Jason Starr – Gotham! Wolverine! Red Border! Fugitive Red!

Casey got a chance to sit down and chat with writer Jason Starr about his comics and his novels. This one is a lot of fun. Jason is an incredible writer and we are lucky to get him on the show to share with us some of his time.

Find Jason online:

Transcript by Steve the drunk robot.

Jason Starr Interview with Casey – EDITED
[00:00:00] Kenric:Citizens for the Republic comes back to sport, the country. I’m kinda Gregan VAT is mr Horsley and today on the show.
John: Oh,
Kenric:Jason star, isn’t it?
John: It is. I gotta say, I laughed so hard to enjoy. I snorted.
Kenric:I love it. I love
John: Those those were listening. Can’t see it. We’re we’re on the video with the toast so I can see Karen can, you can see me and he’s doing his thing. He does miss his intro and I’m copying them and it’s making me laugh. And it was what today’s about Dixon star.
Kenric:today is about Jesus Dar a novelist. He’s done some TV writing
John: Yep. Comic books, graphic novels did some tie ins to the show. Gotham. He’s pretty prolific. It’s in a lot of stuff he’s written, um, you know, a lot of good stuff in case he sat down with them and had a conversation. And, uh, we’re excited for you to hear today.
Kenric:Cool. Well, instead of listening to us as spouse, a [00:01:00] bunch of bullshit, why don’t we just get right into it and listen to Jason and Casey in their own words? Okay.
Casey: Alright, everybody. Welcome again to another episode of spoiler country. My name is Casey Allen and today I’m talking to author Jason star. Jason Starr has written a ton of Hardwell detective and mystery novels. He’s written horror. He’s written comics, he’s written for the vertigo line. He has written Wolverine max.
He has written Punisher. This guy has done it all. He has movies in the works. And he’s going to talk to you about his career, about what he’s working on and what’s coming up. Jason, how you doing, man?
Jason: Sounds great. Yeah. Thanks for having me on.
Casey: That was a terrible intro, but we’re going to make up for it with the conversation.
No, no, man. People can see how awful I am. I. Because I’m going to the light that you shine off. Everybody else off of my bullshit will look so much better. [00:02:00] So you start, how does a, how does a playwright from New York city eventually, right. Wolverine. That’s what I want to know.
Jason: That is a, you’re right. That is an interesting path.
I started off writing after college. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t call myself a a playwright. I had some off off Broadway plays and that was my goal at the time, but it was all reading a lot of crime fiction and pay paid, written a lot of short stories. He’s in college and always had. I did my back of my mind, that novel.
Eventually, I got my first novel published after trying to evolve this toward writing Wolverine. And after that novel was published, I had, I must have published about like nine or 10 novels over the next like 10 years. And then because of my crime, I’d hang, um, some comics editors started approaching me about writing.
Introductions to graphic novels. One of them was a hundred bullets, spine as irrelevant, [00:03:00] and by doing so, by doing that, I got into conversations about pitching some original vertigo in. The first one I did for them was the chill, which was a graphic that was published about 10 years ago. And yeah, from that, it evolved where I was doing some.
Some work for DC. They did a a series with doc Savage, Batman and the vendor, and as a mashup series, and I wrote for that series and did a couple of one shots for, for DC, and then an editor at Marvel approached me, or I think actually a friend put us in touch and started pitching ideas there. And then, yeah, it evolved to do a hundred to one shot and then Wolverine and then an ad map.
Some other things. So yeah, so there’s no set path. I think that’s probably true of everyone in comics. It’s not like there’s a set career path than any comics writer I’ve met gone on. It’s just sort of [00:04:00] an ad hoc on the fly sort of career that everyone seems to have a different path for how they went about it.
Casey: I love that though. That’s so amazing that you’re able to go from, you know, one genre to another to, you know, you’re not, you’re not allowing yourself to get bored and, or boring even in, in a one particular thing. You, you want to constantly evolve and. And stretch your legs a little bit and
Jason: yeah, I’ve always done different types of writing.
I think the one consistent thing is that I’ve always wanted to write like dialogue stories, so that’s why I was doing plays. My novels are very dialogue driven. I was, I guess influenced back Elmore Leonard crime novels and Thompson. He’s fantastic. Jay James and McCain. Yeah, definitely that sort of dialogue driven, action oriented.
It sort of fit in for writing comics as well. And I, you know, it was interesting when I was writing for Marvel that a lot of [00:05:00] people who were, um, at Marvel, we went and had a conversation and had like, theater backgrounds. Like a lot of the editors, like they had worked in college, they’re involved in theater.
Yeah. So it’s sort of like a parallel that some people don’t talk about, but when you think about it, they’re both very collaborative. You know, you’re not doing it alone in theater, you know, the direct actors, and obviously the actors are involved, and it’s very similar in comics where it’s a team effort to create a, to create a comic.
So it’s that. But I think it’s also. And the writing stamp, how you set the scenes and you’re learning how to move a story forward just with dialogue. I mean with, with comics, it’s also the images obviously, but I think for me, one consistent Quincy to all of those different genres. I’ve written for is dialogue driven fixture.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. And so just because you, you’ve done so many types of of writing, it’s all dialogue driven, but the, the [00:06:00] collaboration isn’t always there. Like when you do your novels, your, your crime stuff and you, you’ve also done some, some horror stuff as well. What, what do you get the most out of it?
Jason: When I write, when I’m, when I’m writing my novels, I do a series character that goes from book to book.
