THE CONVENTION COLLECTIVE: Thank you for joining us in the Spotlight Jarred! How did you get into writing and why did you want to become an writer?
Jarred A. Luján: I think I’ve always been into storytelling. I have a lot of fun telling stories as much as I do being told them. As for being a writer, I love books. As a kid, I read a lot of manga and novels, a lot of mythology books and plays. As a kid, I experimented with a lot of hobbies—spoiler alert, I’m a terrible: actor, musician, poet, lots of things, but writing fiction just…stuck.
TCC: What genre do you like writing the most?
Jarred: It’s hard to say, really. I mostly only wrote sci-fi until Dry Foot and that’s so outside of that realm that I feel far more willing to experiment and explore stuff that I wouldn’t have really touched before. So, I think I’m still kind of figuring that out.
TCC: What was the first work you completed, where you stepped back and thought, “Yes, y’know what, I can do this for a living!”?
Jarred: When I wrote my first ever pitch, it was the first time I ever saw completed pages—meaning inks, colors, letters all done. I’m going to be honest, at no point did I get inspired that I was going to do this for a living, but it taught me that I was never going to live without doing this. I was hooked.
TCC: Which writers inspire you? And they don’t have to be in the medium you work in, either…
Jarred: There’s so many! Film folks like Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Martin Scorsese. There’s also comic folks like Kelly Sue DeConnick, Vita Ayala, Jonathan Hickman, Brian K. Vaughn, Magdalene Visaggio, Greg Pak. I’m from a philosophy background though, and my obsession with existentialism makes me say people like Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Frantz Fanon. Music is also a giant influence to me and I think artists like RZA, Ghostface Killah, Kendrick Lamar also have an effect on how I tell stories.
TCC: Can you tell us your greatest fan moment, interacting with a personal hero of yours where you may have gone a little weak at the knees?
Jarred: One time I met Greg Pak and couldn’t even talk to him. It was before I had ever written a script before and he was SUPER nice and welcoming and I was terrified of saying something stupid. A great guy!
Also, one time I saw Stan Lee at the hotel after Dallas Fan Expo. He was clearly really tired from his day at the show, so I didn’t say anything to him, but I felt nervous just sharing oxygen with him.
TCC: What is your favorite fandom? Who is your favorite comic book character/movie/tv character?
Jarred: I am a GIAAAAAAAANT Star Wars fan. It’s my favorite franchise, I’ve loved it since I was six years old. It’s great.
Oh, god. Han Solo is my favorite character. I idolized Han Solo ever since I heard the words “Never tell me the odds.” Another character I discovered in the last couple years that I immediately fell in love with is Xiaolin Mao from East of West. I think she’s brilliant. An amazing character from where we meet her to where we leave her.
TCC: What’s your working routine? Do you work regular set hours and days, keeping certain days free for personal time, or do you find you create any time the muse takes you?
Jarred: I work a day job that takes up about 50-60 hours of my life a week, so I write pretty much whenever I can. I generally go to work at 9am at the earliest, so a lot of days I’ll wake up at 5-6am and scribble notes or hammer out some script pages before heading in.
TCC: When you’re creating, what do you use for background noise? Some creators use music or podcasts, some use a TV show that they just can listen to in the background. What do you use?
Jarred: Silence. If I write listening to music, I get hyperfocused on the sound. There has been an embarrassing amount of times where I wound up writing song lyrics instead of actual script.
TCC: What was the first comic con that you remember attending? And, indeed, what was the last?
Jarred: Dallas Fan Expo was my first and C2E2 2020 was my last. Dallas is a great time, but C2E2 blew my MIND.
TCC: What’s your favourite element of a comic convention? And which bits could you easily leave behind?
Jarred: At C2E2 I got to finally meet a bunch of my online collaborators and friends and it was AMAZING. It was so nice to finally get to talk to people who I’ve known for years and never saw face to face. As for what I could leave behind, my anxiety, probably. I worry about whether or not I made a good first impression or if people think I suck, actually, and it’s just unnecessary.
TCC: At a convention, when you’re not behind your table or doing the things you have to do at a con, which corner of the show would we find you in?
Jarred: Artist alley, gawking at talented people or a local comic shop’s booth about to blow my whole budget.
TCC: A lot of creatives are also taking to crowdfunding – such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo – to generate income from their work. What’re your thoughts on that?
Jarred: Crowdfunding is genius. Last year Kickstarter blew me away, there were so many amazing books produced by amazing people. I think crowdfunding is really showing that the industry is leaving a lot of amazing people outside and they’re taking the initiative to get their stories out anyway. Crowdfunded books are almost like another publisher now, I think, ran more by a collective than a typical publisher hierarchy. It’s dope. I have nothing but respect for people who take that route, who take that chance on their work, and I am happy to join their ranks in March…
TCC: What projects have you recently finished? What are you working on at the moment, what projects are coming up that you can talk about?
Jarred: I just wrapped a new mini-series that I hope will be announced next month. I have two books I plan to bring to Kickstarter this year, but I’m waiting to reveal those for just a moment longer.
Meanwhile, in things I can talk about, I’ve got SO MUCH STUFF announced. Dry Foot’s trade paperback releases on February 24th, I am a part of the Big Hype anthology that goes live on Kickstarter on 2/17 (you can follow it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bighypecomics/project-big-hype), I’ve also got a horror story in the YULE Anthology which will go on Kickstarter in the next month or so. A lot of fun shorts with amazing creators in it and I know many comics folks will dig it. (Editor’s note: His new Kickstarter THE TWIN BLADES launches tomorrow, check it out here)
TCC: How do you stay connected with fans? Do you use a mailing list or newsletters, are you active on social media?
Jarred: I have a mailing list that has LOTS of sneak peeks and news, including exclusive looks to things I couldn’t talk about here. It goes out on the 1st of every month and I’ve had a ton of fun doing it. You can sign up for that here: https://mailchi.mp/e9333b80c73c/thelujanclancom
Otherwise, I use Instagram pretty regularly. Usually it’s Wu-Tang Clan songs and my dog, but my dog is pretty damn cute. You can follow me there: @jarredlujan
I’m also active on Twitter where I have quite a bit of fun, you can follow me there as well: @jarredlujan. Less dog pics, lot more Wu-Tang discussion, but also a lot of fun indie comics stuff.
TCC: Where can people find out more about you and reach out to you?
Jarred: You can check out my website lujanwrites.com or just follow me on social media!
TCC: Thanks Jarred, for your time!
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