Jason Norton is a lifelong fan of comic books, sci-fi and monster-under-your-bed stories. He is a certified personal trainer and massage therapist. When he’s not playing volleyball, he studies wilderness survival skills. Honest. Not even he could make that up. Jason and his wife live in Powhatan, Virginia. He has a son, two cats and two dogs. He prefers the son.
His contribution to Strangely Funny II was "Seven Minutes", a tale of young people living in that idyllic time of good music and nutritious food... the Seventies. The story reminded of my own youth, except for the ending. Then again, no one invited me to play Spin the Bottle. I didn't realize there was a low survival rate.
When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I've wanted to write ever since I was a kid, but I never pursued it seriously until 2012 (save for some incomplete comic book scripts). When I was six, I wrote a story called "Murder at the Mausoleum" or something to that effect--it was way too macabre for a kid that age, whatever the case. I folded up sheets of white paper and wrote and illustrated the whole thing in pencil. Sadly, it never became a best-seller. Later, one of my friends and I created fictional lab reports about cryptids and unexplained phenomena. Incidentally, I don't think I got a date till my senior year of high school.
How did you pick the genre/setting/era you (usually) write in?
I am the product of comic book literacy; I'll never be accused of aping Shakespeare, that's for sure .I usually write horror; I have always been a fan of EC's Tales from the Crypt comics and love the dark humor and wicked twists those books were famous for. I do a little sci-fi and pulp as well and am currently working on what I hope will be the first in a series of two-fisted pulp stories in the vein of Doc Savage.
How did you come up with the idea for your story in Strangely Funny II?
I was washing dishes when the first line hit me. I'm not sure why I was thinking about Spin the Bottle--I definitely had no personal frame of reference for seven minutes in heaven. But once I had that first line, it sort of just took off on its own. The story wasn't written specifically for Strangely Funny II--in fact I wrote it months before the call for submissions was even announced--but I felt like this anthology would be the perfect home for it. I got it in just under the deadline and was amazed that it was accepted.
Plotter or pantser?
A little of both. Sometimes I have a concept and then work around it. Sometimes I've got the whole thing worked out before I ever sit down at the laptop. And a lot of the time, a first line hits me and I have no idea what I'm going to do after that. But if I think that first line is good enough, I'll do everything I can to work it out.
Which author do you most admire, and why?
Richard Matheson. He could take ten pages, give you the barest bones of description and detail and haunt you for days, weeks--sometimes years afterward. If you don't believe me, just go read "The Edge" in his Steel anthology. Out of respect for potential young readers, I can't write the phrase that came out of my mouth when I finished that story.
Thank you for talking with us!
Jason's work has appeared at/in Bewildering Stories, Fiction Vortex, Gothic City Press, Daylight Dims, e-Horror, The Horror Zine, Inner Sins, Dark Moon Digest and Pro Se Productions. He currently has stories awaiting publication at Nightmare Illustrated, Horrified Press, and Pro Se Productions. His story "Creeper" is slated to appear in Angelic Knight Press's upcoming Demon Rum and Other Evil Spirits anthology.
Mystery and Horror, LLC, is an indie press interested in what the name suggests.
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