Floor 21: Interview with Science Fiction/Dystopian author Jason Luthor

Jason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.

His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?

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About the Book:

Title: Floor 21
Author: Jason Luthor
Publisher: Scout Press
Pages: 355
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopian
The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.

Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.

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  • Floor 21 is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

FLOOR 21 is inspired by a blend of television and gaming media. The idea of a society of humans living their entire lives on the top floors of a tower was inspired by a scene I saw on television in which a girl was lowered from the top floors of a hospital into the lower floors. I wondered to myself what it would be like if humans had no idea what was below, as if they had lived their entire existence on the top levels. That was where the core concept of the book came from. The notion of a disease called the Creep infesting the lower levels and preventing departure from the tower came from inspirations such as the indie horror game, Lone Survivor, while the overall unusual tone and general sense of mystery was largely inspired by the French surrealist game, OFF.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I had never written in first person and had to read other works to get a good feel for it. The ideas came easily enough. It was communicating them that was difficult. In the end, I feel any writer can benefit from reading in the style they are interested in. Being widely read can help an individual get a grasp on how to write in a similar fashion, although the end product should be a blend of what inspires you in combination with your own personal touch.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I was published under the Kindle Scout imprint following a contract I was offered in 2015. Amazon was sponsoring the Scout contest to find new and interesting novels to publish, and I submitted my work. It received several thousand votes and following editorial review, I was extended the offer for publication.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I’d never written in this style before and wrote the original material, a few pages in length, on a whim. I completed the story because the response was so positive. My surprise is that people responded so strongly to the work. In retrospect, it’s amazing where inspiration can strike, and how it can so heavily impact your readers.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Book 2 in the series, FLOOR 21: Descent, was just released in April and has had strong sales and positive response. The original FLOOR 21 is brief compared to the sequel. Book 3 is in the works and is most likely on schedule to be released next year.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Facebook occupies too much of my time. I’m also a massive San Antonio Spurs fan, so I frequent blogs like SB Nation and Pounding The Rock to get my daily fix of sports news.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

Do I ever retire for the night? Sometimes I’m up until seven in the morning, writing whatever inspired me. Sometimes I’m so exhausted from writing that I pass out at eight in the evening. If I have any ritual, it would be to say that it’s the ritual of figuring out whether I want to write or not. Once I start, I don’t stop. So, more than anything, that influences when I will go to bed.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I think more than anything, I’m arguing that intelligence and curiosity are what keep the world alive. When we don’t question the world around us, when we don’t question authority, we become stagnant. Growth and survival are dependent on us always pushing our boundaries and looking to push the edges of our existence. That can be frightening but the payoff is immensely rewarding.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I’d hope you would check out FLOOR 21 and join us for the rest of the fun! The series has been enthusiastically well received and I am committed to making each book better than the last, so I would hope you would pick up a copy and see what all the buzz is about.

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