Jason Letts is an author of young-adult fiction. In addition to Suspense, the first book in The Spencer Nye Trilogy, he has written the Inevitable Trilogy and the Powerless series. Outside of writing, he cultivates diverse interests in such fields as distance running, cooking, traveling, fortune telling, hiking, kayaking, and competitive napping.
My Tower of Books: I know that story ideas can come out of some pretty random thoughts and circumstances. What inspired the idea for your novel, Suspense?
Jason: I've been reading so many stories where there is some evil empire oppressing the characters of a book, and it got me thinking about what a story would be like where there was absolutely no pressure like that. In the future world of Suspense, people are free to do whatever they like all the time, and most of them live very peaceful lives. Spencer doesn't, and so everything you read about her in the book is something she consciously wanted to have and makes a statement about her. That it's a darker,action-packed book is all the result of her decisions, not any kind of tyrannical government begging for people to overthrow it.
MToB: The characters in your book are always in touch with Connect. How often do you check your own social networks?
Jason: Waaaay too often. Doing stuff like this is part of my job, and getting out there and talking about books is something I love doing anyway, but it was easy to imagine that part taking over to the point where people couldn't imagine living without them. I'll admit that I'm not much of a phone person though, so when I'm out and about I rarely take it with me.
MToB: If you could step into the shoes of one of your characters from Suspense, who would it be?
Jason: Good question, and a difficult one to answer, because I can relate to a lot of the struggles that the characters go through. Spencer just has a fundamental disgust with a lot of how her world works, but when she gets her chance to change it she really can't think clearly about whether or not things would be better. Jetta and her desire to overcome her body and find a way to eliminate its weakness. Cleary and the difference between acting and being real.
MToB: Most writers are also avid readers. Was there a particular book or author that inspired or influenced your writing?
Jason: I have been on a serious Dystopian jag for a while now, going back to classics like 1984 and more recent ones like Divergent and Enclave. I think it's possible to take inspiration from any kind of fiction though. Right now I'm reading George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, which is epic fantasy told from multiple viewpoints. It's very elaborate and completely compelling.
MToB: Do you listen to music while you're writing or do you prefer silence?
Jason: I'm actually someone who doesn't listen to music while writing, mostly because it would distract me from focusing on what I'm seeing in my head, but I do listen to a lot of music when I'm brainstorming either on the couch or out running. For Suspense, I got into a really good vibe with a Japanese artist named Tommy Heavenly6 and an anime (I never watched anime while I was living in Japan) called Gintama. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, you can check out this and this video. Bizarre, huh?
Thanks so much to Jackie for giving me this space! I hope your blog continues to be successful and you keep finding plenty of great books to read!
Suspense, the first book in my new YA (16+) Dystopian trilogy can be found at Amazon, BN, itunes, and Smashwords
Thank you, Jason, for participating and for adding your own touch to things with Casting Call. I loved reading Suspense, and it was great working with you!