But first...my interview with Jeffrey. I hope you all enjoy it!!!
LC: Hi Jeffrey. Can you give us a brief synopsis of "Bloom's Desk" and the genre it fits into?
I suppose that since it is a ghost story the novel falls into the horror genre. But not the slasher or monster sort horror. Since so much of Bloom’s Desk is in Glen’s mind, it’s more psychological horror. Regardless of the genre, I hope that readers find that it is an enngaging story.
LC: Sounds super cool to me. I can't wait to read it! What, would you say, has been your greatest triumph as an author?
JL: By far, my greatest triumph as an author has been finishing this novel and getting it published. I have had a number of jobs that involved writing. I was a copywriter at a radio station and a film critic for a small newspaper. I even managed to get a couple of short stories published when I was in college. Writing has never been too far from my life, but the idea of carrying a story to novel length always seemed a bit overwhelming. I’m not quite sure what caused me to overcome my anxiety about writing a novel. Actually, I have to take that back. What caused me to overcome my anxiety about writing a novel was basic boredom. Most of Bloom’s Desk was written while I was teaching in a Southern California prison. On many days, the students/inmates would be on lockdown for any number of reasons. Without students, I was left with lots of free time. Writing a book became my way of filling the time. To tell the truth, I never really expected to finish the story or much less get it published. I still feel a little surprised when I see the finished novel.
LC: Teaching in a So. Cal prison? Sounds like a novel in and of itself. Here's a question, just for fun! If you were stuck on a desert island with one of your characters, who would you want it to be, and why?
JL: Okay, so no Gilligan or John Locke, right? The one character who comes right to mind is Robert Bloom. He may be a ghost. He may seem a bit psychotic. But Bloom is very interesting and a good conversationalist. Those characteristics would be very important for passing time on a desert island. Of course, that psychotic thing might cause a bit of a problem.
LC: Haha! Psychotic...and a serial killer! Your island would certainly be exciting! Speaking of which, where is the most exciting or strange place you've ever been?
JL: Well, I’m not sure about strange places. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit. A few years after getting my teaching credential, I took a job teaching English in South Korea. I spent the following decade or so travelling/teaching abroad. After South Korea, I taught in Australia and Kuwait. Then I returned to South Korea for a job in Pusan. Along the way, I spent time in Saipan, Dubai, Greece, Bahrain, Japan, Thailand, the Netherlands, Mexico, and some places I forget. Kuwait was strange in the sense that the government controls so much of what the citizens can do or see. For example, movies are edited to remove any contact between men and women. Most public places have separate sections for men and women. On the other hand, Thailand is pretty well wide open. I can’t think of a place that I went that wasn’t somewhat strange. That’s what made it interesting. When I was travelling, I just tried to enjoy the unique personality of places without comparing them too much to home. How’s that for a boring pc response?
LC: Not boring at all! The movie editing thing sounds a little weird. It'd be interesting to see one of those "uber clean" flicks, but I'm sure they'd all play out like comedies! Anyway, while we're on the subject of movies, What is your favorite cinematic masterpiece of all time, and why?
JL: Although it may be a common answer to this question, I have to say that Casablanca is easily my favorite movie of all time. It works on so many levels and captures timeless themes of good versus evil, loyalty, redemption, fate, lost love, and putting the greater good above self. “I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”
LC: Actually, you're only the second person to say Casablanca. :o) Alright, so now... a big time Hollywood producer knocks on your door and asks to turn "Bloom's Desk" into a feature film. Who would you choose to play the lead roles?
JL: Well, one editor did tell me that the manuscript read like a movie script so maybe this is something I should seriously consider. For the role of the main character Glen Davis, I could see Jake Gyllenhaal. For serial killer Robert Bloom, Viggo Mortensen might be a good match. For Glen’s wife Christine, I need to ask my wife for the name of a good Korean actress. It’s fun to think about!
LC: Ooo! Nice choices. Alright, back to more author-esque questions... How long have you been writing? Have you always known that you wanted to write?
JL: I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember. In fact, I have been a published author since the age of six when one of my stories made it into a district-wide magazine. I think it was called “Norton the Lion Tamer”. You probably read it. If not, I think I still have a copy around here somewhere. I have always known that I wanted to write. But making that a reality was another matter. Life sort of got in the way and gave me lots of excuses for not writing. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I ignored the excuses and just started writing. I sure wish I had done that sooner. Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can write a book, it’s easier to do it again. I am about halfway through writing the second book. It is tentatively entitled "Soul Hostage".
LC: Now that you mention it, I think I did read an epic tale once about a guy who tamed lions named Norton...oh m'gosh! That was probably you. (Heehee!) So, enquiring minds want to know...do you have any strange habits or rituals when you write?
JL: What do you mean by strange? Is it strange to wear a chicken costume and hum show tunes while writing? Never mind. I don’t know that I have any sort of special rituals for writing. These days, I typically write at the same desk on the same computer. I tried writing on a laptop for a while, but that didn’t work well. I think it felt too portable, too temporary. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable writing at the same desk in the same room. I’m not sure if that’s a habit or ritual. I do know that no matter how much I try to write during the day the words always seem to flow best late at night. This is unfortunate when I am tired and want to sleep but can’t because I don’t want to lose the words. So other than going to the same place to write, I don’t think I have any strange rituals. Just forget that I mentioned the chicken suit.
LC: Hey! It's clearly a cockatoo costume and show tunes can be very...oh wait. I guess we were talking about you, huh? *blush* Sorry...so,what do you like to do when you're not writing?
JL: I like spending time with my wife GyeYeol, supporting progressive causes, going to San Francisco Giants games, travelling around the country and the world, watching movies, trying to make money with Forex, and riding my hybrid bicycle.
LC: Ahhh, hybrid bicycles...the wave of the future! And as we head off into that cleaner, greener future, I would like to thank you, Jeffery, for being with us on the Authorpalooza today! It's truly been a blast having you. Before we wrap it up though, there's one last thing... Your mission (should you choose to accept) is to SELL IT! Tell us why we should read "Bloom's Desk". (no pressure....)
JL: Is it warm in here? Well, I can tell readers that Bloom’s Desk will engage them and keep them guessing as to what is going to happen next. It is not going to change anyone’s life, and I doubt that there will be much that stays with them beyond the final page. It’s a bit like the Chinese food of books. Who doesn’t like Chinese food? In writing Bloom’s Desk, I had no illusions about creating a great piece of literature. The target, for which I was aiming and according to most accounts hit, was to write an entertaining, absorbing ghost story that kept the reader questioning what was happening. Plus, I should add that Bloom’s Desk contains no MSG.
LC: There you have it, folks! Go grab your chopsticks and get reading!
This is his first in a number of planned novels. He is now working on his next, which is tentatively entitled "Soul Hostage".
"From a young age, I have been an avid writer. However, there always seemed to be reasons for not devoting myself to it. Over the last few years, I have run out of excuses for not spending more time on my writing. Having completed one novel, starting another was much easier. These days, I am again excited about my writing and look forward to completing many more novels."