Today we are delighted to interview Author Jason Pellegrini, who received overwhelmingly positive feedback amongst readers on Amazon and Goodreads with his debut novel, The Replacement, releases his second novel this November. Entitled Booth, Pellegrini’s latest release is an intense story of a man’s journey to the past to earn redemption for his damned soul.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
I don’t try to limit myself when it comes to reading. I believe that if I am to grow as a writer, I need to expose myself to as much literature, across the board, as possible. It’s the only way I’m going to learn and broaden my horizons.
I’m also not that picky from a reader’s standpoint, either. As long as a story can draw me in, and keep me compelled, I consider myself satisfied. I’ll never shun away a specific genre for the sole reason that it has a certain reputation, or is marketed towards a specific demographic. Like I said, as long as the story is there, I’m interested!
How do you find your inspiration?
I find that my inspiration can come from anywhere, and there’s nothing specific that serves as the catalyst for a story. I’ve had ideas come to me from listening to a song, or looking at a photograph. Sometimes there’s something going on in a friend’s life, or in the world that gets the creative juices flowing. Usually, if something resonates with me enough, it will lead to me coming up with some sort of story idea.
What inspired your current story?
The inspiration for Booth came from Stephen King’s 11/22/63. While reading King’s novel about a person who travels back in time to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I thought it would be cool to write a story surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. I’ve always had a fascination with that event, and I knew enough details about it that I thought it would be a project I could really get into.
I quickly came up with plot, and almost abandoned my first novel, The Replacement, to start working on it. My plans were thwarted, however, when I told a friend about my idea, and he proceeded to punch numerous holes in the plot. Needless to say, my enthusiasm was deflated, and once I realized he was right, I abandoned the project.
The desire to write a story about Lincoln’s assassination never left me, though, and I found myself returning to the idea. It didn’t take long to come up with a concept to build off of, and once I found it, the story came together quickly. I returned to the friend who shot down my original idea, and when I presented to him the new one, he told me I had a winner, and I knew I had what was going to be my next novel.
How does your story stand out from the crowd?
I’m a believer in the saying that every story that can be told has already been written, and you just have to make it your own. Like I stated earlier, a Stephen King novel was the inspiration for Booth, but other than focusing around a presidential assassination, the two works could not be any more different. That’s because I took a concept, and turned it into something original.
I believe the best way to make a piece of literature stand out from the crowd is through its characters. Characters are the driving point to any good story, and strong character development is always something I put a lot of focus on, and effort into. I want to make sure that when the book is finished, and back on the shelf, the reader is still thinking about the characters, and the journey they had just gone on.
What is your writing schedule like?
I try to write as frequently as possible. To keep a frequent schedule, one has to find the optimal time in the day where they are most productive. For me, that time is in the morning. I know they aren’t for everyone, but, luckily for me, I am a morning person, and I find myself far more motivated to do the work than I am in the evening. For those who don’t know, writing can be like any other project after a long, hard day. Looking at that laptop after a day of work can be the equivalent of looking at that sink full of dishes that need to be cleaned; you want to do the work, but you just don’t have it in you, because you’re exhausted and you just want to relax!
When I am writing, I try to do a thousand words a session. Most of the time I hit that goal. Sometimes, if I am having a creative day, I do more, even double. On the other end of that, if I am having a bad day, I’ll do less. I never stress over not hitting a word goal. It’s not the end of the world. If the ideas aren’t flowing, I’m not even going to try and force it. I just close my laptop, and spend the day figuring out how to get past my block, whether it is trying to solidify an idea I have, or the best way to express that idea in writing. Sacrificing a day of writing to think it over is far more productive in my eyes than forcing out some crap that’s just going to get reworked in revisions and edits just to hit some arbitrary word count goal. Not all work that goes into creating a novel has to do with getting the words on the paper!
What is your biggest fear when writing?
That I’ll have an idea that I think is really good, but won’t be able to find the words to properly express and portray the idea on paper. I’ve found myself hitting bumps in the road before when it comes to getting the words out. Usually, I just take the day to sit on it, and mull it over. By the time I sit back down to write again, I’ve figured out the best way to say what it is I want to say. So I’d have to say that my biggest fear is that the bump will become a wall that is impassable, and I’ll never be able to properly portray my great ideas on paper.
Do you have any crazy/unusual writing habits?
So I mentioned earlier that if the creative juices aren’t flowing, and the ideas just aren’t there, I’ll shut down my laptop, and call it a night. Well there are also days where the ideas are there, and I know I can get them out, but they’re just not crossing the mental threshold. At times like this, I’m obviously not going to call it quits. If I do, I risk losing the idea all together. So I step away from the computer to collect my thoughts. Now, back when I used to smoke, I’d step out for a cigarette, and that would help. I don’t smoke anymore, so I’ve been forced to find new methods of clearing the cobwebs.
One strange habit that I’ve grown out of was going outside, and just stand out there for a few minutes, as if I was still a smoker, and was stepping out for a smoke. Just without the cigarette. I’ve since replaced that with some equally strange habits. Such as laying across my sectional couch, and dangling my head over the side. No idea why I do this. I highly doubt the rush of blood flow to my head is increasing my creativity. I just do it, and sometimes it helps my push through my temporary mental block.
Booth will be available for purchase on Amazon.com, Amazon Kindle, and Barnesandnoble.com on November 22, 2016. There will also be a limited print pre-order version of Booth sold directly through Pellegrini’s website, starting October 24th, and running through November. This edition will feature an alternate cover, and will be signed by the author and numbered.