Author Interview with Jason LaVelle
TFP: Hey everyone, this time we have the amazing THE Jason LaVelle. Not only are they an author of several dark horror and thriller novels and short stories, Jason is also the host of two podcasts. No one can explain them better than they can, so Jason why don’t you go ahead and tell us about what you do.
Jason LaVelle: Wow, what do I do? Jeez, I do a lot of things. So, in the grand scheme of things, I’m just a family guy. I have a big family in a small house, with a lot of furry friends. When I was a teenager (don’t ask how long ago that was), I wrote a lot of bad poetry. I mean really bad! But that was the seed that would eventually sprout into my journey as a novelist. Writing a book was a bucket list item for me, but now I’m publishing my sixth, so I guess I’ll have to update the list a little. I also do some podcasting, and I really enjoy the interpersonal relationships I can develop while still safe in my little hobbit hole.
TFP: Hobbit Holes are needed, especially for those of us with stories running around in our heads all the time. And knowing the kind of horror stories you write I don’t doubt that you would want a quiet safe space after… ya know, Amala. How did you come up with her?
Jason LaVelle: Amala, she’s quite the peach, isn’t she? So, Amala as a character originated in two of my previous novels, The Cold Room, and The Dark Of Night. In The Cold Room, she manifested as a small child, a poltergeist type creature who haunted a house and infested one of its residents. We don’t know a lot of her back story in that book, only that’s she’s been around a very long time, and that she is an entity unto herself, but also parasitic, an evil that feeds on others. In The Dark Of Night, we learn just how ancient she is, and about her ‘birth’ in the ancient city of Alexandria. She’s a being of great power, and even greater wickedness, but it isn’t without cause. Like most villainous characters, Amala has experienced great personal tragedy, and pain that shaped her into what she is now. So in Flutter, Amala appears in the very first story, Honey. A group of wannabe witches have channeled her spirit into a living woman, and the results are, well, unpleasant. But how did I come up with her? This is where things get a little less fictional. Amala was a beautiful woman, and intelligent, more educated than most of her male peers, and because of that, she suffered, just as the women of today suffer. They say there is nothing man fears more than a fierce woman, and I believe that. So to me, Amala is not only a cool fictional character, but an embodiment of the rage of women everywhere, who have been stepped on and abused by the world of men.
TFP: Fun fact, the woman Amala in your books is based upon once slapped a man in the face with her menstrual pad because he wouldn’t stop professing his love for her. “You’re not in love with a real woman, you’re in love with your idea of woman. This is the reality.” And that so sounds like something Amala would do. Yes, your character was so outstanding I had to look her up and read more about her.
But you’ve based other stories and characters on real life people and stories you’ve heard, haven’t you?
Jason LaVelle: That’s a great fun fact! Yes! She was a pretty incredible woman, and strong as hell! I base many characters off real life people, and many of the events in my stories are based on or inspired by actual events. Some of them are fairly innocuous, some are physically jarring. I like to include as much reality as I can handle, because I feel like it gives the stories a strong backbone. In Dimensia, a story about a teenage girl and her grandmother, I used experiences my wife had with her own grandmother, and a particularly disturbing dream to build the story. While writing Lot 187, I used my experience working in a tattoo shop to add realism to the story, in how the tattoo is made, the types of things customers want on them, and the deep meaning behind some tattoos. In the story, a woman gets a tattoo in memory of her young child who had just died. Sadly, I saw that more than once in real life, and I began to wonder, what if these pieces of art hold more power than we know. What if, in addition to personal comfort, they also carried a paranormal power. And that’s where the idea came about.
TFP: That is so amazingly creepy and awesome. Much like your books, so I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am also amazed at your ability to add such a large dose of the creep factor into every story you tell. Life of Pets still haunts me, the needless and senseless cruelty of humans that you captured so well.
Jason LaVelle: Yikes, you went there, huh. The Life Of Pets is probably the most disturbing piece of fiction in the whole collection. I work at a veterinary hospital, and I do just about everything there. We help a lot of animals, and their people. There are, however, a lot of things that people will do to another living creature just because they ‘own’ it. And that disturbs me, a lot. I’m not a religious person, but I believe all life has great value, and I don’t necessarily think that human life is more valuable than any other. In the grand scheme of things, humans do much more harm than good, but that’s another conversation. So I see all these things at work, and I asked myself, ‘would we do this if it were a human?’ And that’s where the story was born. All of the procedures really happen in our world, no matter how difficult they are to stomach, and the distress the doctors and staff feel are also very real.
TFP: Cordectomies man, they are evil.Sorry I just had to put that in there. Believe it or not, I’ve read other stories about them. The first when I was a young child, and it was the most evil thing I had read up to that point. Removing a creature's ability to speak because … what, it bothers you? I think that’s what I love most about your stories, the realism in it all. Even in your supernatural stories there is that hard line that runs through it all. Amala was brought back by humans. She needed a physical thing to move around in. It takes human cruelty or indifference to pain, which is nearly the same, for these stories to happen.
Jason LaVelle: Human cruelty, that’s really where it’s at. For a horror writer, we need only to look into ourselves and those around us to be able to dredge up those horrible stories and emotions. Cruelty without compassion is that one thing that really ‘gets’ me when I’m watching or reading something. I try not to give readers too much of it, I try to give them a little hope, but it is horror, and I am here to shake you up a little!
TFP: Your stories, short and long, certainly do that. But then you turn that on its head with your other works. Which are chocked full of love and compassion and bonding. You also do several podcasts. Everyone I know who has seen them loves them. And in fact I have recently had people approaching me saying that I need to check out this new podcast by Jason LaVelle. Tell us about the three shows you host now, and what you do on there.
Jason LaVelle: The podcasts are really a fun passion project for me, and they really cover the bases! Spilling Ink is an author roundtable (panel) show, where we chat with authors and agents, and other artists. Sometimes we try to teach a little, sometimes we just talk and enjoy the company of others like us. The Raven is a literary podcast, I have authors on to read from their books and then do a deep dive into the material. Because I love stories so much, I thought it would be a fun exploration for authors and fans alike. My newest podcast is called Unafraid, and it’s a show centered around the LGBTQ+ community. We share personal stories of strength and growth, and sometimes pain, but my goal is to send more love out into the world, and to let people know that the queer community isn’t going anywhere, and we are strong.
TFP: Just another way you show your mental and emotional prowess and understanding. Would you like to close out by telling all our readers where they can find you Jason? And anything else you’d like to tell us about you or your work?
Jason LaVelle: Well you can find me on FB of course, https://www.facebook.com/jason.lavelle.14 and on twitter, https://twitter.com/thejasonlavelle . If you’d like to check out the new book, it’s available on amazon right here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y5QGTYY This book is a sixteen year journey through my life and mind. The oldest story, Her Dance, was written when I was a freshman in college, the newest, just a few months ago. So when you’re reading, I want you to know that in a way you are becoming a part of me, of my life, and I am so grateful to have you with me.
TFP: And in case you all want Jason to be even more a part of you, check out their merchandise in our store. The designs came from Jason’s own twisted mind, and of course I love themt. You can also find their books here with us, or find them at your favorite retailer. His books are also available in your basic brick and mortar stores, just ask them to order it for you. Jason, thanks for joining us today, and we’re really looking forward to your next book, too.