Jasmine Frank is missing.
It’s a humid summer morning in Santa Ana, California, and her twin brother Jordan abruptly finds himself on a desperate search—fearing the worst. The party last night got way out of hand, and his brain is still chemically fried. But this is Jasmine’s story. She’s awakened far from home to her own mystery: She’s unwittingly stolen something from the most dangerous person she’s ever known. Tommy Strafe. And now Tommy is raging through the sunbaked streets, gathering illicit forces to seek brutal retribution. But all Jasmine really wants is to get out of Orange County, escape her past, and find a measure of redemption.
Which character would you like to be in LOSER BABY?
Let’s face it: LOSER BABY is filled with a bunch of young, naïve ne’er-do-wells, some of them downright malevolent, some of them just lost, a few of them beaten down but somehow idealistic. I tend to side with the idealists, so I’ll go with Mark Pellegro, the weird guy with the hat. He’s a young man who’s mostly trying to do right, but he’s been dealt a bad hand at every turn. By book’s end, he’s the closest thing to a hero you’ll find in LOSER BABY. His was an arc that surprised me as I wrote the book.
Do you always take a book wherever you go?
Yeah, I’m the guy in the crowd whose face is buried in a book while everybody else is foolin’ around on their phones. Not only that, but everywhere I go, I’m on the lookout for MORE books. I’ve been known to plan vacations around interesting bookstores or other literary locations—for example, where my favorite writers lived and worked. I took a trip a few years back to Maine to visit Stephen King’s house. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch him walking his dog so that I could shoot the proverbial shite with him.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the good one or the bad one?
In a fictional setting, I’ll always go for the memorable bad guy.
Do you prefer to read/write standalones or series?
I’ve written both, and I’ve read both, and my preference is standalone books. Maybe that’s my age talking. I’ve reached that point in my existence where I ain’t got time for that. Rather than read tales involving the same characters, I want to experience as many different styles and settings and narratives and experiences and people as possible, so I find myself exploring many authors for the first time. In a similar way, I like to explore different types of people in my books.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
I’m typically a bedtime reader, enjoying the quiet in the house when everyone else is asleep. But I also have a basement office/library where I can escape into an easy chair on the weekends. So, I’m an indoor reader, mostly. And one of the all-time great communal reading spaces is still the airport. I actually look forward to waiting for flights because it is absolutely fine book time.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
I’m a big-time movie buff. I have a home theater in my basement that is my fortress of solitude, and I still love going out to the movies, too. During the pandemic, I supported movie theaters as much as humanly possible, and even now I’m going once a week, even though I’m often the only person in that auditorium! People! Get out to the movies! Support film exhibition! Film has been a major fixture of my life: My first job was at a movie theater, and later I became a film critic in my thirties. As for outdoor activities, I love cycling for exercise, and taking the dogs out for hikes and walks.
Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
Never. SO much of my life revolves around books. I’m always on the precipice of embarking on yet another trip to the local bookstores or planning the next book convention out of state. To that end, I often feel like a relic, seeking out these old pulp tomes that so few people seem to care about anymore. I have a cherished book collection in my private library, and often we’ll have people over who get a glimpse of it, and the most common reaction is something to the tune of Wow, um, people still read real books? And then they walk away. Meh.
What are you most proud of?
That would be the adoptions of my daughters, to whom this book is dedicated. I’m immensely proud of the family that my wife and I built near the turn of the millennium, and to see these young ladies enjoy their early lives as siblings and gradually mature into grownups has been phenomenal. I’m not going to say it hasn’t been a bumpy ride, but the payoff is enormous.
I’ve dedicated LOSER BABY to my daughters, and part of that is tied up with my feelings about their generation. And I’m talking about both the good and the bad—the obsessive focus on social media and phones, but also the opinionated convictions they have about our collective future, and how they plan to contribute.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
This is probably the answer most attached to this question, but unquestionably George McFly opening his box of books at the end of Back to the Future. “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
Do you sometimes get up at night to write because the perfect idea suddenly popped up?
I’m more likely to jot the idea down on a piece of paper somewhere and then get back to sleep. Of course, in the morning, the jotted-down idea will probably be nonsensical! But I also maintain that “writing” doesn’t always involve the act of putting words to paper (or screen). I believe I do my best writing while I’m out walking the dogs or even dreaming: My brain is working through problems that I’ve come up against during the day, and sometimes that “in-brain writing” can bring forth some of my greatest, most inspired narrative or character moments.
Thank you, Jason Bovberg and PIC Tours
About the author
Jason Bovberg is the author of the Blood trilogy—Blood Red, Draw Blood, and Blood Dawn—as well as The Naked Dame, a throwback pulp noir novel. His forthcoming books include Tessa Goes Down, a border noir, and A Small Poisonous Act, a suburban crime novel. He is editor/publisher of Dark Highway Press, which published the controversial, erotic fairy tale Santa Steps Out and the weird western anthology Skull Full of Spurs.
He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his wife Barb, his daughters Harper and Sophie, and his canines Rocky and Rango.