And part of the reason for that is, as you were saying at the beginning, is that I kinda just, you know, I don’t want to be boring for myself. Like I just find it more interesting to start in a new world. Each time. So when I write a book, so I’ve never really had a detective hero that goes from book to book.
There’s some writers who have long careers doing that. Like with just writing one character. Yeah, basically. So I’ve always wanted to make, to mix things up. At this point in my career, I really like working on a novel. It’s sort of my, you know, long. It takes like a novel and a comic book, but also doing comics.
So it sort of energizes me to go back and forth from different. [00:07:00] Private object.
Casey: I kind of picked
Jason: some out. I don’t feel like just by doing one thing. Yeah.
Casey: I kind of picked that up from, from Greg Rucka the other day. I was talking to him and he kind of, it takes them a while to get into that mode for writing a novel because it’s, he’s in his head a lot are, do you find that this, that’s kind of the same thing for you, that it’s just, it’s really an insular thing?
Jason: Yeah. I mean it’s, you’re usually, you’re not sharing it with anybody. I mean, sometimes you might have to discuss it with an editor. For the most part, you’re working on something for a long time. We’ve got an officer just in your own head, and it’s nice to have the, I don’t know if Greg mentioned this, but to have like the gratification of finishing something to kind of give you a boost as you get along and you getting feedback.
So like we’re working on a comic or that some writers novelists working on short stories, something where you could feel the sense of complete for something that. [00:08:00] Kind of keeps you a little energized cause otherwise the only sense of completion comes when you actually finished your novel or it gets pumped process.
So I think you kind of hits of a validation feedback. You know, you, you’re in comics.
Casey: Oh yeah. I bet. When you’re writing like a large novel or something that it’s, it can feel like a Sisyphean task.
Jason: Just
Casey: pushing that Boulder.
Jason: Exactly. It’s a, uh, it’s a longterm thing. Almost like working out, like going to the gym.
Like you don’t see DV results like on a daily basis, you know, you start to see the results. You know, a month or two and it starts to feel kind of, it starts to feel like it’s going to be a book, but from a day to day basis, it’s hard to sometimes feel like you make this progress. So I think you have to figure out where it, like psychological treks with yourself to keep yourself engaged, engaged.
Casey: So what do you, what do you do to keep yourself engaged? Or is it changed every time? Is it something you have to constantly adapt to?
Jason: Well, [00:09:00] again, like I like the back and forth and have overtime comics at the same time, but I think part of it, if I was just working on a book alone, is just to set like the short term goals, you know, really focus on what you’re trying to accomplish for that day.
It could be a word count, like you want to write like a thousand words for the day. Hey, you could have a particular scene that you want to write. You might want to end on a high note, like when you know what’s going to happen. The next day to keep them a man. I mean, they’re also, I think every writer has their different strategies for doing that, but I think the key is that you, you want to stay engaged because it could be like a long lonely process.
Casey: Yeah, I bet. I bet so. Do you have anybody that that you can kinda count on to bounce stuff off of? Or are you, you’re just on your own when you’re writing those novels?
Jason: Oh, I don’t really like to discuss any works in progress, anything to anyone. So that’s another reason why it’s sometimes feel like you’re in an [00:10:00] abyss and yeah, some days you’re not as confident about what you wrote is other days and you kind of have to fight.
But yeah, I mean, some writers. Like just share their work. Some, even writers who are outside of creative writing programs like that, to have a book group where they could share their work, get some, get some feedback, and I could see why that would be valuable. For me, I just kind of feel like the more I talk about something, the more like energy is.
Getting released from the project and I just like to leave it all locked in and some days you’ll have negative emotions about it. You won’t be as good as other days, but as long as you keep going, I mean, you have the short term goal. Eventually. You start to see the results. Yeah, like analogy, it really has like, you don’t see your big muscles until you’ve been doing it for a few months.
Casey: I hear ya. You’re, you’re starting to break up a little bit. I kinda got a little fuzzy for a second
Jason: and give you
Casey: a heads up. [00:11:00] I’m going to, let’s see, eight 43 1805 okay, cool. I’ll tell them to, to cut my idiot self breaking in. But so yeah, you were, you were talking about, you know, having people that you talk to.
So it says on your Wikipedia, you’re a member of a literary circle. That has a bunch of big folks in it, the right
Jason: way. Smarter. I mean, who knows?
I don’t know why
Casey: that’s such a like, like what did you guys just all come together? Let’s be a circle. What does that mean exactly?
Jason: Yeah. It sounds very King.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. Or I’m
Jason: sitting around,
Casey: or the, what is the Niagara falls. Group with, uh, so,
Jason: uh, yeah.
Casey: So
Jason: yeah. No, I mean, I know everybody, I know everybody who’s listed there, and certainly [00:12:00] people who I’ve hung out with at bars, I know everybody pretty well in that group.
I wouldn’t say circle.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. It’s such an odd.
Jason: Exists. There are,
Casey: I don’t
Jason: know, man. Internet is, I think the internet has replaced it where we shared.
Casey: Yeah. I used to have a circle and then I got married and now we just get on Facebook and bitch about streaming videos. That’s, that’s about it.
Jason: Exactly.
Casey: Talk about. His, you go see that show? No, I have two kids. I didn’t go see that show. So yeah, you start, you started off with, with the, the, the crime stuff and you, you’ve done horror and you got into comics. And one thing that, that I’ve noticed. You’ve done some stuff with, with Batman. It seems like the people that get Batman the best are people who have a crime writing background.
Jason: Well, he is. [00:13:00] Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead.
Casey: Oh, no, no. It’s just like, it seems like that style of writing is, is kind of something that. That button need or else it is. It’s just silly.
