Rumor and Hearsay

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interview with J.S. Havok

"Goooooood evening my lovers of the written word! This is yours truly, Rudy Fleck, welcome back to our weekly podcast and radio show live from The Last Bookstore, here in beautiful Los Angeles California. We have a very very special guest for you all today so sit back, buckle up and get ready for some insight to the ways of the young author who has swept the nation the past years with breakthrough creations, "Brothers of the Sky." and "The Drifting Star." Mr. J.S. Havok, welcome to the show Havok, its a pleasure to finally meet you."

"It's good to be here in The Last Bookstore, Rudy. I've been meaning to set something up but it doesn't always go as smooth as we hope right?" The young author let out a sly smile.

"Haha very true James, very true. And as always, our producer is in studio, Mr Ron Kennedy taking calls, texts, instant messages et cetera from the listeners and fans, how about we get started huh? You came onto the scene literally out of nowhere, how did that happen?"

"Ron Kennedy as in the Kennedy who ran the radio stations at NYU and later USC right?"

Ron let out a smile from a nearby station, "Yeah, the one and only!"

James let out a laugh, "Yeah I thought I recognized the name, you're good man keep it up."

Rudy quickly cut in, "Okay okay you two settle down, we have some hungry listeners and I'm sure some eager fans waiting to peer into that mind of yours."

"Right, right," the young author responded, "breaking into 'the scene' if you will..."

James settled into his seat across from Rudy as he adjusted his headset and took a long sip from a nearby mug.

"You started writing in college in your spare time, short stories if I'm correct, some guest spots on food and travel blogs when you weren't on creative binges, pretty low key stuff outside of those spots then BAM, 'The Drifting Star' hits stands and people just eat it up."

"Yeah that was a really exciting time for me Rudy, I had been traveling around through the Northwest U.S. and dabbled a bit in Canada when I went through some old journals of stuff I had jotted down in my spare time and that piece just grabbed me and I really just kinda ran with it. The end result was a bit shaky in my opinion but I think that added to it especially as a first go."

Rudy is busy drinking from a large mug, similar to James', then puts the mug down.

"So, for our listeners that may not be too familiar with your work, how did 'Star' happen and shape up?"

"The story was really originally built off  a book I read at the suggestion of a fellow author, Alexandra, who I met in college and the style really grabbed me, it was dirty, raw. So I started with that and wanted to be very descriptive in terms of dress, looks, even paying attention to lighting and moods and actions of people not involved, I really wrote the first short story from that with a screenplay style in mind."

"And I personally think that feel really comes through, especially when you focus on the two main characters, Claire and Travis." Rudy adds, face gleaming like a comic book fanboy.

"Yes exactly, as detailed as everything else was, I wanted the focus on those two to shine through that much more, like reading the story in HD," James let out a slight chuckle, "I wanted to immerse the readers, if they chose to pick the book up, in almost a sensory overload at times, like in the first scene, in the bar when we see the two encounter each other for the first time in a while, the frame is left open to interpretation so it could have been a few weeks, maybe even a few years ya know? So depending on how long one feels that they were apart, the book can read out a little differently."

"Very nice, so we obviously have these two who have a past, its hinted to be very emotional, their interaction is limited, then he's gone. Did you mean for that scene to set an overall tone? It seems very introspective on the part of Travis, gives a little history and then he leaves, evidently the same way he left this young woman before."

James is listening half-heartedly, throwing a USC "Fight On" to Ron.

"Also, message boards have been burning about the idea that you pull a lot of character's ways, emotions and ideals from your own personal life... is this true?"

"Yeah, ya know I really wanted to leave his reasons for leaving, which we don't have explained in full at first, to stay hidden. It sets the mood that he has a secret, or a good reason, or no reason for really leaving, especially with his response to her note with 'Because I loved you too much.' It leaves everyone intrigued I feel, at least I tried..."

Rudy is nodding, adding more liquor to his mug.

"And definitely I pull things out on myself for these characters, situations, a lot of it comes from something else. I had originally began writing as a way to deal with some things and every now and then I'd get obsessed with and idea, and I couldn't leave it alone. That's what happened with 'Star" and 'Brothers'...i was obsessed and had to finish them. You can't love something without giving up a part of yourself for it right?"

