Q&A with Jamie de Valen – Part 3

[WARNING: The post may contain spoilers.]

Today’s interview is an author who won the 2009 GayAuthors Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Non-GA Story. He has written stories titled Fathers and Sons, Hosanna, but is best known for his story The Scrolls of Icaria. Today’s author is Jamie de Valen. I present part 2 of 3.

Q. Who was your favourite author when you were young?

I had two I equally liked: Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. I was always keen to read anything they wrote.

But also when I was 10 I was lucky to have inherited a huge collection (a few hundred) of Marvel Comics from an older cousin. I read and reread them many of times. So while I can’t site a specific person as an author in this case, I’ll also say Marvel certainly was an influence on me when I was young. I still like graphic novels and living in Belgium – the home of BD’s – I’m always checking out what’s being produced. Sadly I wish I still my Marvel Comics, mostly for the collector value. They were all first editions and I cringe to think that they ended up in the bin. Tragic!

Q. Have you ever noticed any similarities between you and other authors?

No, not particularly. I know that I don’t consciously try to write like other authors. Some reading my work may notice a similarity here and there, but it’s not intended. One can certainly always get ideas by reading other writers works, but I think that most successful writers eventually find their own voice.

Generally speaking in the arts (e.g. writing, music, dance, painting) it’s important to discover who you are and create your own style. Often people new to an art form or those still young will try and copy a style of another artist that they like or admire, and that’s perfectly normal. But the day has to come when you spread your own wings, take a chance and be who you are… or who at least who you think you are.

I admire other artists and of course one can always learn from them, but I think it’s critical to develop your own style.

Q. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

How did he ever do it?

Q. What keeps your interest in continuing to write?

Writing is such a passion for me. It’s not something that I struggle with or sweat over. I love it. I wish I could do it all the time. I feel like its what I was meant to do… what I really do best.

I’ve never struggled with writer’s bock, in fact just the opposite. I have so many things I’d like to write about, but simply don’t have the time.

I guess I could reply in the same vein that Billy Elliot did when he was asked why he wanted to dance.

When I write I’m in a different and wonderful place. I feel alive and contented at the same time. It’s a moment when nothing else in the world matters. I’m the happiest that I can possibly be when I’m writing… it means everything to me.

It’s one reason why many of my replies to your questions have been long and involved. Answering them allows me to write… what I love to do the most.

Q. Is there intelligent life in outer space?

I hope so.

Q. What’s your favourite board game?

Shoots and Ladders. It can be played under any and all conditions… including tsunami’s, global warming or nuclear winter. It’s adaptable (if you just have an imagination), and you can comfortably play it while holding a glass of wine. (Unless you decide to come up with some unconventional rules).

Q. What’s your problem?

Uhm… do you have a few years for that one???

Well I’ll keep it short… Intolerant people of any persuasion.

Q. If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?

Only 1??? Yikes!!!

Ok… then wine… Wine… and WINE…

(I don’t consider writing a vice, because if I did I’d have to choose that instead and give up wine… nah… ain’t gonna happen…)

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

I’ve always loved that poem…

Actually yes. Old man grim ripper is a comin’ some day, and I’m not going to stop him. I don’t dwell on it, but I’m not afraid of him in the least.

Like most people I want to live as long as possible – given good health (mental and physical). But I’m not even a bit frightened or worried about it.

Q. Who do you think you are?

My Mama’s favorite boy!

There’s only one question you didn’t ask that I was dying to answer and the only reason I consented to this interview 😉 :

Q. What’s your favorite cereal?

Cocoa Krispies* (or in Europe Coco Pops) they are without a doubt nature’s most PERFECT artificially enriched, overly refined, high processed, preserved food… best eaten for breakfast in the wee hours of the morning after a night of fun… or for dinner when there’s nothing else in the house to consume. With milk or just dry out of the box day so that when you try to talk they fly all over the room. You can even pour a bottle of Belgian Lambic (Lindemans Framboise or Kriek is nice) over top a bowl for that extra eye-opening treat). Coco Pops… YUM… *this was not a paid endorsement of the Kellogg’s Company.