I’ll be appearing in an interview on Jake’s blog, today. I’ll post the link when I have it.
Jake Elliot learned how to write the hard way; trial and error, and then more by error than trial. Life experience warranted the biggest contribution to his art; being a vagabond at heart, he is always re-planting himself every five years in a new location to see a different side of life. He and his wife, who is also an explorer and a traveler, curiously wonder where the future will land them next.
Back Cover of ‘The Wrong Way Down’:
I saw his body lying there. My teacher, my mentor, my friend – face down in a pool of his own blood. His white robes were starched brown with dried blood, his throat cut open by the thieves who’d stolen the spiritual artifact we’d been entrusted to protect.
But the Blessed Mystery smiles, we caught one of the two thieves, and it is my duty to escort this foul woman to the garrison for interrogation. God, how I thirst for revenge! But I cannot afford the luxury of anger, for it is my duty and responsibility to love. I am a priestess on the side of light. But this hate, it is so heavy … it is too heavy.
(The main protagonists in the story are a priestess and an inexperienced sorcerer. In this scene, Popalia and Wynkkur are accompanied by two elvish scouts when an aggressive bear stumbles into their camp. This is Popalia’s perspective as she prays.)
She knew better than to stop praying. The favor of her god would be needed if they were to survive, and patiently she would continue to seek. She could feel the presence of its power. By her faith she held onto the courage to continue, despite the instinctual need to open her eyes and see for herself.
Her imagination played upon the terrible sounds she heard. There was screaming, the blood-curdling shrieking of Saru. Popalia knew that when the screaming stopped, elves would be dead, and then Popalia would be next. Fighting now against the temptation to open her eyes, she still prayed.
She’d seen the dual flashes of light upon her closed eyelids. Simultaneously she heard the snarl converting into two quick yelps of pain from the monstrous bear. Popalia forced her mind to remain calm. She heard a loud male voice calling out in elvish, and she recognized it wasn’t Wynkkur. Had the Unnamed sent hunters to save them?
Popalia prayed as the seconds passed, all of them feeling like hours. At one moment she could smell the musty scent of monster and a hint of charred hair. She heard the beast panting, and then felt the air shift as the beast rushed past her. Despite her want, she never wavered in her praying. She trusted her god, and knew the Mystery would bless and protect them all.
Then the time came for her to stop praying and to start doing. She opened her eyes and looked around. Wynkkur and the beast were gone. Orro cried aside his sister on the ground.
1. In three days, all power will go off, everywhere for a very long time. What will you include in your author survival kit?
I want a shotgun so I can protect my beer. I hope the ‘Igloo brand’ cooler is as good as they say it is, because warm beer is gross. I should keep at least a couple bottles of Tequila around as well. As we know, it tastes just as bad warm as it does cold. I’ll need a tape-recorder to speak into since my hand-writing is atrocious. A megaphone to warn people against taking my cooler and I’ll need some Chapstick since I live in the desert, (I could use a little tanning oil too.) Oh yeah, I’ll need a fly-swatter for entertainment since the X-box will be out-of-commission.
2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?
That is a very complicated question. Its beginning started in college, when I was terribly poor. Some friends from college (also poor,) would get together and play the old dice and paper game Dungeons and Dragons. It was cheap entertainment. That was how the world in The Wrong Way Down was built. The story isn’t the same as it was back then, but the world is very similar to what we built from what we’d learned in our geography courses.
After college, an old friend of mine wanted to write parallel novels – one story about a mercenary swordsman who becomes a King, and the other story about a renegade wizard who saves the kingdom. It was a good idea and would have worked, but my friend gave up. Writing books isn’t for everyone. I continued writing my half of our story and he got mad and ‘forbid’ me to use his character. We stopped being friends and I scratched that whole idea, and wrote this darker story instead… his character excluded.
I might sound smug, but I’m not. I’m actually quite saddened; I just found out weeks ago that my old friend died. This was a stupid thing to lose a friendship over. Now that bridge will never be mended.
3. What do you like to read?
Pulp and Literature. I love the classic authors; Hemingway, Tolkien, Bradbury, Steinbeck and Poe. I also love pulp – easy reads, candy for the brain – my favorite being Don Pendleton, who wrote ‘The Executioner’ series in the early nineteen-seventies. Nothing fancy, just a good action adventure story about a one-man army waging a dirty war against the American Mafia. He wrote thirty-eight, I’ve read twenty-two so far. (The series is getting rather corny as of the last 2 books; I may switch over to Robert E. Howard’s ‘Conan’ soon.)
4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?
My wife and I were visiting Nicaragua, (which in and of itself is very exciting,) and upon reaching the town of Granada, Hurricane Isabelle decided to visit Nicaragua on the same day. Luckily, Granada is in the southwest area of Nicaragua and is closer to the Pacific. Isabelle was coming from the Gulf of Mexico and hit further north. Needless to say, it made for a very interesting bus ride back to our hotel. The next morning when we checked the internet, we found it truly was a hurricane via American news. Isabelle killed 19 people in El Salvador that same night.
Here in the U.S., there are some people in New Orleans who say our Government didn’t help enough when Katrina hit. The Nicaraguan Government didn’t tell anyone Isabelle was coming. Everyone in Granada said, “Ah, esto es tiempo realmente raro!” or, ‘Wow, this weather is really strange!’
5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?
I eat lots of popcorn. Yummy, I’m even eating some right now. Tomorrow, for lunch, I’ll eat popcorn. But not for breakfast or dinner, only lunch.
6. What scares you the most?
Being kidnapped by my government, whisked away to Syria where I’ll be tortured until I die of old age. You see, I have a loud mouth, and it wouldn’t surprise me if something I say/write angers the wrong people and I become marked for death. My wife says I’m paranoid and this doesn’t happen in the United States. I know it doesn’t happen here, it happens in Cuba.
Why did I say that? Now they’ve got another reason to come get me. Curse me and my big mouth.
7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.
G-Rated? This should have been at the top of the list of questions, now I have to go back and change all my answers. *loud-sigh*
Hmmm, do I have any G-rated stories? How is this—when I go shopping for toilet paper, I look for packaging with puppies on it instead of packaging with babies on it. Babies scare me almost as much as being kidnapped and tortured. If I had a baby, my life of irresponsibility and luxury would end for sure. I’d have to share my food with it. Bath it, dress it, love it– no thanks. I’ll take toilet paper with puppies on it thank-you-very-much.