Jason: But I think he’s a Batman this to him. And, and so in that sense, he does have like similar classic hard-boiled hero who kind of has some darkness in his past that he’s, I mean, you could certainly make.
And analogy between Batman and classic detective heroes from crime fiction. And also like the idea of like, you know, being though, and the hidden identity and, yeah, I mean it’s, it’s, it definitely has elements of, of classic crime fiction. I could see why, uh, you know, crime writers involved and also the whole world whole, you, the dark city, Gotham is almost, has filmed war sort of, I think.
Casey: Yeah, yeah. And in so much that like, what is it, Raymond Chandler books, San Francisco, I think is, [00:14:00] is kind of a character. And in Batman, Gotham is also very
Jason: much a character. Exactly. And that’s typical in a lot of. Crime section right there, like Michael Connolly’s Los Angeles or in, in modern times. But yeah, it would definitely be, I think that that’s one reason for sure.
Casey: So when, when you did your Punisher max series in 2012 did you utilize any of, if your, your background with, with the crime fiction in that, did that kind of come in. Come in handy as a tool for your Punisher series.
Jason: Well, the pressure was basically just a one shot. It was part of the Punisher max series.
Casey: Oh yeah. This
Jason: comes from AXA. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that was like one that was definitely in fact, that Marvel will wanted me to make that similar to some of my crime fiction. That was one reason why I set it in Brooklyn. I mean, a lot of Punisher stories are set in Brooklyn [00:15:00] anyway, but several of my novels are.
Set in Brooklyn. That’s where I’m from. So I definitely really wanted to write like Punisher meets a Brooklyn crime novel in that story. And then for Wolverine, when I started doing Wolverine, I think it was more, I don’t mean some polarity, crime writing I would think I could think of, is that just like a first person crime ruler from the point of view of Wolverine, like he literally fully, I think in every panel comic he narrates.
It’s totally his story. Almost the way a crime novel with like unreliable, viable. No, right or unreliable.
Casey: So I really enjoyed your, your, the returning that you did in 2014 with boom, boom comics. The, with Andrea Moody as, or I don’t know if I’m saying her last name right. I’m terrible with
Jason: Andre.
Casey: Sorry. Um, public school, [00:16:00] Alabama. So
Jason: now. Florida. Yeah. He really, he’s an Italian. Yeah, he’s done a ton of it. He’s on star Wars. He’s got a lot of good comics. Super talent for, yeah. He’s done stuff for boom, bro. Like a lot of surfing for Marvel and dark horse some lately. And
Casey: so what was your inspiration?
Jason: Very easy to work for. Um, Andre and I came up with turning was an idea that. Andre and I came up with together and I just thought it was a really idea, and that was an idea that we pitched around and got it to an editor at bloom eventually. So that was a lot different than sort of the work for hire stuff I had done.
At Marvel graphic novel, but this was definitely something we just came up with the characters and the story completely created him. Then we, yeah, we were just very excited concept and [00:17:00] felt for me create a plea that was like a super, essentially the show had a supernatural element. So I got, yeah, I guess I was just following it with the chill and it’s sort of interesting that like the first two graphic novels I did were heart-based cause I really hadn’t.
Written much pure horror crime fiction at that, uh, go to, uh, novels, which were werewolf novels, which also had a supernatural, uh, nothing is like far out as the, which was really like the most supernatural thing of it. So.
Casey: What is your interest in Indies and near death experiences? Was that just something that you thought was kind of cool to write about or was there anything more to that?
Jason: Well, obviously, yeah, we thought it was a cool idea. That’s always the most important thing for me. Dramatically. Like we had a very, I don’t want to give any spoilers to seek
Casey: out. Yeah,
Jason: exactly. We thought we [00:18:00] had like a twist on near death experiences that sort of like near death experiences meet the walking dead.
There weren’t really that UMBC in it, but we had a zombie. Like I’ll say, that sort of interested me like a way into a zombie story that wasn’t a small. Way in like using near death experiences for sure. Yeah, we’ll weigh in. And I was just sort of real cool or high concept I thought was just unusual. So yeah, for me, it’s always about the story and like, you know, sometimes I’ll come up with a concept that we’re theme that interests me, but I don’t really have like a great story for it.
So for me it’s like more important, like what the. Is the story going to be exciting and is it going to be a good twist?
Casey: That’s, that’s awesome. So I understand that your, your work has been, has been optioned. You’ve had several of your, your novels option for, for film.
Jason: How’s that been. [00:19:00] Yeah. Over the years I’ve had many tens.
I’ve written a bunch of screenplays. I usually try it again and it’s had to be the screenwriter sometimes that I’m able to do that. Sometimes I’m not, it depends on the, who’s involved with the DOL is taped color. I mean, currently one of my books, the follower. There was a re just totally adapted. It was part of my, my circle.
Yeah, right before that
Casey: guy, I never heard of
Jason: him. And he, he was, he adapted the follower for H it was set up at HBO and then it was. It has like a long, I mean, I was involved working on that with Brett so long and on this podcast for anybody wants to check that out. He has the Bret Easton Ellis podcast.
Casey: I’ve heard
Jason: him and we went in depth about the follower, but it was, it was set up at ours and then even it Showtime, we made like eight [00:20:00] episodes. Lionsgate was turned, hired him to write. Eight episodes. I mean, he did like a tremendous amount of work, like what was that like 400 plus pages of script and it was actually green lit and then it just didn’t the, they, they, we thought it Greenland for about a week, but suddenly we got the write back and I wrote a version of it and we have a new show runner and it seems to be.
