08-03-2012 09:57 AM
Monday 8-6 starts our monthly read for August to whet our whistles here's an interview that I did with Ryan David Jahn
Interview with Ryan David Jahn
Debbie - Ryan first off thank you so much for agreeing to participate in B&N.com’s General Fiction forum as we feature your latest novel The Dispatcher as our featured read. I have to be honest and say that this was a most gripping read and not an easy one to take, but one that I am really glad that I read.
Where did you get the premise for The Dispatcher?
Ryan - In 2009, after working in TV for five years, I found myself unemployed and in need of steady income. The LAPD was looking for police dispatchers. I mailed in an application and, a week later, received a postcard with the location, date and time of an aptitude test on it, and, of course, drove down to take it. When I arrived, about twenty minutes early, there was a line around the block. I don’t know how many applications the LAPD received, but about five hundred people showed up for the test. As I stood in line I started thinking about the job of a dispatcher, and imagined receiving a phone call from my wife. In the brief mental movie, our apartment was being burgled while I was at work, and she called 911. I happened to answer the call, and was aware of all the sounds in the apartment, of the fear in her voice, and of the fact that I was miles away and unable to do anything. The story of The Dispatcher is very different, but it began with that brief fantasy and the emotions it evoked.
Is there a certain audience you write for or do you write to please yourself?
I primarily write to please myself. That is, if I don’t like the story and the characters I have no reason to finish a piece of work. That said, if I only wrote for myself there would be no reason to edit, and I spend a lot of time editing—both for story and character, and for flow. I want the reading experience to be a smooth one. So, I’d say I write the first draft for myself and subsequent drafts for an audience, but an audience that likes the same things I like.
According to your bio you left school at 16 and after several odd jobs you joined the service. Does your past feature into your wanting to write fiction and does it make it’s way into your writing?
I’ve been writing since I was twelve, so I think I was born with whatever it is in me that made me want to be a writer. But my past does make its way into my fiction. Usually, in small moments of reality—Kat’s first memory in Good Neighbors, in which she is lying in bed watching dust motes dance in a beam of light, is in fact my first memory; Ian Hunt flicking a wad of belly button lint at his daughter is something I saw a friend do, and it stuck with me, as it just seemed so human; and I’ve had a few characters with military backgrounds.
Are you a reader and if so who are some of your favorite authors or genres?
Right now I’m on a bit of a biography kick, but some of my favorite crime/thriller/suspense books are Savage Night by Jim Thompson, Cujo by Stephen King (which is not among his best work, but I read it when I was twelve and it really made in impact), Black Friday by David Goodis, and Donald Westlake’s Parker novels.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a violent father-son story called The Algebra of Blood. I’m always afraid to say too much, as talking about a work tends to make it shrivel, so I’ll leave it at that. I’m very excited about it, though.
Do you write full time?
For now, I am lucky enough to do so, yes.
On your website the event on July 20th in the UK shows up. How was that? Are the UK audiences different in any way from the US ones?
Harrogate was great fun. I always like crime/thriller conventions. They’re the one place I’m likely to be recognized, for one, and I get to see many of my writer friends who I normally only exchange emails with. The primary difference between US and UK audiences for me is that more people in UK audiences tend to have read my stuff. I have four books out there, while I only have two out here. But both tend to be very enthusiastic and friendly. I think those who write crime fiction have a relationship with their readers that other types of writers don’t—science fiction excepted—as crime writers tend also to be fans.
Okay now for something personal. What would your perfect vacation be?
A week in bed with the woman I love.
Ryan thanks again and I can’t wait for the discussion to start Monday August 6, 2012
Fans of B&N.com and Ryan’s please check here for updates, reading schedule and other relevant information about the August featured novel.
Buy the book here it’s available in both paper and digital forms, visit the author’s website here
My review of The Dispatcher
08-04-2012 12:04 AM
I adored this book when I go to read it earlier this year. I'm looking forward to his next book.
08-04-2012 08:50 AM