"Wow, obsessed you say?" Rudy takes a large gulp, "without spoiling 'Star' we'll leave it there and now I wanna touch on 'Brothers of The Sky', your sophomore effort and a very successful one at that. How did this story spawn itself?"

The young author's face lit up as he took another drink from his mug.

"Ahh now you got his attention!" Ron exclaimed, "I think he's a little excited."

Rudy agreed, awaiting a response from James.

"Hmm, 'Brothers of The Skies' really was a labor of love and a culmination of necessity."

"Go on." Rudy egged.

"It's pretty common knowledge that WW2 romanticism is something I really had a passion to work with, and this was what came of that. Originally it was a piece I had written for a fiction blog, which I used eventually for a class when I was getting ready to graduate. The short story that started it was called 'A Brother's Failure' where we have these two brothers fighting in the Pacific theater together."

"This book was not dark in the same way as 'Star' but it is more of a gritty war-time piece with, which is kind of your staple through two books, and underlying love story, can you elaborate on that?"

"Well war is a gritty thing, its dirty, its dark, it changes people. In 'Star' I really didn't have that as a tool, I didn't have that as a catalyst. The change we see in the Lieutenant and how he interacts with his fellow war fighters, his family, his brother comes directly from the combination of the war and what they are going through as well as the feeling of our protagonist fighting a war on two fronts, one is a real war, one is his mental struggle to stay focused with what's going on back home." A more serious look starts to creep over the author as he takes another sip from the mug. "I had family members, friends coming home from war, they were coming back to women who weren't faithful, or had abandoned the idea of being with them. This book was for those guys who lost people on two sides, it was something I had to write. It was very much the marrying of ideas in my head about how life could turn out, ideally, and how life turns out in reality. Very much an emotional book to write, and you get that through the Lieutenant, emotions I had, emotions my friends and family had."

The room was silent.
James lit a cigarette

Inhale. Exhale.

Ron chimed in, "You guys would not believe how many messages and texts we are getting about these two books man, everyone wants to know, why you chose the Pacific War, why Travis came back from Europe, why you wrote two hugely different settings and how that came about...people are going crazy man, and we haven't even gotten to your new book."

"Holy shit, we still need to get to this new work, which I personally think is amazingly beautiful, beautifully dark, elegantly crafted. ladies and gentlemen listening coast to coast, we have arrived at the new novel by J.S. Havok which hit shelves last Tuesday, of course I'm talking about "The Angel and a Stupid Boy."

Inhale. Exhale.

Rudy continues. "Even the concept of this book is great, if you haven"t picked it up you should. Basically we have a book here, about a writer, in the process of writing a book but he is fraught with inner struggles and difficulties, can you elaborate on that?"

James puts his cigarette out in a nearby ashtray.

"This was a hard book to write, we have a writer who sets out to create a fiction piece, but with him putting so much of himself into it, the piece slowly becomes a dark story of a guy essentially writing an autobiography without him really seeing it."

"Interesting, I think that readers may have been caught off guard by the style up front in your prologue, we get a very intense and cryptic message and setting to the story."

"Yeah" James replies, "this was my first venture without the input of Alexandra and I wanted to set the tone a little darker, more of an inner struggle of one person, you don't have much interaction story wise with people outside of himself, he gets lost in his work pretty much. Eventually, it begins to really consume him. Its a story of love and loss, a story where he gets enveloped in a strange world where hypotheticals, the 'what-ifs' are the things drilling into him."

"I have to agree here" chimes in Ron, "I read this piece right when it hit the shelves, and the messages we are getting agree too, overall a lot of focus on the author losing himself in his work and the work really affecting his mental stability. Our forums are already teeming with theories of who the inspiration of "The Angel" could be. Got anything for your fans?"

"Well the love story we have in the book isn't actually the focus, but is the focus of the book in the book, which I think creates a very interesting position for the reader, in one aspect they may be trying to reason why I'm writing this story, but at a deeper level you have to think about the character's reason on writing his story. This book in particular was strange to write because I put some of myself in everything but had to in a way where the writer has his own soul he's writing from. Kind of, "I have a dark side, he has a darker one."

"Dark and darker, writer writing a writer writing a book, brilliant!" Rudy proclaims, "your character uses brilliant imagery much like we've seen in your other work, the way he describes this girl he creates. A lot of readers see this as you projecting yourself but everyone wants to know...."

James swallows slowly.

