Spotlight on Staff Member Jason Horger
Q: What is your role at the University of Kentucky College of Education? How long have you been there?
A: I’ve been working in the UK College of Education since September 1997, but at the start of August 2010, I began my new role as an academic adviser. It’s at once amazing how much lore I’ve absorbed during my time here, yet how much I find I’m still learning!
Q: What inspired you to begin writing?
A: The parent of a friend suggested it, after I’d mentioned off-hand that I always wanted to try writing a mystery novel.
Q: How many books have you written? Are they all novels?
A: Whom Must I Kill to Get Published? is the 11th novel-length manuscript I’ve written, but the first to get published. The previous 10 novels were all police detective procedurals. This one starts out like a murder mystery, but turns into a sort of a spy thriller along the way.
Q: What is the process like of getting a book published?
A: My situation is unique in that I helped to start the company. What you realize is that the actual writing is only a part (albeit major part) of the process. There’s revising, formatting, designing, printing and developing electronic copies of the book. Then there’s launching, distributing, promoting and then more promoting!
Q: Your most recent title, Whom Must I Kill to Get Published, was published by Dragon International Independent Arts, a company you helped form. What led you to form your own publishing company?
A: My business partner and I, a woman in England named Sj Heckscher-Marquis, felt that the traditional way of submitting manuscripts to literary agents just to sit in a "slush pile" was counterintuitive to the independent spirit of writing, and to the publishing model we wanted to emulate with diiarts (our shorthand for our company’s name). Plus we wanted to establish an outlet so that talented writers could have as few barriers between their vision of the work and their ideal readers.
Q: How many books have been published by diiarts and how do you go about finding them?
A: To date, diiarts has published seven novels and one yoga manual (how’d that get in there?). With the exception of the yoga instructor, our authors were all part of an online writer’s community called Authonomy, which was begun by the publisher Harper Collins as a sort of electronic slush pile of their own. Authonomy had the unintended result of our community being replicated in the "outside world," and many of us around the world are still friends worldwide. So far, none of our books have been unsolicited; we’d all had previous contact through Authonomy. But we expect that to change over time. We’re currently developing material for a short-story application for the iPhone, and we are going outside the Authonomy comfort zone for that.
Q: Now that you’ve worked on both sides of publishing, which do you find you prefer?
A: Frankly, whether I’m writing a novel of my own or editing someone else’s, the same sort of satisfaction is there: the idea of working toward a finished product. I would say being a writer is slightly more fun seeing as I have more of a say in the outcome of the story!
Q: Working on any new projects right now?
A: I’m allegedly working on the sequel to Whom (entitled What Was That Bit About Death, Again?), but as per usual I have several other projects going, including a possible short-story cycle set in Kentucky (no murders, strangely) and another mystery novel with a forensic podiatrist (yes, there are such people) as the main character.
For more information on Horger's book and diiarts, visit www.diiarts.com.
updated 09-01-2010 by Brad Duncan