INTERVIEWS

Cosmic Rock

Today we interviewed author Jim Cherry known for his book "The Last Stage" and The Doors Examiner. Jim fills us in on his new projects and shares some thoughts on this Friday of Chinese New Year 2018. Cool to hear from Mr.Cherry and find out his news and cool views.

1.Hey Jim how're you man? Always cool to catch up with you. Last time we spoke we talked in depth about your writing concerning The Doors and Morrison. After your years with Doors Examiner you are now working on some non-Doors related projects. Tell us the latest on your writing news.

Hi Gideon! Thank you for talking to me! Yes, I’ve written a lot about The Doors for The Doors Examiner and my book of compilation articles “The Doors Examined” but that time is passing, and just as Jim Morrison wanted people to look to him as a poet, I’ve always been a fiction writer. I wrote “Becoming Angel,” The Last Stage,” and my book of short stories “Stranger Souls” long before I wrote any articles about The Doors, and now I’d like to concentrate on my more artistic writing again and I hope any Doors fans that have enjoyed my articles will follow me in those artistic pursuits. The biggest thing I’ve done is started writing articles and posting short stories to Medium. Medium is a platform for writers but anyone and everyone is invited to come over and read what’s there. I started a publication there called “Scattered Stories” which is for my short stories, the articles are scattered out throughout the site from movie criticism (“The Last Jedi” and “The Shape of Water”), as well as a couple of articles on overlooked writers like Weldon Kees and Walter Tevis, there’s a whole myriad of articles, just put my name in the Medium search box and it’ll pull up all my articles and stories.

 

2.Great Jim. "The Third Day" sounds very interesting, what inspired your story?

Yeah, I think “The Third Day” is very interesting idea. It’s based on a news story I saw on TV in the 90’s during or after the Bosnian War. It was about two friends who were on opposite sides of the war, one was trying to live his life peacefully, the other had become a very deadly sniper and the guy trying to live his life peacefully decides he has to kill his friend so that many others may live. Dripping with conflict, right? I saw the possibilities right away, what would drive you to decide you had to kill a childhood friend, the turmoil it would create in your life and I wrote a story as fast as I could because I was sure some other writer would see the same news story and beat me to the punch. I wrote it as a short story and just couldn’t sell it. I still had a lot of faith in the story and I see a lot of scenes in my mind visually and scenes from this story just kept coming to me. Since I was seeing a lot of pictures in my mind, they were very vivid, I decided to write it as a screenplay, I even came up with a nice hook for the movie that I think would have made quite an impression on the viewer. Anyway, I wrote the screenplay and I started marketing it around first to contests where it did very well getting very positive critical reviews and for in the Nicholl’s screenwriting contest run by the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences it got to the second round of readings, which is kind of impressive the Nicholl’s is very competitive. I was disappointed it didn’t go any further but it making it to the second round gave the confidence to know I was on the right track with it and I kept marketing it to indie producers. Then I ran into this guy online who was in the Universal Studios writers program and we traded screenplays and he said it read like a novel to him. Well, at that point I’d been marketing 4-5 years, I already had a hundred pages of the screenplay, I could easily and quickly write it as a novel and even translate the visual hook from the screenplay that would have made a film distinctive. I’ve been working on it ever since and I’m about a third of the way through it.

3.The short story "The Seas have no Stars" is also a very cool concept. What inspired your  interest for a connection with dolphins and alien life?

“The Seas Have No Stars” is about aliens who come to earth to visit the dolphins. I heard about a novel on exactly this in the 1980’s allegedly by Fredrik Pohl, but I never found any of his novels that corresponded to it. A friend suggested it may be a David Brin novel, I found that but the dolphin’s in that had their intelligence enhanced by man, so I ruled that out. The idea has been in my mind the whole time, and as the years have gone by researchers are finding out more and more about dolphin intelligence and language, for instance it was discovered a few years back that dolphins have names. Scientist’s were able to isolate out that every dolphin has a unique whistle that it identifies itself as, in short, a name. Also we’re discovering that most animals have greater intelligence, emotions, and inner lives than we have ever thought possible, and I think somewhat arrogantly have believed that, but every day new research dashes the uniqueness of humans in the animal world, something we should know but have forgotten. I guess after thinking about it after all these years and wanting to read a story about aliens and dolphins I decided to write it myself and like before I had a very strong picture in my head of an opening scene and every time I sit down to write it scenes just come pouring out of me. The story still seems very fluid to me, a lot of the scenes and dramatics of it I have a different version or two of them. I’m only a couple of thousand words into it but the scenes I have planned out seem like it’s going to be a longer piece, I’m just hoping it doesn’t boom out into a novel!

