Jamie Ford author of Love and Other Consolation Prizes and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet talks to us about his new book, his writing philosophy and what 2042 will possible look like JBN: What was your experience publishing your first book? Has it changed your way of writing? Jamie Ford: It's like a visit to the therapist because they're very deep questions. The thing is when I wrote my first book, I didn't have any expectation. I didn't have a built-in audience. I wrote it really without anyone watching me and that was wonderful. Then, with my second book because my first book did so well, I had a lot of pressure from my publisher, not so much my agents. At my publisher, there was lots of people that all wanted to know what I was working on. It made me very self- conscious as I'm writing. Then with my third book, it was a similar situation where I signed a larger contract so there's a financial expectation, I guess, to succeed. Beyond all of that, I just put lots of pressure on myself and so it definitely slowed the process down. I actually think I became a better writer because I'm learning more as I work my way through the editing process. But because I'm a better writer, I'm a slower writer and so that's been different. The first book, I really just cranked it out and the second book has taken me a long time. The new book I'm working on, I'm really slow at the moment. That's a little weird. Also, I have a readership now, I have an audience and I'm always torn between, "Do I just write whatever I want to write?" Which I tend to do, or do I factor in what people are expecting from me. I battle that sometimes because I feel like people expect this certain type of book and if I do something completely different, then they won't work. But at the end of the day, I have to write for myself and I have to think of myself as artist and just do what I want to do and hope my readers follow me. I don't want to recycle the same books over and over again. The new book I'm working on is a little different than what I normally do. Also, I'm Asian-American and I really feel I need to tell--There was a moment where I thought maybe I'll write about something else but there are Asian-American stories that aren't being told. Unless someone else is going to tell them, I feel a cultural obligation to tell them because they're important stories JBN: What do I write about in a new book? Jamie Ford: This new book will deal a little bit with a couple things; one is the Chinese Exclusion Act so it was passed in 1882 and it didn't but we have been recruiting Chinese workers for decades and then it cut that off because they were competing for jobs and then they would what Chinese people become citizens and so it's a little bit about that bit of history. I like the history that people don't think about very much like my parents, they couldn't get married in my mom home state of Arkansas because it was illegal in 13 Southern States. Inter-racial marriage was illegal until 1967 and so people forget that that's not like a 100 years ago, that was just not that someone's lifetime and so part of it will dealt with a decision, it's called the loving decision because the couple's last name was actually Loving. I'm sorry, white man and a black woman got married and then they were arrested and then they have to leave the state otherwise they go to prison. It will deal a little bit about inter-racial marriage. Those are the things that I'm fascinated by because people just accepted it for so long but no big deal like yeah they can get married just he is great but you can't marry him or she's wonderful but you can't marry her because she's black and or Jewish or something like that. Because it affected my family and my parents are gone so I tend to write about things that happened to them and it sort of brings me closer to them to appreciate what they went through and so I'm working on that story about those issues. I don't want to write like a political book or anything but just a family struggle against certain things that were the norms of that time. JBN: I am more than sure your audience will love it… Jamie Ford: I hope so. There's a lot of authors that just crank books out to make money and they do great like James Patterson or some other, they just crank out this really terrible books but they make people happy. They're kind of like McDonald's hamburgers, they just come and go. There's not a lot to them. There's not a lot of nutritional value, there's not a lot of taste or care but they're convenient. I tend to want to write not something for everyone but everything for someone and so I'm really specific in what I'm working on. I don't mean that to sound overly artsy but that's the way I look at it. I just really, I would rather form my partner's real book and have a really good story in a well-crafted book than just crank something out so I could break out more books. I wish I could break faster, I wish I could. Some authors have a book a year. I just can't quite do that. JBN: I was very touched by the moment in your first book, when the parents of protagonist forbidden him to speak Chinese at home. So he practically stopped talking with his parents who did not know English