"Where do you get this ability to paint such beautiful people, describe them how you do? I mean we are talking about things like, 'that beautiful dark auburn and brunette hair', 'an intoxicating smile', those honey-brown doe eyes', 'a childlike freedom of spirit', hell if us guys could find a girl like that we'd be golden, so where do you get this inspiration? How does one do that? Are you hiding some supermodel from us that you pull inspiration from?"

A slight chuckle fills the air between the three in that studio, in The Last Bookstore.

"We all have that perfect image of our dream girl don't we..." James' voice slightly trails off. "So now we have an image of a girl that we aren't sure is real or is made up by our author for his book."

"Well, if we aren't getting ALL the juicy details here, I guess our listeners will just have to read. Ron, lets take some calls and questions and all that jazz we are running out of time."

Ron starts rambling off questions listeners has messaged in, occasionally taking a call about upcoming books, his favorite foods and the like. James loosens up a bit more with the interaction, some questions more off the wall than others, the three enjoying playful banter.

"Well, well, well, now we have someone saying they know the secrets of Mr. J. S. Havok." Ron interrupts, "She sounds hott lets put her on the air."

James fixes his eyes on Ron as he lights another smoke.

Rudy quickly chips in, "Why hello there you have Mr Havok live in studio and we hear, that youuuu think you know his secrets."

"Mmm well maybe," a female voice chimes in, "depends on if he is who I think he is."

 Inhale. Exhale.


An automated audience "woooo" filled his headset as Ron stroked a key at his computer.

"Well", the author slowly responded, "who do you think I am?"

"Someone who takes their pen name from their father. James."

"Go on," James' intrigue building, "who else am I?"

"Someone who likes ice cream, obviously."

Chuckles filled the room, smiles all around.

"Well I have been known to enjoy a nice bowl every now and again, you had me going there for a second, like some kind of secret agent that had me in their sights."

"I know," the voice chuckled, "when you visit the ice cream shop what is your favorite flavor to get a sample spoon of?"

"Excuse me?" responded James.

"You know, like you go in and they give you those little spoons to taste with, the sample spoons.."

"Well usually, I go around and try a few things but usually settle on my old standby flavor..."

"Mint Chocolate Chip" the voice interrupted.

Rudy and Ron exchanged surprised glances, then focused them on James. "Mint don't say..." retorted Ron. "Nice."

"Where are you calling from?" James sat forward in his seat, the other two did the same.

"The best country in the world, Texas." she said, "duh." "And I read your book, I think who I know who the angel is." her voice teasing the audience, taunting the author.

A bead of sweat gently glided down his forehead as he bit his lip in a pensive stare. He reaches over and grabs Rudy's mug, stiff with bourbon, taking a hard pull. "Everyone has an angel, like I said before, everyone has their idea of perfection. The Angel, is the character's image. You have an angel too, we all do." He takes another pull from the mug.

"Well there ya go Miss Texas", Rudy proclaims, "the mystery remains a mystery!"

"Have you met your angel?" she asks.

"I sure have, why do you ask?"


A goofy sound effect fills the airwaves.

"The pen has silenced the voice!" Rudy proclaims as Ron starts celebratory effects, James caught in a thousand yard stare.

"Well I'm sitting across from her..." her voice states, "She's leaving on Sunday for a trip."

He goes pale.

"There is a keg of gin" the voice blurts out.

"There is a keg of gin"...she says again.

The line goes dead.

James, sweating, clenched teeth. 

"Well that was fucking random!" Ron laughs hysterically as Rudy prepares the closing of the show.

James lights a cigarette, the last one in the pack, another pull of bourbon, this time from the flask Rudy has on the desk.

Inhale. Exhale.


James sees Rudy and Ron talking, closing the show, he can't hear anything. Only silence.

"WOO what the hell was that all about?!" Rudy asks while laughing loudly, "trippy man a keg of gin? where do people get this stuff? Did you have any idea what she was talking about?"


"Oh come on that's too random to just be random...someone messing with ya James?" Ron seeminng slightly confused.

James takes a long drag, letting it out slowly.

He slowly puts the smoke out and stands up, "There should never be a keg of gin..." he quietly says.

"...Who was that?" Rudy asks, "was that..." he looks towards Ron, then back at James.

"That was The Angel." he simply says.

Ron and Rudy stare at each other.

"So...that means what?" Ron slowly asks.

"Well that makes me a stupid boy."

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