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Friday, June 1, 2012

#39 Jason Starr

Twenty Questions with Mourning Goats

Let's just be honest, Jason is the man! He's an author out of NYC, he was just featured in Penthouse, and Bret Easton Ellis is adapting The Follower for television. His new novel, The Craving, will be released in 5 short days, so after you're done reading this, go out and order it! 

1. What comes to mind when you hear, "Mourning Goats?"

I imagine that a wolf came down from the mountains and killed all the goats. Well, except two of them, and now they are the last goats in existence, mourning the loss of the other goats.

2. You just finished up The Craving, in December, how did that go? What can you tell us about it? 

It's a sequel to The Pack, that involves most of the characters from The Pack and some new ones. I think it's probably the most entertaining book I've written and I get more into the whole "genesis" of the pack. You don't have to read the books in order but it's better if you read The Pack first. The premium mass market edition of The Pack is out in May in the U.S., and The Craving is out in June. Both books will be published in the U.K. as well by Penguin U.K.

3. What's going on with David Fincher and Panic Attack? 

It's in development with Ted Griffin (Ocean's Eleven) attached to adapt. That's all I can really say about it at the moment.

4. It looks like you have some touring coming up in Manhattan, San Diego, and Missouri, do you enjoy it? Any interesting tour stories?  

Well, I live in Manhattan, and I was in St. Louis recently for a conference and was at comic con in San Diego. I guess the highlight of St. Louis was winning an Anthony Award for The Chill. The highlight of San Diego was probably hanging out with George R.R. Martin. 

5. There's a picture of you and Susan Lucci on your Facebook page, I have to ask...why? 

It was taken at a wax museum, brother.

6. You live in the center of the publishing world, New York City, do you think that has an effect on your success? 

No, none at all. A writer does not have to be in Manhattan; I don't think that helps at all. But New York City is--and probably always will be--a major character in my writing, so in that sense it has had an effect.

7. How has it been publishing with Penguin? What's the best part about the organization?

Penguin has published The Pack and will publish The Craving. Love all the people there.

8. What kind of writing schedule do you have? Are you an every day writer?

Yes, I write every day, at least a few hours a day. I try to get a certain amount of words done every day.

9. It looks like you're a big runner, is this a time you think about your work or do you try to just disappear into the run? 

I run in Central Park. No I always think about my work in progress while running. I don't set out to think about it, but somehow when my brain relaxes I start thinking about my book and I can see the plot more clearly. I get my best ideas while running, or during any physical activity.

10. You were recently in Penthouse. You can tell us why, or just leave it at that, because, honestly, that's awesome!

The Max (one of the books I co-wrote with the amazing Ken Bruen) was featured in Penthouse. Gave me a good excuse to keep a copy lying around my apartment.

11. What's it like co-writing books with Irish novelist, Ken Bruen? 

A blast, just basically non-stop fun. We're both amazed we've actually written 3 books together, because it didn't seem like work at all. It's like we were hanging out laughing at a bar, having a few pints, and then, boom, somehow three books wound up written. That's really the only way I can describe the experience.

12. I see that your father writes for Salon, what's it like having a father in the industry? 

My father, Bernard Starr, has written many non-fiction books on psychology and yeah, now he writes for The Huffington Post, Salon etc. Growing up, I was well aware of many of his experiences with publishing, but it's a different type of writing.

13. You've been published both in the U.S. and across the world, what do you see the biggest differences are when your book is published elsewhere?

The books are received differently in different countries, which is always fascinating for me. The German and French readers in particular really seem to "get" my books, which is great.

14. What's your take on the digital publishing revolution that is currently happening? Do you think it will help or harm fiction?

I don't know if anyone can answer that question right now, but I do think it's going to change fiction. I think e-books will favor a particular type of fiction (literary novels may have a tougher time finding audiences with less hand selling from booksellers), and it may have an effect on the form of the novel itself. That's what some people don't get, and why I think e-books are different the e delivery of film and music. I think a lot of literary writers might gravitate toward TV, film and perhaps other mediums that haven't been invented yet...But I am very bullish on storytelling. Humans will always want great stories--but the form and delivery is going to change.

15. Why does genre fiction get such a bad rep in literary circles?

I think the whole concept of literary circles is just so silly and self-important and ivory tower. In actuality there is no genre fiction or literary fiction---there is just good fiction and bad fiction.

16. Do you think your masters degree in playwriting has helped you in your fiction writing?

No, not the degree, but writing plays early on definitely helped. I learned, via my own experiences, how to build tension in a scene and move a story forward with dialogue--all hugely important in thrillers and crime fiction.

17. How excited are you about Bret Easton Ellis adapting The Follower, for television?

Very excited. I can't say anything more right now, but there should be a lot more news about this in the very near future.

18. You write novels, graphic novels, short stories, non-fiction, and comics; which is your favorite? Why?

I enjoy fiction much more than non-fiction. So novels and comics, for sure. Comics is a great break from writing fiction, and I love the collaboration. There is nothing like getting immersed in a novel, though.

19. You're coming up on 15 years since publishing Cold Caller in 1997, what's one of the biggest things you've learned since breaking into the industry?

Yikes, 15 years. I think I've learned that to last in this business you have to keep doing different things. It's really hard (though not impossible)these days to have one major character and build a career based on that character.

20. What's next for Jason Starr?

I am working on a new thriller that is not related to The Pack novels. That's all I'm really working on at the moment. I'm also probably going to be working on a new screenwriting project, so watch out for news about that!

Thank you!


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