Name: Jason Pellegrini
When did you start seriously writing?
I seriously started writing in 2008 after a friend of mine published his own novel. While reading it, I thought that maybe this was something I could enjoy doing and be good at. I had toyed around a little bit before then with writing. I had taken a creative writing course or two while in college, and I even attempted to write a screenplay, but it wasn’t until I read my friend’s book that I decided to give writing a serious go.
What genre are your books?
The two novels I currently have out are completely different genres from one another. My debut, The Replacement, is a mystery/thriller, while my latest release, Booth, is a mixture of science and historical fiction.
I don’t want to be an author bound to one genre. That works for some, but not for me. I find it too restricting. If I have an idea that I think is a good one, and I can cultivate it into a compelling story, there should be no reason why I shouldn’t write it. Regardless of genre. I don’t care if it is straight up blood-and-guts horror, or a tearjerker love story. I’ll write both if I feel confident in the story.
What inspired you to write your latest novel, Booth?
The inspiration for Booth came to me years ago when I was reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63. While reading King’s novel about a man who goes back in time to stop John F. Kennedy’s assassination, I thought to myself it would be cool if I could write a book about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. President Lincoln and his assassination has always been an interest of mine, and I quickly became eager to see what I could come up with. I toyed with a few story ideas—some, admittedly, bad—before finally landing on one I was absolutely sold on. I took the inspiration King had given me, and turned it into something that is original, and completely my own.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I currently write part-time, technically. Although I put as much time and effort into writing—and promoting—as I do my regular job. I think if someone wants to truly be good at this, and also successful, then they must dedicate as much time as they would to a full-time job.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?
When working on my first draft, I’ll try for a thousand words a day. Most of the time I hit that goal. Other times, I do not. I never try to force it, though. If the words aren’t there for me one day, I simply close my laptop, recollect myself, and return to it at a later time. I’ve had days where the words can’t seem to stop flowing from me, and I’ve also had days where it takes me an hour to write a single sentence, and I end up deleting it, because I hate it so much.
How did the creative and writing process differ between The Replacement and then writing Booth?
Creatively, the process changed tremendously. Both novels are very different from one another. Not just in genre, but the way they are structured, and how the story is told. I know some writers like to build a creative comfortable zone, and maybe I just haven’t clocked in enough hours to have a comfort zone, but I like to think I am a writer who doesn’t want to present the same story and character; just dressed up differently. I think the reader sees right through that, and will get bored with you. I think all aspects of Booth, from story to structure to characters, differ vastly from The Replacement.
As far as the writing process is concerned, I’ve definitely become more disciplined. From the day I created the file for The Replacement to the day it was released into the world, it took one day short of four years to complete. This was for various reasons—still finding my voice, a lot of stop and go. Once it was out there, and I decided I was going to write another book, I immediately realized it can’t take me another four years to write a book. So I made myself write, even when I was so exhausted I wasn’t sure I could put together a complete thought. I didn’t rush through it. I knew my own pace, and I wasn’t going to allow myself to compromise the story I was telling.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider your biggest influence?
Stephen King. Without a doubt. First piece of advice ever given to me when I started writing was to read On Writing by King. It helped someone who really had no idea what he was doing to get started.
Reading his work—reading, in general—has also helped me see what aspects of writing I want to put an emphasis on, and even some that I want to steer away from, in my own writing. King has very strong characters in his book. I’ll go far enough to say he’s one of the best—maybe the best—when it comes to character development. I’m a strong believer in characters are the driving force behind moving a story, and I like to build my stories around them. Reading and studying King helped me understand character development, and helped me grow as a writer.
Plus, the guy has some pretty awesome stories!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never stop learning, and keep striving to grow as an author. Never become complacent, because there’s always room for improvement. I like to tell people to always try to find the failures in your successes. Meaning, even if you write something that people love, you should look back at it, and find the parts that need work. It’ll only make you a better writer.
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. I just finished A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman, and I loved it so much that I picked up My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and I intend to start that one right after Helen Keller’s story.
Are you currently working on a manuscript?
A writer should always be working on something, and that’s all I have to say about that at the moment.
Where can we buy, or see The Replacement and Booth? (* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included)
Both books are available on Amazon and the Barns & Noble website. They’re also available digitally on Kindle, and you can purchase signed copies of both books through my website!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just a huge thank you for taking a shot on an unknown author. There are a lot of us out there, just trying to make a name for ourselves, and you’ve taken the time to read my work. Means so much. Thank you!