“I have been fortunate enough to connect with a Voodoo Madame. I had a gentleman post on my book’s page and outline why I’m going to Hell…this bodes well for the ‘Fables’. The past two months have played out like a Fellini film, and I love it. In a past life, most writers must have been circus performers and we understand the show must go on, and we document the experience.” – Hunter S. Jones
The quote might explain why Hunter S. Jones, writer of the blog Exile on Peachtree Street and author of the novella Fables of the Reconstruction, barrows her namesake from Hunter S. Thompson. Like Thompson’s Gonzo journalism, Jones makes herself a central character in her own blog. Jones describes herself as a “Writer of erotica, curiosa, rock n’ roll, fiction,…enlightened rogue and mischief maker extraordinaire. I’m the one your mother warned you about”. After reading Jones debut book and blogsite, Thompson’s influence on Jones becomes apparent.
Jones’ writings explore the subterranean worlds of indie music, mysticism, and erotica. Over the years, Jones has written articles on indie rock bands, fashion, history and the arts. But, I’ll let Jones tell us her story:
DW: I’d like to know a little bit about your background. Can you please tell me when you were born, where were you raised, and how you ended up in Atlanta?
HSJ: I was born in Tennessee and grew up on a farm outside of Nashville. I was shipped off to Nashville to attend church schools at a fairly young age. However, as my mom says – ‘That didn’t work”. I’ve spent most of my life in Tennessee and Georgia, except for one ‘lost summer’ in Los Angeles. Mostly, my career has been in corporate promotion and marketing. I moved to Atlanta two years ago because I wanted to be part of a more vibrant energy and see what would happen.
DW: When did you start writing and what formal education do you have in the arts?
HSJ: I have written my entire life. I ran the school paper in high school and also a major force on the university paper. I continued to write, for any number of independent magazines and websites, covered indie rock, fashion, environmental concerns, the arts and historical features.
As for formal training? I have a degree in History as well as British and American Literature. Additionally, I have Master Level studies in Creative Writing and I have a Master’s Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Management. Now that is a true art form!
DW: Being from Nashville, please tell me about the music scene and the bands that have influenced you.
HSJ: Nashville is known for country music. Sure, I know the music of all the greats such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Mother MayBelle Carter. You can’t be alive right now and not be influenced in some way by Johnny Cash, no matter what age you are.
However, my parents felt that if I listened only to country music, I would always be stereotyped, so I was exposed to the energy of rock & roll. Not a bad thing. Fortunately my misspent youth involved the rough and tumble Nashville that witnessed the clash between the rise of indie music against the major music corporations. It was great!
The bands that have always influenced me are the rock bands – the bar band – that play in clubs and develop their own sound. That is what inspires and influences me.
DW: Please tell us why music plays such a big role in your writings and why you would like to write a music column?
HSJ: Music is everywhere. The next door neighbor may be an insurance salesman, and at night he will be performing at the local open mike night singing and playing guitar. These talented people carry their instruments in their cars and trucks in case someone wants to have a party. Music surrounds you – it’s in the churches, at parties and in the air at night. It’s all I’ve ever known. Even nature sings in Tennessee.
DW: Mysticism and erotica also play a large part in your writings. Can you please share your thoughts on this fusion?
HSJ: Shakespeare said “If music be the food of love, play on.” I’ll go with that answer, please.
DW: What inspired you to write the novella Fables of the Reconstruction and are there any short stories you’ve written that helped lay the foundation for this story?
HSJ: Fables of the Reconstruction began as a short story and developed into a novella. It’s a book – a very strange little book. Like most artists, the basic concept appeared to me in dreams. The historical and supernatural aspects took many hours of research. Simply put – I have a very bizarre imagination. It can currently be purchased on Amazon.com in ebook format only.
DW: In Fables of the Reconstruction you write about Voodoo and the goddess Pomba Gira . Can you please tell us about your research into this subject and something about Pomba Gira?
HSJ: I love history, so that’s the historical angle of the Fables books. Also, I could understand the zombie dead- but-not-dead concept because of what I’m going through with an Achilles injury. (I live in Midtown Atlanta but I can’t do anything-basically I’m merely existing until I can live a ‘normal’ life, so I understand the undead concept.)
Put all those things together, add advice from a zombie expert from Glasgow, Scotland, dust on some magic voodoo powder (Haitian voodoo does involve zombie beliefs), thank the Goddess of the guitar first (I am from Nashville) and next thing you know, you have written a very strange but imaginative story.
Pomba Gira – the Goddess of the guitar – is actually a Brazilian voodoo Goddess however she was oftentimes the primary result of my research as I studied Haitian and Creole voodoo. Therefore felt she should be acknowledged. I gave her the introduction to the book, just as her invocations are done in actual rituals.
DW: Other than the music column, what’s next for Hunter S. Jones?
HSJ: There’s a super-secret project in the works for Spring 2013 – I’ll let you know more in the next few weeks. The contracts are in place and the announcement will be made soon. In the meantime, I plan to release my first in a series of short stories. The series is called Tales of a New Amsterdam. The first short story is titled The Legend.
And, early 2013 will see Fables Series Book 2 – Reconstruction of the Fables. There are lots going on Dean. Thanks again for inviting me to your blog site. Your interest in my work is appreciated. Likewise, I look forward to learning more about you and Expats Post.