IndieView with John Jack O’Brien, author of re: the wasps

I sent it out to a bunch of agents and indie publishers and when I didn’t get the response I wanted, I figured that was the end. Hearing words distracts me from the words in my head. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? I think sometimes the way books are marketed and written robs them of their ability to surprise. Do you have a target reader? I literally took it to a coffee shop and read my own book and thought – hey this is really good and I’m not going to let it not get read. About You
Where did you grow up? Then I’m scribbling down tons and tons of ideas and sentences and instructions for myself. Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? Then go home and write some more. Where do you live now? About Writing
Do you have a writing process? Do you outline? She writes these extremely short stories that are just devastating in their simplicity. Where did you get the idea from? This collection of interconnected short stories about corporate lost souls facing bizarre transformations is a darkly funny fever dream sure to inspire nightmares. About the book
What is the book about? And there were a few that I knew the endings to but I didn’t know how they should start. I try not to edit too much while I actually write. I scanned it and zoomed way in, which gives the font this blotchy effect that I love. John Jack O’Brien – 10 June 2017
The Back Flap
Welcome to Obelus Incorporated, a seemingly ordinary office building, home to hard-working insects and parasitic employees. All this while a swarm of wasps turn the entire office building into one enormous nest. If so can you please describe it? I’m very in touch with what makes me feel weirded out so that is easy for me to tap into. Even though I have a background as a comedy writer, the easiest parts to write were the frightening, disturbing, or disgusting parts of the book. That’s when I decided to self publish on Amazon. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? Usually I’ll listen to ambient or classical music stations on Pandora. Each one of those thousands of books was a real pain in the ass to write. I tell people it’s basically Sideways Stories From Wayside School except it’s scary and not for kids. It was beautiful and I felt really connected to the natural world. Did you hire a professional editor? I love listening to music while I write, but I find it really difficult to write to music with lyrics. End of Interview:
For more from John, follow him on Twitter. There’s Abbie, who hacked into her coworker’s computer and found something that could be damaging her sanity. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? I really wanted my writing to have that powerful sort of brevity. Do you listen to music while you write? Then there’s the mysterious young woman who dreams of someday becoming a photocopier. There were over 50 and I had to move my couch. It was only later when I heard back from an advanced reader with really positive feedback that I went back and looked at it again. It was a combination. No, there were a lot of stories that I started for re: the wasps that I had no idea how they would end. When you get stuck, go to the bookstore. A few days later I came back to the city and started a new job, alone in an empty office building. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? Just keep writing! I got mildly good feedback, but not enough to keep me going. Especially the way certain characters talk. I did! That’s when I decided to self publish on Amazon. I started writing the book in May of 2015, when it was just a scary short story. Look at all those dumb books written by nobodies. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? I printed each type of chapter out onto a different colored sheet of paper and then laid them all out on my living room floor. I grew up in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Get your copy of   re: the wasps from Amazon US or Amazon UK. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? What came easily? I will usually wait until I have a big chunk done and then print it out and go through it with a red pen. I hired two separate copy editors at different stages during writing to check on spelling, grammar, clarity, tone, and consistency. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? I like to write on paper first, usually a lot at a time, when inspiration strikes. When I reopen the notebook to type stuff down, I’ll edit it as I go, and I already know what I want to change. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? I got the idea after I went camping with my friend Loren in Sequoia National Park. But specifically for re: the wasps, Lydia Davis was a huge influence. It was the disconnect I felt in that office building, as compared to the woods, that led me to write the book. Her boss Owen is more or less starting a cult in the basement. How long did it take you to write it? The main title lettering is actually from an old typewriter I have. I hired a company to do some of the cover. It was only later when I heard back from an advanced reader with really positive feedback that I went back and looked at it again. Then I’ll let it sit for a few days and think about it. In fact, I had to change their names for the final version because I originally named them after their real world counterparts. People have asked me if I’m in the book, but I don’t think I am. Because the book is a series of interconnected short stories with some recurring characters and some one time only characters, it was really difficult once I had them all written to break them up and sort them into an order that would make it a fun experience for the reader. I had a marketing plan for the initial release that I think worked rather well but now that the book has been out for a month or two I’m just seeing what it does on his own. My target reader loves the feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next. Since I live and work in Hollywood, I need to catch up on my script writing. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? In general, David Foster Wallace was a big influence on me. I literally took it to a coffee shop and read my own book and thought – hey this is really good and I’m not going to let it not get read. My target reader is someone who appreciates the off-beat, and who finds themselves bored with normal books. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? I realized that the office building was an unnatural place. Tell yourself that your pain in the ass book deserves to be up there too. It’s part satire, part horror, part short story collection. What are you working on now? From the first short story I wrote to when the book came out was about two years, with lots of starts and stops in between. I live in Los Angeles, California now. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) I definitely borrowed from real world people I know. re: the wasps is about an otherworldly office building overrun by insects, and the employees who work there and how their tedious jobs are changing them. I’m probably the only writer who ever moved to LA to write a book and not a screenplay. When did you start writing the book? We were surrounded by wilderness.