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Written by JJ Barnes

www.jjbarnes.co.uk

I interviewed author Jason Stadtlander about his career, what inspires his writing, and the work that went into his latest novel, The Ter’roc: Evolution.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I am originally from Ohio, but moved to Massachusetts in 1998. I love to travel (have been to England many times, in fact part of my upcoming book takes place in England). I work full time in IT as a cyber-security specialist and have for the last 25 years. In my spare time I teach foster parents and social workers how to protect themselves and children online.

Jason Stadtlander, author of The Ter’roc: Evolution, interview on The Table Read
Author Jason Stadtlander

My love for children and technology have always sculpted not only my fulltime job, but my writing as well. I’m married to a Chemist originally from Bulgaria and I am the father of two (teenage) boys. We live north of Boston, Massachusetts.

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When did you first WANT to write a book?

I first wanted to write a book probably back in the early nineties, but did not think I had it in me. While working at a library in Bangor, Maine, I had a chance meeting with a woman named Tabitha who I had a discussion with about writing. She told me I should bring in some of my short stories so that she could read them, which I did. She came back the next week with all three short stories marked up in red.

I said “I guess they weren’t very good?” and she laughed.

She replied, “No, they were excellent, my husband made some corrections. We both think you should really put together a set of maybe 10-12 stories into an anthology. It would make a good first book.”

I asked her who her husband was and she cocked her eyebrow and said, “Stephen.”

I was in shock, I replied, “Wait, Stephen King?!” and she laughed

I had no idea that she was Tabitha King. And that was the catalyst for “Ruins of the Mind”, my first book.

When did you take a step to start writing?

I wrote my first short story when I was in sixth grade. Been writing ever since.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

My first book was actually Ruins of the Mind, which was a collection of short stories that I wrote over a period of about fifteen years. My first actual novel (The Steel Van Man) took about eight months to write.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

This book was first conceptualized as a short story. But the book itself took about five years to write. The only reason it took so long was the history that ended up developing as I was writing it. This book is just the tip of the iceberg of a much more massive story. I had to remove dozens of chapters to scale it down to a readable book. Because of this, I have a history for the ter’roc going back almost two billion years

Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Ter’roc: Evolution?

As I stated in the last question, this story began as a short story. When I wrote the short story, it quickly took on a whole life of its own and I knew pretty quickly that there was no way I was going to be able to tell the whole story in 3-4 thousand words (a typical short story length).

What were your biggest challenges with writing The Ter’roc: Evolution?

Jason Stadtlander, author of The Ter’roc: Evolution, interview on The Table Read
Cover of The Ter’roc:Evolution

Honestly, my biggest challenges are finding time to write. I am not a fulltime writer, so I still have my “day job”. So finding times that fit into my day where I feel creative are the most challenging parts.

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Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

The protagonist in this story has elements from several people. Probably mostly from my sister who used to do a lot of exploring with me as a child. I could easily see her serving the role of the “explorer” that the protagonist serves.

There are also elements of myself in the protagonist and of who I see us as species eventually evolving to be. I tried hard to not only visualize what a leader might be like, but what might it be like for that leader to be through the eyes of a young girl?

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

I didn’t have a single ‘person’ in mind when I created the antagonist. It sort of developed as the story went along (as many of my characters do). I pictured someone who had been hardened by having a mission that had repeatedly failed for centuries. They faced the finality of their people finally arriving on earth an doing away with the human “vermin” that had plagued them for so long.

Jason Stadtlander, author of The Ter’roc: Evolution, interview on The Table Read

What is the main conflict of The Ter’roc: Evolution?

Ultimately, it is attack on earth that we are facing. However, the revelation that there is a race of aliens that has created us also adds its own conflict as well.

Did you plot The Ter’roc: Evolution in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

All of my stories are by the seat of my pants. I no more have any idea how they are going to end as I’m writing them, than does the reader. I am often just as surprised.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did your book need?

My wife and a few friends did some initial editing, but ultimately the editing team at my publishing company; BHC Press did all the hard work.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

My biggest advice is just start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it’s a tragedy to have a story and not record it. The story can always be perfected later.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Sure. I am currently working on the following:  Sci-fi thriller currently called “The Fray”; a prequel to The Ter’roc; a sequel to the The Steel Van Man and a few other stories that don’t have a name yet.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Absolutely. This has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Whether my readers enjoy it or not (which of course I hope they do), I have really enjoyed bringing the Ter’roc (pronounced “Teh’rock”) to life. They are a fascinating culture with a rich history all their own.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

The book: The Ter’roc: Evolution
Release date: March 29, 2022 worldwide
Available for preorder now everywhere books are sold (including Waterstones)

My website is: https://jasonstadtlander.com
The Ter’roc details can be found at: https://jasonstadtlander.com/books/the-terroc-evolution/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheStoryofJason
Facebook: https://facebook.com/jasonstadtlander
Instagram: https://instagram.com/jasonstadtlander

On a side note, I may be doing a small book tour in England later this year.

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