The Author Visits presents poet Jonathan Ojanpera, author of The Watch.
Calendar of Events
Sunday, August 3 – Author Introduction; Kick-off gift giveaway Tuesday, August 5 – Interview with Jonathan Thursday, August 7 – Review of poetry from The Watch Friday, August 8 – Guest post Saturday, August 9 – What’s next for Jonathan; Announce gift giveaway winner!
And the Winner is?
Congratulations Annette R.!
What’s Next for Jonathan?
My next release will be a novella; “Gringo Parade”. It is the story of a rebellious eighteen year old boy on a short-term missionary trip in Costa Rica. It is a great learning experience, and an even better welcome into adulthood. He observes the inner workings and activities of a group of Christian soldiers as they save souls in a poverty stricken area. He manages to make the trip his own after becoming disillusioned with the leaders of the group and their incompetence in almost every aspect. The tentative release date is October, 2014.
One of the most important parts of being a writer is our ability to balance the rest of our lives with it. This is a commonly discussed theme, so I thought I would talk about some of the activities I have found that keep this sometimes delicate craft in perspective.
I am the type of writer who sits down and pounds the keys until I am exhausted and near dehydration. I have always taken a sort of steamroller approach, and it often leaves me empty and not much good for anything else. Writing takes an enormous toll on every part of us, and there is a definite need for balance.
A very important factor in keeping the creative juices flowing has to be our social lives. Staying connected to our closest friends and family tends to keep us grounded, and might possibly save us from drifting off into a world we have created on the page. My family is very adept at keeping me humble and assuring that I am not allowed to take myself too seriously. Though sometimes I would prefer to stay in my ‘writing cave’, I realize the importance of being outside of my own mind enough to socialize with those I love.
The body is an easy thing to let fall by the wayside. Writing cannot even be classified as anaerobic exercise. There are no cardio benefits, no muscle strain and it seems that exercising is far easier not to do; especially when there are so many writing projects to work on. Our brains work more efficiently when our bodies are healthy, so it is very important to have some form of physical activity daily.
My dad told me throughout my childhood that no matter how much work needs to be done that we have to make time for fun. We have to go out into the world and experience life to even hatch new ideas. If it weren’t for cultural experiences and travel, there would be little to base any form of fiction upon. This can be tricky for a writer, as in my case, I am content to sit in front of the screen and write while life goes on without me. There have been times when I can almost feel my ideas drying up for lack of adventure in the outside world. There is no amount of experience or education that can replace the benefits of meaningful entertainment.
None of my family or friends in real life are writers. Most of them are voracious readers, but few of them understand what it takes to create something meaningful with words. My internet community is very important because of this. Being surrounded by other writers who understand the process and the work it takes to produce something meaningful is critical. Being picked apart, or interpreted by a fellow writer always seems to carry more weight than a less objective friend. This input is very important to me, and tends to keep me on the right track.
No matter what sort of writer you may be, there will always be a need for balance. The aspects I mentioned are only a few, and it takes a very deliberate effort on our part to ensure we stay healthy and in the proper state of mind. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and I believe these to be universal and necessary for all of us.
Interview with Jonathan
The Author Visits welcomes Jonathan Ojanpera, author of the poetry anthology The Watch. Enjoy!
Veena: Welcome Jonathan! It is so nice to have you on The Author Visits.
Jonathan: Thank you Veena.
Veena: So tell me, what are you reading now?
Jonathan: I am currently reading The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows written by indie author Benjamin Grossman.
Veena: Where in the world would you most like to visit?
Jonathan: I would like to travel to England. While I was there I would like to explore London and Chelsea as well as hike the British countryside. I have always been fascinated with the country because of its rich history and its ties to the U.S.
Veena: Which character in a book would you enjoy having drinks and dinner with?
Jonathan: I would like to have dinner and drinks with Holden Caulfield from The Catcher In The Rye. His cynical nature and general attitude toward people is quite hilarious. I would love to pose some questions that beg answering due to what Salinger left out; for instance, his unmentioned mental disorder. He was obviously disturbed, and I would love to have more insight as to what his problem is. I also love the way he labels people from a simple lack of empathy and life experience, and how he refers to certain people as “puritans”. I think he would answer these questions after a few drinks.