I’m moving ahead at a new, at a new studio. So fingers crossed about that. That’s awesome. And the other one I’m excited about is cold caller a Baptist viruses. So, you know, I think everyone’s hoping that their Hollywood projects that were pre virus can continue on afterwards. So we’ll see what happens with that.
But yeah, and PA panic attack under by Ted Griffin who wrote. Ocean’s 11 but he’s adapting that himself. I’m not involved in the screenwriting of that one, and [00:21:00] a couple of other books are just in various stages of development over the years. They’ve had, you know, different level of involvement in those projects.
I, as much as I can in the writing, I can, depending on the project, I can’t always do that. You know, sometimes I’m, sometimes I’ll step aside and someone else will be the writer.
Casey: Is it hard to let go of your babies when that, when that occurs
Jason: times. I think the plus side that having written a decent number of books and having, you know, and having different comics project control, right.
A little bit more than others in development does that I’m almost only attached to anyone. A project, so it’s easier to elect. I think if I had written like one or two books that I really spend checking on and yeah, I know people who write, who are memoirs and it’s extremely personal and they can’t let go of that and understand.
But I think it’s a little easier for me because I figured like, Oh no, I’ll write the other [00:22:00] one. Or sometimes they have like an attitude, you know, I’ll just, some, it will be optioning at it. I’m not. A hundred percent sure. I’m confident that that’s actually didn’t get made, but there I wanted the option money, so I figured, well, let’s see if they could actually do it and then I’ll get the up.
If I get the rights back, I’ll try to do it myself. You know? I’m able to take more of a stand like that. Having the number of books that I’ve written.
Casey: I hear ya. I hear you. So I really want to ask you about, I don’t know if it’s too soon to talk about it, but you have, uh, I, I’m guessing is tentatively now expected to be released in October.
It’s a comic called red border with, with
Jason: artists, Conrad red borders out right now. Really? The first issue was last two weeks ago.
Casey: Holy smokes. How, how has that been?
Jason: So I can talk about that.
Casey: Awesome. Awesome. Okay. I looked at the, on the thing, Google is wrong that maybe that’s when the end of it as expected, but they said
Jason: six maybe.
Maybe you’re looking at [00:23:00] the trade. Maybe you’re looking up at the trade paperback.
Casey: Oh, gotcha.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. So you could ask me, ask me about the boardroom. You want to edit this?
Casey: So, so tell me about red border man.
Jason: A red border, a new comic series that’s just out that you want is out. Huh? Um, expired, a company called AWA, uh, upshots. It’s a new comics company that you’re going to be hearing and it’s, it’s set up by Axel Alonso, who was editor in chief. Amazing mobile of Marvel. Yeah.
And who I worked with at Marvel on Wolverine and a man, man, a novel that I wrote there. And also build JMS. And who was also at Marvel and. Yeah. There’s an incredible list of writers who already have involved, including some personal heroes like Garth Ennis is move out, but at [00:24:00] there, the first set of novels was just a, I’m sorry, a comics was just published.
They include food in red border, which is the one I did with will Conrad as the artist, and we’ll, Conrad’s done some amazing work at DC. Marvel. Just about everywhere.
Casey: Yeah, his style,
Jason: his fashion, and yeah, so that right now on the Mexican border, and it’s, it’s about a young couple with water and Corrina, and be basically a cartel because one of them was going to testify at a cartel in Juarez now that now their cartel is after them and they have to make a run for it and try to get across the border and they wind up in a worst situation across the border of hiding in this.
House and on the Texas side of the border. So it’s sort of like getting out of the frying pan and like getting right into the fire and action horror novel. It’s sort of like a comic. It’s sort of like Sicario meats get
Casey: out. It’s
Jason: nice describing it to people.
Casey: That sounds [00:25:00] fantastic. And yeah. The, the thing about axle Alonzo, every creator that I’ve seen that he’s lined up for AWA, it seems there’s nobody on that list that I’ve seen that’s been like, I’ve been lukewarm about.
Everybody that he has lined up is
Jason: just
Casey: fantastic. He has an eye for talent, so I can’t wait to see what this company is going to be, what else they’re going to be doing, because it’s
Jason: really. Right now, red border is out hotel, which was an anthology horror series is out. It’s getting great reviews.
Archangel has is getting some great reviews and the the, the resistance is the beginning is a comment that was just, yeah. Which was, is the beginning of a new universe of. AWA superheroes, and it’s sort of an opportunity to build out a superhero universe with planning involved rather than it, it’s happening the way it did Marvel in sort of like a more ad [00:26:00] hoc way over the years.
The advantage that we have is axle and some of the creative council they have have at. AWA, they have really done a lot of planning and working out like every details of how this universe is going to evolve and it’s going to be many. New heroes and Conex coming out of this university for one was the resistance, but they’re also doing comic, similar to red border, which are high concept thrillers, could easily be action movies or horror movies, or definitely genre oriented movies.
And yeah, so they have a big plan of how to break out in Hollywood. With some of this stuff also, and it’s an exciting company to be involved with.
Casey: Oh, I bet. I bet. So do you mind if I ask you just like a writing question, just and sure. In general, so going from like the, the more like ground level, like [00:27:00] thriller and like crime stuff that you’ve written.
And then going from that to writing superheroes is it? And you’ve like, you’ve done it, man, you’ve done other stuff like that. Batman. Is it, is it hard to make that transition? Do you have to be in a certain head space to go from, I don’t know, writing, you know, a crime novel to justice incorporated or whatever.
Is it.
