Interview with Shane Starrett, Author of Jaded

05 May 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, Jaded?

JADED is a follow-up companion story to the book JASMINE that Jennifer Bene and I co-wrote and released last year. That book has been incredibly well received, and one secondary character in it drew a good deal of reader attention, both good and bad: Mason Jones, the FBI agent sent to find Sloane Finley, the main character in Jasmine. When I was discussing which book I wanted to start working on next, the idea that ultimately stuck with me most was to give readers Mason’s story. Both where he came from prior to JASMINE, and where he goes afterward in JADED.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I have been writing for over twenty-five years now, but it was strictly for my wife Cynthia. I would write stories for her, and she would tell me “You really should think about showing these to an agent or somehow and thinking about trying to publish them.” I brushed aside those entreaties as her just being kind.

Jump ahead to two years ago, and I write this fanfic, and Cynthia reaches out the author of the book I wrote it about (Jennifer Bene), and the two of them conspired together to get me to release it in serialized form on my website. They are the true inspiration behind me, because without them I am certain I would still be writing and then filing my stories away unseen.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Monkey Wrench Gang – Edward Abbey

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

Kushiel’s Dart- Jacqueline Carey

The Thalia Series – Jennifer Bene

Bass-Ackwards: A Wrong-Way Romance – Eris Adderley

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

C J Cherryh. She’s an author I would LOVE to just sit down with and talk to about the craft of writing, world-building, and character development. To my mind, she is a master at those things, and so many of her novels are much like early Vonnegut; novels of the human spirit and experience wrapped in a science fiction shell. I love thrill at the opportunity to hear her thoughts on those subjects.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Watching how a story develops from the ‘voices in my head’ to a scene, then to a chapter, and finally to a book as a whole. I love the building aspect of writing, because it ties in with what I’ve spent my ‘other career’ doing. Forming the basic structure of a story, then adding onto it, smoothing out the rough edges, and then giving it the final polish are all things that just appeal to me.

What is a typical day like for you?

Work during the day, come home and fix dinner (I love to cook), relax for a bit with my wife, write for as long as I can until I can feel the words coming sluggishly, then read for a bit before going to bed.

Rinse, repeat.

Although, to be fair, because of the current COVID-19 situation, my reduced work schedule has allowed for a *lot* more writing time than I was afforded in the past, which has been very nice.

What scene in Jaded was your favorite to write?

I think the restaurant scene between Mason, Carmen, and her wife Marianne. I loved the interplay, the dialogue, and how Carmen forces Mason to stop hiding behind the walls he’s built up, because she’s seen through them. She respects and cares for him too much to see him continue to hurt himself, especially when something good is staring him right in the face. Carmen calls him on his bullshit and watching her do that was just so much fun!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll. ― Hunter S. Thompson, Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80’s

Shane Starrett is the author of the new book Jaded.

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