or any other language. Is this a real story? Jamie Ford: Actually my dad had the opposite of that. My dad was 100% Chinese. He spoke Chinese fluently but he was not allowed to speak English at home. Even though he was sent to public schools where he was supposed to speak English at home. My grandma wanted him to retain the Language. Then, she sent him to Chinese school after public school, to a different school, to learn what we call city Cantonese. He had a very country accent and my grandma was embarrassed of her accent. She wanted you to sound sophisticated and not sound like you grow up on a farm or something like that so he had to relearn Chinese and he hated it. I mean, later, he can speak it fluently so it's great. I never, I took German, I never took Chinese. He didn't want me to learn because he wanted me to be as Americans for good. JBN: What brought you in Montana? Jaime Ford: Before Montana, I was working and living in Hawaii. I write full time now but before that, I worked in advertising so I worked for an ad agency. The ad agency I worked at in Hawaii did a lot of stuff for Hawaii Tourism, it's a big industry. I was offered a job to come here and work on Montana Tourism which is a big part of our industry and state. I also wanted to be a writer. I really wanted to try and put time into it. I figured if I could live in a small town and not have a long commute. I have more time to write and try to figure it out and that's really what I do. JBN: Wonderful, and do you like to live here, in Great Falls? Jaime Ford: Yes and no. I love Montana. Great Falls, I really like it here because the people are really nice, not very pretentious, very kind and helpful. It's a blue-collar town. Even though Bozeman and Missoula are the sexier towns, there's more culture and so but even with that, I don't think I would move to one of those towns. I spent a lot of time hiking and going up into the Rocky Mountains and glacier. Great Falls is so close to all of that. We've thought about moving on now like maybe in the winter, spending part of our time in Arizona because it's so beautiful down there in the winter time, it's just perfect. If we could split our time, that will be grateful. We're thinking about that. Let's see. I have so many friends here. It's hard to leave once you create a network of people that you spent time with. As a writer, I travel everywhere and so it's really nice just to come home and just be very quiet, very simple. I go to big cities all the time so I don't have this desire to go to Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles or New York because I go anyway. I go all the time. JBN: Do your children read your books? Jaime Ford: [laughter] Yes. When they were a little bit, when they were teenagers, there could just buy at teenagers and it's really uncool to read your dad's book. I mean, it's just so uncool. Their book is recommended in their high school class so they had to read it in high school which was horrible. They hated it. But then, they did a play, the first book in Seattle. They took them all to Seattle to see the play and they loved it. Now that they're older and grow more mature, then they all think it's really cool. Some of my kids are in the arts and so they understand me now, whereas when they were younger they didn't get it. Now, we totally relate and- The music keeps getting louder. I hope you can hear me. JBN: Do you research before writing your books? Jamie Ford: Yes. If I wrote contemporary books, I wrote book set 2018, I could them write much faster. But this new book that I'm working on, it's set in 1937, it's set in 1966 and it's also set in 2042. It's a little bit in the future and so I'm having to research all of those different things. That slows the process down quite a bit. JBN: Is harder to write about past or future? Jamie Ford: The future is really hard because, I mean, the past I can research and all and I can rebuild that world. I can interview people. I can read books. I can Google my way to just about anywhere. But for something set in the future, I have to make these assumptions of where we're going to be at politically, where we're going to be at with technology and race relations. What the families look like, drug policy, overcrowding and things like that. What our government structure, religious popularities might be. But that's kind of fun because it ups the degree of difficulty. If I was writing something 300 years in the future then I would be like science fiction. I can make up faster than light travel and cold fusion and things like that. But it's kind of like kids today. It's their future, it's not science fiction. It's just right around the corner. I wanted to write that part of the book depending on the statistics with the US census. Somewhere around 2042, minorities, people of color will be equal to Caucasian people in the United State. The country will look a little differently, ethnically and politically and I wanted to write about that timeline. All photos were taken from fb page of Jamie Ford
Johnson’s Billings News
Hosted by Johnson Computing
They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
Jamie Ford: “I don't want to recycle the same books over and over again”
Interview
