Guys, I’m not wasting any time in jumping right into my interview with my mane man, Jon Lister. (<— see what I did there? He writes about werewolves and I called him ‘mane man’. Doubly funny since I’m the one with all the hair.) Ah-hem. Back on track.
Alex Nader (AN): Welcome to the blog, sir. I’ll have you know that BS is considered the highest form of honesty around these parts and don’t shy away from the hard hitting questions. First up, when writing, pants or no pants? I see many authors talk about going pantsless to harness the Chi from within, or whatever. Personally, I’m old fashioned and just use scotch.
Jonathan Lister (JL): I keep very little creative chi in my legs. Probably why they haven’t seen the light of day since the Clinton administration. Have to keep their alabaster glow intact right?
When writing, I try to keep it as comfortable as possible, which usually means pj pants or some soft equivalent. Coffee works too, as long as I’m ingesting that and not wearing it.
AN: Understandable on all accounts. Coffee is the whip at the hand of all muses, I believe.
While reading Bullet I stumbled across a couple pretty funny ‘under the radar’ pop culture references. Do you put a lot of references in your writing? And do you ever say in your head, ‘no one is ever going to catch this’?
JL: HA! I hope they catch them and it draws some real world parallels. It’ll suck them into the narrative just a wee bit more y’know? At least I hope it will anyway. Characters watch tv and see things and experience the world around them even if those events don’t happen on the page. Stands to reason that they might use those references to describe that world.
AN: So, when not trying to unravel political corruption, David Hastings sits around and watches George Carlin stand-ups? I think the two of us could get along. What about you? Your bio says you used to write game guides, you have journalised (yeah, I just made that word up. And?) about music, I know you watch Game of Thrones, and would guess that you read the occasional book. Is there any one medium of entertainment you prefer, or are you an equal opportunity pop culture fan?
JL: I’ll take my nerd pop culture anywhere I can get it. I grew up reading comic books (DC Vertigo, Valiant, Image titles) and loved following those characters month to month. I don’t actually own a tv, so all of my video viewing is web-based. All legal I assure you! Still need to find a means to watch Orphan Black so I can be one of the cool kids.
Music has always been a big part of my art and life in general so it tends to infuse itself into just about anything I’m doing.
AN: I’m a big music guy too. I find I have to listen to either instrumentals or metal while writing. Do you have specific stuff you listen to while writing? Does it change depending on your project?
JL: It absolutely changes! Often by what character I’m writing and who’s perspective the given chapter is filtered through. Like Leon tends to be more post-hardcore: The Chariot, Dance Gavin Dance, Hands Like Houses. Whereas Hastings is more indi rock (Death Cab, The Decemberists, The Dear Hunter) and Shauna trends more towards pop punk (The Wonder Years, Real Friends). I could literally drone on about music for hours and completely bore anyone within earshot. My brain just soaks up that kind of information.
AN: Now, I want to take an abrupt halt and change directions completely. Let’s say you are para-sailing in the Galapagos using giant tortoises as your skis. Time is fluid, so obviously you are chillin’ out with Darwin. Who else is there for your island party?
JL: Well I think first, Bar Rafaeli. Without question the world’s most ideal island destination companion. We’ll need some entertainment, so the entire cast Lost, by with their minds implanted into animatronic bears.
And Gordon Ramsay. Because someone is going to have to figure out a way to make tortoise interesting night after bloody night.
AN: Sounds like quite the date night. I’d say you would need a cooler chef, though. If I’m stuck on an island with a personal chef, I’ll take Anthony Bourdain.
Now, specifically in to Bullet, were you ready for the giant shitstorm that fell on Hastings and Gray or was that a seat of the pants kind of thing? Or should I not talk about that?
JL: Shit storm is by far one of my favorite terms. Not just a shit shower. Or even a shit spate. A god damn storm of shit.
Sorry what? Oh right! Yes the anvil of doom that fell, and continues to fall, on David and Leon was carefully orchestrated. The events intertwine to the point that I couldn’t wing it and have it work out as well. I want readers to know that everything happens for a reason in the story, even if it’s violent and it seems senseless. It all connects to something else.
AN: I applaud your preparations, sir. You are a god amongst your words, always with a plan… Sorry, okay, I’m good now. So last question: Gerbals dressed as Transformers fighting ninja warthogs or Leprechauns dancing to “We Are Family” dressed as the characters from The Birdcage?
JL: No god here I assure you. Just a guy who’s far too disorganized to attempt wading into a book without a game plan.
Hmmm…toughest decision of my life, this question. Gerbals. Gotta go with the animals being humanoids being costumed versions of something else while still fighting another group of equally implausible creatures. Isn’t that what makes it interesting?
AN: I follow your logic on that one. I told you, gotta ask the hard hitting questions and keep these interviews fair and balanced. Parting words, tell the readers, in exactly 17 words and 1 symbol, why they should buy Bullet.
Guys, I’ve read the book. It’s a keeper. I would suggest picking it up today. Here’s more info if you aren’t yet convinced:
A father’s love doesn’t bend, so what happens when it breaks?
Corruption, dark truths, and a new Alpha mean Leon Gray’s days of running without a pack are over. At least, that’s what everyone but him believes.
He’d rather be helping his teenage daughter navigate the landmine life of a full werewolf, finish out his servitude as bodyguard to a former Demos City reporter and, in all honesty, not be taken advantage of by a beautiful woman who really only wants him for his body—figuratively and metaphorically.
Of course, the only way any of that might happen is if he’s dead. That’s likely given the information the reporter has unearthed and the territorial battles already underway between packs. If only Demos City’s corruption didn’t have such deep roots—older than the bones of the city or any of the werewolves who’ve decided to claim it. A city can only take so many power hungry mongrels invading it at one time, and Leon can only take so much knowing his daughter lives within its boundaries.
War has come to Demos City.
It’s up to Leon to fix … what’s most important to him.
Jonathan Lister is a full-time writer with work appearing in outlets of USA Today, The Houston Chronicle and many others. A graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, he’s waited an unspeakable amount of tables en route to having the career he wants, and the ability to the tell stories he loves. Bullet, a Demos City Novel is Jonathan’s second book-length work of fiction. He currently lives in the Philadelphia area and continues to drink too much coffee.
Buy it here: