Without telling us what your favorite passage / scene in the book is, can you describe how it felt when you wrote it? Was there anything unique about your writing set-up when you wrote this passage?
I wrote Live On No Evil in small Moleskin notebooks that felt claustrophobic, especially since I did not allow myself to cross anything out or erase. I wanted the writing to feel cramped and secret, the way it feels to be oppressed by something spiritual and intangible. This led to spurts of purge where horrible things spilled out almost as if the story needed to vomit before it could continue. The purge happened in a scene where a character revealed the true depth of their depravity. Writing something so awful felt good and it made me feel awful for feeling so good about writing something so awful. When I came back to transcribe this scene into the computer, it felt like I was being watched by something. I convinced myself this wasn’t my imagination and took it as a sign to leave this scene alone, transcribing it exactly as written word for word.
Can you briefly describe an experience that played a role in how you wanted to develop Live On No Evil?
I was once told that one of my unpublished novels had too many characters in it which gave me the idea to use too many characters intentionally in a book. I wanted to use confusion as a tool to make the reader feel the insanity that the main character was experiencing. The Library Labyrinth was a perfect place to have too much going on without it derailing the point of the story. The pursuit of truth and the moral right can be intimidating in how impossible they are to conceptualize and attain. By creating a place where there are so many people attempting to do this their own way, cyclically in a seeming eternity, I further isolated the main character and forced him to come to terms with himself amid an ocean of rambling and needless information.
If you could ask any deceased artist one question, what would it be?
Did it matter?
Do you think fiction has any function or purpose outside of the entertainment realm?
Entertainment is only the byproduct of fiction’s purpose marketed as its sole function. The real purpose of fiction is to manipulate behavior. Religion and fairy tales both use fiction to create fear because they want people to behave in a certain way. Fear is one of the simplest methods of control and so creating fear through fiction has been the go-to method throughout history. But fiction is also used to inspire and that can be more powerful than factual anecdotes. Regardless of their basis in reality, a fictitious character’s struggle, perseverance and ultimate success can be more influential than someone giving their testimony about a similar journey. In fact, I’m much more likely to relate to a fictional character than I am to someone that actually lived because I know what they went through didn’t happen and don’t have to doubt their earnestness. If I know I’m being lied to from the start I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m being lied to.
Of all the entertainment media available, pick a SUB-GENRE and explain why you like it or hate it. Maybe you enjoy cosmic horror disaster films. You can choose from any type of media (film, books, music, etc.)
I have recently been obsessed with the Call of Duty Zombies video games. Besides its inherently addictive nature, the story behind Treyarch’s games is amazing for many reasons. The games are extremely hard and you never really win. The story is told through radios that can be played and by the characters’ dialogue. Fragments of the story are revealed piece by piece and put together by the online community in Reddit posts and Youtube videos. Much of the story hasn’t even been confirmed and is rationalized only by fan theories. Just this year an official timeline was released that only opens up more questions than it answers. What I love about it so much is that the story becomes this massive impossible entity that you don’t have the ability to completely understand. There is no official document that you can sit down and read. There is no complete list of events. It’s like this huge beast you could never possibly unearth yourself so you learn about it through not only your limited attempts, but those of others that all work together to make as much sense of it as possible. Thinking of it strictly as a story, the way the information is relayed to the audience is very interesting and makes for a completely unique experience that can’t be replicated by books or any other kind of media.
Which book do you think is overrated?
I didn’t like John Dies At the End. It was funny at parts, but I become frustrated when horror devolves into something silly. Humor absolutely has a place in horror, but I struggle to find anything good about stories that become randomly wacky. For me, in order for horror to be effective it has to be able to be taken seriously. When it just becomes playful and whimsical, I no longer care and become annoyed. That’s what John Dies At the End did to me. Being random isn’t funny, it’s just lazy.
Can anyone be a “good” writer?
I don’t really focus much on whether writing is good or not. I think it’s better to ask if anyone can be an effective writer. Most people aren’t effective because they are too focused on themselves, their image and their successful perception as someone who is a good writer. Being effective happens when the writer can think outside of themselves and their own perspective to be able to communicate with the reader in a way that allows them to think differently than they had when they began reading.
Like all media, genre fiction is trendy; what is one literary trend that you despise? Is there one that you think is interesting?
I really don’t like Cthulhu. Big monsters are lame and boring. I also get annoyed with writing done in the first person perspective. It’s easy to write, but very difficult to write well and in a way that doesn’t resemble a diary. First person perspective is attractive to the writer because it allows them to feel like they are communicating more effectively with their audience, but I’d argue that this is most often not the case. Third person perspective forces the writer to get out of the cyclical headspace that they otherwise will most likely find themselves trapped.
Which book or other piece of art do you think is underappreciated? (misunderstood)
Kanye West’s album “Yeezus” is the most important piece of music created this decade. It’s ferocious, ignorant and inspiring in such a sophisticatedly juvenile way. It grabs the listener like a toddler and forces them to experience every emotion, all the while knowing that how they are and who they are is exactly how they need to be. No second guessing, no regrets, just a tantrum through a megaphone declaring a self-affirming celebration of independence. There is a reason Kanye West is hated and it has nothing to do with his music.
My name is Jeremiah Israel for real. It’s not a pseudonym. I write horror. Every single story I write has aliens in it somewhere because I am scared to death of aliens. I grew up in Chicago and now live in Fort Wayne, IN with my twin daughters. I have a conspiracy theory obsession and work for the slaveship. I will continue to work for the slaveship until they replace me with a robot. I love the television too much. I kill computer zombies way too much. I write fiction books about the way the world really is and it’s all very terrifying because life is very, very terrifying.
Live On No Evil http://perpetualpublishing.com/product/live-on-no-evil/
Twitter and IG: @jdotis