J. Lee Glassman author of Jonny Bails Floatin and the Luck of the Bioluminescence.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Music first inspired me to write short stories. Music became a soundtrack to the unlimited possibilities I saw with writing fiction. I also like to paint and write music, but I found that I was limited by my abilities in those ventures. With writing fiction, I am in control of my own limits and I can create anything I want.
What inspired your debut novel Jonny Bails Floatin and the Luck of the Bioluminescence?
It’s kind of a strange story. There was a time that I was enjoying playing guitar and singing in my band, Luna Rex, so much that I actually worried about cooking, doing yard work, or being around sharp objects that had the potential to cut off my fingers. I thought that losing my fingers would be the worst punishment I could ever endure. That got me thinking. I wondered why humans hadn’t evolved to regenerate body parts. Some lizards can do it. Starfish do it all the time. Why can’t humans? I decided to create a biological abnormality that gave humans the ability to regenerate body parts. So my hero was obviously going to be a musician, and what better place than Key West to kick things off.
Do you have other books in the works?
Yes, I have three ideas that are floating around. One is a science fiction novel about a man from a distant planet who finds himself stuck on earth. I’m actually writing and outlining at the same time. After that, I want to do a character driven baseball novel. Lastly, I have an exciting idea about a scientist who revolutionizes the way humans function day to day. I wish I had more time!
What are your future goals as a writer?
Right now, my only goals are to become a better writer and find way to write more often. I also want to write in a variety of genres. I love the feeling of being able to create anything I want.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I don’t exactly have a favorite genre. I love reading Anne Rice, but I don’t read many other authors in that genre. I also love Carl Hiaasen, but I haven’t ventured into other authors of that genre either. I like to bounce around genres.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Neil Gaiman for the first time. The book is Neverwhere. I’m really enjoying his imagination.
Where do you like to write?
I love to write at my dining room table. It’s an old wooden table with the sturdiest legs I could find. I actually rigged my desktop computer to fit in a kitchen cart with wheels so that I can wheel it across the old hard wood floors into any room of the house.
Do you have any writing rituals or things you do while you write?
It’s hot in Florida and I found that a nice rum and coke gives me the gasoline I need to motor through a few chapters. An adult beverage along with my American Analog Set channel on Pandora radio puts me in another world.
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I hate to sound redundant, but having no limits and creating other worlds, characters, and situations is compelling to me.
Tell us something unique about yourself?
I write songs for my band Luna Rex. Some of the songs have stories to them that are so long that I cannot always remember the lyrics. This also inspired me to write stories that weren’t constrained by five minutes of instruments. I find it an amazing challenge to have a story unfold, inspired by music, and keep the lyrics in the constraints of a song.
How did you come up with the premise for Jonny Bails Floatin and the Luck of the Bioluminescence?
This is mostly covered in the question above about what inspired the book.
Which is your favorite character? Why?
I think Booker is my favorite character. Key West is a very unique place and it takes a certain kind of person to thrive there. I created him a little bit against the norm. He is pretty straight-laced and level headed. I tried to leave him a little mysterious, but at the same time, I wanted the reader to feel like they could go anywhere with him.
I found the bioluminescence aspect quite unique. How did you come up with it?
I just love the ocean. I live in South Florida and spent quite a bit of time in the Florida Keys, so the ocean is my refuge. It has been my inspiration in more ways than I can count. And all of its fine inhabitants – big or small – put me in awe. On a Keys night fishing trip about 15 years ago, I saw bioluminescent organisms out at sea. They lit up when the water was disturbed. It was magical and quite honestly, I wondered for a short time if I was imagining it. Years later, I was walking through the woods of North Carolina and as the sun went down, the fireflies came out. There’s a certain calm that comes through the tall trees in a thick forest at dusk. Seeing those fireflies emerge was similar to the night I saw bioluminescence out at sea…they were moments etched in my mind forever. I always felt a connection to these things but they are so rare that I wanted to bring them together with humans.