an Eastlit Interview by Graham Lawrence
Jared Angel is the author of the novels, Betraying the God of Light and Humans Rising. Two more novels are set to be published this year – Dusk in June of 2015, The First Ending in September of 2015. He also has two short stories, A Veil of Silk published in Eastlit and A Choice Between God and Wife. He is originally from Paradise, California, USA and has lived in San Francisco, New York and now Kobe, Japan for fifteen years. He teaches culture and English at university and is having a blast raising two kids.
What do you do outside of writing?
How do you find time to do your writing?
I make time. I write between classes; I write during lunch; I write on the train. At night, when exhausted, I won’t go to bed until I’ve written or edited at least one sentence. Luckily, I find a lot of time to write when university is not in session.
How long does it take you to complete a piece of work?
I’m not sure what you mean by complete. I’ve never felt that I’ve ever completed any writing, even the ones that are published. In terms of first drafts of novels (I’ve written seven with several remaining unpublished), I average one year to complete the first draft.
When did you first start writing?
When I was 16. My English teacher required us to keep a journal. We had to write sixty pages for the year. The other students hated it and struggled to finish. I loved it and ended up with over 300 pages.
Could you briefly summerize your literary activities and achievements?
Except for publishing novels, I don’t have any particular achievements. In additiion to writing, I host a reading event called Authors Live!, at which we have four publihsed authors read from their work.
Please tell us a little about your writing.
My research background is in identity formation. I try to challenge our concepts of religion, race, gender and sexuality in everything I write. My novels Betraying the God of Light, Humans Rising & The First Ending are fantasy, but they challenge the ideologies that led to the work in Iraq. I do have a fear that because three of my novels are fantasy, I will be labeled a ”fantasy” writer.
Which piece of your own writing means the most to you and why?
At the moment, it’s a toss up between Memories of Dad (the second novel I wrote, which is unpublished) and the most recent one I completed, Jada Bell & The Tunnel. Memories of Dad is really a memoir turned fiction. It helped me overcome demons from my past. Jada Bell & The Tunnel is the best thing I’ve ever written and has great potential.
What does being a writer mean to you?
It transforms my research into stories. It’s also a way to leave a part of me behind.
What is literature?
Whatever the reader wants it to be.
How would you describe your writing process?
Free-flowing brainstorming that develops structure on its own.
Are there any Asian poets, writers, artists among your major influences?
No, but there are two Asian-Americans. One is the novelist Amy Tan and the other is a former professor, Gwendolyn Mink. Both opened my mind to a whole new way of looking at identity.
What are the Asia-related subjects that have recently engaged your attention?
Out of the many, one that surprised me last week (last week of May, 2015) was Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto’s proposed hate crime bill. Japan has been greatly criticized for its lack of hate crime legislation and one of the last politicians I suspected of proposing it was Hashimoto.
Which five books are most influential to you?
The Bible, The Sword of Shannara, Beloved, The Kitchen God’s Wife, Of Mice and Men
If you hadn’t been a writer what would you have been?
Professor, since I am. If I hadn’t been either, I would like to go back and be a computer engineer.
How did you find Eastlit and what are your impressions of it?
I was introduced by James Crocker of The Font. I love it.
Would you like to leave us with a favorite quote or two, or a passage from your own or others work? And why does it means something to you?
From Jada Bell & The Tunnel, Pastor Eliza Fee says, ”Speaking for God is the most arrogant thing a human can do.”
I don’t believe it’s possible for a human to comprehend the will of God. If everyone had more humility before their god, this world would be a safer and more peaceful place.
Thanks to Jared Angel for taking the time to give us an interview. All of us at Eastlit wish him the best in the future.
The following work by Jared Angel has featured in Eastlit:
- A Veil of Silk appeared in Eastlit June 2014.