Book Release

Author Q&A: Jason Stadtlander Discusses His New Short Story Collection RUINS OF THE MIND and What It Was Like Having Stephen King Read His Work

Author Jason Stadtlander shares his inspiration behind his new short story collection, Ruins of the Mind.

Ruins_of_Mind_J_Stadtlander_FC_WEB

Available In:
Hardcover, 978-1-64397-017-2, 236 pages, $25.95
Trade Softcover, 978-1-64397-018-9, 236 pages, $14.95
Ebook, 978-1-64397-019-6, $7.99
LCCN: 2019938918

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Describe your book in two sentences
This is a book of dreams, fantasy, thriller and sci-fi that I feel touches the heart. All of the stories are personal for me and carry elements of my childhood, as well as the imagination of myself, my siblings and my father.

What are your three favorite short stories in this collection?
My three favorite stories would have to be “Feathers in the Wind,” “The Lantern” and “Surviving the Messengers.” Feathers in the Wind was written shortly after 9/11 and me being a pilot, I was devastated that something I love (flying) was used as a weapon. It was my way to reconcile with what happened on American Airlines Flight 11.

With regards to “The Lantern,” I think all of humanity has been a little obsessed with staying young and finding the fountain of youth. “The Lantern” takes things a bit further by putting the capability of staying young by being young at heart and caring for others.

Finally, “Surviving the Messengers” is a combination of two things my family had as imaginary friends – my sister used to talk to imaginary friends called “Dewts” and my father as a child befriended “Treematoads.” I really just let me imagination run wild with these two creatures.

Do any of the characters in your short stories appear in any of your other works?
Yes. Heidi and most of the characters in “The Ter’roc” (short story) will appear in the new book The Ter’roc: Evolution. Also, “The Journals” takes place in the The Steel Van Man universe and you will see familiar characters in that story if you have read that book.

What inspired you to put this collection together?
I had written short stories for years starting around 6th grade. Then, while working in Bangor, I was working as a librarian where I met an author who encouraged me to finally put some of my favorite short stories together into a collection. She stated, “Writing is a wonderful and therapeutic part to a writer’s creativity. But what good are these worlds you create if you don’t have a reader to bring it to life?”

The theme of family runs through all the stories in this collection. Why is family important to you?
I am a very involved father in my children’s lives, I am deep into my own family’s history and I believe that family is your greatest connection to the past and your greatest support in the future. Emotions also run close to the surface with me, so I feel this also helps to tie family into these stories for that reason.

group of people sitting on ground while cooking egg

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What do you hope readers will gain by reading your short story collection?
With these stories, they aren’t long, I hope my readers enjoy the 20-30 minutes of an alternate reality or the chance to see what it might be like to be in the mind of someone else’s life for a moment. My hopes are that the readers can step away, loving the characters and the point that I’m trying to convey with each story.

What authors have inspired you to write?
Stephen King and Dean Koontz primarily. I have especially loved Koontz’s ability to delve not only into horror but also some fantasy and thriller elements.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I would have to say The Mind Dimension series by Dima Zale. Fantastic “super power” book series that really has not gotten much publicity. I would love to see this series become a movie or television series.

It must have been exciting to have met Tabitha King and also had Stephen King read your work. Tell us about it!

The whole event was surreal and occurred over a several day period almost twenty-five years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I am honestly not even sure Tabitha would remember the experience because we haven’t really talked since, but it had a huge impact on me. Tabitha was very kind and has a great sense of humor and I’m sure I should have done less talking and more listening, but what I learned in those few minutes that we spoke made me realize that maybe I shouldn’t keep my stories secret. I only briefly met Stephen and he told me to just keep writing, regardless of if I published or not. He said to me that he doesn’t consider himself a horror writer, but a situational writer. He told me that some of his best stories had no plan at all and he just went along for the ride like everyone else.

I was surprised at how much I could relate to this. I always have a brief idea in my head and then suddenly there is a movie taking place in my head and what makes its way to the paper is just my dictation of what I see in my head.

I wish I could find the original three stories that I had shown her and Stephen, because I would love to see the markups on them now. One of those three stories, “Coming of Age,” I hope to release in a later book or perhaps expand upon. I would welcome any constructive criticism that this amazing writing duo could ever impart on me and I hope I get the chance to speak with them both in the future again.

What’s next from Jason Stadtlander?
Well, I have finally turned over part one of my sci-fi masterpiece The Ter’roc to my publisher. I’m very excited to get this out to the world and it has undergone massive revisions in the last year and a half, it’s barely the same story I started out with in 2013. This started out as a tale about an ancient alien race that created humanity but the more it evolved, the more I found that there was an entire culture, history and universe that went back over a billion years. I have no doubt that this could probably end up being a large series, featuring the ter’roc’s home world and how the ter’roc and another species called the ishkan came to be.

I’m also finishing up my sequel for The Steel Van Man, with the working title of The Father. This book has been quite a journey for me and although we see a lot of the original characters, there is a lot of development of some not-so-well-known characters. Brick’s son Doug plays a huge role in this book and Stan steps down a little from the original book.

I am also working on another novel that is about a seventeen year old who has some very special powers and some even more special friends, currently titled Life’s a Reck (yes, the spelling is correct. It’s a play on words from the main character’s name Reckland.)

Praise for Ruins of the Mind

“…one of the best collections around…[the author] writes with intelligence and passion…I just love this book!” — Kath Middleton, Goodreads

“Each story is unique and well written. Be it hidden worlds, courageous battles, or mystery, all are great reads.” — Carrie Webb, Goodreads

Read an excerpt of Ruins of the Mind

 

Jason_BHCAbout Jason Stadtlander: Originally from Ohio, Jason resides in northern Massachusetts. He has had a love for writing since he wrote his first story in sixth grade. Since then, he has written more than two hundred short stories, and he has published numerous articles and columns in newspapers, magazines, and The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the suspense novel The Steel Van Man and the upcoming science fiction novel Ter’roc Evolution. He enjoys connecting and philosophizing with his readers through book signings and speaking engagements.

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