J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed "rugged," though he would also be fine with "roughhewn" because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.
Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.
Available on Amazon!
1. At any given time do you work on only one story at a time and maybe plot out the next one or are there many ideas racing around your head?
I am working on a lot of stories all the time. I write under some other pen names that I publish pretty consistently in. When it comes to science fiction, I write one thing at a time. If I get a good science fiction-y idea, I see if there's some way to shoehorn it in to whatever I'm working on, most of the time. And most of the time, it works!
2. Is there a genre you haven't written in but would like to? Or wish you could write in?
I would really like to write a horror story one day. I haven't had any particularly good ideas for one, but I am a huge horror fan, and have been for several years. I think horror is fascinating because horror—especially in film—always seems to reflect the zeitgeist more than anything else. In the eighties, for example, everyone was up in arms about drugs and premarital sex, and you have this wave of slasher movies that (some ironically, some intentionally) murder waves of teenagers doing drugs and having premarital sex.
These days, our problems are often harder to find and fight and get rid of; we are worried about all-powerful corporations and the environment falling apart and the economy. It's no wonder, then, that so many horror movies today have landed on using demonic possession as the main thrust of their films; that is a problem that is basically unsolvable by spiritually bankrupt people (a product of our rampant materialism) and is a force that wickedly changes people, places, and things without any clear cause other than malicious randomness, which is how, say, an economic recession can feel.
3. Do you add an element of romantic suspense in your stories?
I often do! This latest release, UP THE TOWER, is a little odd in that department because the main healthy relationship that is trying to be salvaged/enacted is between a character named Samson and his sister, Ore. They've been separated for more than a decade, and each thinks the other is dead, and through the events in the story they find out the other is alive, but they have to navigate through the catastrophic destruction of an earthquake to try and find one another.
The actual romantic elements in this story are all depicted as unhealthy and gross. One character, Ana, draws a lot of male attention because she's beautiful; the men who are attracted to her don't really care about much else about her, even though she's a rather complex being. So, this affects her psyche quite a lot, and she self-identifies as a pretty young woman who has to act in societally-acceptable ways, even though that is decidedly untrue. So, another main character, Gary, is hopelessly in love with her, but he's sort of like a deranged Romeo in that Ana is just the latest in a long line of fixations for him. He's very internet-stalkerish, very “white-knight.”
So the romantic suspense there is mostly just how Ana is going to somehow convince Gary he's an acting like an insane person and for her to realize she doesn't need someone like him in her life.
4. Say you have unlimited funds: What kind of writing office/cottage would you create for yourself?
My wife and I just re-organized our home, and also my office, and it's pretty close to the ideal. I got those huge thermal shades so no light gets in (DARKNESS!), which makes it more of a cliché cave but also lets me concentrate a little better, with no glares on the screen. I collect transformers, so I have a bunch of shelves all around with various plastic robots looking imposing and judgmental, so that's nice. And then I also am a big LEGO fan (I promise I am a grown adult), so I have all of those in there as well with space for projecting.
Probably the only way it could get better is if our air conditioning worked a little better. I like it cold!
5. If you could turn your novel into a TV show, which novel or series would you do? Where would it be set? Network TV (ABC, NBC, CBS), Cable (AMC, BBC, Lifetime) or Premium Cable (HBO, Showtime, Starz)?
I think there's enough backstory and texture to UP THE TOWER to make it a miniseries at least. I think that it has a wide enough appeal that it could land pretty easily on some of the basic networks; it doesn't have all the boobs and swearing necessary to land it on something like Premium Cable demands these days. Maybe AMC would like it; definitely not Lifetime. I don't think they do Sci-Fi. It would be fun to see a BBC version; that would definitely make my wife happy. She loves all things British.
6. Finally, tell us about your latest release!
My latest novel is UP THE TOWER. It is a dystopian action thriller set in a futuristic St. Louis slum. It stars six strangers who all have been abandoned by those closest to them, and they have to join forces to survive a catastrophic, city-destroying earthquake. Their only way out is up an enormous, decrepid skyscraper that is full of nefarious gangsters. The cast is pretty eclectic—a boy genius, a malfunctioning copbot, a cloned assassin, a gangster with nothing to lose, and a beautiful young woman and her unbalanced stalker.
It's got clones, robots, action, adventure, suspense, and is generally a big pulpy mess of a good time. It's less than a dollar, so pick it up!
Disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn't be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go...UP THE TOWER.
“This kid comes in, okay? Starts doing all this stuff with Wallop's tech fists. Powering them up and such. You know, they can bend steel, they can punch a man so far a distance, all of that. At first, I think the kid's pretty young, but then I see his eyes—they're old enough. I seen his eyes, they're about my age, those eyes. And it’s important, okay, how old he is. Because this kid? He looks a hell of a lot like me.”
“So what? Lots of kids look like you.”
“Yeah. So do Georgeson. So do Jonesboy. So do Figueroa.”
“What are you saying?”
“I'm saying…” he palmed the side of his head. “I’m saying, it ain’t no secret that you got yourself a certain type of person that you pick up. A type of boy. I sort of thought I knew why. Last night I found out for certain.”
Konnor was right. Ore was angry.
“The hell are you saying to me? Just say it.”
“You said you had a brother. His name was Samson. He was good with tech, you said. Well this kid? The one tailoring Wallop's new fists? Samson. That's what Wallop called him. ‘Samson, touch here.’ ‘Samson, look at that, is that right.’”
Ore didn't say anything.
“He's alive. Your brother. In The Tower. He’s maybe been alive this whole time.”
Silence, then. Even the eyebots outside seemed to get quiet.
That goddamn Wallop. Her job, her Haulers, and her eye. Now he had her brother, or near enough. Everything. Would he take everything from her?
Konnor stood up and headed to the door. The shack squeaked beneath him.
“If it was any other sort of job…if it was a job that maybe wouldn’t have gone against the Faces…”
“Shut up, Konnor. It’s all against the Faces. It’s under ‘em or it’s with ‘em. You know that.”
“All right. All right.” He opened the door. An argument had started down the street; someone lit a fire in a barrel on the balcony above her shack; an eyebot stopped, scanned the two, and then zipped away. “It’s a hell of a plan, though, Ore. A hell of a plan. And maybe I won’t get around to telling Wallop what’s what for a little while.”
The author will be awarding a backlist ebook copy to a randomly drawn winner at every stop during the tour and a Grand Prize of a $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour.