Jason Purdy is a writer from Northern Ireland. By day, he's a digital marketing strategist, and by night, he writes short stories, poems, and other rubbish. His first novel, Cigarette, is available on Amazon, and his second novel is available on Inkitt to read for free. He's appeared in a range of short story and poetry collections.
Congratulations on winning our March contest with 'Whittling, Man'. What was the inspiration for this story?
Thank you! It’s hard to pinpoint a specific source of inspiration for this one. I was thinking about the recent death of a family member and about the different ways that people deal with grief.
Some people want to be alone, some people want to be around company, some want to talk, and some don’t. Others turn to drink or to drugs, and others will turn to God instead.
There’s a lot in the story as well about the things we assume of other people. People close to you in life - family or friends - will always tell you that they will be there if they need help, but when the time comes, they’re not around, or they’re too wrapped up in themselves and their own grief to be of any help to you at all.
Sometimes you have to heal alone, sometimes you heal together. Sometimes all you need is a bit of catharsis. I suppose that’s what Whittling, Man was about, and that’s what it was for me as well.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I do it both ways. A lot of the time a story comes to me in a snippet of an idea, sometimes it’s just a theme, an emotion, or even just one scene. I usually start from there and see where things go.
A lot of the time I have to go back and make some major edits because I realise that names have changed halfway through. Or maybe a character is suddenly driving a different car or they get their left arm bitten off but they’re missing their right one on the next page. Even still, I prefer not to outline things too much because it makes it as exciting for me as it (hopefully) is for the reader.
What type of books do you like to read and who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King would have to be my all time favorite author, if nothing else for the sheer amount of his books I’ve read. I’d definitely put The Stand and IT close to the top of my list.
I’m also a huge fan of sci-fi books, and I love Dan Simmons and his Hyperion Cantos. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys are absolute gold as well. Can’t forget Terry Pratchett either. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is another big one.
I love the poetry of Charles Bukowski as well, along with his Post Office novel. There’s also Kurt Vonnegut and Jack Kerouac and Haruki Murakami and I’ll honestly have to just put a pin in this before I write an essay for this question. I love books.
Can you tell us what you are working on at present?
I’m pretty heavily into short stories and poetry at the moment. I’ve had a few stop/start novel ideas floating about but I love the challenge of telling a compelling story with less words.
I’m working on a few random short stories for various submissions, and I’m also working on my first poetry collection. I’ve been trying to write one poem every day. Some days it goes well. Most days, it doesn’t.
I’ve also recently released my second novel, Alex Kicks the Bucket for free to read on Inkitt.
And my first novel Cigarette is on Amazon.
Other than that, I write a little bit every day, most of the time it doesn’t go anywhere, but it's good to keep the muscles in shape.
That summer was dry. Dry, and hot, and long. Relentless sweat seeped from my back and chest and hands, and wouldn’t leave. It clung like blood congealing on a wound. Sticky. But my mouth stayed dry. I didn’t say much after it happened. Not for a long time. We’d left school for good, and things had seemed ok. But there was a sort of vacancy present, now that we were out of doors. Beyond the town the miles of dust lay, as it had always lain, since the time this land...
She eased her husband onto the wicker chair. Tucked a blanket over his spindle-legs and wiped the silver trail from his chin, careful, all the while, not to catch his glazed, unseeing eyes. Only when he was settled did the woman take up position behind him, her hand resting on his bony shoulder. Only then did she turn to face the narrow-lipped occupant of this small, woodland cottage. “You have payment?” the crone demanded.