This is Week 11 of Finding Fiction Friday, and today I'm very happy to bring Jas T. Ward to the blog. Ward's first work was recently published, a prequel of sorts to the upcoming Shadow-Keepers series. Please join me in extending a warm welcome!
Jas T. Ward has a fan following in the thousands in various social medias. It’s the fans that pushed Ward to finally publishing a work. Previous writings were done for newspapers as well as other published authors.
When asked: What do you want people to know about you? Simple: They don’t need to know anything about me. Just love my characters. I’m in there somewhere.
Jas, how did you get started writing?
Well, it was an escape. I am the product of a less than happy childhood and in order to deal I wrote. I probably wrote my first short story (about a child who got lost in books and never wanted to escape) when I was seven-years old. I never stopped. I had notebook after notebook of stories and drawings I’ve done. The worse the time in my life? The more I wrote. It still provides that escape.
You are still an avid role player and have been for some time, taking characters that have been started and giving them a depth and personality beyond what we’ve seen from them before. What from that experience are you able to translate into writing for publication?
That part is tricky. You really have to distance yourself from the ‘RP Style’ writing to actual writing for publication. Whereas in RP, you are the voice of a character, for writing you are that character as seen from your reader’s eyes. RP- the foundation is implied. The setting is less important than the action and the dialogue. With writing it’s about ALL of it. Making every small detail important. The voice, the setting, the scene, the character; the image that you want to play through their heads. And if they don’t believe the image you create for them? Then you lost the battle to draw them in. You won’t be able to get them back.
I love RP. I admit, without it? I would never have published. Not only was it the huge amount of encouragement and support from the fans for my RP writings? But it got rid of a huge writing block that had been in place for years after a personal tragedy in my life. I owe it so much. And I will never forget all that it and the fans have done for me.
You have also been involved on the “other” side of the business, having been involved from the ground up with Dead Bound Publishing. What has that experience been like?
(Laughs) Expensive? But all and all it’s been amazing. We got lucky. The two partners that run DBP are very encouraging. DBP was founded to showcase what was seen as talent on my part. It was also created to give creativity a chance beyond the traditional publishing world. When a single dream or vision is crushed by an agent with a single rejection letter. I’ll be honest- I’ve had those same rejection letters. But the one thing that really drove DBP to be created was when I was told one of my works would be a great deal if I changed it. If I made it more “marketable” or “reader friendly”. That should never be the focus of a book. An author writes from the soul and the heart. Their characters speak to them. To tell an author to butcher and slaughter a work to make it not even close to the vision is a shame. We’re not talking editing and proofing. We are talking not giving the reader any credit to handle very real tragic topics (in my case suicide) and assuming a reader will read fluff and not be able to handle a meatier topic to make sales. That is just not what a creative vision should be about.
What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?
How much real talent is out there. And how fans really will embrace something different and unique. And how doing it our way, will probably never make us rich (smile).
I guess the best way to explain it, is this.
We allowed pre-sales on my first book for autographed copies. I assumed we’d get one maybe two. No, in that first night we made enough money to be in the black with Bits and Pieces. The fans wanted it that much. Those funds covered the copyright, the printing, the distribution- all in a single night. That was the most amazing feeling. That little book? Who would have thought.
It’s also been a very big learning experience. We learned about so many avenues and steps it takes to get a book out there. But we haven’t regretted anything about the process. And we love each sale. Each little comment. And we are getting more authors on board as well.
I love writing short-stories. And a certain flow of my creativity comes out in poetic sense. I honestly write shorts daily. I have tons of them. Some suitable to be read, some will never see the light of day. DBP was first starting and the fans wanted me to put some of my writings together so they could buy it. So we decided what better way to get seed money for the company. The partners were amazing in their support. We had no idea it would become as popular as it has. It’s a little book of little stories and poems along with a novella. But it’s been amazing. Yeah, I admit. I’ve hugged my one-of-a-kind proof more than I can count. Still do. I can’t believe I hold it in my hands. Flip through the pages.
What it feels like? Well, like the fans posting their pictures of getting their copy and being so excited. It’s a feeling I can’t even explain. And that’s from both a publisher and author aspect. Then to have it picked up by stores such as Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million? A real got-to-sit-down feeling wearing a huge smile.
I think I will always have to stop. Let myself soak it in and say- I did that. That’s mine.
Some of the stories in “Bits and Pieces” are touted as prequels to your upcoming “Shadowkeepers” series. What’s this series about and what are your plans for it?
The Shadow-Keepers series was started in RP. I’ll be honest. I wrote an original character named Reno Sundown. He was never meant to last. I had plans of killing him off and actually did. The fans went crazy. They sent me tons of hate mail and even created a Facebook page called “Save Candyman”. I was shocked. So I kicked my creative gear (Fondly named- Twiz, for my creative ‘demon’ side) into high gear. So I sat back and listened to the voice of a character I had come to love. And the Shadow-Keepers series was born.
The Shadow-Keepers series is about immortal dead who are kept animated and functioning by all the dark powers of mankind. As long as they ‘keep’ their powers fed the powers stay contained and they continue to serve their function and have a life, so to speak. We call it their purpose and they are purpose beings. Keepers have no heartbeat or mortal tie. All that was given up when they were slaughtered as humans and their powers took over. Each one has a unique power to keep. You have Madness, Lust, Envy, Murder and many more. They are neither evil nor good. Nor are they dark or light. They walk the shadow between both. Making sure good is kept balanced by keeping bad equal.
But love can give them one thing their power can not. A heartbeat and feeling alive.
The first book in the series- Madness (Which is
Do you have any other upcoming works or even just ideas bouncing around in your head?
(Laugh) Oh. What a question. I come up with ideas in my sleep. I keep a notebook by my bed to jot down a dozen or so a week, sometimes a night. I honestly never stop creating. But I’m also human and have a life that makes demands. That pesky life thing.
Other works already slated for publication beyond Shadow-Keepers:
Soul Bound: Book One- Warrior – Next Summer
Light and Dark: Book One- Light – Next Winter
Blood Rosary Guild- 2015
What does your family think of your writing career so far?
Having the childhood I had? I don’t have much blood family I am close to. But I have a wonderful family of the heart that has been unbelievable. They believe in me and that still amazes me to the core. But it’s also something I’m not used to. (Smile) They are kind of forcing it on me. I’m adapting.
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one. Here they go!
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
The back of the neck. Just touching or having it touched lightly. And laughing in bed.
4. What turns you off?
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Laughter or a sigh
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Whispers I can’t make out.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
If I could, and would like to- I’d love to be rich enough or at least inventive enough to open a homeless shelter for families.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
I watch that Dirty Jobs show. Almost all those jobs. I don’t know how Mike does it.
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
That I tried. And it matters. It was enough.
11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you?
The many uses for saw-horses. Those things are cool. Don’t laugh. I’ve given it tons of thought.
Jas, thanks so much for spending time with us. Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?
No thank you. I really do appreciate it. And the ways to find me are:
And for Dead Bound Publishing links:
Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies. You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories! Here's where you can find them: