What, another interview?! You lucky readers get to meet another author this month! Today, I’m joined by Jason Ryan Dale, author of Lost in Wildwood. This one seems like a really intense thriller and you can find out all about it (and the person who wrote it) below!
Also, the author is looking for reviewers! If you’d like to read and review this book, feel free to get in touch with myself or the author (his contact details are below)!
Lost in Wildwood by Jason Ryan Dale
Genre: Crime / Thriller / Coming of Age
Joshua just robbed your home. The locked front door slowed him down about as long as it will take you to read this paragraph. Your jewelry, silverware, small antiques, and the loose cash you were sure would be safe in the last page of the cookbook on the floor of the pantry all fit snugly in his backpack. Right now, Joshua is trudging along the street two blocks from your house, appearing for all the world like a twenty-something suburbanite out for a jog.
Now you are like everyone else in Joshua’s life. He’s passed you by, taking what he needs, without revealing any more than he needs to. His family, his business partners, even his precious few friends don’t really know him. Joshua thought he was smart enough and tough enough to live this way forever, but then he met Julia. This kind, pretty but unassuming girl is bringing up feelings that Joshua thought were just for other people. Unfortunately, Julia’s love for her long-time boyfriend is a far stronger obstacle than your front door was.
If it’s any consolation to your violated home, Joshua’s troubles have only just begun. Nick, his childhood friend, has a different kind of job all lined up, an armed robbery that promises a richer reward than anything Joshua has ever done. When things go wrong, Joshua is left fighting for his life just when he may have finally found something worth living for.
Sam/Spines: Let’s start off with a little game to learn more about you: what are two truths and a lie about yourself?
Jason Ryan Dale: I know this game is usually about life experiences, but I’ll do it with opinions that I hold.
I think that; Pro wrestling is a higher artform than opera.
Shakespeare was better before he read Aristotle.
The 90’s were a better decade for American movies than the 70’s.
S: In your bio you call yourself a non-writer; what do you mean by this?
JRD: I call myself an aspiring non-writer as a little joke. I never really made a writing career an ambition, or even a goal. I just found myself thinking “Hey, if I did write a novel, what would it be like?” The idea of actually writing down and then, (gulp) showing it to other people terrified me. I’m not kidding when I say I tried not to write. I truly hoped it was just a phase that I would grow out of. One day I realized that I would lose my self-respect if I didn’t start scribbling and see what came out.
S: Can you tell us a little about your book?
JRD: The novel is a heist thriller but also a coming of age story. It’s about Joshua, a college dropout trying to find his place in the world. He’s caught between multiple worlds because of his unusual history. His father was a burglar and a renegade gangster who taught him to mistrust everyone and everything. Joshua tries to fit in among his criminal friends who are looking for a big score, his family who just want him to settle down, the Mob who want him to do things their way, and his college friends who don’t understand his problems. It’s a novel about alienation, but, I hope, also about the struggle against alienation. Joshua is not equipped to connect with the people around him, but he keeps trying.
Also, there are a lot of gunfights.
S: You call your books character-driven crime stories; how do you go about creating these characters to make them stand out?
JRD: I am attracted to crime stories because of the stakes that are being played for. I feel that even the best character-driven books can be two-dimensional if the choices the main character struggles over are small. “Which romantic partner do I accept?” “What job am I more passionate about?” “Do I reconcile with my father?” I like a story where people will die depending on which actions the characters take.
I guess I work backward from that. You need criminals for a crime story, but most real life criminals are too unsympathetic or too banal to work in fiction. I spend a lot of time thinking “What if I was presented with a circumstance where I had to do something horrible.” That’s useful, but that’s easy. Then I think “What if this or that aspect of my personality was stronger.” I like to think I am a well-balanced individual. How would I be different if I was consumed by rage or greed or lust? Lastly, I think “What if I had a different experience in my formative years?” If I had parents who shaped my values differently, or suffered abuse that warped my mind, my emotional life, my capacity for compassion. That last is the hard part for me.
From those shards and pieces, you glue it together like a mosaic.
S: Do you have a favourite character in this book or one of your previous ones that you connect with most?
JRD: Joshua, the main character in Lost in Wildwood is the most like me. Some people say your first novel is always autobiographical. I don’t think that’s quite right. In my case, the first book was my confessional novel. Joshua’s thoughts and feelings mirror pretty close to what was going through my head at the time, even though his life story is totally different from mine. Plus, I cheated a little and made him an English major, like me, even though it doesn’t quite fit the rest of the character. It’s just easier to express someone’s emotions when they make literary allusions
S: What have you found most rewarding in your writing career?
JRD: I have always lived with characters and stories that I told myself, even when I was a child. It’s thrilling to see them take solid shape in the form of a novel. It’s totally amazing to me that other people are reading them and enjoying them.
S: What are you working on next?
JRD: I’ve got a good draft on a novel called Jocelyn’s War. I’m hoping to get it out by the end of 2017.
S: And now for a fun question: What is your Hogwarts house?
JRD: I know most people want to be a Gryffindor. Part of me wants to be a Ravenclaw. But if you want to finish a novel, you have to be a Hufflepuff. (If you’re a Slytherin, you can be an agent.)
S: And finally, where can we find you?
JRD: I have a novel and a novella on Amazon. There’s also a free short story: https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Ryan-Dale/e/B00LTVJBAY
About the Author: