larry King being a cyborg. I’m betting I am.
CIR: What do you predict for the future of the publishing industry and where you fit into that?
j.a.: I think writers need to keep their options open right now. Don’t jump ship too quickly for indie publishing, and don’t sign a traditional book deal without considering the e-book ramifications. I am happy to be firmly in both worlds, in that I have e-published stories and a short story collection, and am traditionally published with international distribution.
The foolish writer is one who sees publishing through only one model.
CIR: And lastly, what did you dream of when you were twelve years old?
j.a.: To grow boobs. Seriously, the women in my family are...well-endowed and I get these? WTF?
CIR: Thank you for joining us today, j.a.!
You can learn more about j.a. and her writing at http://www.jakazimer.com/, or by visiting her blogs: http://thenewnevernews.blogspot.com/ and http://jakazimer.blogspot.com/. She’s on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jakazimer and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jakazimer.
BOOK SIGNING: j.a. and Cindi Myers will be signing books at 3 P.M. March 3, 2012 at the Broadway Book Mall, 200 S. Broadway, Denver, CO.
CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale is definitely not for baby’s bedtime reading, this hilarious and irreverent take on classic fairy tales—think Shrek for grownups—combines humor, mystery, and characters only a fairy godmother could love…