Today we welcome back Bobby Newman to the R&M Blog with his review of Jay T. Harding's novel OOBERS! We hope you enjoy his post as it is always a pleasure to have him on our blog! Be sure to leave a comment for Bobby and his review!
The first thing to attract my attention to this piece of macabre candy was the warning on the front cover of how disturbing the book would be. This warning alone alerted me to the fact that the novel is in the genre of books that I love to read. OOBERS, written by Jay T. Harding, became a must read for me due, in part, to the amount of violence and gore the reader is subjected to.
OOBE is an abbreviation for “out of body experience” and a person who has one of these experiences is referred to as an “OOBER”, hence the name of the novel. What would you do if you’re projecting your spirit out of your body as a child playing with cartoon characters when a demon attempts to engulf you? The answer is…..you avoid sleep for all it’s worth. This is the life of Joel who comes into contact with others like him with different abilities. The reader follows Joel as he tries to stop a strong demon from using OOBERS to wreak havoc on humanity.
To me, OOBERS was not as bad as some people claimed but that is mostly because I have read a lot of titles within the horror genre as well as watch a ton of horror movies. I completely enjoyed it despite not being nearly as grossed out as others might be. It’s a fresh take on the horror genre with its original plot line and characters. I would not recommend this book to anyone who has an overactive imagination that leaves them prone to nightmares or those who do not enjoy other scary things. For those of you who do enjoy have yourself scared witless, you are in for a horrific treat.
Our Interview with Author Jay T. Harding
1.Can you tell us an interesting fact about you, your writing, or anything at all? Or, is there anything in particular you want the readers to know about you?
My novel OOBERS deals with individuals who are able to have Out-Of-Body Experiences (thus, OOBERs), and while the story is crafted as ‘uber’ horror, the phenomenon is anything but scary. As a young child I was able to actually leave my body as it lay on the bed and travel about the house and neighborhood, usually in the company of a friendly bear I called Yogi. It wasn’t until many years later that I discovered I was actually traveling on the Astral Plane, and that my bear friend was in essence something akin to a spirit guide and guardian. I taught Astral projection for almost a decade until I realized I was sometimes putting this knowledge into the hands of those who would use it for nefarious reasons. It is possible for any of us to have an OOBE, but maybe only one in one hundred thousand are able to travel responsibly. OOBERS takes the darker side of this ability to its extreme.
2.When did you first know that writing was what you wanted to do as a career?
I was writing at age two (well, ok, on the walls with crayons) and have never looked back. As far back as I can remember I’ve always had fantastical stories in my head that begged to be put on paper. It wasn’t until I went to college in the nineties, and then after TONS of practice, that I was able to come anywhere close to matching on paper what was floating around within me.
3.When you are working on a book, do you plan ahead, or do you let the story flow as you write?
I don’t know if ‘plan’ is the right word for what happens to me. A story will form in my head – sometimes the whole tale, and sometimes just a general theme – and I’ll ruminate on it, I’ll let it germinate until it grows so large it threatens to consume me unless I release it into words. I don’t always know how the story will end, but I don’t always run blindly through it, either. Depends on the story itself, I suppose. Sometimes I push it out, sometimes it comes out breach and sometimes I have to cut it out of me.
4.Is there a special place in your home that you work at?
I have a study in the back of the house that is so quiet I can almost hear the power lines outside humming. My pal Jack the Cat likes to stretch out on the top of my computer table and snooze while I peck away.
5.Are any of your characters in your books based on people that you know in real life?
Absolutely. My cousin, a cinematographer, taught me about putting life into my characters by using real people from my past, or by imagining a film star playing that role. If my stories are adapted to the big screen, Nicholas Cage would be in every one of them.
6.Do you have an interesting writing quirk? Maybe something that you have to do while writing, or something that you have to do before you start writing?
I absolutely have to keep my eyes open while writing. You should see what comes out when I don’t. Generally, though, I don’t have any quirks like that; if I do, though, I’m not aware of it (while blinking three times, tapping my nose with a pencil, clearing my throat excessively and imitating the mating call of the red-butt rhesus monkey)
7.What is your opinion on Indie publishing versus mainstream publishing?
I believe each has its place in the publishing industry. Most Indie writers love the ‘small-town’ feel of working directly with other writers and their publisher, and liken them to their family. Mainstream publishing, though, is like playing in the big leagues. You get paid more, you have to learn the dance of agents, public relations, marketing, editors, proofreaders and other cogs in the publishing machine, and you get to go to a lot more book signings. Indie publishers, on the other hand, are more writer-friendly. If you’re a big time author in a big time publishing company, you don’t usually know if people genuinely like you or if they’re just kissing your ass.
8.Do you hear from your fans a lot? If so, what are some of the best & worst things that you have heard?
I am SO grateful for all my fans, I mean, this is the best part of writing! With very few exceptions, my fans are just the best people on the planet. I think both the best and worst thing I’ve heard from those who have read OOBERS is that it made them throw up. When was the last time you heard of a horror story that brought about such a visceral response?
9.What does your family think of your writing?
All my kids have been super supportive. I really value their criticism and praise, although if I had to choose between the two I’d rather they point out the places where I can improve over telling me how boffo my writing is.
10.How has being published changed your life, if any way?
Well, I’d say without a doubt that being published has given me the confidence to work on specific goals and has helped me maintain and respect deadlines. I learned that I work well under pressure, but that doesn’t mean I get to sit on my hands until the last minute. It means that when I agree to do something, I make damned sure I give it one hundred percent. Mediocrity is for part-timers. I’m a full-time, career writer, and holding a published copy in my hand is like getting a bonus check.
11.What are you currently working on? We would love to know what is coming next from you.
I’m feverishly trying to finish the second book in the OOBERS series, because there are some other projects I’ve been dying to work on. I want to write a screenplay and then see if it floats.
12.What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
Write, write, write!!! I don’t care if you stink at it, write! If you have a love and passion for writing, follow your bliss, my friend. WRITE!!!
13.What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think it was making sure I didn’t make any continuity mistakes, like have the same character put his socks on twice in a scene. Thank God for editors!
14.What hardships have you encountered while writing your books?
Simply put: poverty. It is without doubt a blessing, poverty is, because it make me literally hungry to rise out of it. But not being able to travel to conventions, not having the means to live without worrying how much the next utility bill will be, not being able to send my grandkids cool presents for their birthday, yeah, I’d have to say being poor is a bitch of a hardship.
15.What books (or authors) have influenced you the most during your career?
This answer could easily be a book in itself! I started reading very early, and I completely skipped Dick and Jane for the meatier stuff. Samuel Clements, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, O. Henry, Herman Hesse, Robert E. Howard, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegutt and others too numerous to mention. My greatest influence, though, has been the work of Jelal al-din Rumi, the 12th century Sufi mystic and poet. His words most closely describe the consuming fire that lives inside me.
1. Favorite flavor of ice cream:
Rocky Road. Are there other flavors?
2. Favorite color:
Purple. I’m really a grape in disguise.
3. Favorite animal:
Without a doubt, cats. Cats rule and dogs drool!
4. Favorite season of the year:
Spring. Mostly because I dislike the cold so much, and Spring always brings warmth back into the picture.
5. Favorite Author:
6. Favorite drink:
Has to be Mountain Dew, nectar of the Gods.
7. Favorite food:
Theater popcorn. Heavy on the butter and salt.
8. Favorite Halloween Candy:
Tootsie Rolls. Yum!