Our interview today is with Jason R. Mink, author of The Cult.
The Cult is a novel filled with nightmarish imagery and descriptive passages. A creepy and creative romp into the occult.
When the Dadan Indians discovered what grew in the underground caves, they made it a sacrament. When the Ashton family re-discovered it a century later, they used it as a doorway. Now something waits on the other side of that doorway, a vast and malefic intelligence that feeds on human potential and threatens all existence. Can seven college students on summer break stop this primal force from reshaping reality in its own image, or will they be the first to fall before it’s limitless power?
1) What gave you the idea for your book The Cult?
The Cult was the culmination of a series of life experiences that threatened to overwhelm me. While nothing in the book is true, at times it does mirror certain situations I found myself in. After coming through the other side of these experiences I realized there was no one I could talk to about what had happened, so I just had to write it out of my system. Getting it all down on the page was highly therapeutic and, at the end of the process, I had 21 chapters. After a bit of spit and polish and more than a few tears I had my first novel.
2) Tell us about your writing background. Any other published works? Contests?
I’ve been writing all of my life. In my teens and early 20s I was fairly committed to spoken word poetry until I discovered no one wanted to know. I joined Pittsburgh’s legendary BullSeal! Dominutive musical improv group and spent a few years performing and exploring sonic weirdness. Still, nothing satisfied like writing. I turned my attention to fiction and have been very happy in that field. I currently contribute weekly to thewoosh.com. It’s a pop culture website with a focus on toys and collectibles. I review and photograph product, conduct interviews and write nostalgia and lifestyle pieces.
3) What got you into writing horror?
I’ve always loved horror. It’s just something inherent to my psychology, I guess. As a child I used to confound my devoutly-Catholic grandmother by praying for nightmares! Horror gave me a charge that fired my imagination. It didn’t matter what form it came in: movies or TV shows, comic books or short stories – I could always distill it into its essential form, into an emotion or sensation to be explored later. Its proven to be a very useful tool for writing.
4) Did you self-publish or go through a traditional publisher? Which do you think is better and why?
I chose to self-publish. I would have preferred working with a traditional publisher, but there just wasn’t any interest in what I was peddling. The Cult is an intense book: its sexual, its heretical and it pulls no punches. It’s not really the sort of book mainstream publishers are interested in, and the smaller houses are so niche you really need to have connections to make any headway there. I chose to run with the ball myself. Hopefully now I can get someone to chase me!
5) What are you doing next?
I contribute to the Fwoosh weekly, which keeps me busy. I am also working on my next novel, which picks up after the events of The Cult. I had no intention of turning The Cult into a series, but the characters just aren’t done with me yet, so there will be at least one more.
6) What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Write every day. Focus on the work first and worry about what to do with it later. Avoid lust for result, and create for creation’s sake. Follow your ideas to their natural conclusion, even if the end result is ugly or frightening. Most importantly, don’t compare yourself to other authors. Everyone’s path is going to be different, and your mileage will definitely vary. Focus on what you have to offer and how you can get it to the people who want it. Be true to yourself and the work. In the end, that’s what you will be remembered for.