I’m so glad you took your wife out to that dinner and she encouraged you to keep going. Thank you for the interview Jay and I can’t wait to read more of your work!! If you would like to find out more about Jay Asher you can visit his website or follow his fantastic blog.
JAY ASHER is the author of the incredible novel titled Thirteen Reasons Why. Once you pick this book off the shelf, you won’t be able to put it down! Jay also plays guitar and goes camping when he isn’t writing.
Since this blog is about offering inspiration to writers and artists, my first question for you is, do you have a favorite quote? If so, why is it your favorite?
“Well! Here comes ol’ Charlie Brown!”
That line wasn’t intended to be inspirational when it was written, but it is! It’s the text from the first panel of the very first Peanuts comic strip, and I’m a huge Peanuts fan. When he wrote that, Charles Schulz had no idea where his big-headed characters were about to take him. I love the idea that we, as artists, never know when we’ll create something which truly connects. All we can do is keep trying new things.
I suppose my second favorite quote would be from the first panel of the very first Calvin & Hobbes comic strip:
“So long, Pop! I’m off to check my tiger trap!”
How much of your life experiences play a part in your writing and the characters you create?
Most of the things I write about are completely made up, but my life experiences definitely shaped my understanding of the things I write about. Personally, I think fiction should be less about drawing directly from actual events, and more about trying to understand why people act certain ways. If you’ve experienced rumors even a little bit, you can probably write a compelling story about someone devastated by rumors. If you’ve ever been a little bit jealous, you can probably write a convincing story about someone ruled by jealousy. I think the most powerful writing comes when you write about characters you’re fascinated by rather than those who think just like you.
If you could go back in time, what piece of knowledge would you take back with you into the future?
I’m not sure what knowledge they had in the past that we don’t have access to now. Can knowledge be lost like that? I guess I’d like to go into the past, before anyone had video cameras, and see certain events for myself. Certain Biblical events, for instance. I’d like to just know what happened without any doubt.
In your writing career, who’s had the biggest influence on you? What did they do to inspire you to keep writing?
My wife. At one point, I’d spent almost twelve years trying to get published with many different manuscripts. I took her out to a fancy restaurant to let her know that I’d decided to stop writing. I was done with the rejections, and it was time to see what else I might be interested in. She began crying because she saw it as me letting go of my dreams. So I promised to give it one last shot with the novel I was working on at the time. Less than a year later, I sold Thirteen Reasons Why.
If you could be any hero, real or make believe, who would it be and why?
Superman, that was easy! Sure, I’d love to help people and save the world over and over again, but what I really want to do is fly.
When you first began writing Thirteen Reasons Why, was it the same idea that it is now? If not, how did it transform?
The book I set out to write from the very beginning is the same one that’s available for people to read. It was all about choosing scenes and characters that best got that original idea across.
If you could pick one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Right now? Overwhelmed. I’d actually like to be a little underwhelmed right now.