Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan Mason. He is the author of several ghost stories, including The Man In Black, which you can read more about below!
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I think my first word put down on paper was something horrifying, something ghastly. I’ve written short stories and ghost stories ever since I was a young boy, and so to place a beginning on my writing would be near impossible. I remember being around ten and writing the most terrifying stories I could think up; the horror films didn’t help; I was obsessed with The Exorcist even then.
As far as “professional” writing goes, not very long. I decided to become an independent author because I like control. There’s something satisfying about being the puppet master, wielding the strings.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I grew up reading Stephen King and Susan Hill, two very different writers. One is very American, and one is very British. The two always spoke to me the same, though, and they inspire to this day. Their style is impeccable.
Aside from their direct influence, I suppose my dreams inspire me a lot, but you don’t want to know what goes on up in there, trust me.
Q: Tell me about your upcoming book, The Man in Black. What was the original idea behind it?
A: The idea was to tell a ghost story as precise as possible without jamming the thing with a whole load of filler. Ghost stories shouldn’t delve too much into that, they should never sidetrack, but should always focus on the present and remain fast and consistent. You should indulge in backstory to set up something worthwhile; characters are essential, but you have to get things done very quickly in a ghost story and not a lot of people can tap into that anymore, which is a real shame.
Its setting came from growing up around the industrial towns of the North East. I wondered how spooky a terraced home would be if it were haunted, and how I could channel that through a short story. ‘The Man in Black’ wouldn’t work as a novel, it’s just too small of an idea, but as a short I thought it could really thrive.
Q: What are the greatest challenges you have faced while writing The Man in Black?
A: The most difficult thing was to convey the language and the setting as accurately as I could while still maintaining a sense of the norm so that readers around the world could follow it with as little trouble as possible. The dialogue alone was tricky, because the North of England, especially the North East, has such a strong and distinctive dialect that I simply couldn’t rinse over; realism would be lost, and I wanted to keep things as real as I could.
Marketing the book was, and still is, a great challenge. Being an independent author has its uphill struggles, but it has its rewards, too.
Q: Which of your characters is most like you? In what way?
A: I think there’s a little bit of me inside every one of my characters, whether it be in this story or in another. It’s a conscience thing. Unavoidable, like death, or good bourbon.
Q: What would you do if you were caught inside your book, The Man in Black?
A: Move house. Quite simple, when you think about it. But then there wouldn’t be a story, would there?
Q: What is your favorite thing to do besides writing?
A: I enjoy reading, networking, and spending time with my girlfriend and my close family. You can’t beat a good horror film, neither. I love sitting down with a wealthy glass of bourbon or a nice beer, only to lose myself in the magic of the movies surrounded by my home comforts.
I love the outdoors, too. I walk as much as I can, and I try and eat well. That keeps me alright.
Q: If you could be in any movie made in the past two years, which would it be any why?
A: Anything by Paul Thomas Anderson or Quentin Tarantino. The Hateful Eight enriched me when I saw it at the cinema. I wouldn’t mind being in that.
Q: What is something you want to do before you die?
A: Get every single one of my stories out there. I have a head full of ideas that are just aching to get out. Whether or not I’ll publish more than one novel in the future is uncertain; I have one in the pipeline, but somehow I’ll get my work noticed. Determination is key. I’m very focused on getting my novellas and my short stories out there, starting with ‘The Man in Black’.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: The world should know how important the traditional ghost story is, how its foundations paved way for the wide spectrum of horror we all know and love today. Drama, even, wouldn’t be drama as we classify it today without the bread and butter of the Gothic ghost story.
I also want the world to know how incredible Bob Dylan is. He really is. Just, fantastically incredible.
Find Jordan Online: