Jefferson Dane is actually a pseudonym for a father/son writing team (Chuck and Jeffrey) which began in 2003. Together, the duo has authored Flyover, Phlogiston, two short stories which have appeared in anthologies, and another, Contagionâ€™s Shadow, is forthcoming. They do this by taking careful notes, developing them into ideas, and then running them. Tonight, I will chat with Chuck, the father, and see how he and his son go about weaving their literary magic. You can also find out more by visiting their website http://polemiclitany.com/
BARBARA: Your novel Flyover has generated a lot of attention. Could you tell the readers a little about Flyover? Was it based on personal experience?
JEFFERSON: Flyover was based upon a one joke dare that some friends of mine sent to me. They were both in the military at the same time I was, but not in Afghanistan up in the mountains of the north where the book is based. I needed to research that and the various ways the Taliban fights their war. The initial draft of the one joke dare failed miserably.
Later when Aspen Mountain Press asked for contributions to a Memorial Day anthology, I took the original idea and placed the plot line with the Army in Afghanistan and that subsequently worked.
BARBARA: You almost had Phlogiston published with a tiny company that went bankrupt, and I know so many writers who hadÂ similar experiences. Could you tell us about yours?
JEFFERSON: A small press family publisher out of Illinois called Tiger Publications first accepted my dragon and damsel detective novel, Phlogiston, for publication in 2007 and the book went through the entire pre-issue process. Cover art, editing, line editing, ISBN number, the works. Then the owner of the company got cancer and the disease ate all her business money. She quickly released all rights to the book except for the cover illustration which belonged to the artist.
Dale Ankrum’s original cover art is located here:
BARBARA: What would you adviseÂ aspiring authors to look for in a publishing company?
JEFFERSON: First off as a writer you’re always hoping that a publisher can do you some good. I had no problem with the now defunct Tiger Publications at all. Cancer of the owner is something you just can’t predict. After the company folded, I spent a year marketing Phlogiston to other book companies until Aspen Mountain Press accepted it for electronic publication.
BARBARA: Phlogiston is now available through Aspen Mountain Press. I understand the writing process has sentimental value for you. WouldÂ you like to share that?
JEFFERSON: I wrote this book with my son, Jeff, the Welsh scholar. The story takes place in Wales in the Eighth Century. Here is the current cover and link to the book:
BARBARA: I notice you share your website, http://polemiclitany.com/Â with author Diane Linford. How did you two meet and has sharing generated positive publicity?
JEFFERSON: <Grin…> Diane and I met in Fort Wayne, Indiana over twenty-five years ago. She taught school and I worked as an advertising copywriter and production director for a small ad agency. She had placed honorable mention in an article writing contest for a national magazine and I discovered that at the end of a year, I had enough finished product in a loose-leaf binder to have finished a novel.
Diane passed away in 2004 of breast cancer after twenty-one years of marriage and I wasn’t able to speak directly with people at that time. So to communicate, I took some of her online erotic stories and wrapped a paranormal plot around them and sent the novel to Loose Id. Treva Harte of Loose Id turned the book down telling me that I needed to give her a happy ever after ending to be right for a romance publisher. I killed the hero off at the end of the story. I made the changes she demanded and Diane [her] Charles [me] Linford [a play on her maiden name] was born.
BARBARA: Your short story, â€œContagion’s Shadow,â€ has developed into a 25,000 word novella which will soon be available.Â Could you describe how you went about this process? When will Contagion’s Shadow become available?
JEFFERSON: A short science fiction story of mine â€œThe Liberation of Big Twinâ€ won second place in the Snowbound Writer’s Contest sponsored by the newspaper in Grand Haven Michigan. The contest was named after the Lake Effect snows of the area. The name of the story was based on the fact that from the planet Mars the Earth and Moon would look like a Big Twin and a Little Twin planetary system.
I added a romance between two unlikely characters to flesh out the story and a scourge of a plague which crawls over the land. As Stephen King said, everybody should have an opportunity to cleanse the Earth occasionally. I introduced my heroineâ€™s nasty ex-husband just to kill him off.
I am hoping that I will be assigned an editor and that editing is about to start soon.
BARBARA: What is the most difficult aspect of the writing process?
JEFFERSON: The first draft is always the toughest. Sitting at the keyboard and facing a blank screen is the most difficult task I have to do, and my children consistently tell me how slow a typist I am. I’ve recently had a work-in-progress twist and turn until it no longer works for me the way it began.Â So after leaving it alone for a few weeks, I’ll be going back to it with renewed vigor.
BARBARA: What would you say prompted your interest in writing?
JEFFERSON: I am a firm believer that my writing is a curse put on my great-grandmother by a Native American shaman.
BARBARA: How has Facebook help you garner publicity?
JEFFERSON: I am still hoping Facebook exposure helps with getting the word out on my novels.
BARBARA: Â In Some Gave All, did you collaborate with other authors, or did you each contribute your own story? How did that work for you?
JEFFERSON: Each author contributed a short story separately. Same for my story in “All I Want” in Babes In Toyland [first volume].