Jason Letts is the author of The Inevitable Trilogy, The Powerless series and the Spencer Nye Trilogy. He was kind enough to send me an eBook copy of the first book in his Spencer Nye Trilogy, Suspense which I have just reviewed. Jason Letts was also more than willing to answer a few questions about his writing, and Suspense!
What inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing when I was living in Japan, and it was a great way to relieve stress or tension that I was having being in a different culture and with the language barrier and all. I've always been a heavy reader, and then I just started putting together the ideas for a story, and then one word after another I started ending up with books. Now I'm lucky enough to be writing full time.
Do you usually work with an outline, or just write your stories without much more than an idea?
I'm actually a compulsive planner, and for Suspense especially the planning was absolutely crucial. That's not to say a lot of the story isn't discovered along the way, but it's good to have a lot of it down to know what I have to get out in each scene. Crossing fingers and hoping something great will come out probably wouldn't work for me.
Suspense is a very unique story and there is so many interesting elements of the world you have created, like Connect, defying gravity and all of the amazing technologies, let alone the plotline! I did not expect that ending. How did you come up with Spencer's story? What inspired the world and everything in it?
There were a couple of deep interests that came together to form this story. A girl getting a taste of fame. A perfectly secure world where people had complete freedom (to contrast so many books where there are absurdly oppressive regimes begging to be overthrown). A meaningful friendship between two female characters instead of just love interests. And I've also really wanted to up the action and push the envelope a little bit in terms of what YA is. The book was a lot of fun for me to write!
When writing Suspense, did you have any characters write themselves into the story or attempt to take over?
I have had this happen before where I needed a character who hadn't been planned at all. For Suspense, I pretty much had the cast down, but I've been surprised at how big a role Taka has had to play in the whole trilogy. That was completely unexpected, but it should work out great. There's a lot more going on with her than just what we see in Suspense.
What was the hardest scene you had to write?
I hate to give anything away, but there's some body switching that happens in the book, where characters end up switching genders, and it was tough making that work the way I wanted it too. There's a lot in the book that I feel emotionally invested in, but that doesn't stop me from writing.
Is anything you write about based or influenced by your personal experiences? Or are they purely imagination?
I'm sure there are, bits of character here or there, or experiences that I've had with various things. Some jokes I've come up with in real life conversations end up in books too. I came up with them, so why can't I use them, right?
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book, Expense (Spencer Nye Trilogy #2)?
Expense is actually set to release in just a few days, and I'm excited to see how readers respond to it because there's plenty that's different while so much is the same. The challenges are different and more difficult, requiring some deep thinking to resolve, and there are revelations that cast events in Suspense in a whole new light. There's a lot more going on than just meets the eye, and I'm hoping that draws in readers and makes this a trilogy that they can really get invested in.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions!
I'd like to take a moment to send a big Thank You to Catriona for all of her time and effort. I wish you the best of luck with the Little Book Owl blog and all your future reads. Thank you!