Jamie Ford author of Love and Other Consolation Prizes and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet talks to us about his new book, his writing philosophy and what 2042 will possible look like JBN: What was your e x p e r i e n c e publishing your first book? Has it changed your way of writing? Jamie Ford: It's like a visit to the therapist because they're very deep questions. The thing is when I wrote my first book, I didn't have any expectation. I didn't have a built-in audience. I wrote it really without anyone watching me and that was wonderful. Then, with my second book because my first book did so well, I had a lot of pressure from my publisher, not so much my agents. At my publisher, there was lots of people that all wanted to know what I was working on. It made me very self-conscious as I'm writing. Then with my third book, it was a similar situation where I signed a larger contract so there's a financial expectation, I guess, to succeed. Beyond all of that, I just put lots of pressure on myself and so it definitely slowed the process down. I actually think I became a better writer because I'm learning more as I work my way through the editing process. But because I'm a better writer, I'm a slower writer and so that's been different. The first book, I really just cranked it out and the second book has taken me a long time. The new book I'm working on, I'm really slow at the moment. That's a little weird. Also, I have a readership now, I have an audience and I'm always torn between, "Do I just write whatever I want to write?" Which I tend to do, or do I factor in what people are expecting from me. I battle that sometimes because I feel like people expect this certain type of book and if I do something completely different, then they won't work. But at the end of the day, I have to write for myself and I have to think of myself as artist and just do what I want to do and hope my readers follow me. I don't want to recycle the same books over and over again. The new book I'm working on is a little different than what I normally do. Also, I'm Asian-American and I really feel I need to tell--There was a moment where I thought maybe I'll write about something else but there are Asian-American stories that aren't being told. Unless someone else is going to tell them, I feel a cultural obligation to tell them because they're important stories JBN: What do I write about in a new book? Jamie Ford: This new book will deal a little bit with a couple things; one is the Chinese Exclusion Act so it was passed in 1882 and it didn't but we have been recruiting Chinese workers for decades and then it cut that off because they were competing for jobs and then they would what Chinese people become citizens and so it's a little bit about that bit of history. I like the history that people don't think about very much like my parents, they couldn't get married in my mom home state of Arkansas because it was illegal in 13 Southern States. Inter-racial marriage was illegal until 1967 and so people forget that that's not like a 100 years ago, that was just not that someone's lifetime and so part of it will dealt with a decision, it's called the loving decision because the couple's last name was actually Loving. I'm sorry, white man and a black woman got married and then they were arrested and then they have to leave the state otherwise they go to prison. It will deal a little bit about inter-racial marriage. Those are the things that I'm fascinated by because people just accepted it for so long but no big deal like yeah they can get married just he is great but you can't marry him or she's wonderful but you can't marry her because she's black and or Jewish or something like that. Because it affected my family and my parents are gone so I tend to write about things that happened to them and it sort of brings me closer to them to appreciate what they went through and so I'm working on that story about those issues. I don't want to write like a political book or anything but just a family struggle against certain things that were the norms of that time. JBN: I am more than sure your audience will love it… Jamie Ford: I hope so. There's a lot of authors that just crank books out to make money and they do great like James Patterson or some other, they just crank out this really terrible books but they make people happy. They're kind of like McDonald's hamburgers, they just come and go. There's not a lot to them. There's not a lot of nutritional value, there's not a lot of taste or care but they're convenient. I tend to want to write not something for everyone but everything for someone and so I'm really specific in what I'm working on. I don't mean that to sound overly artsy but that's the way I look at it. I just really, I would rather form my partner's real book and have a really good story in a well-crafted book than just crank something out so I could break out more books. I wish I could break faster, I wish I could. Some authors have a book a year. I just can't quite do that. JBN: I was very touched by the moment in your first book, when the parents of protagonist forbidden him to speak Chinese at home. So he practically stopped talking with his parents who did not know