Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Interview with The Ungoverned Author Jaq C. Reed

Buy The Ungoverned here!
Stephanie: Your novel, The Ungoverned, is a fantastic example of well-written dystopian fiction. What inspired this story and the characters you developed?
Jaq C. Reed: First of all thank you for letting me answer some questions. The story was inspired by real life, the headlines in our current news. I just took them and pulled them to the extremes of ‘what if’.  I toyed with the power structure and how it appears to be and broke it down into what I thought very well could come to pass, maybe not in the extreme form that is in the novel, but in other small ways that could affect us all in the future.
Stephanie: The outdoors and the environment are very important to you. How do you find nature and everything the environment has to offer influence your writing and your take on what a dystopian future may look like?
Jaq C. Reed: We have to take time now to look after our resources in the future.  By continuing to sell out our resources and test experimentally with fracking, I think the long-term effects could be quite negative.  So it offers me a playground to write in for this genre, the possibilities are limitless.  

Stephanie: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
Jaq C. Reed: Pros of self-publishing: You remain in complete control. I don’t have to bend my stories to someone else’s whim to put it out there.  
Disadvantages: You are in complete control and sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. The expenses are higher and I didn’t have a lot/any experience in the publishing world beforehand.
Stephanie: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting published that you would change?
Jaq C. Reed: I would play with the marketing differently, and perhaps a few craft issues that I have learned to deal with better over the last year.

Stephanie: What was your favorite scene to write from The Ungoverned? Is there a particular scene that you found surprised you or changed the story unexpectedly?
Jaq C. Reed:  My favorite was when Andras and Arturo were finally free to express who they were.  This was more than Ara’s story.  I think some readers were able to pick it out beforehand, but for some there was an element of surprise until they looked back and it made sense. I wanted to personally challenge myself by writing LGBT characters into a book where the focus wasn’t on their sexuality, but on whom they were as people, and what repression can do to someone.  The more we try to push diversity into the open playing field the more tolerant I believe the world will come, and the braver we will all become to stand up to injustices.  
Stephanie: As a writer of dystopian fiction, do you find yourself preparing for the unexpected? Do you feel you would do well/survive in the world you created?
Jaq C. Reed: Oh God no.  I’d die in five seconds in real life.  In the novel, I would try to survive but I don’t know if I would find happiness.  
Stephanie: Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?  How does this translate in your writing process?
Jaq C. Reed: Intuition.  I research certain facts, but then I play with them.  Intuition then takes over. I have a rough idea of the idea I would like to touch on and then my characters take the lead.  I try to write a human story first, and the logic second.  Sometimes we are not rational as humans, and logic goes out the window.  But the background is static.
Stephanie: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book? Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?
Jaq C. Reed: We all know a handful of crummy people to draw inspiration from.  We also have an entire world history to look back on and try to figure out motivations.  But often a true villain has good things about them as well, and that is where it becomes tricky for me and I get so attached to my characters it is hard when they actually do something dark.  Felix confused a lot of people but we have to understand that Felix also grew up in a harsh, emotionally unattached environment and that power was to be his.  Control was one thing he knew and what he was indoctrinated into.  Was his love genuine?  Did he know another way to express it?  Is he a villain?  Or is he just doing what he has been taught?  It’s not like life/family was held in that sentimental regard that a lot of us know.
Stephanie: If you could spend time with any character from your book, with whom would it be? And what would you do/talk about?
Jaq C. Reed: I have a soft spot for Arturo.  He would walk through fire for those that he loves.
Stephanie: Please take a moment to use this space to promote or tell us about any new projects and future endeavors! Feel free to also add your social media accounts so your fans can connect with you and stay up to date on all of your projects!
Jaq C. Reed: You can find me on Facebook under Jaq C. Reed or my website  I am doing the last rounds of edits on an up and coming novel right now. It is still untitled; titles are usually the last thing I get to.  It’s a braver novel than The Ungoverned and the playing field is wide open. 

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