Interview conducted by Janet Fogg.
In the years I’ve known “Gusto” Dave Jackson, he has helped connect writers to resources and industry professionals, relentlessly praised Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and dreamt up countless unique ideas for stories. His recent success comes as no surprise and I am absolutely delighted for him!
CIR: First off, is it correct that your novel Tattoo Rampage is already represented for film rights by Hotchkiss and Associates and it hasn’t even been released yet?
DJ: That’s right. Yeah, it blows my mind. Right now, I am working on finishing touches and all the production stuff with the staff of Curiosity Quills Press.
CIR: Hotchkiss and Associates have an amazing track record, having guided The Kite Runner, On the Road, Secretariat, and many other books that became blockbusters to major studios. I know you’re modest. How do you feel about being in that kind of company?
DJ: I’m still astonished. To my understanding, Jody Hotchkiss, the owner of the agency, is also working with Joe Hill to get his novel Horns to the right production company. I mean…Joe Hill! Yeah, I wrote Tattoo Rampage kind of thinking that it would be a good idea for a movie, and I worked my butt off, but don’t most authors do that? All I can say is: I feel very blessed.
CIR: Word is that Hotchkiss and Associates acquired the rights to represent Tattoo Rampage within a couple of weeks of it being picked up for publication. Is that true? If so, that’s very fast for this industry.
DJ: Mr. Hotchkiss negotiated a deal with the publisher to represent it for film eight or nine business days after my literary agent, Sharon Belcastro, posted the news of the contract on Publisher’s Marketplace. She called me on a Friday, saying that he read the manuscript in one day, loved it, and really wanted to represent it. For what it’s worth, a professional that moves that fast, and sees what he wants and makes it happen, gives me the utmost confidence that he will find a good home on the screen for it. Again, I’m very thrilled and honored.
CIR: Besides you being a good writer, why do you think Hotchkiss was so determined to get Tattoo Rampage?
DJ: He may love tattoos. :-) From that, I’ll go on to say that tattoos are so cool. Here's the skinny about the story:
Evangelina Marquez-James gets her first tattoo, a symbol of courage to carry on after her husband dies in the line of duty as a police officer. The skin art is of an elite yet obscure super heroine created by a forgotten 1940s artist.
A solar disturbance triggers a metamorphosis in her new ink, enabling Evangelina with the ability to transform into the embodiment of the character complete with powers. She sets out to wage war against the types of vermin who murdered her husband.
Acid, a sociopathic killer who can assume the form of his warlord tattoo, seeks the artist’s original sketchbook. When Evangelina comes into possession of the drawing pad, Acid not only tracks it down, but her family as well, forcing her into a standoff with his nightmarish army born of ink.
There are quite a few titles in circulation that integrate supernatural tattoos into their plots very well. With Tattoo Rampage, I wanted the ink to be at center stage. For instance, when their host dies, tattoos go to a place called Inkscape. Imagine every tattoo that was stitched throughout the ages living in a surreal world. From Inkscape, the heroes, called Sabron Quills, and the villain, Acid, draw their powers.
The heroine has dark tribal flames twisting down her arms that can extend out of her skin in the form of blades, with which she fights her enemies.
Although Tattoo Rampage is not any where near a horror novel, there is a tribute to many iconic monsters, like the aliens from the Ridley Scott and James Cameron films of the 80s. A tattoo of Jack the Ripper plays a critical role in the plot. Comic book heroes made of ink, some loyal to their original appearance—some distorted because the ink faded or the host wanted them drawn with a different style, make cameos. By the way, I’ll be a panelist at the Denver Comic Con the weekend of May 31st, too. Everyone please come by and say hi. http://www.denvercomiccon.com/
Anyway, Mr. Hotchkiss probably sees how this stuff can appeal to a huge demographic.
CIR: The heroine of the story is a young widowed mother. Her police officer husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her with a seven year old son to grieve with. And in the housing market crash, she’s a realtor, struggling to get by. Did someone you know inspire the character?
DJ: Several people influenced the creation of Evangelina Marquez-James. The recession hurt so many people. Everywhere you look, there are heart breaking stories and I felt the protagonist should be one of these courageous souls.
CIR: What challenges did you encounter, if any, writing from Evangelina’s POV?
DJ: I wanted to make sure she had plenty of personality. There are a lot of colorful characters in Tattoo Rampage and Evangelina is a good girl, Catholic, honor roll student, never drank until she turned 21 and then it was just a modest glass of wine. I’ve never been like that so I wanted to make sure she still had some gritty feelings which I think my agents and editors feel I pulled off.
CIR: When is it coming out and where can we get a copy?
DJ: Tattoo Rampage is forecasted for release in July 2013. Mainly an E pub, it will be available through Amazon and also directly from the publisher's website http://curiosityquills.com/ And I would very much appreciate any word-of-mouth/social networking that friends would be willing to pass on about it. I’m working on an ‘Ink’ club of sorts in which endorsers can get swag.
CIR: Thank you, Dave! We look forward to reading Tattoo Rampage and hope to hear about a movie deal soon!
You can friend and/or follow Dave on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gustodave.jackson?ref=tn_tnmn and here, on Chiseled in Rock!