Jason: Yeah, to some degree. Um, I think some of the comics have coincidentally or not coincidentally, have been on the darker, edgier side of the comics genre. Certainly Wolverine and the hundreds per day 17 and up. We, there’s the chill was definitely a way that the fraternity, but then I didn’t do the ant man novel, which is definitely more teen.
Oriented. That was the one I would think of is superhero novel where the heroic, and there’s really not any, I mean obviously admin that has to have a tough, fun, dark side compared to. Wolverine, who [00:28:00] has like a deep anger or, or even bad man, and it’s more of, you know, he has a crime past, but like, he’s definitely a hero in more traditional Marvel and, but not for me.
It’s always a challenge to do something different that I haven’t necessarily done before. Some of the stuff I’ve done in the past I seem to wind up doing because I’ve done it before and I think editors know I, I can do that type of story. But yeah. I know myself that I’d all hero stories and the Gotham novels that I wrote, um, based on the TV show Gotha I wrote two Gotham novels that tied into the show.
One was a prequel for the sheriffs took place between seasons two and three. So they actually fit into the timeline of the, of the series. Those, those books. Definitely. I had to have like more of a, uh, you know, a traditional. It’s good to hear a perspective because, um, I’m writing for like a different audience.
So to me it’s, [00:29:00] it’s a challenge to do something. I have, particularly those two I mentioned with the Batman and Gotham, because I had to really tie into an existing world, which was, which is a challenge. Like it was something I’d never done before. Like having to really see every episode of a show. Oh. And or.
Really know ant man’s character and know it was going to happen or that movie to be able to write that novel. So for me, that’s also something that sort of energizes me, like coming up with the challenge that they haven’t done before.
Casey: That’s, yeah, I can imagine. So when you, you did the Gotham stuff that was based off of the television series, did you, who did you work with to, to.
To write those D, were you under like, I guess like WB or foxes purview or was it,
Jason: yeah, it was complicated. It was, it was Fox and then WV was the, and then Titan, which is a publishing company in England, but also from the U S they publish [00:30:00] widely, both in England and North America. Yeah, so they do arrive.
How to tie in novels at time. They were doing TC. Now, lately, the Marvel, now I’ve also, ironically, they published a paper back of my aunt man novel as well, but that’s how I was dealing with, mainly with the editor at, but we had to get everything approved by the producers at Warner brother and the writing staff.
For the TV show. Awesome. So, so yeah, so it was, I just told you how, I don’t usually like to talk too much about my ideas. I like to keep the,
Casey: if you’re under a microscope, they’re
Jason: so totally out the window. Yeah. That project. Yeah.
Casey: So, so one of the guys
Jason: discuss everything.
Casey: Say one of the guys that I, forgive me, I do not know how to say his name.
He’s the co founder of TKO. Yeah. He, he’s, he was one of the, the head guys on Gotham. He, I [00:31:00] think he was the other writer, director, producer of, of Gotham. And I wonder if you had any, any direct involvement with, with him? He seems like a really cool guy.
Jason: Yeah.
Casey: And TGO is putting out some amazing stuff.
Jason: We did it.
It was definitely the head writer there. They would always, I think on one company, another color. It was two writers who were kind of just the vetting to make sure, basically. We didn’t give away any plot points that were going to be. Uh, revealed on the show, which totally makes sense. I understand that they wouldn’t want me to spoil, and that was the main thing, but sometimes they were particular about something that, yeah, there have a particular note about something with Bruce Wayne or housework.
But yeah, no, it was tough to have, to not only plot out book with the Aflac. Like a very long on an outline, but then too, when, when the book was written, I, I think actually now I’m recalling [00:32:00] it was various stages. The writers had to approve the outline and then they had to. Approve the actual novel, so, Oh wow.
Casey: That’s like the literary equivalent of like writing with, you know, one hand tied behind your back or what? I don’t know. So it sounds
Jason: like a lot of it’s definitely with work, you know, because it wasn’t only the writing, it was also watching the show, which I enjoy. And when I got involved in writing them, I was watching the show anyway, so I was like, Oh.
Oh yeah. Yeah. But I wouldn’t describe it as being,
Casey: no, no, not at
Jason: all of them. And more challenging was definitely one of the more challenging projects I’ve done because of all the different moving parts.
Casey: Yeah. It’s like putting together a puzzle that. You know, you, you, I don’t know, you’re missing pieces or you, you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like or something.
It’s, it seems like a lot of hard work, whereas, you know, you’re doing it your regular stuff and you can do whatever you [00:33:00] want to cause it’s your characters, but,
Jason: well, yeah. Yeah. And then on top of getting approval for everyone, you have to still now the, you know, come out with a hope spot to come up with the whole plot.
And then the. Yeah, the getting down the mice and the attitudes of all the different characters on the show. It was fun. It was fun to do that, but it was definitely not like an easy and easy job.
Casey: So when you started in writing, like what, what was the thing that, that got you that made you realize, Oh, this is what I want to do for a living.
This is what I want my life to be?
Jason: Um, that’s a good question. Was very idealistic and I liked and just loved creating characters and writing dialogue and telling stories and making shit up. Right. So, uh, I guess I just found it fun and I wasn’t, um, thinking all that logically about like, what. Career would look like [00:34:00] because definitely either net navigating, writing career to have done basically full time for years, but doing various different.
Writing work, you know, it’s not the, it definitely is not like, it’s not as predictable. It’s like having, you know, your salary is every year and you know, so there’s definitely probably career side of it from just a pure writing standpoint. It was just fun and it was what I loved to do. So I’ve seen, yeah, it doesn’t even seem like work sometimes to be writing, you know?
