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Creative Spotlight on Author Jake A. Strife
From writing and sharing his work for free to publishing a story, this author has a wide array of inspirations that influenced his work. Check him out in this creative spotlight on author Jake A. Strife and snag a copy of his work in this post.
Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
Hi, I'm Jake A. Strife, author of books in various genres. I've been writing since elementary school, so for 27 years now. I started with short stories in notebooks after realizing that I had tales of my own to tell. The moment I got my first computer, those stories became novella length, at least. I always enjoyed the horror genre growing up. My mother and I used to watch horror movies together from when I was five and on. I became obsessed with reading just as young. Before I could read, my mother and aunt would read to me. And when I finally was able to, I picked novels from writers like Dean Koontz to RL Stine. They really molded me into who I am today. I switched majors in college from Animation to Creative Writing, and as of today, I've written 24 novels, and counting. Of course, most of those now need to be published.
Can you tell us about your most recent release? Album? Song? Art piece? Etc.?
My most recent release is actually a rerelease of my novel Strange World: Grimoire. Both the ebook, paperback, and audiobook. It's the story of a teenager who is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and in his final days, his mind transitions between our world and another realm called Strange World. In Strange World, he learns of an artifact that can grant a world-transcending wish. As the lines between reality and this other world blur, he goes on a quest to find this artifact in hopes of saving his own life. But mostly so he can be there for his baby sister, and make sure she doesn't suffer a fate like his.
What inspires you?
Video games, mostly. But really, anything horror or dark fantasy has fueled my inspiration and imagination since I was a child.
What is your creative work routine like? Do you balance it with another job?
I'm a stay-at-home dad, so I balance my writing time with caring for my six-year-old daughter. I write whenever I can, and since she's about to start school, I'll have much more time to write.
Do you plan out your creations? What is your creative process like?
I tend to be very formulaic when planning my books. I'll do character profiles, and also chapter summaries of my books. My books are also always 40 chapters, and if all goes as plans will always have seven in a series. When the actual writing begins, these outline summaries sometimes go out the window, as I write what I see in my mind. It plays out like a movie. And I'm the first one who gets to see it.
Do you have a self-care routine, or do you want to have one? What do you do or wish that you did to take care of your mental health?
I struggle to find a way to keep to a self-care routine. I have ADHD, so it makes it difficult sometimes. I want to have a routine. I love routines. But the chaos of life gets in the way. I wish that I could take the time to exercise and meditate. But I always have to be doing something productive, or I get ansty.
What is your favorite creation thus far?
My favorite creation would have to be my Dark Dayz book series. Despite having written a 7 book series of gamers vs. zombies, Dark Dayz lets me play with my own world to where anything can happen. It's based on a uber immersive VR game, where if you die in the game, you die IRL. And it's heavily influenced by my favorite video game, Bloodborne.
Do you have a character that is your favorite over others you've written into creation?
Yes, her name is Julie Ulicia. She was one of the MCs of my first book, Severed Chains. She represents all the personality traits that I'm not allowed to have. To where I'm an introvert, she's an extrovert. To where I would never be able to sing or dance and be silly, she can do all of those, with no embarrassment. In fact, in college, during a guided meditation, we were told we would be greeted at the end, in our minds, by the person who was most important to us, and I met her. And this was before I'd written her into existence. I guess that's her origin story. And she's stuck with me ever since.
Are there any recurring themes in your work?
Video game elements will always show up. But as for themes, it's often about a loner, learning to trust, or doing whatever he or she can to help others. One of my favorite quotes is someone saying to a stranger, "Why are you so kind?" and the stranger replies, "Because the rest of the world isn't."
What does success look like to you, considering your creative passion?
I just want to entertain and make people happy. There's nothing greater than helping others. That's what we should all strive for. Help others be happy. Time is too short in this world to be hateful, or angry. Sure, I want to make a living, but I feel like every time someone gets one of my books, I've succeeded in some way.
What has been one of the biggest lessons you've learned since starting this journey?
Don't care what critics say. Don't care when someone hates on your passion. Do what makes you happy. Write what makes you happy. Because if you aren't enjoying the process, and putting your heart and soul into it, why are you wasting your and everyone else's time? Good stories can come from appeasing the market trends. Great stories come from those who have passion.
What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors/singers/artists/etc?
Never give up. Don't let others trample on your dreams. And don't feel like you need to conform to Hollywood or the big-name authors' advice. Sure, learn the rules. But then you are free to break them.
Where do you get your ideas for world-building?
A lot of times, ideas just pop into my mind. But embracing other media in your genre truly will generate great ideas. Unlike what others seem to advise, I try to avoid stories that are too similar to my own, before I at least have a first draft. Yes, it's good to know a genre, but even if one tries not to... you could set out to write an original zombie series and end up with a Walking Dead clone. But it's perfectly fine to mix and match. Grab an idea here and there and mash them together. Cloning stories in some genres has fatigue. And it's not because we are tired of vampires, zombies, or superheroes. But it's because we try and pull much from the established genre.
What genre do you prefer to read?
Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, or horror
What hobbies do you have?
I play Dungeons and Dragons, and many games like it. I do a lot of artwork for my book characters. Mostly, I love video games and hunting for trophies/achievements in them.
Do you have any outside experiences that influenced your work?
So many scenarios in my life have been adapted into my books. But, I think what influenced my work most, was when I was reading a Goosebumps book as a little kid, and I guess I was shipping the two main characters, so I added an extra page to the story, where there was a little innocent romance. A small peck on the cheek. Eh... I'm a romantic, I guess, and have always loved love.
Where can our viewers/readers/listeners find you and your work?
My books can be found in a lot of places, but the best way to find them is to search for them on Amazon or Audible. And the narrators for my three published books are amazing. Definitely check those versions out.