Q&A with Jason Gordon

If you’ve been around Nifty lately, you’ve seen the incredible stories Things that go bump and A light in the darkness by incredible author Jason Gordon.

Q. Tell me a little about yourself.

A. I’m an introvert by day, and definitely can be a recluse, which I suppose is why I like the internet so much. I love to read and write, and even watch television with my dogs (Supernatural is a current favorite), spend time with a few close friends and family, and talk to my students. Those who have read much of my writing will not be surprised to find out that most Saturdays I am to be found in synagogue, and I’m proud of that.

Q. What inspires you to write?

A. I’m afraid that writing has been more of a compulsion, than the product of inspiration! But when the compulsion raises its head, its usually my deep love of philosophy and theology that drives the idea behind the story, and my fascination with psychology and demonology that populate my worlds. The struggle to be good in a world where evil is so ordinary is absolutely my central interest.

Q. What are your favourite books?

I read a lot, but the books I like best share a common theme, or at least a common antagonist, with my own current stories:
The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
Goethe’s Faust
Dante’s Divine Comedy
Needful Things, by Steven King
The Exorcist, by W. P. Blatty

Q. What inspired you to write A light in the darkness and Things that go bump?

I began writing Things That Go Bump almost by accident. The short first chapter, just a couple of pages, was my way of forcing myself to publish some of my writings on the net, something I’ve never done before. So I sat down and wrote out those two pages and submitted them before I could chicken out. To be honest, I had no idea where it was going until I finished chapter 2, at which point I had planned a story that basically culminated with James’s death/rebirth. When the storyline expanded, I realized that I could use a story I had begun writing months earlier, A Light in the Darkness, to introduce a few characters and solve an insoluble problem I had written myself into.

A Light in the Darkness began as a private exercise in writing a story exploring the different kinds of strengths that can exist in a loving relationship and the way people can complete each other. It’s the more “realistic” story in the one sense, that its less focused on “monsters” that lurk in the shadows, but I’ve found that some people find it more fantastic, in that its characters are so kind and caring. I’ve been lucky in my life to have known such people.

Q. Does Sebastian, William, James or Chase represent anyone in your life?

Physically, the characters resemble, in my imagination, people I know, but the four main characters are really more representative of different parts of my personality. Sebastian represents that part of myself that feels old and weary with life, but also the shrewd and cunning element. William and James represent the brash and bolder parts of myself, the fools who rush in, so to speak, while Chase represents the serene and religious element and the quiet power it possesses.

James is in the image of my first high school crush, a sensitive young athlete who was not unreceptive to my attention, a beautiful boy both physically and spiritually. Physically, Chase’s image, and to a much lesser degree his personality, is the drawn from that of a younger friend of mine for whom I have nursed a quiet crush.

My assorted cast, however, people like Rabbi Sam Roth and Chase’s father Steve, are drawn from my life, names changed to protect the innocent. Growing up without a father, these men represent actual father figures who filled the void in my life. Aiden and Xavier are drawn on a couple of real life friends, a couple of many years still very much in love and lust who confirmed for me my suspicion that happiness was possible.

Q. What is on your favourite iPod play list?

A. I’ll try not to be embarrassed by the eclectic mix I’m about to own up to (and I’m only 29, so don’t get the wrong idea from this weird mix!):
Oh, My Love (but sung by Jackson Browne, not John Lennon)
Doctor My Eyes, Jackson Browne
Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum
Save the Last Dance for Me, Michael Buble
Hallelujah, Rufus Wainwright
Danny Boy, Aaron Neville
and, yikes! Womanizer, Brittney Spears

Q. Are you married or single?

A. I’m happily partnered since 1997 (which for those who are counting was high school)!

Q. What is the most thoughtful feedback you have received from a reader?

A. I received a very kind, and somewhat assertive, email from a reader Kelly. He took the time to compliment and criticize my stories, as well as raise insightful questions about related issues. I soon found that Kelly was very adept at seeing into the hidden backgrounds of my stories and dragging some of my darkness into the light. In the short time we have known each other, we’ve become good net friends

Q. Is there another gay online author to whom you look up to, and if so, why?

A. Like many of us who are interested in fantasy, I’ve definitely appreciated Comicality’s work; his ability to balance extraordinarily complicated plotlines is amazing. There are a number of author’s on Nifty whose work I’ve been intrigued by who just disappear and leave the story hanging. This doesn’t seem to be his style, which I appreciate.

