Exclusive Interview with

Jan Notzon

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When did you start writing?

As an actor, I naturally started my writing career with plays. I have written seven full-lengths and one one-act.

Around the turn of the century I turned to novels after adapting a radio play I wrote to the novel form.

Since then, I have written five more and am now working on my seventh.

Jan Notzon
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What makes writing your passion?

To tell a story and at once explore the mysteries of this life in my own creations fills my soul like no other activity. Have Pen Will Travel.

Jan Notzon
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How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first one-act play around 1988 and have never stopped since then.

Jan Notzon
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What was the feeling when you published your first book?

Well, of course I was excited. Then came the real sweaty work, trying to market it.

Jan Notzon
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What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

Good question. I suppose I like writing about people who are thoughtful, intelligent and seeking understanding, expiation, or both. I love to put people in situations that have perplexed me.

Jan Notzon
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What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

In pursuing an acting career in New York, I experienced more rejection than most people would in ten lifetimes, soliciting agents and casting directors.

That is the most heinous part of the job, execrable but unavoidable.

Jan Notzon
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How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

So far (knock on wood) I only had that once, when I went into a profound depression after the death of my sister and the sale of our ancestral home.

Some days little comes, but that is part of the process. To just sit and free-associate has, at least up to now, led to breakthroughs.

Jan Notzon
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We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

I keep going because I wouldn't know what else to do with myself.

I think all authors are different and work differently. I just say be patient and enjoy the process--IN YOUR OWN WAY.

Jan Notzon
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If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

Live in the real world, in which unemployment among actors is at any given time 85 to 91 percent.

I imagine it's much the same for authors.

Jan Notzon
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Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

I try to learn from them.

Jan Notzon
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What is the feeling when you get a good review?

Everyone loves to be praised, especially when it's your children that are being praised.

Jan Notzon
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Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

All the time.

Jan Notzon
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Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

Jason Kelly, in my first novel, "The Dogs...Barking".

Jan Notzon
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What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

I honestly don't know. You know the old adage about judging a book by its cover.

Jan Notzon
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Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

Oh, I love to hear from my readers and love to communicate with them. One complained about the high-fallutin' vocabulary and I answered her comments in a way that she much appreciated.

Jan Notzon
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How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

That is the greatest high in the world. I always take time with people who are gracious enough to show interest in my work.

Jan Notzon
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Who is your favorite author? Why?

William Shakespeare, because he is the greatest story-teller of all time. My favorite novelist is John Steinbeck for his prodigious knowledge of human nature.

Jan Notzon
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What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

William Shakespeare. But I certainly don't expect that.

Jan Notzon
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Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?

I actually did rewrite my first one, after I got a lot of complaints about the esoteric vocabulary. (I was trying too hard). And since then, no one has read it has complained

Jan Notzon
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If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?

William Shakespeare except that I don't think I'd like living in that era.

Jan Notzon
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What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.

What would I say? I suppose I'd say, "Hey, you probably need to get laid."

Jan Notzon