INTERVIEW WITH JON SPRUNK (AUTHOR OF SHADOW’S SON)
1.Instead of asking the generalized question of “When did you know you wanted to be writer?” I wanted to ask if you vividly or vaguely recall any early story ideas during your childhood? If so, what one story idea did you have?
1. It seems like I was always making up stories for my own enjoyment. The earliest memory I have of that involved a writing assignment in third grade. We were supposed to write a book report, but instead my submission was a complete rewrite of the book?s ending. Sadly, the teacher made me do the assignment over.
2. What particular writers consciously or unconsciously inspired aspects of your story?
2. I think I was most inspired by the S&S writers I enjoyed as a young adult (Howard, Leiber, Moorcock). I’m not sure how much of that bleeds through into my own writing, but mentally that?s where my stories begin.
3. After reading through your story, were you able to note any unintended themes which unknowingly crept their way into the story?
3. Sure. The first draft of any story is a mishmash of ideas. It’s not until I go back and comb through it that I can identify anything resembling a theme. One theme that I did not intend, but it crept into the book anyway, was the idea of redemption. I really didn’t know Caim (the main character) had such depth until I saw for myself the lengths he was willing to go to redeem himself
4.Was the impetus of your story a dream or a hypothetical situation? If not any of these, could you describe the beginning stages of the story?
4. It began with the situation: an unsuspecting person caught up in a political/quasi-religious drama. The idea that the main character would have the ability to manipulate shadows also came very early. But I didn’t know he would be an assassin. That came later when I borrowed some aspects of a novella I’d written some years before.
5. Do you utilize music as a means for story inspiration? Meaning, do you play certain songs, while writing, in an attempt to enhance a certain emotion or bolster the effect of a specific scene?
5. I do listen to a lot of heavy metal while I’m writing. Perhaps that had something to do with the energy of the fight scenes.
6. About assassins, what type of research was involved in helping to form the story?
6. Did I actually kill a few people to see how it felt? No, believe it or not, hit-man jobs are hard to come by. Maybe it’s the economy. As far as research, I rely mainly on my imagination. I mean, I’ve been studying martial arts since I was a child, but beyond giving me some perspective on what it is like to be in a fight they don?t really lend much to the equation.
7. Did any of your research involve the psychology of a murderer or murder in general? (From my experience, I know that I have been meticulously researching the psychology of murderers to enable me the skills to make a murderer’s malicious choices believable. Then again, my story’s mainly a psychological story that involves a boy with innate ability to foretell the deaths of people with who he mistakenly looks in their eyes.)
7.I’ve been working in juvenile corrections for fourteen years, so I have a sliver of insight into the criminal mindset. And I stole some gum from a store when I was nine years old. Besides that, no. Interviewing real-life murderers doesn’t appeal to me. I don?t think they deserve that much attention.
8. Here’s a lighter question that does involved too much depth; What’s your favorite movie overall?
8.I’m a big fan of movies, so I’m not sure I could choose just one. Does the original Star Wars count as a single movie in three parts?
9. What’s your favorite book overall? (You are allowed to list more than one; since I happen to have a myriad of favorite books. It’s a number that’s so vast that I cannot even recall the exacts any more.)
9.My favorite books are: Anna Karenina, Lord of the Rings, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Black Company. I could talk all day about any of them.
10.The Conventional question that involves being the Yoda of Aspiring writers: What tips would you offer any aspiring writers?
10. Be fearless. Read everything you can get your hands on (especially in your chosen genre, but outside it as well). Write everyday.
11. Can you offer us the basic premise of the upcoming sequel to “Shadow’s Son?” Will it involve a greater number of assassins? More specifically, will there be more intriguing explorations into Caim’s psyche?
11. The sequel, Shadow’s Lure, will take Caim back to his homeland in the north, where he’ll learn how far the Shadow’s reach extends.
12. For the final question, this will be the product of my unconventional way of thinking. Could you describe to us concisely how a Valek (from Maria V. Snyder’s Study series) and Caim would play out?
12. Hmmm. Well, Caim obviously has the edge in a straight-up duel (*ducks pen hurled by Maria*), but I wouldn?t put it past Valek to slip something into my boy?s drink before the fight. But Kit might warn Caim before he drank it, so he would switch cups with Valek. Ah, but is Valek immune to his own poison? (Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!) Oh, well, the world may never know…