Book Giveaway & Author Interview: The Jinx by D.F. Lamont

Welcome to Author D.F. Lamont!

Bio:

D.F. (Dougald) Lamont is a writer, designer, musician and filmmaker. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada with his wife and children.

The official site for The Jinx is:
http://thejinxbook.tumblr.com

The Facebook page is:
http://www.facebook.com/TheJinxbyDFLamont





Interview:


If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? 

I will pick people who are all alive – Stephen Colbert, Shania Twain, John Hodgman, Dave Thomas (of SCTV) and my wife, Cecilia. They are all people I admire. Colbert, Hodgman and Thomas are three of my favourite comedians and performers. Stephen Colbert is a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, and I found out that John Hodgman and I both tried to rewrite Star Wars Episode 1 to make it more satisfying.
I really admire Shania Twain, and she is basically a girl from Canada, and I would love to talk about music with her. My wife is awesome and I would want to share the experience with her.   


Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

Yes! I have already started on my next book, which is also a fantasy/ science fiction book for young adults, though with different characters, and little longer. I have also been working on the story for a comic book that I would love to get off the ground, and I would like to make a couple of short films. 

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be? 

My favourite books are the ones that create a world so convincing you become completely absorbed in it. Patrick O’Brian’s – Aubrey / Maturin series (“Master and Commander”), the Chinese murder mysteries of Robert Van Gulik, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books.

But when I look at this list of books, they all seem like awfully dangerous places for an average person to live. I feel like if I was dropped in to this world, I would probably end up being an average joe – in imminent danger of getting scurvy on ship or being smushed by a Balrog, or scorched by Thread.

P.G. Wodehouse‘ Jeeves and Wooster books would probably be the most fun, and funniest world to spend time in. Everyone has a rich uncle or aunt, there is a lot of drinking, good food, jazz parties and spending time in country mansions. 

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 

I loved Robert Heinlein’s The Door Into Summer, and re-read it over and over. The Lord of the Rings, too, which I re-read and was always happy to meet up with the characters again, who were like friends to me.

How did you know you should become an author? 

I have been writing for about 20 years. Speeches, press releases, sometimes working as a journalist. Then, in 1998, over a three-month period, I had to write three very personal and important pieces: my father’s obituary, a speech for my own wedding, and a eulogy for my wife’s uncle. I realized that I could use my writing to move people, give shape to people’s lives, and make them feel better, including myself.

In my professional life, my writing also tended to be better than the thing I was writing about. That’s a problem in marketing, when you are supposed to “underpromise and overdeliver.” But I thought “maybe if my writing is the end product, that will work.”

I also realized that I need to be creative: it’s something I need to do. The writer and director Tom Sharpling wrote “I hear music in my head, and I need to get it out.” That’s true for playing and writing music as well as writing.

I tried writing scripts – a sitcom, a movie musical, a teen comedy. When you write something like that you have to convince someone they need to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to make your vision come to life. I realized, “well, if I just write a book, no one has to worry about the special effects budget.”

About three years ago I had a very vivid dream that was the kernel of the story of The Jinx. I dreamt that I had bad luck that I couldn’t shake, and it was putting my family in danger, so I had to run away to keep them safe. That was the dream, and I realized I could make it work as a story. When I couldn’t sleep, I would get up and write until I was tired and hope it wasn’t just gibberish in the morning. Sometimes it was, but sometimes it was great. 

Who are your favorite authors of all time? 

Stanislaw Lem, Patrick O’Brian, Robert Van Gulik, Spike Milligan. They are the ones I re-read. 

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? 

Yes! They aren’t really me, but sometimes we share life experiences. Stephen, the main character in The Jinx, has a big brother keen on martial arts who leaps out and says, “Defend yourself!” and so do I. I also caught my shoe in the front spokes of my bicycle while riding to school on the first day of Grade 8. 

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? 

Don’t be so hard on yourself! And when it comes to writing, try to write at least 1000 words a day, every day. It’s only four pages, and you may cut a bunch of it back, but it adds up. In eight weeks you’ll have 200 pages.

People sometimes get stuck getting started on big projects because it’s as if they want to do the whole thing at one. It’s like sitting down at a piano and trying to play all the notes of a symphony at once.

But there’s a saying – “How do you eat an elephant?” – “One bite at a time.” There’s another one: “Everyone has 100,000 bad drawings in them. Get them out as quickly as you can.”

Making a routine, and setting yourself deadlines.



What was your favorite children’s book? 

Probably the House With a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs. It was spooky and charming and I have always loved it and shared it with my kids. Watership Down, by Richard Adams is also amazing. I re-read it recently to my kids and loved it. There are great series, too, like Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. 

Which authors have influenced you most and how? 

I really love Stanislaw Lem, though I don’t think my writing is like his at all. He is a brilliant and funny science fiction author who takes ideas from philosophy and mathematics and science and puts them all together in stories that work.

I read his book of short stories “The Cyberiad” when I was kid. They are almost like fairy tales where everyone is a robot – cruel robot kings, and two “constructors” – robot inventors – named Trurl and Klapaucius who get into trouble with their inventions – or their clients. Tons of it went right over my head, because Lem really was talking about very sophisticated philosophy, or higher mathematics, or cybernetics quite accurately, but it didn’t matter because the stories were funny and the characters were good. Then when I grew up and realized he was talking about very sophisticated ideas, I could enjoy them all over again with greater understanding.

The other is Hergé, who wrote and drew Tintin. He does something very clever, which is that he has a little cliffhanger in the last frame of each page, that makes you want to see what happens next. I try to do that as well.

I loved Heinlein’s juvenile books when I was a kid.



What do you do in your free time? 

My wife and I have four children, so I don’t have any free time! Not strictly true. I love to play music, make videos with my kids, watch comedy TV shows and movies and listen to podcasts.

What’s your favorite season/weather? 

I live in Manitoba, Canada, where there are very distinct seasons. I think I like fall best, when you can smell a bit of smoke in the cool air, and there is a quality to the light in the evenings that I really love. The branches of the trees are black against the sunset, the rest of the sky is like blue glass, and the taillights on cars light up red in the grey-blue night, and the windows of the houses are allow yellow and warm looking.

It’s dark and cold outside, but cozy and warm within.

Favorite music? 

I love pop music. A friend of mine said “Pop is short for popular, and it’s popular because it’s good.” I love the Beatles, and it was a joy to rediscover them with my kids. My most played songs on  iTunes are The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, ABBA, Sloan and Flight of the Conchords. I also like Neil Young, Shania Twain, The Guess Who Tinted Windows, Boston, Pavement and early Radiohead. 

The Jinx by D.F. Lamont

“The Jinx” is the story of Stephen Grayson, a 13-year old whose run of bad luck gets so bad he worries he is endangering his family. Fearing he is cursed, he flees home to protect his family, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent on hunting him down.

Lamont says the inspiration for the story – and almost all of its writing – took place in the middle of the night.

“I had a dream that I was having such bad luck, and it was affecting the people around me, so I had to run away to keep them safe,” he said. “The next morning it stuck with me, and I built the story around it.”

Most of the writing itself took place in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep.

Giveaway Details:
2 Paperback Copies & 2 Ebooks
Open Internationally
Ends 11/6/11


Optional Extra Entry:
+2 Like The Jinx on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheJinxbyDFLamont

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