Check it out, another Interview completed, 3 in a row, I can sense that Nobel Prize heading my way now. This time around I am chatting with one of the Jeffs from the writing world, having already put out his first novel Hashtag Good Guy With A Gun he is back with a collection of short stories called This Is The Afterlife. So welcome Jeff Chon to here by waving yer gnomes in the air….
Q1: Tell us a bit about yourself and your books?
I’ve written two books so far. Hashtag Good Guy with a Gun is a satire about the America we’ve lived in since 2016, as well as long before that. My latest is This Is the Afterlife, a collection of stories I like think of as sequels to unwritten stories. They tend to deal with aftermaths, consequences. A lot of the stories are about guilt or mourning, but I hope people can find the hope and humor in the pieces.
Q2: Whilst reading This Is The Afterlife I was wondering if any of this book was based on your life? Did you dress up as Dracula as a kid is what I really wanna know?
To answer the second question first: That did, in fact, happen to me as a little kid. I did have someone say, “Chinese Dracula” in what was meant to be a playful sort of way, then another, then another until it got in my head. After that, I wore masks. Then after that, I just simply quit Trick or Treating. Adults are fun.
As far as the first question, it is fictional, but I’d say it’s based on my life—even if it’s an imagined, interior one. Every character in this book is an aspect of me in some way or another, even the bad ones, because they came from my head.
Q3: How have you found life as a published author? Has it been super easy and stress free?
Haha. No and no. But I’m sure that has more to do with life as me, as opposed to life as a published author. At the same time, it’s brought me great joy. I’ve been able to meet amazing readers and writers throughout this process. I need to really remind myself life is pretty good. I’m very grateful for everything that’s happened these past few years.
Q4: One of your characters is called Jeff and he is very good artist, as a real life Jeff are you any good with a Sharpie?
I doodle, but I’m not any good. I have a real soft spot for that story, which, along with a couple others, helped me find the shape of my novel, Hashtag Good Guy with a Gun, as I was able to really know these characters as people before I dove in. Jeff, aka “Jeff the Killer” was a very popular character with people who read the novel, so I’m really excited for people to see who he was before all the bad things went down—the bad things from the novel, as opposed to the bad things in this story (poor, poor Jeff).
Q5: How many millions of money have you made from this book? And can I borrow a bit of cash for some traps? This year for sure I’m gonna catch Santa.
*pulls out empty pockets like Monopoly Guy* I really wish you the best of luck catching Santa, though. Hot tip: according to TV commercials, he’s going to be in Qatar for the World Cup.
Q6: Are you much of a reader? What is the best book you’ve read recently and which is the book you first fell in love with?
Reading is very important, so I consider myself very much of a reader. I found a really awesome 1960s paperback version of Mother Night in the Little Free Library, and one thing led to another, and I started rereading it. Therefore, it’s the best book I’ve read recently. I’m learning that rereading things when you’re smarter is always a good thing.
The book I first fell in love with, I think, it’s Dear Mr. Henshaw. It’s the first time I remember being genuinely moved while reading a book.
Q7: So far I’ve not noticed any Gnomes in your books, is there a reason they have been ignored?
This is a fair question. I’m definitely going to have to include a gnome or two in a story. Come to think of it, there’s a hoarder in one of the stories in This Is the Afterlife. I’d like to imagine there’s a lawn gnome or two in that house, just hidden from the narrative.
Q8: If you could have a meal with anybody who would you pick and what would you eat?
Maybe take Santa to a nice Mexican restaurant, help you catch him for all the kindness you’ve shown me.
Q9: If you could go into a book or movie as one of the characters, which would you choose and how would you influence the story?
Really wanted to be an X-Man as a kid. Just hang out with Colossus, go to the arcade with Kitty, smoke cigars with Wolverine. My mutant power would be to curl into a ball like an armadillo until all the fighting’s over.
Q10: You going to be one of those that will be leaving twitter or you gonna hang out with Me, Elon and the Russian bots?
In some parts of the country, the police confiscate loads of marijuana and then burn it all in a giant pile. I hear people come from miles around, and line up along the fence, and inhale the fumes while enjoying the dancing flames. I imagine what’s happening to Twitter is very similar to that.
Q11: I know your latest book has only just come out, but you got any plans for what is next?
I think I do. At the same time, I’m not sure. But I hope to know soon.
Practical task: I have a gnome gallery on my blog, every victim I interview gets to create a piece of artwork based on Gnomes, can be any medium and you are welcome to name the piece.
Many thanks to Jeff for taking part in this here interview and teaching me how to look deeper into a book when searching for Gnomes, maybe they are there all along…watching us. If you haven’t already checked out this book then I hope this has inspired you to pick one of them up, This Is The Afterlife is a great place to start. And if you are looking to stalk Jeff you can find him on Twitter At least until Twitter has crashed and burnt to dust.