What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Azazel: The Search For Life After Death?
I would say my own life inspired this story. I originally finished writing this book back in 2011, when I had a year left to go before I graduated with my B.A. in English. Frustrated at myself, for not knowing what to do with my degree, and for simply listening to people say that a college degree is all that I needed. I was upset at myself because I didn’t have a plan, didn’t know what to do after college, and because I never once thought of how to use anything I’ve learned throughout my collegiate career.
I took that frustration out in a character I could relate to. My hope was to learn more about myself through the character I was creating. And so Azazel was born, and the desire to understand who I am through him.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Azazel: The Search For Life After Death, what would they be?
Wow, theme songs. Cool question! I would most definitely pick Randy Orton’s entrance theme song, which I think is called “Voices.” I would pick “Slow Chemical” by Finger Eleven. And, of course, I would pick the song I actually wrote and recorded, called “Legend.”
A year ago I released an album of music and dedicated one song to Azazel, the main character of this book. I can’t imagine seeing this book in motion without “Legend,” at some point, playing, and definitely during the end of the movie, during the credits.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I love to read philosophy books, poetry books, and I love to read history books. My previous books have been philosophy books, with one book being a book of poetry, and another book being a book of religious history. But I do also love fiction, and especially fantasy fiction.
I suppose I’m all over the place, but if I had to say, I would say my favorite genre to both read and write is nonfiction, primarily philosophy, poetry, and religious history. I think being more involved with these genres has actually strengthened my imagination and style of writing, making my works of fiction that much more interesting.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
At the moment it’s “Pagans and Christians” by Robin Fox, “The Servant” by James C. Hunter, and “Two Powers In Heaven” by Alan Segal.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
I am torn between the scene within the Introduction and the scene in the chapter called “In the Beginning,” where I, in both of these scenes, map out how creation of the worlds, and of their Dimensions and realms, along with their “beings,” took place. This was so much fun to write. I used so much detail, but not too much, and in what I believe to be an original way, because I wanted the reader to actually be there when these things were taking place.
I had so much fun creatively devising characters, and elements for those characters to harness and to master for their scenes. There is a beauty to our imagination. When you’re in these scenes, every thing is real. It is so believable that, when the scene is over, you’re just left reflecting on it, which is also what I wanted to achieve. I wanted these scenes to somehow cause the reader to reflect on what, in their own real life, has original and creative beauty.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
I have no idea. I can say that it must be completely silent. But I love writing by the ocean. Only the waves of the ocean have the right to disturb me.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
I do! It is found in the book of Ephesians chapter four and verse twenty-three: “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
I will quote Bune, the wise three-headed dragon: “When we should let go of what we think and feel, we are oddly found tense, our frame tightening due to the unfamiliarity of the experience. And so we play the game, resisting life, and the vision given the life of our life, because we believe the attention is fitting the case we hold against life for making us its victim” (277).
I quote this passage because I want my readers to understand, through the main character, and even through all of the characters, that we all have a purpose, and that if you think you have no purpose, you do, and you must find it. Life becomes valuable when purpose is added to it.
Azazel is a character looking for purpose, and constantly having what he believes to be his purpose thwarted, he never gives up, and although he may be down on himself at times, he never insults life but continues to find out what and who he is. This is what I would like readers to remember after reading this book. I would like them to remember to keep on finding out who and what they are, even if it isn’t so apparent.
Linwood Jackson Jr. is the author of the new book Azazel: The Search For Life After Death
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