Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar welcomes Jason Hubbard. He’s the author of The Taming of Adam — a work of fantasy that’s chronicled in three parts.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a little place called Johnstown, PA. Believe it or not, not all Pennsylvanians are Amish! I moved to fabulous Las Vegas in 2000 because I wanted to see Wayne Newton at least once in my life, and I stayed for the endless amount of booze available in the grocery stores. I am a writer, after all. When I’m not looking at the water show at the Bellagio, I’m at home playing video games and seeing people make fools of themselves on Youtube. I have a trio of novels available digitally called “The Taming of Adam.”
2. Why did you start writing?
After seeing “The Shining,” I took a red crayon and wrote “Redrum” all over the house. My parents nodded at each other and said, “Yup, he’s a writer, all right.” They then strapped me into a chair and forced me to read “War and Peace” until I grasped the concepts of narration and story structure. I’ve been writing “War and Peace” ever since.
But seriously, I read a lot of Stephen King books (and a few others’) in school, and one day I thought to myself, I can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t play football without getting pancaked, but I still want to entertain. Maybe I should write a book like Stephen King! I began at age 14 on a kind of horror/fantasy hybrid. I left it unfinished because I knew it wasn’t very good.
3. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for The Taming of Adam?
I had already written two books, “The Seeing Glass” and “The Sands of Carsiss” when I had this strange vision: Harry Potter putting a burrito into a microwave. No joke! It seems silly since Harry could just nuke the thing with a fire spell. On the other hand, there’s nothing preventing him from using a microwave oven (at his Muggle home, at least). The image intrigued me, so I decided to make a story of magic in a modern world. The result was “The Taming of Adam Part 1: The Path to Envale.”
4. Tell us a little bit about your story’s title.
I once met a nice English bard who gave me a copy of his play, “The Taming of the Shrew.” I decided to change it a little and make it my own, “The Taming of Adam.” Okay, so I didn’t actually meet him, but I hope he won’t mind. The story is one of redemption, where the main character, Adam Taylor, starts off as a real jerk but gets an attitude adjustment after he flips his lid somewhere down the line. The title is my silent assurance to the reader that Adam may start as a terrible person, but he does eventually get “tamed” … hopefully without a bullwhip.
5. Does The Taming of Adam have a moral?
Yeah, don’t be a jerk and brush your teeth. LOL. Actually, I know this is going to sound awful because it already sounds awful in my head, but “The Taming of Adam” was partially inspired by the Columbine school shooting of 1999. I’m not saying that the main character is as terrible as the real-life shooters, but I sometimes wonder why those kids did what they did, what they were feeling, and why they believed that life was no longer worth living. The book offers no easy answers, but the inspiration is clearly there.
6. Using five words or less, describe your protagonist in The Taming of Adam.
Smart and sassy yet flawed. He eats too many burritos, after all …
7. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
Every day after work, I climb to the pinnacle of Mt. Charleston, and on my laptop I write one brilliant word after another as the hawks around me catch snakes and the scorpions jab at my sun-kissed hide. Sometimes the ghost of Elvis visits me and sings “Love Me Tender,” which is more inspiring than anything else on this earth.
Well, either that or I hang out in my room and peck away at my keyboard while my downstairs neighbors yell at me to keep the noise down. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of time since I work full-time, but I’m trying my best on my latest work.
8. What is your favorite book genre?
Oh boy, I’m going to sound full of myself, but my favorite genre is fantasy. High fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy—I love them all as long as the imagination lifts off the page and doesn’t make me roll my eyes. But I have noticed the genre is chockfull of clichés: The Great Hero, The Chosen One, The Villain Who Wants to Rule the World, The Magical Thingamajig That Makes Everything Right in One Fell Swoop. These clichés are so overused, and they can limit the suspense. I myself have succumbed to using a few clichés, but at least I’ll never include a Chosen One in my stories. If I do, I’ll lose a bet … and I don’t feel like dancing naked on Fremont Street, thank you!
9. What is your favorite book?
Besides “Curious George Runs for President”? I really, really liked J. L. Bryan’s “Songs of Magic” series. I really shouldn’t because it’s a series for young adults, and it’s about fairies and silly puns. But it’s also about rock n roll and being rebellious while also conforming to The Man (an impossible contradiction). And simply put, it’s silly, hilarious, and romantic. Reading this series made me feel like a teenager again (usually something I’d only wish on my worst enemy). It’s too bad it’s as of now unfinished …
10. Any projects in the works?
I am currently writing “The Legend of the Three Roses.” I once had an idea that was awfully ambitious, with several groups of characters running all over the place trying to get to the same thing. I narrowed the scope and tightened the focus, so it’s now about a boy and a girl, like all good stories! I also hope to achieve world peace, but I guess that can hold for a while.
11. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
Superdog! He can do his business on several fire hydrants in a single stream! He can bury bones atop Mt. Kilimanjaro! He can catch ten bank robbers in a day and be back home in time for “Lassie” on TV Land!
Actually, in “The Legend of the Three Roses,” there’s a female character, Callie, whom Dungeons & Dragons players would call a “rogue type.” She wears light leather armor, is proficient in sword- and knife-play, and can cut purses like no tomorrow. So she’s a cool character who is competent in her “profession,” yet she’s also fun-loving and silly. Nice when she needs to be, a smartass when she wants to be. She starts out as an antihero who does some rotten things to the book’s main character, but by the end she becomes something a little more: A kindred spirit.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
If I lost every picture of me, I could still buy all new ones! Here’s me skydiving! Jumping off the Grand Canyon! On a date with Gwen Stefani! Did I ever mention I was ambitious?
2. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Spider-man is extremely shy outside of the mask, but when in the mask he feels free to say the silliest and stupidest things to criminals. Batman can keep his billions of dollars, I’d rather mock bad guys like a 7-year-old on Xbox Live!
3. Reading or writing?
Writing, since it’s more rewarding. But if you only write and never read, you may as well spend all your time playing Pokemon Go.
4. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
As much as I would love to hear every Chihuahua on my block talk about what they’d like to do to my ugly face, I’d rather hear the same thing in many different languages from human beings.
5. Being drawn into a tornado or being drawn into a whirlpool?
I’d rather die in bed at the ripe age of 101 with a copy of “War of Peace” … but I guess a tornado would be more fun.
6. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
Going without movie and TV shows … because Youtube videos don’t count as either. Ha!
7. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
To never speak again. I could always write!
8. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
After all that walking, I’d be able to crack walnuts with my thighs alone. Sounds good to me!
9. To never read another book or to never watch another film?
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has nothing on some the graphic novels I own. I’d rather keep reading!
10. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
I love chocolate … but coffee is my sweet nectar!
11. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be St. Patrick’s Day?
Saturday. If every day were St. Paddy’s, I don’t think my liver would take it.