Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name is Jason Lady and I’m an army brat, living on a total of 7 military bases while growing up. Each new place I moved to, I made friends quickly by writing them into my comic books and my novels. I work in Human Resources and when I’m not writing, I’m working on visiting all the MLB stadiums and I watch lots of 80s movies and listen to lots of 80s music. I live in Cleveland, Ohio with my wife and many great friends. I’ve written two books, Monster Problems (released Dec. 2019) and Super Problems (coming December 2020). Monster Problems was accepted to the 2020 Ohioana Book Festival and the 2020 Kentucky Book Festival.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, coming December 2020, is named Super Problems. It’s one in a loosely-connected series of magic pen adventures. In each one, a middle schooler obtains a mysterious magic pen that brings to life everything they draw. Super Problems is to a big degree based on me and my middle school friends. The main character uses the magic pen to draw himself and his friends as superheroes, which I did in real life with my middle school friends. The difference is, in the book they become superheroes for real!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Some folks find music distracting when they’re trying to concentrate but not me. I can have loud rock music on my earbuds and it doesn’t distract me at all. In fact, it helps me focus!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My favorite author of all time is Timothy Zahn and his writing has influenced me because he builds his stories around intriguing, fantastical concepts and his plotting is very straightforward and no-nonsense. As a kid my imagination was taken to new heights by the Chronicles of Narnia and I loved fun, light-hearted adventure series like Encyclopedia Brown, The Three Investigators, and Ramona. I collected comic books as a kid and those absolutely blew my mind and made me a lifelong superhero fan. My favorites are Avengers, Captain America, Spider-Man, and X-Men.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a as-yet-untitled third magic pen adventure, where another middle schooler gets the magic pen and has their own adventure.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Honestly I’m still trying to figure that out. I was doing well selling books at in-person book signing events but the pandemic made those very difficult to do. Now I’m trying to think outside the box.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t pass up any opportunities to have your work featured and to add to your audience. Look at your local libraries and bookstores, and think about all the connections and contacts you have. I wouldn’t have thought to submit Monster Problems to the Kentucky Book Festival except I lived in Kentucky for over four years growing up. I submitted my book and it was accepted!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t keep your ego too close to your work, so much that when it is criticized (and it will be, fairly or unfairly) you yourself feel criticized.
What are you reading now?
I got a subscription to the DC Universe service and I’m reading comics from the 70s and 80s that I missed the first time around: Captain Atom, New Teen Titans, Starman, and Young All-Stars.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working on promoting my first and second books while writing the third. Once I’ve done three magic pen books, I hope to move to a different series. I have a draft completed of the first book in a swashbuckling sci-fi saga that I want to get back to and carry forward.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.