It’s just fun. Like writing a common, it’s fun. I’ve, I’ve heard, I’ve had. Right or phone. I said, fine offer or opportunities to adapt their screenplays in certain situations. Like there was option, there was an offer to be the screenwriter, and I’ve had, I know there’s some people who have like turned, it turned down like writing the screenplay.
They would say like, no, they’re too busy and I just can’t understand it. Like I’d be like, what? That’s like. [00:35:00] W when I was starting writing, like if someone I would write, like I would adapt, like one of my novels is a screen and play for free back then. Like now if someone’s hiring to do it, like how could you even a part of me is like, how could you possibly turn that?
Yeah, I understand. There’s sometimes like there’s business reasons why you can turn it down. It might not be enough money, but, but just collate the idea that you’re going to be paid. Adapt your novel as a screenplay like seems like a dream come true to me. Like how does anyone want to turn that down?
Casey: So I really, do you mind talking about the Maxon Angeles series you did with Ken Bruins?
Jason: yeah. Sure, sure.
Casey: I look like, okay. As somebody who appreciates like the covers to the old pulp novels, these are fantastic. I love it. So how did you end up working with Ken Brewin?
Jason: Well, those books are published by Hart case crime and the publisher. really has like a really interesting background [00:36:00] himself.
He works as an investment bank or during the day. He still has that day job and hard case crime has, I think it’s over 100. Books at this point, and they’re in there on their list. And yeah, they’ve published a lot of great novels. They publish a lot of Lauren’s block, a lot of Macs. Alan Collins, their biggest books with a couple of Stephen King novels that they published that were obviously major bestsellers.
Um, so these hard case crimes started, I think it was around 2005, 2006 and. I can’t remember if he wrote to me or somehow we can online and he asked me to, if I wanted to write. Something for them, but at the time I was sort of under contract with another publisher and my agent didn’t think it was a good idea to just write under my own name.
But Ken and I can ruin, we’re talking just amongst ourselves about co co writing a novel. [00:37:00] And so I thought like, Hey, like if we could write something that would be like different than it wouldn’t really be competing against my own books. What can ends on books. So Charles at heart case, like the idea and form was called bust.
Bust was actually, I had that, I had not published that. I wrote like after my second novel, and it was. I just didn’t feel like it was all there yet, but it was something I always liked, but it wasn’t all there yet. So I talked to him like, actually, I have this book, sort of rewrite it together because it is basically a plot, and that’s what we did.
It was like a rewritten book that I’d already written. Wow. I mean, we moved, we did some heavy on it, like it basically had this 10 plot, but a couple of characters were different. Ed. Candice from Ireland. So through the characters became Irish. And then part of the challenge of writing with Kenmore, because we have very, not only different backgrounds and styles, he writes novels.
He writes the Jack Taylor. [00:38:00] Novels. If anyone has, might’ve seen someone might’ve seen, like on the, on Netflix, there’s a series that’s Jack Taylor. That’s basically, they’re nice, but that’s there’s of novels that came up. Yeah. But his, his novels are definitely written in a very vernacular Irish style, and.
Much different than my sort of straight hard-boiled style that I have. So we had to merge our styles. So at first it wasn’t working and I just told Ken, I think it’s only going to work if you try to write like me and I tried to write like you, and that’s what we did. Like we sort of like met in the middle that we definitely occasionally alternate chapters.
Sometimes I would start a chapter and he would finish it or he’d be working on my chapter 10 while I was writing, writing chapter two like. Even now, like I’m not sure how we actually pulled it off, but we did it and then we did like three other. Novels together. So yeah, we wrote were written four novels together.
Casey: That’s amazing. That’s [00:39:00] amazing. And I love that
Jason: you, you, you
Casey: both kind of had to learn to adapt on this. And, and it’s a teamwork where we’re normally, you don’t get much teamwork. So I’m, I’m sure it was a, a learning experience for both of you that were, it
Jason: happened to work in me. I’ve tried to collaborate in other situations where it didn’t work out as well.
For whatever reason. It’s hard to predict cause like on paper it would seem like this would be a situation where it would not work. Like our styles. We’re not. So he’s in Ireland, have a New York, like it seems like how possible. And it occurred to me, I mean, the main, these sorts of collaborations, and this might be one of the reasons why it’s often, uh, a, a mother, daughter, team, father, son, team, or it’s off from relatives or people who know each other.
Well, who would collaborate. Yeah, but we had similar, definitely. If you can have a different vision for where we’re going to go, [00:40:00] like someone can’t be wanting to write something like dark and edgy and unrelenting and somebody wants to write like a romance comedy, like it would more. Right. So you have to have the same, I think the having the same vision as much important, more important than the same voice.
But the other factor I think is key is that like each writer there has to know what their role is in the process. I’m involved in situations where there’s so much ego and evolved, or even, I just know of other situations where someone would eat egos involved with writers wanting online in or their, you know, their.
There’s a version of a chapter and the way Ken and I did it, like if he did something better or came up with a better line, and I did that. Great. We were both and same, same way. It worked the other way also, like we didn’t really, we weren’t trying to like one up. Each other. We just, and I think we had this conversation when you said, once we, it’s just by both of us.
Like, it’s almost like we’re not the [00:41:00] authors anymore. It’s like the new author. Oh wow. So like, so like we can’t, there’s really no reason to have any, uh, go involved or, or any competition. And sometimes working works and sometimes doesn’t. But I think if you’re collaborating with somebody and it’s endless emails back and forth in your, you know, arguing.