Veena: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be and why?
Jonathan: I would like to be Tommy Hinds, a hotel owner in South Chicago from Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle. He was an active Socialist, but I don’t relate to that, so much as I do to how he brought an uneducated man up from poverty and a very difficult life in the meatpacking industry. He taught this man -and main character, Jurgis, to believe in a cause that not only taught him many things about how business and culture work in America, he also propagated the ideal of equality for the working class and helped organize and encourage others to stand up for their rights for safety and fair pay in the workplace. Though he was an idealist, he nevertheless gave an extremely downtrodden man a clean job and a sense of purpose; purpose in which Jurgis was able to give others hope during a period of American history when worker abuse and terrible working conditions were acceptable. Tommy was one of very few ‘good guys’ in the book.
Veena: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Jonathan: My desire to write began when I was around fourteen. I kept journals almost obsessively and began writing poetry by the time I turned fifteen. I kept up these writing habits throughout early adulthood, but the idea of becoming a writer didn’t strike me until I was around thirty. I had been an ironworker for a decade at that point, and had sustained multiple injuries throughout that time. I spent the next three years devouring books like never before as a way of plotting my escape from a very difficult trade. I began penning my first novel at thirty-three and had it completed within two years. I realized throughout that process that I might actually have a shot at being successful if I just kept writing. I came to believe that being a writer is something internal, or foundational, while the things we are taught and the things we read are more like the structure we build around that foundation.
Veena: Who or what inspires you to write?
Jonathan: My inspiration for writing comes from multiple sources. I am an observant person; one who would more likely watch people interacting, rather than joining in. Observing people, and my environment provide so much inspiration and many ideas. I am also inspired by other writers. Being an independent author is difficult, and I think we all feel like very tiny fish in a massive ocean sometimes. Knowing that there are others that are not only trudging through, but succeeding, is always an inspiration to me.
Veena: Who is your favorite author?
Jonathan: My absolute favorite is Frank Herbert. Dune is one of most amazing worlds ever created. His books seem flawless; from character design to the originality of his ideas. Even after his death, his son and a co-author wrote brilliant stories from his notes. I rank him among the all-time best authors of the Twentieth Century, and I am still searching for his equal.
Veena: What is your must have tech gadget?
Jonathan: This is an easy one. I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. I write with it all the time. The best part is being able to stand up and pace while I am writing. Sitting at a PC indoors for hours on end gets old. The only problem I have is that I can’t edit effectively, making the hours in front of a screen inevitable –but far less of them.
Veena: What’s on your night-stand?
Jonathan: I have a glass of water, and a speaker. My phone/alarm clock rests there at night. I wish it were more exciting than that but I don’t spend much time in bed.
Veena: Finally, what’s your favorite junk-food?
Jonathan: My most favorite of all is beef jerky. It’s low fat, high protein, but it is junk food because of the mass quantity of salt and a few drops of cholesterol. It’s also great for hiking since it doesn’t go bad. (That’s how I justify keeping it on hand.)
Thank you for stopping by!
Jonathan Ojanpera is a freelance journalist, editor and writer of poetry and fiction. He is also an artist, photographer and musician. His introduction to writing came in the form of poetry in his early teens. His work has been featured on several political, poetic and literary websites and books. His work is continually evolving into long form fiction. He was born in Palm Beach, Florida, spent his childhood in Southwest Colorado and now resides in the Deep South with his wife and four daughters. His creativity is drawn from the multi-cultural experiences he has had, growing up in starkly contrasting regions of the US.
About The Watch
The Watch is a collection of poetry and prose written in many forms, covering many topics; from love to spirituality, from depression to ecstasy. You will also find Jonathan’s original art within the pages. A great read to add to your collection of poets and a good book to realize a yet to be found interest in poetry.
Where to buy: