My last post of today is a Meet the Author interview with the love J.P. Jackson. We’re talking about magic, the paranormal, beasts and creatures, why his teacher gave him a pass in chemistry,,,,, Why he’ll never be a Marine Biologist, his most recent book, Magic or Die and much more…..
LGBTQ+ Dark Urban Fantasy and Paranormal
Tell us a bit about yourself:
J.P. Jackson is an award-winning author of dark urban fantasy, paranormal, and even paranormal romance stories, but regardless of the genre they always feature LGBTQ+ main characters.
J.P. works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.
At night, the writing happens, where demons, witches, and shapeshifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. His husband of 22 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summonings and regularly lines the doorway with iron shavings and salt crystals. Imps are most definitely not house-trainable. Ghosts appear at the most inopportune times, and the Fae are known for regular visits where a glass of wine is exchanged for a good ole story or two. Although the husband doesn’t know it, Canela and Jalisco, the two Chihuahuas, are in cahoots with the spell casting.
J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive traveling, and believe it or not, knitting.
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
I’ve always been a reader. I normally read between 30-50 books a year. After a while I started thinking about what I was reading and found myself unsatisfied with the storylines, and that’s because so few of them (read: none) featured anyone that was like me. So I thought I should sit down and write my own book within the Urban Fantasy realm, but with LGBTQ+ main characters. That task became a bucket list item: Write a book and get it published.
My ideas…my head is full of dark twisted things. I see ghosts and shadow demons in dimly lit hallways, pixies and brownies in the garden. Movies, music and TV shows feed that monster imagination. I keep a Pinterest account where I save images that spark ideas, I have a Tumblr account for the same purpose, and I save photos from the internet. All these help bring my stories to life. The TV Shows and Movies often give me a sense of world building, setting and plot lines (some I want to use, others never to use), the Music sets the ambience and fuels the creativity, and I use the images to put together mood boards, aesthetics, character sheets, etc.
Really, the ideas come from all over the place. I’m constantly on the lookout.
How many books have you written and published?
As of right now I have two books available. Daimonion: Book One of the Apocalypse (2017) and Magic or Die (2018). They are both published through NineStar Press. My husband and I moved homes in 2019 which ended up a bit of a crazy year, and so I didn’t get my writing mojo back until we were settled. Next year I have two projects coming out, Summoned, and A Darker Side of the Rainbow.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Depends on the book. Daimonion has multiple points of view, links to mythology and religion, and some new spins on the usual manner of beasts and creatures. It was also my first book. It took my three years to write. I have two more planned in this series, and they are taking a long time to come together.
Magic or Die is a Paranormal story and has been compared to X-men crossed with The Magicians. It’s a little lighter, and I think a little more accessible. That took me eight months to write.
Summoned is an Urban Fantasy novel, with some sexy fun times. I had a lot of fun writing this, and it only took me about three months to complete.
So I’m not sure if I’m getting faster, or more comfortable with how to put together a story.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
I think Magic or Die has been my favourite so far. It was easy to write, and I had fun putting it all together, plus the cast of characters and the different magical abilities had me excited all the time I wrote it. I’m also three quarters done the sequel, Blood and Sacrifice, and the same amount of fun has continued.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
This is funny. I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I loved the idea of swimming with fish, studying them, finding out all about their world, living on a boat in the middle of the ocean, with the wind in my hair and the sun on your skin, diving in the warm tropical waters and discovering new sights. And then in High School, I had to take Chemistry – which I failed miserably, despite additional efforts with a tutor and extra homework. I just could not wrap my head around it. During my final exam I polished off the small handful of theoretical questions, but after that, everything else was a chemical equation and I was utterly lost. I started laughing (hysterics). My teacher came around to me and asked, “What is so funny?” He was annoyed. I looked at him and said, “I’m gonna fail!” And I did. I got 6% on that final. My teacher pulled me aside a few weeks later and said, “Look, I know you spent hours with a tutor and tried your best. I don’t think Chemistry is for you. I’ll give you a “50 Raised” which will give you a pass, if you promise to never take Chemistry ever again.”
To this day, I have never taken Chemistry ever again – that sort of precluded me from becoming a Marine Biologist.
And then several years ago, my husband and I went to the Dominican Republic and thought we’d try getting certified as SCUBA Divers. I love swimming, and the ocean, and the wildlife, so I was game. Turns out, learning how to SCUBA is basically reading a textbook on 150 different ways to die under water. I wrote the exams, passed everything, did really well in the resort pool…and then we went out and did an actual dive.
Turns out I’m claustrophobic. Putting on a wetsuit, strapped down with weights to make you sink to the bottom of the ocean, and hugged by a massive air tank strapped to your back made me lose my mind.
A Marine Biologist I will never be.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
I still have a day job. I am an IT Analyst working in health care. I configure the electronic charting system used in our hospitals, and I work closely with physicians and nurses to ensure their needs are met. The last six months with the COVID pandemic have been the busiest I’ve ever been. I’ve been at this job for 21 years. Before that, I waited tables, bartended, did a brief and unhappy stint in retail, and once upon a time worked in a pet shop…that didn’t work out either.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
I’ve always wanted to go back and visit Ancient Greece. Because I think togas are sexy, I love the Greek Pantheon of gods, I love Greek food, and there are artefacts from Ancient Greece, in art, pottery and mythology, where gay and lesbian lives were normalized. I’d love to see if our current day interpretation of that held true to what society was really like.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Travel. My husband and I travel a lot – except for the past year – for obvious reasons. We’ve seen most of the United States and a lot of different places in Mexico, we’ve been to Europe a few times, and done several cruises. We’ve even seen a good chunk of Southeast Asia and spent several days in Bali – which I highly recommend. We did have an African Safari booked for December of this year, but sadly, that won’t be happening. We’ll have to wait until after there’s a vaccine for the coronavirus.
In addition to travel, I also hybridize African Violets, and I have a series of named hybrids.
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
Coming from the guy who loves dark and creepy, it will surprise everyone to discover I do not watch horror movies. My husband will occasionally make me watch one, but I always suffer with nightmares for months after. So as gruesome as my books can be, I typically don’t watch that genre – although there are a few exceptions. But my go-to, feel-good movie is The Sound of Music. How corny is that?
Now, if I had to choose my favourite spooky movie, I’d say The Lost Boys. It’s the perfect 80’s movie with vampires and teenage angst.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Any kind of psychic ability, telepathy, telekinesis – that sort of thing. I’ve always been fascinated by this topic, and I believe there are people who are psychic.
If you could be, or meet, any mythical creature, what would you choose and why?
Werewolves! Every time. I LOVE the idea around shapeshifting and becoming something feral and wild. And let’s not forget the trope of monster boyfriends. <Waggles eyebrows>
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My most recent book is Magic or Die, although Summoned will be out in April of next year and A Darker Side of the Rainbow will be out in August.
James Martin is a teacher, a powerful Psychic, and an alcoholic. He used to work for the Center for Magical Research and Development, a facility that houses people who can’t control their supernatural abilities, but left after one of his students was killed, turning to vodka to soothe his emotional pain. The problem is he still has one year left on his contract.
When James returns to the CMRD to fulfil the rest of his contract, he finds himself confronting the demons of his past and attempting to protect his new class from a possible death sentence, because if they don’t pass their final exams, they’ll be euthanized.
James also discovers that his class isn’t bringing in enough sponsors, the agencies and world governments who supply grants and ultimately purchase graduates of the CMRD, and that means no profit for the facility. James and his students face impossible odds—measure up to the facility’s unreachable standards or escape.
Devid Khandelwal has always been fascinated by the occult. For years he’s studied the tarot, gemstones, spirit summonings and witchcraft of all kinds and despite his efforts, he’s never experienced anything remotely otherworldly. In a state of desperation, Devid purchases one last magical item – a summoning board spelled to grant desires.
When Devid convinces his flippant best friend, Cameron Habersham, to perform the ritual and usher forth their greatest desires, Dev doesn’t take into account Cam’s sarcastic and glib nature.
As the summoning board begins to grant their desires, Dev and Cam find themselves plunged into the Shadow Realm, surrounded by morally grey magic, all manner of magical creatures, and a blood feud between warring factions of the supernatural community. This wasn’t what Dev expected.
The old adage is true – be careful what you wish for.
A Darker Side of the Rainbow:
A collection of short stories, each featuring a main character represented by the letters of the LGBTQ acronym:
- “A Tended Garden” – about a Lesbian witch and a dryad who confront the high priestess of the coven who has twisted a tradition into something evil.
- “Hood’s Ride is Red” – a Gay retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood, but with an all-male cast, and werewolves.
- “Within These Walls” – a young couple, of whom the husband is Bisexual, purchase their first house next to a quaint old cottage with a beautiful garden. They meet and develop a friendship, which leads to a relationship with their new neighbor, not realizing that he’s old retired incubus, who’s neither old, nor retired.
- “Skinwalker” – the story of a Transgender Navajo descendant who is in the wrong body, and discovers that the traditional stories of skinwalkers are alive, allowing them to take on any gender they choose.
- “Dragged to Hell” – the Queer origin story of Azadore Necrophilia Hex, a drag queen who is also a medium and sees the ghosts of the dead around everyone. Azadore is one of the characters in the Blood or Sacrifice novel from the Inner Demons series.
thanks so much for coming over and chatting to us! What a fantastic, insightful interview!
If you have any questions or comments then make sure you get in touch lovelies!
See you soon