A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Jack Salva

Today we are talking with Jack Salva about his creative process. Jack Salva is the author of Dybbuk’s Asylum, Guise, and The Ruination Trilogy.

About Author

Jack Salva has had a number of different jobs in a number of different cities in a number of different industries giving him a broad range of life experiences upon which to draw. He is an avid gamer so it is only natural that his characters are creative problem solvers with high degrees of adaptability and a panache for fun. Being an animal lover and advocate, it is no surprise that animal companions also feature prominently in his stories. When not working on his next novels he can be found spending time with his adorable wife, working for their animal sanctuary, or gaming.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about Dybbuk’s Asylum.

Knowledge is Survival.

More than a motto, it is the principle that compels the Knowledge Reclamators to venture forth into the dangerous wilds of the post-Luddite Tyranny world, braving mutated Altered and cunning death traps, in search of precious information crèches.

Beguiled by the promise of a singular reward and treasures for the taking, Caern Bloodson and his team embark on a perilous mission to retrieve a unique artifact with a sordid history. Thrust into an uneasy alliance with the Clockwork Grenadiers, they travel to a blighted island where all previous expeditions have resulted in madness or death. It will take more than rayguns, clockwork contraptions, and Caern’s unique puzzle-solving intellect to survive this task before time runs out.

However, perhaps some buried secrets are best left unearthed.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

The idea for the world started with the concept of ‘steampunk zombies’. Fortunately, it grew beyond this. The story idea started out as a short story concept, but just kept growing. I wanted to introduce a number of world concepts in a classic treasure hunt setting. The story also drops things that will reappear in later novels.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

There are four main characters. Well, really five. Four are the Knowledge Reclamators with the fifth being the team leader of the expedition. Caern Bloodson is the leader. He is kind of what I would like to be in that world. All the female characters were inspired by different aspects of my wife. The other male on the team is patterned after the classic engineer/scientist/adventurer from old movies.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

I wanted the group to be away from their normal stomping grounds. Somewhere foreign. The idea of a deserted island with a hidden laboratory is a classic that I wanted to put my own spin on. It also helped me expand my world.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

The core of the story did not change during writing. However, details did get added. A lot of them. I found myself going into more depth concerning antagonists and their motives. Also, I added more background.

What is your writing process like?

I start by jotting down notes. I write down key things I want to have happen or elements I want in the story. I do a very loose outline, basically where do I start and where do I end. Then I make it up as I go. I am very much a pantser, with some plotter. At least for these stories.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

World building, no question. I love coming up with backgrounds, gadgets, history, all of it. The richer the world, the more in depth the characters, the easier it is to write stories because the characters help me.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

I think finding a good way to provide the reader background that didn’t sound like “let’s take a break and learn about the world”. I solved this by dropping little asides into the narrative. Also, when larger data dumps needed to happen, I tried to break them into pieces.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I have always wanted to be a writer. I was inspired by comic books and science fiction novels. I want to tell stories, but never thought I could. My wife convinced me that I could. I owe her a lot for that.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Write! It is a simple thing to say, but tougher to do. Know that there will be a lot of people who do not like your writing. There will also be a lot who do. Forget the first and appreciate the second. Above all, write what you enjoy. It will show in your work.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Jack Salva, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

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