Jasper Scott is a USA TODAY bestselling science fiction author, best known for writing intricate plots with unexpected twists and flawed characters. His books have been translated into Japanese and German and adapted for audio, with collectively over 500,000 copies read, borrowed, or sold.
I had the opportunity to interview him on his writing and what he’s doing next.
You’ve written 17 great books. What’s your secret to being so prolific?
I set a deadline and a daily writing goal. My ability to meet the writing goal almost always varies as life stuff interjects into my working hours, but for the most part I tend to reach that goal. Right now it’s 3,000-4,000 words per day. That works out to producing a new book every two months. I typically need six to eight hours per day to reach that goal (not counting breaks for lunch etc), but sometimes I’ll work ten or eleven with a two-hour break for gym. As my deadline approaches, gym goes out the window and I almost always end up recovering lost time by working longer hours and weekends. The last ten days are a sprint. There is one other thing: I used to re-read and edit all of my work from the previous day at the start of the next. To increase my productivity I’ve since changed that habit to edit only the last scene, saving the rest of the editing for once I’ve finished with the writing phase.
How do your travels and living abroad influence your writing?
Travels! I don’t travel. I’d like to, and plan to soon. Right now I’m taking care of the down payment on a new home, so that leaves me more budget-conscious than usual. Living abroad influences my writing in a number of ways. I speak English at home, but Spanish everywhere else and with my stepson. Sometimes it takes longer than I’d like to switch gears, and I start to forget English words. I suppose the advantage is that I’m exposed to a different culture than my own. That helps to inspire certain characters and broaden my perspectives.
Stephen King or Michael Crichton?
I’m a big fan of both, but I haven’t read all of their work. I cherry-pick the titles that interest me and hop-scotch around from one author to the next. I’ve also enjoyed Dean R. Koontz, and right now I’m reading a novel by Kristin Hannah–a great writer! I like to read all different genres, but I do find that sticking to best-selling novels and authors helps me with my own work, because their writing is typically a cut above and that inspires me to reach higher with my own.
What’s your favorite part about world-building?
The ability to create something completely unique that no one has ever seen or imagined before. In many ways it’s impossible to write something truly original, but the originality always comes through in the details.
If you had to write outside of the sci-fi genre, what would you write?
Mysteries and thrillers. Gone Girl is a particular favorite of mine.
Jasper was born and raised in Canada by South African parents, with a British cultural heritage on his mother’s side and German on his father’s, to which he has now added Latin culture with his wonderful wife.
After spending years living as a starving artist, he finally quit his various jobs to become a full-time writer. In his spare time he enjoys reading, traveling, going to the gym, and spending time with his family.
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