Silly points, like you’re not going to get it done. Like in Ken and I, like we never had like one con, like literally no conflict about anything. Somehow just worked.
Casey: Any plans for a fifth book in that, in
Jason: that it would be, I mean we took us, I think the first one was like 2006 and in 2008 2009 nine and then we did like 2016 for 2017 we did like a 41 but.
I doubt it. Like I don’t think I would probably do too, but I don’t think he wants to. I wouldn’t suggest rewrite a scored story and he just wanted me to do it. So I don’t know. I think he’s, I think he’s beyond [00:42:00] working on this, but I do think like if we were just, if we were never writing our own books and we’re just writing those books, like we could have done like four or five a year.
Oh yeah. It was like we wrote themselves fast, like, yeah.
Casey: It looks like you had fun in the process of it too. Yeah. That’s amazing. So do you have anything else on the horizon that you’d like to talk about before? I don’t want to take up too much of your time.
Jason: What else do I have? I have for my last crime novel was called feud red, and now hardcover and paperback.
But I have a novel that I. Just to finish that. I’m just working on edited. I’m not really talking about too much, but it’s, so it’s different from previous books. It’s another departure for me. It’s more of a scifi. Oh really? Ultimate reality thriller. So it’s definitely another thing I haven’t really done before.
So. We’ll see if I pulled it off. I respect
Casey: the hell out of that, that you’re, [00:43:00] you’re able to just kind of move on and try new things and that’s just fun, man. That’s so cool.
Jason: Well, sometimes it’s fun, but sometimes one is to mix it up and keep myself challenged, like I was saying earlier and keep it fresh.
But. Also, I think, and this is key, like if anybody out there is trying to have like long careers here, there’s going to be points in your career. Really have to reinvent yourself and it’s very difficult to just do the same thing at a rager a, I think it’s more difficult now than it used to be because editors are constantly moving around.
It’s hard to find that sort of consistency. I had a publishing company and the publisher, as we all know, the publishing world has changed ebook, etc. I think there’s going to be times in your career where just from a marketing standpoint, you’re going to want to do something different to sort of get it, you know, if you’re switching public poachers to get a new publisher interested in you, you scored an agent’s, you have any, um.
You want to show that you did, [00:44:00] the book you’re writing is going to be different than the other books. And just from a selling standpoint, you know, now like if you were pitching, have like the same type of TV show all the time, you’d want to say, this one’s going to be a thriller. This one’s gonna, you know, this is a sitcom, you know?
So you want to have different things on your slate. I think it’s similar to building a career. As a writer. Awesome.
Casey: And is there any one genre that you’re really wanting to explore that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Jason: Uh, definitely. And that’s why I’m doing this, uh, this book. You know, I, I, I guess, you know, I went, you know, fugitive read, which was a crime novel that was somewhat in a similar style of stuff I’ve done before.
Somewhat similar to books like twisted, sturdy, or cold caller. Some of my earlier novels, I would definitely write more crime fiction. I’m just not sure if it will be that sort of crime fiction. I think one thing I have not done that it also touched [00:45:00] on earlier is write a. A series character, like a detective hero, or even even, even if it was a Ripley, Tom Lee S antihero, they just went on from book to book.
That is something I’ve not done in crime fiction or thrillers like having a recurrent character set. I think that’s something I would, uh,
Casey: well, one thing’s for sure with our current situation. You have plenty of time to think about it. Have you been any more or less. Productive in writing since, so in anybody listening in the future right now, this is April 6th, 2020 we are in the midst of the covet 19 outbreak.
Shit is bad. New York has shut down a bunch of other places are all the coastal places. The sensible coastal places are shut down. Alabama, where I live is the wild West. People don’t know what to do because it’s our [00:46:00] governor’s a moron. And everybody listens to the president and just praise. So yeah, we’re dealing with that.
Sorry for that. Commentary, but have you been any more or less productive since all this stuff has happened?
Jason: I think pretty much about the same. Yeah. I think the, the post, uh, code 19 publishing world, I think, well, first of all, I expect everyone’s books finished and. Agents and publishers might be initially in India with books and with an unpredictable supply chain.
Because at this point, if I’m right now, like no one, no one’s score exactly what’s going to happen, how long this is going to last, how it’s going to affect the bookstores and the book industry. So I think there’s going to be a little uncertainty. After this, but from my point of view, I’m just, I’m trying to finish my book and stay and stay focused.
I’m still, I’m working on red border, you know, still [00:47:00] coming out. One thing I’ll say is like, because of covert 19 and diamond, not distributing to comic book stores, if you want to read, water’s come out. The other issues of being published, but we’re also releasing them on. And you can actually, and you could download.
As of right now, the first several episodes are up right now on web tune. You can just go to a web tool type in red boarder scribe. I start reading the series, an entire series going to be up there. This was part of the plan before. Yeah, the virus outbreak there was, uh, they wanted to simultaneously publish on, on web tune in different format.
Um, and you’ll see, check it out. Amazing job of like adapting the comics to like the web tune format and also get your hands on. Try to get your hands on red border, number one, because I think because of the virus, it’s going to be a big collector. I don’t think the, the usual [00:48:00] distribution was out on, uh, when it, when it was released.
Casey: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I was actually thinking not long ago that the collectors market for comics during the, you know, the past few months are going to be pretty interesting. Just purely for the reason
Jason: that the AWA ones, the first, the first one, yes. The number ones.
Casey: And I’m glad you talked about how AWA is handling, you know, putting that comment up online for people to get it.
