Today I bring you an interview with Jesse Bradley, author of the recently released The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective. Read on!
Steph Post: Your recently published novel The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective is, to say the least, unique. The premise alone- Jesus Christ trapped in the body of Timmy, a twelve-year-old detective- tells readers that your book is going off into uncharted territory. How strange do you personally believe your novel to be?
Jesse Bradley: I would say no weirder than any other boy detective novel where said boy detective has to solve grizzly, soul boggling murders.
SP: In many ways, your novel reads like a serial story collection. Do you have a background in short stories?
JB: It’s funny, I focused on poetry from about 1996-2010. I wrote a smattering of fiction here and there in during that period, but I wrote mostly poetry, especially when I was competing in poetry slams. While I was doing interviews for PANK, I stumbled onto flash fiction and started writing that along with poetry. I discovered that a lot of the narrative elements in poems written for slam transfer well for writing flash fiction. In 2011, I was challenged by HOUSEFIRE to write a 10,000 word novella in six weeks and I used my experience in writing flash fiction to write Bodies Made of Smoke. It was a tough challenge but damn, it was fun. When I stumbled onto the idea of writing these Jesus Christ, Boy Detective stories, I used the events of Bodies Made of Smoke as a major plot point in The Hand of Fate section of JCBD. I started with writing a novel but then when it became intimidating or I got bored, I wrote self-contained JCBD mysteries. Originally, the book was going to only contain the mysteries until Mark Givens at Pelekinesis wanted me to add some background to them. I mentioned I had a long novella/short novel that provides a ton of background (The Hand of Fate). Once I showed it to him, we added it. The stories have been published elsewhere as well as only the first chapter of The Hand of Fate. Everything came together through the editing process. I tell people that I accidently wrote a novel, which I feel like is the case.
SP: You’ve been published by quite a few independent presses and have published chapbooks for other authors as well through There Will Be Words. How important are the indie presses in today’s publishing climate?
JB: Indie presses take chances on work that the major labels won’t. It’s how I discovered writers like Sean H. Doyle, Scott McClanahan, Roxane Gay, John Jodzio, xTx, and Jane Liddle, just to name a few. There’s far more daring, challenging work in indie lit that I wish the major labels would indulge in.
SP: In addition to writing, you run the previously mentioned There Will Be Words group in Orlando, Florida. Can you tell me more about the group and how you got started with it?
JB: I ran a poetry slam in Orlando from 2001-2011. Around late 2010, I was burnt out on poetry slams. I was writing shorter poems that were getting published in literary journals. I got divorced. I wanted a fresh start. I went to my first AWP conference in 2011 and met a ton of writers that I interviewed for PANK. While I was there, I went to my first Literary Death Match and some amazing off-site readings. On my way back to Orlando, I told a friend I was travelling with that I wanted to start a prose reading series in Orlando. There was this amazing space in Orlando at the time called Urban Rethink, which used to be a bookstore called Urban Think. Burrow Press put out its first anthology and I met the publishers (Ryan Rivas and Jana Waring) at the release party. I pitched the idea of doing a reading series at Urban Rethink called There Will Be Words, where chapbooks would be sold with the readers work in it and they were down. The final slam was in April 2011 and There Will Be Words began in May 2011. I’ve been running it now for almost six years and it has been a consistently rewarding experience. Our literary scene has grown exponentially and I’m so proud to be part of that growth.
SP: And finally, what’s next? What can readers expect from you on the horizon?
JB: My Yelp review prose poem collection, Pick How You Will Revise a Memory, comes out later this year through Robocup Press.
Many thanks to Jesse Bradley for stopping be. Be sure to check out The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective and, as always, keep reading, keep reviewing and support the authors you love!