Zaidi Features: An Inspiring Interview With Artemis J. Jones

Meet Artemis J. Jones. I met Artemis online a few months ago when I stumbled upon one of his moving flash fiction pieces, "Hair."  When you read it, you'll understand why we've been chatting from time to time ever since. His depth is inspiring, and I believe his stories will continue to be told in a voice uniquely his. Here's our interview...

Interview with blogger and short story author Artemis J Jones

Bio: Artemis J Jones is a blogger who interviews authors about their books.  He also writes short stories and Flash Fiction. Currently he lives in Miami Fl. with his wife Helena, an artist from Medellin Colombia. He is an advanced stage recurrent cancer survivor who believes in the power of nutrition, for survival, happiness, and overall balance of a healthy lifestyle. He’s also working on his first novel.

Dariel: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Artemis: In high school, but at that time, I was well aware of my lack of experience in life, reading, and understanding the craft of writing. My high school teachers told me I had talent and my college professors said the same thing, but I never felt like I had the basis for any good story until recently.

Dariel: What were some of your first steps toward making your dream a reality?

Artemis: Cancer.  The disease grabbed all my attention and left me sick and weak. I fought it hard for three years, but it is also why I have started to write. Cancer put my life in a place to develop the craft of writing and gave me voice, and an attitude.

Dariel: That is so poignant, Artemis! I’m not a cancer survivor, but as a kidney patient, I definitely understand the impact major illness can have on our perspectives, goals, priorities, and our very lives. Tell me one thing you would like readers to know about you.

Artemis: Life matters, and I will strive every day to put that into words.

Dariel: What role does your family play in your writing, if any?

Artemis: None. I made the same mistake most authors do, they ask their family and friends for input and it’s a waste of time, they’re not interested, their scared of causing flack, and they don’t know how to critique.

Dariel: I know exactly what you mean about family and friends. You said it perfectly. That’s why we build new relationships with like-minded people. What are you doing when you’re not writing?

Artemis: That’s a good question, it’s important. I get involved in life, talk to people, get outside, spend time at the ocean or in the ocean, and watch after my elderly parents who are both veterans.  

Dariel: Yes. Sounds like you embrace the moment. That’s a rare and precious quality. Flash fiction helps keep my writing sharp and succinct. What do you think are some of the benefits of flash fiction?

Artemis: You mentioned the two most important points. Flash is quick reading for our modern world.  It is the opportunity to tell a poignant story in real time.

Dariel: Tell us about one of your short stories, any favorite characters?

Artemis: Dave, from Don’t Play in the Street, is someone I can relate to slightly. Life is making him crazy and he doesn’t see it, he believes he is fearless, but that’s not true.  The story is much deeper than his character. The recurrent theme in the story is fear, looking at fear from different points of view, and the lies we tell to ourselves about fear.

Dariel:  That sounds like a great story! The intricacies of human behavior are always intriguing. What do you want readers to take from your writing?

Artemis:  Awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and define what is most important to maintain your life.

Dariel: That’s quite a challenge. What do you look for in a good book?

Artemis: I’m very careful about what type of books I read. I don’t want to copy another authors voice, but I do want to learn something. I’ve recently read several books by Carlos Fuentes. I like his insight into characters, but I don’t want to write like him.  He’s good, very good, but I need to keep my perspective and voice.

Dariel: I agree. That’s my philosophy as far as mentors go as well. Beethoven felt the same. He stated that he never listened to the music of others. Perhaps shunning the norm helped catapult him to greatness – to a place far beyond his time. What lifts your spirits when you’re discouraged?

Artemis: A date with my wife, and time on the boat. Going out to sea, sailing feeling the

Dariel: Romantic. I’m sure your wife relishes those moments as well. What tips can you offer towards building and maintaining a strong support system as a writer?

Artemis: I like critique groups and book discussion groups.  Also find an editor that doesn’t write their own stuff. Someone who is a very good reader, and more than a copy editor.

Dariel: Write a descriptive 4-line poem.
Okay, here goes …..
Talking, Listening, Writing
Lover of Life
Wanderer of the Seas.

Dariel, thanks I enjoyed this!
Anytime, Artemis, and I'm inviting you back now for a feature of your upcoming novel :-)