Savage Readers- Author Interview with JC Wickhart

125962537_831662891001873_3713067063828731894_n (1)JC Wickhart is an author and screenwriter from the Ozark Mountains in Southern Missouri. As a writer of satire and dirty realism he criticizes modern society by using first-person narratives. His novels are loosely interconnected by recurring characters and subplots. His bibliography consists of the novels: One Hundred Pounds; Shedding Morals; Inappropriate; Devil’s Lamb; and Hills. His screenplay Estrangement was released in June 2020.

Find JC Wickhart ONLINE

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How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Five published novels and one published screenplay, but I have a USB flash drive chocked full of several unpublished works. I’m my worst critic – I hate them all, but I’m going to say “Estrangement” is by far my favorite. It was fun to write and allowed me to finally apply the Small World Theory (Six Degrees of Separation) to one of my works. However, it’s a screenplay and not exactly a book. If I had to choose a “book” as my favorite, I’d probably pick “Hills.” Only because it was the “wrap up” novel to the Wickhart Literary Universe. I wrote it to end the self-abuse of writing novels. It isn’t my best work and it’s incredibly sloppy, but I’ve never been good at goodbyes.

Can you tell me about your book(s) or series? 

They’re ham-fisted, crass, sophomoric, offensive, perverse, and way too detailed and confusing for some. I fall into the genres of Transgressive Fiction and Tragicomedies, but it’s too difficult to explain or summarize any of my novels without a link chart and a mile of red string. My books are not a series by any means, but they’re all intertwined and sometimes a character from one book will have a small cameo in another. They are each very different in plots and storytelling but they’re very consistent in being heartbreaking tragedies. Happy Endings are for shadowed massage parlors after all.

What do/does the title(s) mean? Is there any special meaning behind it?

The titles have no special meaning. I pick out a few titles for each and then decide which looks the sexiest in print.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In college. However, I never really considered it a serious goal until college was behind me.

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What inspired you to write your first book?

I wanted to see if I could pull in non-readers and the casual readers. Hardcore readers are usually loyalists to their preferred authors and genres. When they read something new, they use their favorite books and authors as measuring sticks. Winning a positive response from them is an uphill battle for a new author, so I wanted to pick my own battle and go after an untapped market of readers. If you socialize with enough modern hippies and boho scene girls, you’ll soon notice that those stereotypes typically have a vast taste in entertainment and most importantly – they have a far reach with word of mouth. People always listen to an attractive female and a knowledgeable stoner. I struggled for a long time to write something that could be appealing to those particular crowds. Then one day I was listening to a discussion on NPR about how many species will go extinct from Climate Change within this century. I asked myself: “what if marijuana went extinct?” I immediately started working on “One Hundred Pounds.” Once published, I started building a foundation for a returning audience. I promoted the shit out of it in head shops, bars, and old music stores. I sent copies to certain loud voices in the marijuana legalization communities. Having always been inspired by Jay-Z’s beginnings, I was out there selling copies from the trunk of my car at first. I wasn’t going to rely on social media because that battlefield is entirely too crowded. I still continue to put more faith in the plumes of word of mouth more so than I do social media. One must get out there, do the work, and be the product.

Where did you get your inspiration for your stories?

This sadistic world that we all share. Weird happenstances and White Rabbits always seem to find me, and I’m a magnet for interesting and strange people. The plots for my novels and screenplays are most certainly fiction, but the characters and dialogues are almost always derived from real life.

How long does it take you to write a book?

A year or three. I let writing orgasms happen organically and never force myself to write. I’m a firm believer that one must step out of their comfort zone to live, feel, suffer, love, hate, engage, socialize, delve into madness and experience the world in order to make writing enjoyable and to give it a strong dose of realism – and that takes time.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How do you balance daily life with writing?

I work in advertising and it allows me to make my own schedule, so there’s not much conflict there. Being a father that now homeschools due to COVID while also maintaining a social life can sometimes interfere with the massaging of words. Again though, I never force myself to write.