Q. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

A. If I had a million dollars, honestly I’d give most of it away. After I payed my bills and took a nice long vacation, I’d probably divide the rest between Jewish Family Services and Catholic Relief Services, two very noble organizations who very effectively advocate for children, particularly those children otherwise viewed as “unadoptable.” Perhaps I’d start my own organization to advocate for gay couple’s looking to adopt, a cause I am particularly supportive of.

Q. What does your partner say about your writing?

A. My partner sort of views my writing as my “thing.” We’re sort of black and white, metaphorically speaking; I’m the reader, the writer, he’s the do-er; I’m more spiritual, he’s more practical. I also suppose that, this way, there’s no danger of him not liking what I write. He doesn’t read my non-fiction either!

Q. What are your religious beliefs?

A. In a nutshell? As a Jew, there is a lot of freedom for one to construct one’s own theological position. The tradition honors and records many dissenting opinions on most questions. I believe in God, and that God cares for us. But we are ultimately responsible for our own actions. The best thing about us is our free will, but it allows us to do the worst things. We are responsible for what we do in this life, the choices we make. I believe that God can forgive a lot but that we can’t be forgiven for the wrongs we do to each other unless we seek to right the wrongs we’ve done to those we have wronged. That’s very heavy. I believe that what matters is this world, that we’re all here for one basic purpose, which is to do good for each other, and so all acts of love are holy, and that God loves all God’s creatures. I believe that we’re meant to laugh and share laughter, to love and share love, to heal and be healed.

Q. What do you do for a living?

A. By day, I pose as a philosophy instructor.

Q. What do you think of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer?

A. I love that her books are basically love stories, and I like that the sexuality is subtle. I must admit, please no one shoot, that the inner monologues of a teenage girl are not my thing, so I prefer the movies. Most importantly, to unveil my private shame, I do have a few pictures of Taylor Lautner sans shirt on my computer. Don’t judge me!

Q. When do you feel most out of your comfort zone?

A. Wow, you have a way of asking the tricky questions! I am most out of my comfort zone socializing in groups of men. I’m very shy, and most of my friends are women. Besides that, I do best in one-on-one situations; in groups I tend to blend into the background and disappear beneath the weight of my own anxiety.

Q. Do you have any little quirks when you are writing?

A. So I definitely talk to myself when I’m in a tight spot and can’t think of what to write next. And my friend Kelly thinks that I like the ellipsis way too much….

Q. What do you like most about Taylor Lautner?

A. I think that he has one of the most beautiful smiles and a very expressive face. While these don’t completely overshadow the almost unnaturally gorgeous body, they do draw my attention . I also appreciated his willingness to mock himself and thought his portrayal of the Team Edward girl on SNL was quite hilarious!

Q. What is your favourite cereal?

A. I probably eat cereal less that twice a year, but if I channel my inner child, I wonder if the answer isn’t too obvious? Count Chocula….

Q. Have you ever thought when a hurst goes by that you might be the next to die?

A. Provocative question. Due to extreme care not to laugh in the vicinity of hearses, I’ve always felt rather secure. While one never knows, my more likely response is, ‘One more without me!’ But in all seriousness, I’m always rather annoyed by the custom in my area that, even on a multi-lane road, all traffic in the opposite stops.

Q. If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?

A. Hmmm…. I might. If the wish was granted by a genie, you could definitely have it. Those bastards are tricky, haven’t you seen the movies. Leprechauns aren’t much better. Come to think of it, probably best to give it to the first poor bloke to happen along….