And so one thing I always ask bef before we head out. We want comic shops to stay open. We love comic shops. They are the, the lifeblood of the comics industry. No shops means that you can’t sell the comics. Do you have a particular comic shop that you, that you’re fond of?
Jason: Well, cause I’m living in New York.
Midtown comics is my direct comic shop. Nice.
Casey: Nice. So yeah, mid town, good people there. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this store, especially, never been to [00:49:00] New York. I think New York would kind of freak my Bain. It’s too big. And
Jason: there’s. And Midtown is very active at Comicon, at New York Comicon. Also.
They have like a big w, but yeah, they’re definitely going to be under a lot of strain as, as the whole industry in the hall, one of the whole country. So everyone’s just hoping there’s a sense of normalcy when it comes, when, when things return.
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. So, so you guys, red border number one find that.
Get it. Jason Starr, author of twisted city, a tough luck. The craving, which is fantastic werewolf book and so many other novels. I’m looking at all the covers of your novels right now and Oh my gosh, man, you could, you could. Worst case scenario, you could use them in and hit people with them if they try to run into your house because of, you have a ton of books to throw at people.
If, God forbid, things get really crazy and people [00:50:00] are breaking into houses, these are fantastic. But dude, thank you so much for talking to me and it’s a crazy time right now for, for writers in the comic industry and you know, just writers in general, I guess. So thank you for taking time out of your day and I really, I really can’t wait to read a red board cause that looks amazing
Jason: and I hope you like it.
Casey: Alright. Thank you very much, Jason. Sorry you have a good evening. Okay,
you too. Thanks. Bye. Bye.
Kenric:Hey, we’re back.
John: were black. What’d you think.
Kenric:uh, Jason seems cool, man. You know? So I’m excited. I’m going to try to pick up some of those books and check out what he’s got to offer because I’m always down to learn about new people and new books.
John: When you always want to read too. I mean, our, our tagline opened your mind, read more. We’re always reading. Yeah. And. Yeah, I think it’s funny. Cause like everybody listened to him. I was like, Oh, that was cool. Oh, that was cool. I, [00:51:00] I feel like, I feel like we’ve been, we’ve been lucky to have a lot of really cool people on the show and it’s a lot of chill people that have great conversations. And I don’t know if it’s because. I think it’s because, Um, we just attract cool people. That’s all.
Kenric:Yeah. We just attract the coolest. Oh, they’re cute list. Yeah. I love it. It’s a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun on the show. We’re really lucky to meet
John: We do, we have too much fun.
Kenric:Yeah. Well.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Kenric:you guys enjoyed that, then I highly suggest I highly implore you to go over to spoil the verse.com and not only check out what spore the country has with all the authors and all the artists and all the directors and producers and sound guys and engineers and Oh my God, all the pop culture phenomenons that are on that, that we’ve interviewed. We have other podcasts that for you guys to enjoy, we have, if you’re a star Wars fanatic, go check out shooting the SIF. Robert Salinsky is talking star Wars all the goddamn time. He loves it. If you’re [00:52:00] into geek culture as a whole and how things cross contaminate each other, go check out, bridging the dictum.
They were just a huge instrument and getting the, what’s it called, the, the Snyder cut release. And
John: Cut. Yeah, he was so
Kenric:that show was all about that, that movement for so long, and now that they’ve announced it, the Snyder cut is going to happen in 2021. On HBO max. It’s huge. And if you want to learn more about that, George checkout, bridging the kingdom.
And if you’re a video game fanatic, you mean you know, maybe you love playing, sitting down, playing some games. I’ve been known a time or two to waste many an hour and fallout 76 and others. And if you’re like me, go check out polygon warriors. Hell, if you love music, and he tends to concentrate a lot on like metal.
And death metal and speed metal and all the different metals up your ass that you can think of, but he also has [00:53:00] other people on that you would not expect to be on that show that has a country and pop and everything else. Check out misery point radio with Mike peacock. It’s, it’s amazing.
John: Yeah, and you should go to dot com and you should also check out articles by Sarah K on the paranormal and by Jay Roach on what he had for lunch or what music he likes or all this kind of fun stuff he writes about, or all the articles that Colton and Robert Wright as well. There, there’s just so much for you to read and to listen to, and you can watch there’s more there’s videos of us and our pretty faces out there. You can go do that and took it all out.
Kenric:maybe you’re a fan of spoiler country and you listen to us all the time, and you notice that during the interviews that 99% of the time it’s just Kenrick and you want to hear this guy, mr Horsley. Well, he has a whole other show. He’s got actually two other shows. He’s got one that he’s just talked to himself into the ether called that comes out every Saturday.
And then he’s got one that he hosts with my niece, his wife, Kailey called the haphazard adventures. And maybe you’ll be into [00:54:00] that. So lots of stuff there to go enjoy. So they’ll check it all out please. And if you do all that, and you do like it, like us on Facebook, like us on Twitter, and when you go to your podcast and you type in spar the country, hit subscribe, leave us a review.
It helps us out tremendously.
John: Yeah. And download all the episodes to just hit, download all it’s it’s it’s not going to figure a phone up too much. It’s only 360 episodes
Kenric:them there.
John: Get all the phones, download them all. Trust me. It’s it’s for the best. That way. If you, if you have no service, you can still listen to them. It’s not a big deal. It’s
Kenric:It’s no big deal. It’s all good. All right guys. I think that’s a show, Johnny.
John: That’s a, that’s a
Kenric:Alright, well, don’t forget then it oceans or podcasts.
John: We are to do Lou.
Kenric:And browse you to do
John: Open the mind.
Kenric:rude more.

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