Today I am interviewing Jonathan Strecker, author of the new sci-fi horror novel, Shimmers.
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DJ: Hi Jon! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?J.P. Streckers: Thank you, DJ. I am honored to be interviewed. I was born in a small town in Ohio – Bellevue. It is a bit south of Cedar Point, which is a well known amusement park in the area. As you will see in the book, the location is centered around Bellevue. As a child, my friends and I were fascinated by the supernatural. That fascination persisted into adulthood. As such, when I went to college at The Ohio State University, I majored in Psychology. As time went on, I diversified my educational ambitions, including taking classes for an MBA and completing my doctoral degree in Education. I am currently a Head of School in Western Pennsylvania.
DJ: What is Shimmers about?J.P.: While the story Shimmers is purely fiction, the tale embodies theories I have developed over time regarding the supernatural. James and Josh, three-year-old twins see something unusual in the forest while camping. Josh, the braver of the two, steps into a mysterious anomaly and disappears. James continues to see the shimmers, but is too frightened to interact with them until many years later. With the support of his younger brothers and best friend, Bob, the boys begin to test their own theories. As the boys experience ghosts, demons, and mythical creatures, they begin to understand the dynamics of the shimmers and devise a plan to find Josh and bring him home. If you enjoy stories that incorporate time travel, alternate dimensions, quantum theory, and the unexplained, I believe you will enjoy Shimmers.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Shimmers?J.P.: As I mentioned, my educational background is a myriad of experiences ranging from psychology, physics, education, and business. I tend to consider the unexplained through a logical mindset. However, I also have strong beliefs based on my own experiences, including having survived both Stage IV Cancer in my early 20s and a cardiac arrest in my late 40s. Each of those events contributed heavily to my supernatural experiences. Needless to say, I am extremely lucky to be alive and my experiences with the supernatural are quite unusual. Nothing like crossing over to the otherside to help with imagery and imagination.
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?J.P.: Josh and James are both compelling characters as their lives diverge as three-year-olds, both going on different journeys. While twins, they have highly distinct personalities. Josh is constantly pushing the envelope, despite being in a menacing dimension. James, living in the “normal” world, exhibits nervous behavior, but is supported by his younger brothers, Matt and Mark, and his highly intelligent best friend, Bob. The cast of characters are fueled on by a common interest in the unexplained and locating Josh. My hope was to make the reader live on the edge of fear, while laughing at the banter between the characters.
DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?J.P.: One of my favorite characters to write was Uncle George. He is based on my real Uncle George, who is a master story-teller. I, of course, take some liberties with his accent and this particular story he tells, but he sets the stage for the climax of the book with his tale about a mythical creature that lives in Newaygo, MI.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Shimmers like?J.P.: There are many worlds in Shimmers. I want the reader to imagine that parallel universes or alternate dimensions are constantly colliding, and even infrequently crossing over, similar to a Venn Diagram. That overlap allows for unexplained experiences, whether it be ghosts, demons, aliens, mythical creatures, etc. Then, when the universes retract, those creatures disappear. This is a possible way to explain the true supernatural. However, Josh and James possess the ability to see the veil between the worlds. This is the impetice to James and his friends solving the mystery of Josh’s disappearance.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Shimmers?J.P.: My son, who will be a film and communications major at Penn State University, asked me to write a scary story he could make into a movie. This is why many people comment on the copious amount of dialogue in the book. Working with my son, Joshua was a tremendous joy. Talking through all the scenarios and supernatural events with him reminded me of my own childhood fascinations.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?J.P.: When is the sequel? While the story does come to a satisfying end, I add an element that eludes to a much bigger problem brewing for our cast of supernatural adventurers. Shimmers begins with a mishap in a particle accelerator lab. Let’s just say the story continues to return to the lab and a manageable problem becomes amplified.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Shimmers? 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?J.P.: In the beginning, I was hoping to create a short story that bloomed into a much larger tale. While the story is fiction, I was also hoping to create a plausible explanation for all things supernatural. Each of us has our own ideas and thoughts to explain the unexplainable, and this is my personal version of a possible and hopefully reasonable scenario.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Shimmers that you can share with us?J.P.: In particular, I liked the title of the prologue – A Crescendo of Calamity.
DJ: Now that Shimmers is released, what is next for you?J.P.: I will begin book two this summer. My professional job does not allow for much time during the school year. Also, now that the world is opening up a bit more, I plan on hosting some book signing events in and around Bellevue, Ohio.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.-P.-Strecker/e/B08LBWKX2P?ref_=dbs_p_pbk_r00_abau_000000
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Shimmers that we haven’t talked about yet?J.P.: I guess a bit of encouragement for anyone reading this interview. My educational path was a series of trials and tribulations. I was held back a year in school for not being able to read and continued to struggle through high school (2.2 GPA). My undergraduate performance was nothing to write home about, and yet perseverance carried me through to a doctorate in education and a self-published novel. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Whatever you set your mind to, writing a book, going to college, becoming a member of a trade field, I can promise you that time is the great equalizer. You may not be able to outperform someone now, but you can always give more effort for a longer period of time.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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***Shimmers is is available TODAY!!!***
Buy the Book:
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