Monday, August 1, 2016

Floor 21: Interview with Scifi Dystopian Author Jason Luthor

Jason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.

His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?

For More Information

Title: Floor 21
Author: Jason Luthor
Publisher: Scout Press
Pages: 355
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopian
The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.

Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.

For More Information

  • Floor 21 is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Well, I’m self-employed operating a writing and editing service. Beyond that, I do a little of everything. I’m an exercise fanatic, so I do a lot of running and weight lifting. I love professional basketball and actually got my writing break as a reporter. I also spend time at the symphony and opera, and less snooty stuff like binge watching Netflix.

When did you start writing?

At 11 years old, during a school contest for middle school writers. It was cute, and my story was terrible, but it got me on the path to writing professionally. Just took…. 19 years to get there.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Getting an agent. The book never got published, but the agent’s feedback was amazing. It was great to hear words from someone in the industry actually criticizing my manuscript and telling me what he didn’t like. He was very kind, but made it clear there were issues with the manuscript. Like I said, it didn’t get published. The next one did though.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

The Azores Islands. Have you SEEN pictures of that place? Afternoons in the mountains, daytimes on the beach, evenings drinking wine and dancing at plazas lining the coast. Simply amazing. Also, it was in the game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which has to be one of my favorite stories of all time.

Oh, and as far as how it would impact my writing? My creativity flows from inspiration, and I can’t be inspired if I’m in the same play all day.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Dear heavens, I’d edit book 3 of my series even more to get it ready for publication.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

South America. I vaguely alluded to it in my side project, AN ENGLISHMAN FROM MEXICO, but I’ve never really set a whole story there. Back to your present book, FLOOR 21, how did you publish it?

This goes back almost two years ago now, when I wrote a five page short chapter for National Novel Writing Month. The response was so great that I took that short treatment and wrote out the whole novel, then submitted it to the Amazon Scout competition. Ended up winning in March of 2015 and receiving my contract, and they did a month long buildup to the launch in June of that year. I’ve been really happy with the strength of the sales over the past year and don’t regret a thing about publishing with them.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

The only traveling I did was in my imagination. It’s a little hard to research science fiction and dystopian stuff given the fantastic nature of the material, although since my story took place in a confined tower, I looked at lots of pictures of hotel hallways.

Why was writing FLOOR 21 so important to you?

Strangely, it wasn’t, not until it was over. I didn’t really realize I had invested so much into it until it was done. I’d been really high on my previous attempt to write a novel and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been good enough. Maybe I was a little bitter. Once I got done with FLOOR 21 though, I became really passionate about it. I’ve invested a lot into the world and mythology since then, and a lot of that has to do with the passion I have for the main character, Jackie.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

Listening and looking. No good book gets written that doesn’t have some inspiration from other sources. We don’t write in vacuums. I write voices I hear in my head, and those voices are of people I’ve heard day to day or on television. I look at structure in film and video games to understand plot pacing and characterization. Any time you have an opportunity to look at or read good media, observe what’s really making those stories work, from characterization to pacing. It all needs to come together.

Any final words?

Never give up on your dreams! If you love writing, write, even if you never become a published author. Some of us quietly alone in our homes, some of us write in cafes and strive to become the next Rowling, but what’s important is that, if you’re passionate about something, you should pursue it in some way.

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