Today I am interviewing Jason Mott, author of the new dystopian novel, The Crossing.
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DJ: Hi Jason! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Jason Mott: Hi, DJ! First off, thank you so much for taking time out to interview me. It’s pretty exciting! So…as for telling you a little bit about myself, well, I’m never really sure where to start. I’m actually a huge introvert and kinda hate talking about myself. Haha! But I’ll do what I can.
I live in Southeastern North Carolina in a little town called Bolton. I like movies, racing, video games, and writing. Writing is what I love both. I’ve been doing it for a long time now. I’ve got a Bachelor’s degree in fiction and a Master’s degree in poetry. Back in 2013 my first novel, “The Returned,” was published and became a bestseller. (Still one of the greatest moments of my life!) That novel was also turned into a television series called “Resurrection.” The very next year I wrote another novel called “The Wonder of All Things.” That one has been optioned by Lionsgate and, hopefully, will become a movie.
And now my third novel is about to come out. It’s called “The Crossing” and is due out in a few weeks. I’m really excited about it!
DJ: What is The Crossing about?
Jason: The Crossing is the story of a pair of twin siblings, Tommy and Virginia, as they make their way across America in the hopes of viewing a rocket launch in Cape Canaveral. But this isn’t America as we know it. Not anymore. In this world there is a mysterious disease that’s quickly wiping out the population and, as a result, there’s essentially a third world war happening. Tommy has been drafted into the military and this trip with his sister is the last time the two of them will get to be together. So, in addition to dealing with the disease and the war, Tommy and Virginia are struggling to understand what it will mean to be apart from one another for the first time–especially when they know that they’ll likely never see each other again.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Crossing?
Jason: Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Honestly, a lot of the influence has been the news. That may sound dark, but it’s the truth. The news cycles have become so sad, scary, and depressing that I think we’re all struggling to process it. I turn on the news each day and I just feel overwhelmed by it all. And when I get that feeling, I immediately try to think of what I can do to help ease it. For me, that’s writing. So I wrote a novel that helped me process things and, at the same time, I hope will help readers do something similar.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Jason: Oh sure! I love talking about Tommy and Virginia. They’re actually pretty unique characters. First off, their twins and orphans. When they were young their parents died in a car crash and, ever since, they’ve been shuffled around through foster homes. That part isn’t overly unique. But what makes them special is that Virginia has a photographic memory, while her brother Tommy actually has something almost the opposite: he has trouble remembering anything.
Virginia is the “record keeper.” She remembers every single second of every day of her life. And, because of that, she has trouble getting over things–especially the loss of their parents. A perfect memory also means a perfect capacity to relive bad things. And so she’s sort of trapped in this cycle of never forgetting and, as a result, never healing.
Tommy has the opposite problem: he can’t seem to remember anything about their past. And, as a result, he’s detached from everything. He even hates the fact that he can’t remember things and envies his sister and her ability to remember their parents so perfectly.
It was really fun working with these characters. I pitied and envied them both at times. I’ve lost both of my parents and there are times when I wish I could remember every second with them, and other times when I wish I could forget certain moments. I think we all have some of that within us.
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Crossing like?
Jason: It’s actually based on America as we know it now. It’s just turned slightly on it’s ear. There’s a lot of panic and hysteria surrounding the disease that’s killing people. And, because of that, the young people have begun to splinter. Some of them are going off to fight the war, others are protesting. In many ways it echoes things from the 1960s. I always like to bring in as much social exploration and commentary as I can. The 1960s were a complex time for America, so I borrowed a little of that to create the world of my characters.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Crossing?
Jason: Easily, it had to be the world-building. That’s always my favorite part of writing. That’s the reason I do speculative, high-concept fiction. It’s so much fun to create this world an nudge certain things in certain directions and think about how they would play out. I think everyone loves doing that. It’s akin to daydreaming about what might have been in our own lives. I feel really fortunate that I get to spend my days doing that for a living. It’s way harder work than I ever imagined it being, but it’s also the most fulfilling thing that I do.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Jason: I hope readers will talk about the relationship between Tommy and Virginia. As much as I love world-building and creating all of the elements surrounding the characters, my stories are always primarily about my protagonists. With Tommy and Virginia, I really wanted to make a brother-sister relationship that people will remember. Sometimes the two of them are really great toward one another–protective, loving, funny–and other times there is a lot of friction between the two of them. But in spite of it all, everything they do it out of love of each other. I think that’s something nearly all of us can relate to. I’d love for readers to come away talking about those things.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing The Crossing? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Jason: That’s another tough question. There are so many things that I always try to talk about. But, ultimately, I think it would have to be that I wanted to convey a message about the importance of loving and protecting the people around us. And I’m not just talking about our family. I’m talking about everyone. In The Crossing there are a lot of characters pushing and pulling against Tommy and Virginia. Most prominent of those is their foster father, Jim Gannon. He’s initially presented as a villain, but as the novel progresses we learn that not everything is as it seems. Even he is trying to do right by those around him.
I think that’s an important message for people.
DJ: Now that The Crossing is released, what is next for you?
Jason: Lots of things, actually. I’m fortunate enough to be pretty busy these days. I’ve got two other novels that I’m working on and I’m very excited about. I’m also getting into screenwriting a little bit. I’ve written a couple of screenplays that have won some awards. Hopefully I’ll be able to find homes for them in Hollywood and maybe get them produced. Cross your fingers for me!
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** The Crossing is published by Park Row Books and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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New York Times bestselling author of The Returned
Stay and die, or run and survive.
Twins Virginia and Tommy Matthews have been on their own since they were orphaned at the age of five, surviving a merciless foster care system by relying on each other. Twelve years later, the world begins to collapse around them as a deadly contagion steadily wipes out entire populations and a devastating world war rages on. When Tommy is drafted for the war, the twins are faced with a choice: accept their fate of almost certain death, or dodge the draft. Virginia and Tommy flee into the dark night.
Armed with only a pistol and their fierce will to survive, the twins set forth in search of a new beginning. Encountering a colorful cast of characters along the way, Tommy and Virginia must navigate the dangers and wonders of this changed world as they try to outrun the demons of their past.
With deft imagination and breathless prose, The Crossing is a riveting tale of loyalty, sacrifice and the burdens we carry with us into the darkness of the unknown.
About the Author:
Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various literary journals. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Weekly listed him as one of their 10 “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch.
He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…” The Returned is his first novel.
The Returned has also been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It will air in March, 2014 on the ABC network under the title “Resurrection.”