Life as Amber knows it

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Daily Archives: October 24, 2012

An Interview with Justin Bog

This week, I am honored to be joined by one of my dearest friends, Justin Bog.  Justin is the author of “Sandcastle and Other Stories”, the Culture Correspondent for In Classic Style Magazine, and the awesome author of the excellent blog, A Writer’s Life.

Tell our readers about the inspiration for the short story Mothers of Twins.

Here I am up to no good!

One day I was visiting my parents back at the Granville, Ohio homestead and asked my mom all about giving birth to not one but two sets of twins, what it was like, how my older sister felt not being a twin. My parents had five kids and three pregnancies and my mom deserved every mother’s day present. The twin subject is touched on in three tales in my first collection of literary tales, Sandcastle and Other Stories. She brought up a club for mothers who gave birth to twins. This would be the 1960s in Pullman, Washington where my younger brother and sister were born in September. She went to one meeting even though she did not want to go. My mom was not a social group joiner and always wanted to be an artist and art teacher, both things she accomplished before her death in 2008. Her work, along with my father’s art, can be seen at

Where did the cover art from the title story Sandcastle come from?
My mother’s art, along with my father’s art, can be seen at The book cover art was taken from one of my father’s Boardwalk series paintings. These he set in the 1930s, the time and place of his youth in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, the place now made infamous by MTV’s Jersey Shore.

and now for the goods:

Who would your guest list include for your fantasy dinner?

I would love to host writers past and present, eight of us, and mostly in the suspense and horror genres: Joan Samson, Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Edgar Allan Poe, Rachel Ingalls, Patricia Highsmith, and Ray Bradbury. I’d serve a hearty six course meal, a stew with a hearty sauce, with lots of booze in the middle of the winter at an old estate property, a fire roaring in the fireplace, a storm brewing outside, candles everywhere. I know some of the writers don’t drink anymore, but some of them are dead, and newly revived, and may need the wake-up brandy.

What year would you visit in a time machine and why?

I’d skip ahead five years just for fun — see where I am, what I’ve been up to, what all the hard writing work has done for that side of my life, if anything. I wouldn’t want to go to the past.
Who would you love to have a few beers with and just bullshit?

Well, you Amber are one of those people, for sure. And we can bullshite with the best of them. Dionne and the rest of the Tweep Nation and the Newbie Writers podcast peeps — Damien and Catharine would also add to any writing conversation.

What is your go-to movie or tv show?

I’m in a horror film mood right now since it’s Halloween — always get a chuckle out of Deep Rising, a cheesy Treat Williams monster on a cruise ship flick. Classics like The Exorcist, Halloween, Alien and currently in the middle of the Kate Winslet version of Mildred Pierce, with one of the most horrible children captured for all time in novel and film — The Joan Crawford version is a rich classic too. I’m always up for non-horror films like Gosford Park, The Hours, All About Eve, The Lord of the Rings and the later Harry Potter films after the first two.

When did you start writing?

I first put fictional ideas down on paper as a young kid with a typewriter. I continue to write but on a computer now.

What book exceeded your expectations?

Escardy Gap by Peter Crowther and James Lovegrove — it was stunning because it told the story about a writer living the burnt-out life of a struggling author and then shifted to a town in the past, heartland USA, within a dome, not unlike Stephen King’s Under the Dome, cut-off from the rest of the world, and the monstrous entities that have a plan and set about it, devastating the population of the town. Escardy Gap is really great and little known but so worth finding. I searched out a hardcover copy somehow. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons was another eye-opener. What a terrific mix of Robert Ludlum and Stephen King.

Toilet paper/ paper towels: what’s the correct way to put them on the dispenser?

There are 250,000 ways of doing anything is always my answer. If it’s right for someone, it will probably be wrong for the next guy.

If you’re going on a long road trip, what drinks and snacks are you going to pack?

The Amazing Justin Bog and Zippy

Treats for Zippy and Kipling, my two long coat German shepherds. Water. Energy bars. I’m boring that way. The dogs eat better than I do.

Do your characters ever show up in your dreams?

Not after I write a short story, but a situation in a dream may make its way into a future fictional tale.

What made you start writing?

I enjoy writing to make myself happy first, always have. I’ve been writing for so long and not sending out anything that I’ve amassed a lot of work. I hope I can make it quality work, perfect the stories enough to hit the publish button, but I’m also a perfectionist. This state of being holds me back more than anything else. The stories have to hit me well enough to publish.

What is your morning ritual?

Wake up, take thyroid pill with lots of water, let dogs out, free the cats to the outdoors, read online news, check email, have espresso half hour later, sometimes go to the swimming pool three times a week . . . if not those mornings, I’ll sit down to my computer much sooner. Most times I eat a little breakfast, eggbeater scrambled stuff with veggies, at my desk and review what I need to get done. I don’t accomplish much.

Do you have any writing quirks?

Things that others would find strange? I have to have music playing in the background while writing. And it could be any style. I’m listening to an old Bangles album right now. Suzanne Vega’s 99.9 degrees is a go-to album for me along with The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails.

If you were going to a deserted island, what three items would you take with you?

My kindle. Zippy and Kipling. A hammock.
Name 3 books on your to-be-read list.

The new Tom Wolfe book. Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining coming out next year in September. The Twelve by Justin Cronin.

Best thing about where you live?

It has four distinct seasons, and has a temperate climate ranging from 32 to around 70 degrees in summer. It may snow once a year, but it’s never a harsh winter. I love rain too. The small island life is calming. Maybe 16,000+ people live here and call Fidalgo Island home.

What book could you read over and over?

The Shining by Stephen King — his writing was an influence. The people on the fringe he writes about still strike a chord.

Who is your favorite band or musician?

The Clash — especially London Calling, and The Pretenders, always listen to their first two albums.

Justin, thank you so much for taking the time and giving me this interview!
Be sure and check Justin out at his website, and follow him on Twitter @JustinBog
~Amber Jerome~Norrgard
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