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What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

My freakish ability to memorize the smallest details in conversations, mannerisms, body language, settings, and background noise when I’m out-and-about doing Wickhart shit. I observe and absorb everything. Also, I’m shamelessly a lifelong Pro Wrestling fan. And yes, I know it isn’t “real” but how many novels are actually real? Wrestling has numerous creative formulas that are proven to be successful and those same formulas can be applied to any form of storytelling. When drafting a novel or screenplay, I’ll add notes of which characters will be “faces” or “heels” and which will be “putting over” another. Wrestling and its terminology are certainly a part of my creative process.

How do your books get published?

I have a terribly aggressive but impressively resourceful and well-connected manager that I’ve known since we were in college together. She’s a ruthless monster when it comes to scouting for publishing and promotion. Or I just use Amazon when rejected.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Having them edited and proofread six dozen times and still finding errors after publishing. It really wreaks havoc on the OCD.

What is the first book that made you cry?

“Spider-Man: Revelations” saga. I didn’t necessarily cry, it just made me big sad for a minute. Also, I guess “Charlotte’s Web” made my bottom lip quiver as a child, but I was raised on a farm so it hit close to the heart.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Interesting question. It all depends on the region. In my home state of Missouri, I rarely hear anything at all. Nobody reads my work in the Ozarks and I’m somewhat thankful for that because being burned at the stake for blasphemy and debauchery would totally ruin a weekend. My west coast (mostly Los Angeles) readers are usually very vocal and ask how much of “Inappropriate” is autobiographical and then offer to buy me drinks. I’ve had several readers from the Dirty South, especially Florida, ask me if I’m secretly religious and just pretending to be an Atheist to appear edgy…I suspect “Devil’s Lamb” provoked such questions. Then, there’s my loyal readers in Japan. They’re very CREATIVE when reaching out to me.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, do you create a Playlist for your books?

I will NOT write without music. It’s almost a ritual for me. Music influences the majority of the scenes I type. “Estrangement” is a personal tribute to my love of music. Crack open the last few pages of that book and skim the soundtrack, it’ll tell one all they need to know about the type of writer and person I am.

Who are your favorite authors?

The top three in no particular order would have to be: Charles Bukowski, Bret Easton Ellis, and Hunter S. Thompson. That feels like a cliché answer but they’ve never really let me down. Then there’s Tom Wolfe, Chuck Palahniuk, Jenny Mollen, Chelsea Handler, Nick Cave, Robert Greene, Cicero, Aurelius, Nietzsche. I’ve just started to read Donna Tartt after a trustworthy recommendation but it’s been difficult to work in the time to read as of late. There’s also an extremely entertaining screenwriter out there that I really enjoyed proofreading, but I’m not sure if I should namedrop since her screenplay is currently in limbo with multiple offers.

Not all writers write all the time. Do you have favorite movies or TV shows?

Anything and everything by Quentin Tarantino. He has always been my number one influence in storytelling. I get depressed thinking about how shitty my work is after watching his films or reading the screenplays for them. I love the novelistic approach that television series have been offering over the last twenty years. Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Killing Eve, Entourage, Dexter; and I was a huge fan of Daredevil on Netflix. Season 2, Episode 3’s stairwell fight scene was the kitty’s titties. Just thinking about how much choreography went into that one scene is mind boggling.

Any hobbies?

Sex, drugs, rock and roll. Rabbit Holes. Traveling. Connoisseur of fine scotch. Making absinthe. Collecting and hoarding designer sunglasses, blazers, and black t-shirts. Health and cardio. Philosophy. Astronomy. World History. Politics. Gardening. Breakfast. Heated debates with my pet goose. Piña Coladas, getting caught in the rain, making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape.

Any upcoming releases or events?

No upcoming releases in the foreseeable future. As a novelist, I have retired and now I’m just practicing screenwriting for the better cheddar. Someday I might get a wild hair and publish another one of my screenplays or a collection of shorts. Who knows?

Find JC Wickhart ONLINE

TWITTER            INSTAGRAM

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