Today, we are speaking with author Daron Everett Jones. A native of northern California, Daron is a graduate of California State University. He writes in the dark thriller genre and has published several shorter works. His first full-length novel, The Godplay Dare is set to be released in 2019! You can learn more about Daron on his WEBSITE.
You’ve mentioned before that you’ve had a fascination with urban legends and eerie/bizarre mysteries since childhood. What is it about those stories that you think interests you so much?
“Urban mysteries and legends, to me, set the perfect tone and atmosphere for suspenseful, scary storytelling. It’s like having built-in foreshadowing. Just by describing the sinister nature of some frightening tale or myth, a certain feeling is created without having to completely lure the reader into the experience through descriptive prose.
I think the world could use more of these kinds of legends, because we too often tend to go back into the past and regurgitate old material (how many more versions of Bigfoot-like stories do we really need?). There’s so much more opportunity as a writer to come up with new tales and unique fables. You never know how popular they might become; today’s newly pinned urban legend may end up being tomorrow’s Loch Ness Monster. Or in the case of my new novel, The GodPlay Dare, the sinister, otherworldly serial killer known as “Bedroom Friday” could end up being a household name someday. You never know…but the possibilities are limitless when it comes to urban legends and ritualized tales.”
After graduating from California State University at Sacramento and studying Political Theory and Philosophy, do you think those subjects had a big influence on your writing? How so?
“No matter how outlandish a story idea might initially sound, I always try to build some realism into the plot and into the characters. The more “human” the character is portrayed—meaning the deeper they’re described and the more flawed they are—the more engaging I believe the journey ends up being for the reader. Knowledge of philosophical topics and, to some degree, politics, can add a lot of depth to the characters and plotlines.
Though I don’t consider myself to be a political writer (it’s usually better to avoid those topics altogether in fiction, unless that’s your schtick), I do find opportunity in weaving political undercurrents into the broader storylines. I like it when a fiction story can be viewed as an analogy to some current social movement or political event—as long as it’s not thrown in the reader’s face. I am, however, attempting to combine my political/philosophical interests into a paranormal format with my new novella called, The Human Ponzi, and its corresponding blog that’s currently under development, which is called, Blog of the 5th Kind.”
There is definitely some beautiful scenery in the Sierra Nevada mountains (which is where you currently live). Do you set a lot of your works in that region?
“It’s certainly beautiful in the Sierras, and I’m very fortunate to live here. But unlike many famous authors, such as Stephen King, who tend to set their plots in the specific area of the world where they live, I think with the online technology that’s right at our fingertips, we writers nowadays can set our stories anywhere we want. I personally have been inspired many times to write new stories based on something I’m watching on TV that features a place in the world I’ve never heard of before. That often sends me into research mode, and I quickly start developing storylines based on these strange, unknown places.
I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way to approach “set and setting” for a writer, but for me I don’t want to be confined to the area of the planet where I live, no matter how beautiful it is. So, to answer your question, of the half dozen new books I have under development, only one is set in a mountainous region that’s similar to my home. That forthcoming novel is titled, The Dope-Grower’s Apprentice,” by the way…
Your upcoming novel is a paranormal thriller titled THE GODPLAY DARE. It definitely has an interesting premise. Could you tell us a bit about the book and what attracted you to this story in particular?
“I had written a short story called Rendezvous with the Reaper, about a sorrowful woman who brings a mysterious man back to her home for a much-needed late night affair (but little does she know that she’s in the company of an otherworldly serial killer). At the same time, I had seen a documentary called DMT, The Spirit Molecule, which had sent me into research mode, quickly becoming the catalyst for an entirely new story idea.
After digging into the outline of that book, I realized that the story I was developing had many similarities to the premise behind Rendezvous with the Reaper. So, from the marriage of the two ideas, The GodPlay Dare was conceived. It’s the story of a legendary serial killer, the root source of two diverging urban legends, who’s using his knowledge of the Spirit Molecule, DMT, to perfect his craft—which happens to be the art of suffocating women during sexual encounters in their bedrooms on Friday nights. But, of course, like all my stories, the killer is much more complex than it first seems (as are the detectives in pursuit more flawed), and the reader is taken on a thrilling and experiential journey while at the same time being introduced to the underground world of DMT and its infamous spiritual brew, Ayahuasca.”
How would you describe your writing process?
“There’s always an initial spark of inspiration, usually while reading something or watching a movie. That spark leads to a “what if?” question, which then builds into several others. Usually, in a matter of minutes, an entire general plotline unfolds. I’ll quickly write down the notes, so I don’t lose anything when I eventually come back to it. I usually create an initial book cover and back jacket blurb before ever typing the first word. That process keeps me honest to the storyline but allows me to improvise my way through the writing without too much rigid structure. If my writing starts deviating from the book synopsis, then I reign it back in.
Once I’m ready to really start working on a story, I’ll do a rough outline. This usually consists of a vague description of the main characters and a general flowchart to the place where the story will ultimately conclude. The rest I leave entirely to pantsing. I lose a lot of creativity if I outline in meticulous detail, and that often causes the writing to seem like actual work for me (which is not a good thing). I’d rather have a general roadmap that indicates where I’m going, then let the actual writing dictate the rest of the journey.
Writing a novel for me is kind of like taking a road trip from San Francisco to New York City in the dark. I know I’m heading East, and I know what it will look like when I get there. I have a good understanding that I’ll be crossing two major mountain ranges, a desert, then mile upon mile of the Great Plains. The rest I don’t worry about until I see it come into view of my headlights, but I’m always excited about what turn is coming up next. And I never lose sight of what the destination ultimately looks like.
Though that’s typically the way my process unfolds, my next full-length novel came entirely to me in a dream. I kid you not, I had a dream of the entire premise and woke up and wrote the outline. That novel will be called The Cunning Linguist, and I anticipate having it finished up by midyear, 2019.”
Thank you for the interview! One final question: you’ve already hit on a few, but after the release of THE GODPLAY DARE, what do you have planned next?
“I’m a planner by nature, so my biggest challenge is finding time to write all the novels I have outlined. I have over a dozen in process, and I’m picking them off one at a time. My next release after The GodPlay Dare will be the novella, The Human Ponzi, which is a prelude (or backstory) to my fiction blog, Blog of the 5th Kind. After that, I’ll be completing my next full-length novel, although this one will likely be shorter than The GodPlay Dare’s 165,000-word length. That one is called, The Cunning Linguist. Then I’ll be jumping into another novella, which is called The Core of the Matter and finally another full-length book called The Dope-Grower’s Apprentice. My other works at this stage are only in outline or general premise form right now. I just wish I had more time for writing and getting all the material out of my head and on the page. Thank you for your interest in my writing and taking time for this interview.”