I posted a huge “HIDE HERE” sign outside the tunnel that leads to the isolation tank in hopes that Jason Thacker would be playing hide and seek in the woods. It took a while, but he fell for it just before I changed the sign to “FIGHT CLUB” (which may have worked quicker). He was hiding in the darkest corner under the stairs when I tossed in a barrage of questions.
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
All my life, I always knew I wanted to do something like this. I have always been coming up with ideas for stories in some shape or form. And I’ve always been a sucker for a good story, whether it was in a book, movie, or even a song. There’s really something special about feeling that connection to a character in a movie or book, or knowing exactly where a singer is coming from when they sing the lyrics of a song. That connection is what I wanted to make other people feel with my own work. It’s hard to put into words how it feels when somebody tells you they felt scared, happy, or sad when they read your story. The connection with readers is what I really strive for in my writing. If I can stir up somebody’s emotions with something I write, it’s worth more than anything else I could ever accomplish with this. It really is a great feeling.
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
Man, that’s a tough one. I’d have to keep my copies of “The War of The Worlds” and “Tom Sawyer”. Those are classics and two of my all-time favorites. Next I’m gonna keep the book I’m reading right now, my copy of Joe McKinney’s new book, “Inheritance”. So far, it’s awesome, and I’d really hate to never know how it ends! My copy of The Bible will always stay with me. It’s my guide, and really, some of the best stories ever told are in those pages. Lastly, I would have to save my old Boy Scout handbook! Cause if I’m freezing to death, I’m gonna need to know a thing or two after the fire goes out.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
The most challenging thing I’ve done with my writing is actually getting started. As I said earlier, I always had the desire to write, but my mind was filled with doubts. I had all of these ideas floating around in my head that I thought would make some really great stories or movies. The problem was I never could bring myself to actually put those ideas on paper. For years I considered giving it a try, but I never could take that next step. Then I was sitting around one day thinking of an idea, and a thought suddenly hit me… “What is stopping me from doing this?” It literally was like I’d been hit by a truck. I couldn’t think of a single reason that was stopping me from chasing my dream. So finally I took that next step and I never looked back. I really don’t know why I hadn’t given it a shot before then, but for some reason in that very moment, my life was changed forever.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
Worcestershire Sauce. It’s a toughy to spit out.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
I really like Ian from my short story “The Remedy.” He really embodies the everyday guy and he just has so much heart. When he was faced with a really terrible situation, he reacted with such bravery. It’s something that I really hope if I was to ever be in that type of situation, I would react the same way he did.
Also, I like Ed, the toothless zombie from The Hungriest Zombie. You cannot not like Ed! That would be just wrong.
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
Me, my wife, and some of our friends like to go four-wheeling. There is this old house that sits out in the middle of the woods by itself and has been abandoned for years. It’s so, so creepy to even drive by. It really just makes the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up. We got up the nerve to actually go inside of it one day. There’s stuff still in this house. An old stove, bed, and even some old clothes are still hanging in the closet. It hasn’t appeared in any of my stories… yet!
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
Oh man, I received the most awesome rejection the first time I submitted The Hungriest Zombie to an anthology. This was the first time that I ever gave writing for submission a serious try. I knew that I had so much to learn, and I was scared to death of what they would say about it. I somehow managed to push all of that doubt out of my head and actually send it in. I submitted it to 23 House’s zombie anthology, Dead Set. It was co-edited by one of my writing heroes, Joe McKinney, so this made me even more nervous. Well, I got the rejection email that I was expecting. It wasn’t really quite the blow I thought it was going to be. But I wanted to know what I did wrong. I knew I had a ton of mistakes in the story, but I wanted to find out what I could do to make me a better writer and make my story better. So I sent back an email telling them that this was my first ever submission and I asked what I needed to improve on in my writing. I never expected what a turning point that would be for me. The senior editor of 23 House, Mitchel Whitington sent me some amazing advice, along with links to different grammar websites to look over. And to my surprise, a few days later I also got a very unexpected email in my inbox. It was from Joe McKinney! Mitchel forwarded my email to Joe and asked if he would care to give me a few words. I talked to both Joe and Mitchel through several more emails. It was such an amazing experience, and I’ll never forget their generosity and help for as long as I live. I really do believe things happen in our lives that are meant to happen for a certain reason or another. And even though it was a rejection letter, I couldn’t have asked for anything better to have happened to me at that time in my writing career.
How did you get that scar?
Oh, you mean the scar on my eyebrow? Well, I used to be in a huge fight club. There were so many men that fell to my blazing fists, I can hardly remember. I had a cop stop me one day while I was just walking down the street with my hands in my pockets. He tried to arrest me and say I was concealing two deadly weapons in public. He was talking about my hands!
All right, it didn’t happen exactly like that. I was actually about 4 or 5 years old, playing hide-and-seek. I was pretty stinkin’ good at hiding too, might I add. I was hiding down in a clothes hamper in the bathroom. Well, the jig was up and the game had ended. They didn’t find me! So as I was getting out of the hamper, my foot got caught and I fell straight to the floor and smashed my head on the bottom of the toilet. I did put up a pretty good fight with the doctor at the ER when I was getting my stitches though. And I remember they had to strap me down… like a wild animal!
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
How awesome would that really be?! Believe it or not, this thought has crossed my mind quite a bit. Mine would definitely have to be Sad But True by Metallica. That song has quite possibly best beginning music in a song EVER! I would also want some pyro going off too, just like the wrestlers.
Promote yourself and/or your writing
Let’s see, my name is Jason Thacker, and you can find my books and short stories scattered about on places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords. I write about monsters in the night, the undead, and the living. My latest book is Dead Are Alive, it’s a zombie western that features plenty of guts, ghouls, and gunslingers. I also have a horror short story collection out called, King And Other Chilling Tales. Right now, I’m working with Dead Are Alive cover artist, Jason Notter on a comic book based on my short story, The Hungriest Zombie. It’ll be out later in 2013. Also I’m getting ready to team up with Eric S. Brown on a project that I’ve been cooking up for a while now. It’s a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type of ebook that’s geared more for us big kids who grew up reading those great books. If you want to keep up with the madness that we’re gonna unleash, you can visit my website. You can find links to my Facebook and Twitter pages there too.
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
Thank you for having me! It was awesome!
Thank YOU, Mr. Thacker, for entertaining us with your replies. I have a parting gift for you…an expired bottle of Worcestershire Sauce. Please leave Ed’s dentures by the door. Now turn to page 115 if you take the door on the right. If you choose the door on the left, go to page 439. And if you choose to go back to hiding under the stairs, take a flashlight and turn to page 311.