I had the awesome privileged of speaking to J.D Woodson, author of A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception. You can read my book review here. This what he had to say.
Q: An enchanting tale combining a number of interesting characters and pertinent questions. What inspired you to write A Space Between Worlds: Conception?
A: Loss, regret, self-loathing, the lack of identity, introspection and comprehension: those ideas would suffice in the reasoning of the creation of the A Space Between Worlds: Conception. All of those things, I’ve experienced and were deeply seeded into my heart ever since I was young. Not until I grew older, I had the inkling of tackling such questions. Terrifying and painful, liberating and refreshing. I wasn’t singular in facing such concepts. Those around me, people I knew and who I didn’t, struggled with the very same. I wrote the story, not only to soothe myself but others as well. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to face ourselves; it’s almost as if we refuse to. Many of us don’t know who we are. I knew someone who had the thorough understanding of those ideas but unbeknownst to me, I hadn’t an inkling of her suffering. After she departed from this world, that was the spark for me to compose this story. After three years of writing this story, it changed drastically from draft to draft, however, what I needed to express had to be pulled out of me by my own hands.
Q: Are the questions and concepts your characters work through something you consider deeply? Do you question the truths of life and death as deeply?
Inner worlds, reincarnation, cycles both broken and whole? Yes, I ponder those concepts with care. They are depthless and without shape. And because of this, there isn’t a universal answer. Some characters in the story have their own interpretations while others are trying to find their answers. I’m still seeking mine too.
Yes. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t’ve been write a story like this. I questioned life and death starting very young. The reason for that was the departure of my eldest brother not long after I was born. For some reason, I thought I wasn’t meant to be alive. I thought I stole my brother’s life. So because of that I wore a mask that wasn’t mine in order to keep my brother’s presence here, I suppose. I didn’t have an identity and I was constricted by regret. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I removed that mask and since then, I’ve been piecing together my identity. I started my life at death instead of the other way around. But this enabled me to question what those things meant to me. I can’t say I have any answers yet, much like my characters. Shanti is on one side of the cycle and Reno is on the other, but neither of them can see beyond what they do and don’t know. My true feelings on the matter are expressed through the story.
Q: This is only volume one. I am assuming you’ve got a series in the works? Will they all be related?
A: Yes, I can confirm there will be more volumes to come. Though I originally intended for A Space Between Worlds to be a duology; the change came about during the outlining of the next book, I noticed there was more of the story wanting to be told and if I confined those ideas into one last book, the execution would’ve been sloppy and what was to be covered wouldn’t be fully realized. I’m currently writing volume two and there are plans for future books. While volume one and volume two will be directly related, the others will be a separate arc in a sense. With that being said, you can expect majority of the characters to return in the next one. I wonder how they will change?
Q: Your writing style is flowery. Poetic. I know you gained a love for poetry but is this how you have always written or has there been something or someone who influenced you?
A: Wow. Flowery, huh? The majority of authors in this day and age would cringe at hearing that term affixed to their writing, indeed. As for I, I find it to be flattering. Flowers are pleasant, fragrant, and comforting. But an overabundance of flowers can be overwhelming to the senses, no? Since poetry was my background, my first love, my style transitioned into my storytelling. There was a time were my storytelling was as pungent as a perfume section of a department store when I was first starting out but I would like to think I found a proper balance and flow of what is considered flowery. My style was influenced by Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks in terms of poetry. As for storytelling, Haruki Murakami would probably be my deepest influence in the way of storytelling and Carl Jung, Frederick Nietzsche, and Indian Philosophy as whole are some of my philosophical influences.
Q: Do you have works of poetry out there (or in your drafts folder) that we can look forward to?
A: Now that you mentioned it; I do desire to publish a collection of poetry. I’ve put all of my focus on A Space Between Worlds for the last few years so I can’t say I’ve written any poetry outside of the ones within the story. Integrating my first love into my second, I’ll continue to do that but maybe one day soon I’ll write a traditional poetry collection.
Q: I infer from your style that you are an emotive writer. Do your feelings and emotions always guide your writing? How do you manage when you’re not feeling any particular way?
A: Naturally, I’m a sensitive person. In everything I do, I go by feeling. For myself, there isn’t any other way to live but to go by what my heart tells me and that carries into my writing. If I can’t express myself without clarity, I abstain from writing until I’m enraptured by the emotion I’m trying to convey. If what I am writing doesn’t have meaning, there isn’t any reason why they should be written.
Q: Do you have any favourite authors? Music that inspires you as you write?
A: Haruki Murakami, Franz Kafka, Ray Bradbury, Natsume Soseki, and Yu Godai are some of my favourite authors of fiction.
Nobuhiro Watsuki, Masamune Shirow, Hiroyuki Takei, and Tetsuo Hara are my favourite manga-ka (authors of manga).
Yoko Shinomura, Yasunori Mitsuda, Yuki Kajiura, Shoji Meguro, Masashi Hamauzu, and Uyama Hiroto are the composers I listen to thoroughly. Symphonic, Jazz, Rock and Synth, interesting combination, huh?
Q: What does your writing process look and feel like?
A: To keep it simple, it’s a lot like gardening. Peaceful and relaxing, meticulous and intensive. I adore writing, but it can be painful. I’m mentally and physically exhausted after it’s all said and done.
Q: Who is J.D. Woodson? To the world and to yourself?
Obtaining those answers are the very reason I write.
Q: Where to from here?
A: If I had every map devised, it’ll leave nothing for me to discover. I can only continue to live and express myself moment by moment. Whatever is in store, I’ll accept and move only by what my heart tells me. All I know for certain, I’ll never cease to write.