 

4.Tell us about "Scattered Stories" your publication on Medium.

All writers, I guess all artists are looking for greater routes of exposure and Medium is relatively new and I believe I’m doing the best writing of my life, so I started what is essentially an online magazine to feature my short stories and I called it “Scattered Stories.” Right now it has about four stories there but I’m going to be posting 1-2 a week, maybe more. Medium seems a pretty cool place for writers of all genres and interests to post their work without the intermediary of traditional publishers or magazines.

 

5.Yes okay. Glad to see your work for Doors Examiner is out there in the archive. Have you moved away from writing about Morrison and company or are you still finding inspiration in their music and history?

The Doors Examiner’s natural life ended July 2016 when AXS Entertainment pulled the plug on all Examiner columns. I was asked by AXS to bring my articles over to them but we had a difference of opinion over content they thought an article was too controversial and since my subject was The Doors and Jim Morrison they were going to be upset by a lot of articles, and I didn’t feel like having an argument for every article especially after the positive reputation and track record I’d built. So I parted ways with them. The Doors music is something I’m always going to enjoy I’ve been a fan since 1979 so don’t think that will end any time soon! I almost always listen to The Doors or other rock music while I’m writing hopefully the rhythms of the music get incorporated into the writing. I’ve published an excerpt of “The Last Stage” on Medium and I have at the top of the piece the video for “L.A. Woman” I think if you read the piece or anything I write with Doors music it will act as a soundtrack for my writing. In my first novel I “Becoming Angel” I was pretty blatant about it. For the opening scene I thought Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” was the right feeling for the opening so I have the character turn on the radio and “Kashmir” was on.

 

6.What authors do you feel most influenced you and in what ways?

Jack Kerouac and James Joyce primarily. Kerouac for his spontaneity in writing, and Joyce finding the poetry in the words and thought, Stephen King I‘ve gotten into in the last few years and I think he‘s helped me to explore what‘s possible in my stories and I think he‘s partly responsible for what I think is the maturing of my writing. Writers have to read a lot, older writers help you know what’s already been done and what’s possible, while reading newer writers is kind of like knowing your market. So, I would guess there are hundreds of writers that have influenced me on some level or another.

 

7.If you were to suggest to anyone to read certain books what would you encourage?

You mean other than my books? I’ve been finding myself drawn to lesser known writers, that weren’t wildly popular during their lives, right now I’m reading Walter Tevis who wrote “The Hustler” that the Paul Newman movie is based on, he also wrote “The Man Who Fell to Earth” he didn’t write a lot of books but the books he did write had a big impact but not many people know his name. If you’re looking for some rock and roll themed science fiction Paul Levinson has written some cool things like “Loose Ends” which goes back to the 60’s John Lennon has an integral part of the book, it’s part of a trilogy, I read the first two and thought they were excellent.

 

8.Do you read mostly fiction?

Yes, I think fiction has the ability to tell the truth about us, our society, our culture, than non-fiction does. Fiction has the ability to go inward to find the universal in all of us.

 

9.Do you have certain places or times of day you find best for your writing?

When I wrote my first novel “Becoming Angel” I was working full time and I wrote after, usually from 8PM to 12 or 1 in the morning. I would get very amped up on the energy that the writing was creating, it was the best drug I ever had. Now, I think I approach the writing more disciplined, writing in the early morning (after feeding the cats, there’s just no way around that!) and maybe I don’t get the same amount of writing time in before the spell wears off, or more mundane things need to be attended to, but the writing is more effective, more accurate in hitting the targets I have in mind, I think it’s gotten easier to translate the pictures in my head into words, and I still get that immortal feeling of standing outside of time when I’m writing, when I’m really into it it only feels like a few minutes have passed when in fact it’s been several hours. And it still gives me that high, maybe not as much as it used to, but there’s still the feeling of satisfaction when the writing is going well and I can see the story building right in front of my eyes.

 

10.Any news or last words for your readers?

Hmm, last words? All stories are true, sooner or later. News, I have a new Jymsbooks website at Wix where you can purchase all my books (or they’re all available directly on Amazon), if you would like to support my writing more directly I have a Patreon page and every month will be posting different things I’m working on, I think I have some exciting things going on.

Great Jim. Stay in touch and let us know your news. Rock on. - G

Scattered Stories link: https://medium.com/scattered-stories

 

Medium link to all articles: https://medium.com/@jimcherry

 

Jim’s Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/Jim_Cherry

 

WIX website: https://jymwrite.wixsite.com/jymsbooks

 

https://jymwrite.wixsite.com/jymsbooks/books