English or any other language. Is this a real story? Jamie Ford: Actually my dad had the opposite of that. My dad was 100% Chinese. He spoke Chinese fluently but he was not allowed to speak English at home. Even though he was sent to public schools where he was supposed to speak English at home. My grandma wanted him to retain the Language. Then, she sent him to Chinese school after public school, to a different school, to learn what we call city Cantonese. He had a very country accent and my grandma was embarrassed of her accent. She wanted you to sound sophisticated and not sound like you grow up on a farm or something like that so he had to relearn Chinese and he hated it. I mean, later, he can speak it fluently so it's great. I never, I took German, I never took Chinese. He didn't want me to learn because he wanted me to be as Americans for good. JBN: What brought you in Montana? Jaime Ford: Before Montana, I was working and living in Hawaii. I write full time now but before that, I worked in advertising so I worked for an ad agency. The ad agency I worked at in Hawaii did a lot of stuff for Hawaii Tourism, it's a big industry. I was offered a job to come here and work on Montana Tourism which is a big part of our industry and state. I also wanted to be a writer. I really wanted to try and put time into it. I figured if I could live in a small town and not have a long commute. I have more time to write and try to figure it out and that's really what I do. JBN: Wonderful, and do you like to live here, in Great Falls? Jaime Ford: Yes and no. I love Montana. Great Falls, I really like it here because the people are really nice, not very pretentious, very kind and helpful. It's a blue-collar town. Even though Bozeman and Missoula are the sexier towns, there's more culture and so but even with that, I don't think I would move to one of those towns. I spent a lot of time hiking and going up into the Rocky Mountains and glacier. Great Falls is so close to all of that. We've thought about moving on now like maybe in the winter, spending part of our time in Arizona because it's so beautiful down there in the winter time, it's just perfect. If we could split our time, that will be grateful. We're thinking about that. Let's see. I have so many friends here. It's hard to leave once you create a network of people that you spent time with. As a writer, I travel everywhere and so it's really nice just to come home and just be very quiet, very simple. I go to big cities all the time so I don't have this desire to go to Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles or New York because I go anyway. I go all the time. JBN: Do your children read your books? Jaime Ford: [laughter] Yes. When they were a little bit, when they were teenagers, there could just buy at teenagers and it's really uncool to read your dad's book. I mean, it's just so uncool. Their book is recommended in their high school class so they had to read it in high school which was horrible. They hated it. But then, they did a play, the first book in Seattle. They took them all to Seattle to see the play and they loved it. Now that they're older and grow more mature, then they all think it's really cool. Some of my kids are in the arts and so they understand me now, whereas when they were younger they didn't get it. Now, we totally relate and- The music keeps getting louder. I hope you can hear me. JBN: Do you research before writing your books? Jamie Ford: Yes. If I wrote contemporary books, I wrote book set 2018, I could them write much faster. But this new book that I'm working on, it's set in 1937, it's set in 1966 and it's also set in 2042. It's a little bit in the future and so I'm having to research all of those different things. That slows the process down quite a bit. JBN: Is harder to write about past or future? Jamie Ford: The future is really hard because, I mean, the past I can research and all and I can rebuild that world. I can interview people. I can read books. I can Google my way to just about anywhere. But for something set in the future, I have to make these assumptions of where we're going to be at politically, where we're going to be at with technology and race relations. What the families look like, drug policy, overcrowding and things like that. What our government structure, religious popularities might be. But that's kind of fun because it ups the degree of difficulty. If I was writing something 300 years in the future then I would be like science fiction. I can make up faster than light travel and cold fusion and things like that. But it's kind of like kids today. It's their future, it's not science fiction. It's just right around the corner. I wanted to write that part of the book depending on the statistics with the US census. Somewhere around 2042, minorities, people of color will be equal to Caucasian people in the United State. The country will look a little differently, ethnically and politically and I wanted to write about that timeline. All photos were taken from fb page of Jamie Ford
Johnson’s Billings News
Interview
Hosted by Johnson Computing
They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
Jamie Ford: “I don't want to recycle the same books over and over again”