Yes! I am so pumped for today’s 3Q’s! Jeremy Hepler is (and I might muddle this up) an author I would consider a T-Ball stand for readers. What I mean, is that you know for 100% certainty that when he has a book or story come out, you will love it and it’ll be an easy home run. Did that work? Sure! Sure?
Anyways, please welcome, Jeremy!
Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
Jeremy: My favorite time to write is in the mornings on weekdays, but sometimes it carries over into the afternoon. I usually don’t write on the weekends, using those days to decompress and spend time with my family. When writing a first draft, I write at a desktop computer in what we call our computer room. It’s a room with only one window, a few book shelves, and nothing on the walls. I light a candle (the scent based on season) which sits on one side of the keyboard next to my phone and whatever book I’m currently reading, On the other side, I put my notebook with notes for my WIP, a cup of coffee, and there’s a lava lamp on that side I turn on, too. I’m not one for word counts because some days I can churn out thousands and other days a paragraph. I just like to walk away from the computer thinking I improved the WIP that day.
Also, on a quirkier note, I have some cotton gloves I like to wear when I type my first drafts. When I put them on, it’s psychologically like a batter putting on his batting gloves before stepping into the batter’s box. It started around seven years ago when I lived in Amarillo and our heater went out for about a week in the winter when the temperatures were in the twenties. I started wearing the gloves when I wrote, and for whatever reason, after the heater was fixed, I felt naked trying to type without them on. Like something was missing. I’ve actually typed the fingertips out of them many times, and my wife sews them up when she can. They were both originally gray (my son’s grade school winter gloves I believe, so they fit me tight), but one became too damaged to repair, and I switched it out with one of my son’s black ones. I don’t wear them when I edit (which I do on my laptop for the most part), however. 🙂
Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a character you could write about forever?
Jeremy: Alice in my latest novel SUNRAY ALICE is my favorite character to date, and I’d love to revisit her on some level, but since I already spanned her entire life in that book it might be hard.
So…one of my other favorite characters I’d love to revisit is a character I named Luke Steele who appeared in one of my short stories. He was a “Master of Horror,” famous writer type, who had inherited a family of beasts that he was responsible for taking care of. His books (The Beast in the Cellar, The Beast in the Toilet, The Beast in Me, etc.) were based on those beasts, but of course no one in the public knew that. I wrote all 4500 words in one day, and my wife likes to read with her middle school students every Halloween. In the future, I’d really like to write more about his life because the short story (LUKE’S LOST MANUSCRIPT) was such a fun story to write. As a writer, I think there’s a lot more fun to be had with Luke.
Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Jeremy: My latest novel, SUNRAY ALICE, came out in April from Crossroad Press. It’s a speculative/historical/coming-of-age story with a female protagonist (Alice, of course). The story is about…well…here’s the back of the book teaser instead:
Approaching the end of her life, Alice Mayes, notorious caretaker of the anomaly known as the Garden of Sunray, is eager to tie up one last loose end before moving on. The last loose end. For decades she’s been dreaming of finding someone to share her secret with, someone worthy of her truth, and in twenty-year-old Emily Newell, she thinks she finally has.
On a momentous stroll through her massive garden with her young friend, Alice delves back into the past, back to those five horrific, mind-bending days in the summer of 1944 when she was sixteen, and for the first time in over seventy-five years, gives voice to her role in the Nazi prisoner internment camp tragedy that befell the small town of Sunray, Texas. In revealing all she witnessed, confessing all she did, she hopes to pass on a wondrous legacy as well as validate and honor the mysterious man she knew as Karl Wagner.
I think people should read SUNRAY ALICE because it touches on a lot of relatable aspects. There are struggles and triumphs in friendship, romance, and family relations. Struggles and triumphs in dealing with the loss of a loved one, gender expectations and roles, discovering reality isn’t all you thought, war, discrimination, religion, and on and on. The two main characters, Alice and Karl, are two people I know I’d journey with any time.
Steve: Bonus Question! Did you have a favorite wrestler as a kid?
Jeremy: As a kid in the early 80s, I loved wrestling. My first favorite wasn’t a wrestler but a tag team: The Road Warriors. Hawk and Animal. They marched to the ring to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” wearing football shoulder pads topped with spikes and wearing black leather pants and motorcycle boots. One had a mohawk, the other a reverse mohawk (I guess you’d call it), and they painted their faces with different designs, my favorite being a spider web. I had a toy wrestling ring, Animal and Hawk toys, and all the other NWA plastic figures (and later WWF rubber ones). Later, I went through phases when I loved Sting (when he was starting out in the NWA), Tito Santana, and another tag team, The Rock-N-Roll Express more than any others. I did also enjoy the WWF in the mid-80s once it became popular, too, wrestlers like Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, Brutus The Barber Beefcake, and Rowdy Roddy Piper being some of my favorites.
Awesome! Thank you so much, Jeremy!
Find more from Jeremy at these links!