Jason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.
His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?
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About the Book:
The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.
Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.
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Would you call yourself a born writer?
I believe so. I’ve felt a passion for writing ever since I was a child, and I’ve loved telling stories going back to the days when I was using toys. I always enjoyed creating narratives, so I believe I was always fated, at some level, to write for a living.
What was your inspiration for FLOOR 21?
A combination of things. The initial spark was watching a girl rappel to the bottom of a hotel in The Walking Dead, knowing zombies would be awaiting her. I thought it would be interesting if there was a story about a girl trapped at the top of a tower with no real idea of the horrors that waited beneath. Beyond that, I was inspired by a lot of games. Lone Survivor is the story of a man trying to break out of his zombie infested apartment complex, and OFF is a French surrealist narrative about a man trying to break out of some alternative world filled with ghosts. I wanted to blend that horror into a dystopian narrative, and wanted to retain some of the surrealist mystery as part of it. The end result was a disease that was less like zombies and more like Cthulhu.
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
The most consistent theme in my writing is that of the young outsider, the people on the margins who are well adjusted enough to fit in if they wanted, but who are also such mischiefs that they can’t do so happily. Almost all my work examines anxious, depressed, or lonely people that have never really been the center of attention but who, beneath their social antagonism, do want to have genuine relationships, are smart, talented, and have the potential to be world changers.
How long did it take you to complete the novel?
A week. That was the first draft. I was grinding out about 10,000 words a day during the Thanksgiving break. The first edit introduced a lot of dialogue, and the second edit polished up the rough edges, so the entire writing and editing process took about two months. I finished at the end of November and submitted it for consideration at the beginning of February.
Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.
I own and operate a writing and editing service so I write every day for a living, but my creative side comes in ebbs and flows. When I’m writing a book, I sit down every day and attempt to make sure I get out at least 2,000 words minimum, and 5,000 words ideally. Between books, I can let long periods of time go by while I’m trying to find new inspiration.
What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
It was actually the easiest thing I ever wrote. I think the challenge, for me, was integrating dialogue into the narrative. I wrote the original draft almost entirely past tense, since the narrative format is that of a person making an audio recording. Adding dialogue and action required me to be creative in switching to the present tense. In the end, it worked because as people, we switch between past and present tense all the time while narrating to one another. I just had to find the right cues that alerted readers to the switch.
What do you love most about being an author?
I get to explore worlds and inspire people. There’s nothing like getting emails or messages from people who’ve felt inspired by my characters or who are desperately seeking answers to the questions I’ve posed in my stories.
Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?
I was published through the Kindle Scout program, a kind of hybrid indie-traditional system. Amazon regularly promotes my work a few times a year, but I’m also responsible for some of my own promotion, although that isn’t too different from the way a small publisher operates. I retain full individual rights to the physical and audio copies as well as the movie rights.
As to whether I’m happy with it? Yes. I don’t think, as an indie author, I could have built my platform rapidly enough for my liking. I’ve had thousands of people buy the book and move on to the sequel, so Amazon has helped me expand my writer’s platform rather quickly.
Where can we find you on the web?
My Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/JasonLuthorWriting/ and you can find my website at jasonluthorwriting.com