Posted on 12/27/2018 at 02:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
At first glance, Jack Massa seems to be one of those writers for whom self-publishing was a lifeline, pulling him back into the world of creativity from the drudgery of typical office-worker life.
Look closer, though, and you’ll realize that not only did he never leave fiction behind, but he also spent those decades preparing for the requirements of being a successful indie author.
So let’s backtrack.
Massa, like most kids, loved playing make-believe; unlike most college students, though, his master’s thesis — a science-fiction novel titled Mooncrow — was published, not by a university press but by a commercial one.
That said, creative writing didn’t prove to be a career he could live off of, so Massa made it a hobby and embarked on a variety of other careers: magazine editing, computer programming, technical writing, marketing writing, online information development, and technology training and e-learning.
It’s not a stretch to see how many of those roles would come to directly benefit him as an indie author, but as he points out about his career in general: “Curiosity and flexibility have served me well.”
And now, with the indie revolution well under way, Massa has been able to take full advantage of its reach, publishing a YA paranormal series and two fantasy series, the latest of which just launched.
Here’s what Massa has to say about the lifelong journey that has been his creative career.
SADYE: When and how did you become so interested in mythology and ancient gods?
JACK: I think the earliest inklings were from watching Hercules movies as a little kid.
In sixth grade, I discovered Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and the following year, a prose translation of The Iliad, and I was totally hooked.
In college, I read Joseph Campbell’s books and learned how myths are, among other things, blueprints for all kinds of stories.
These days you come across “the hero’s journey” as a basic blueprint for aspiring novelists. That model is right out of Joseph Campbell.
This gives me a chance to mention my newest project. The Conjurer of Rhodes stories are historical fantasies, set in ancient Greece and Egypt.
The settings are historically accurate, but gods and goddesses play important parts in the story.
SADYE: Your Abby Renshaw Adventures books center on ghosts; have you ever seen one?
JACK: Often, in dreams. Once or twice in waking life — but those were mere glimpses, out of the corner of the eye.
My most compelling paranormal experience happened when I was eleven years old.
I got up really early one morning and went downstairs. I looked out the front door and saw a brown, hairy, four-foot high, gibbering creature running up the walk.
Just before he got to the porch, he turned and ran along the side of the house. I rushed to the window to look, but I never saw him again.
I don’t think he was a ghost, more like a goblin or fey creature out of folklore. But he was as real as anything I’ve ever seen.
SADYE: What has been the most rewarding moment or theme of your writing career?
JACK: Some writers are realists, and some are idealists. I’m an idealist.
All my stories try, in one way or another, to embody or portray some ideal vision.
Whenever a reader finds something enjoyable or meaningful in my attempts to idealize life, that is the most rewarding thing.
SADYE: Your college creative output was quite impressive: You also co-directed a student film version of The Three Musketeers and composed the lyrics for a rock opera on the life of Buddha. Were either of them performed or distributed?
JACK: The movie and rock opera were both independent study projects and are now lost in the mists of time.
Both were great for learning to work creatively with others, and also an incredible amount of fun.
My school, New College of Florida, was (and still is) an amazing environment for fostering creativity and independent thinking.
SADYE: Your brother Robert was also a writer; was there something that you think contributed to at least two writers (if not more) in the family?
JACK: My dad was a pragmatic Italian-American businessman; my mom, a dreamy lady of Irish descent. Neither of them were bookish at all.
I have three siblings, and all of us are high achievers. My sister Kathy had a career as a school psychologist while also raising three daughters.
Robert had a master’s in journalism and was a writer and editor for top New York publications.
My younger brother, James, has a PhD in theology and is now a bishop in the Catholic Church. So we are all very different.
When we were children, we lived in a two-family house with our grandmother and step-grandfather, who was Jewish.
So we always had lots of adults around and were exposed to different cultures and plenty of mental stimulation.
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Categories: Author Interview