Welcome to Jason Cannon, a man with more than one quiver to his creative bow. As a producer, director and actor as well as the author of great thrillers, I can safely say there is going to be something of interest for just about everyone in this short interview!
Hello Jason, and welcome. I’m delighted you could join us for this interview.
How did you get started writing thrillers?
Well, that is a short question with a long-ish answer! I’ve actually been a theatre professional for 25 years (actor, director, playwright, etc) but I’d always had delusions of literary grandeur. Then during lockdown, when theatre was shut down, I found myself in a weekly Saturday zoom writing group, and it was their enthusiasm and keeping me accountable that led me to believe I could actually write a dang book! I turned to thrillers because at that point I was reading dozens of thrillers a year and the escapist fun of that genre helped me get through the craziness of quarantine. The full and unapologetically long answer lives here at my personal website: https://jason-cannon.com/my-story/
How do you get started on a novel?
I can’t escape my theatre training and work, which means I think in 3D. What’s the environment? What are the characters DOING? All of my books and stories have started with a random assortment of images or moments, most drawn from observation of actual events in my life. Flashes of what I hope are interesting scenarios hit me when I’m on my runs, or doing yoga, or walking my dogs. I snatch them out of the ether and jot ’em down and once they start to coalesce a bit I sketch in an outline, just enough to know what endpoint I’m aiming at. But then I like to let the characters surprise me—this probably comes from all my experience doing improvisational comedy.
What upcoming projects can you tell us about?
The next TROUPE thriller is percolating. It’s called BLACKOUT and picks up the stories of Gideon, Rheia, Stan, and Adler as they deal with the ferocious vengeance of AlphaSupreme and his ArchAngels. They are not happy that the Troupe foiled their first plot! I’m aiming at spring 2023 for that one to release. I’m also writing a one-man show for an actor who wanted to tell his story of living with mental illness. It’s called CLOWNS LIKE ME, it will have its world premiere in May 2023, and you can learn more about that project at https://www.lifelineproductionsinc.com/.
I’m also an independent publisher, and I’ve got two authors working on their debut books. One is a memoir of a 40-year love story, called LETTERS TO JIM, and the other is an inspirational/self-help book focused on the intersectionality of meditation, theatre, and Ayurveda. That one is called THE PLAY OF LIFE. And then I’ve got a short story collection that I work on, y’know, in all my spare time, ha!
What is your writing routine like?
The coffee grinder kicks on at 6am and I crank till 8am. Then I have my morning routine with my partner and our pups: exercise, breakfast, dog walk. Then she goes to work and I get back to it. I try to hit 2000 words a day. Then in the afternoons I turn my attention to the business of publishing, which means editing, marketing, website maintenance, etc. I squeeze in public appearances and teaching when the stars align. I’m a big believer in two specific quotes on writing. First, Steven Pressfield: “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.
Second, Oscar Wilde: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to the chair.”
When authors ask me for advice, I always tell them this: “A little bit every day. But it’s gotta be every day. Even just 30 minutes. Because once that part of your brain is spinning hot, you’ll ALWAYS be writing.” Like I said, most of my best writing actually happens when I’m running or even doing laundry. My subconscious figures out plot points and character choices and then my conscious brain just types!
That really does sound like a fascinating life you live there, Jason, and I really can’t imagine you have any spare time at all.
Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
You can find out more about Jason (and his penchant for key lime pie) at https://jason-cannon.com.
You can also find out more about Jason’s books at https://ibis-books.com/.