A.J. Jordan is here to take the literary world by storm. His debut novel, Eerily Wrinkling and the Prodigal Return, is set to be released soon, and its already drawing positive reviews from critics. The novel is inspired by bronze-age comic book characters and would be considered impressive for someone twice Jordan’s age, but is even moreso when you consider he’s still in college.
Film Daily had the good fortune of sitting down with Jordan to discuss the inspiration behind the novel, as well has his plans for the future and his ability to juggle school and career. Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us about your history as an author. How did you get started?
Aside from writing in school, I do not have a ‘history as an author’. I do have an oral history of storytelling. I have participated in numerous DnD games where I am usually the Dungeon Master. I first became interested in DnD when I was in the 5th grade and that quickly became a huge passion of mine.
Who were the authors that influenced you growing up?
R.A Salvator especially the Legends of Drizzts. I love worldbuilding, the moral dilemmas and how the characters evolve. It also helped me through a harder time in life so it holds a lot of importance to me.
Your debut novel, Eerily Wrinkling and the Prodigal Return, is about to be released. What was the inspiration behind the story?
Many forms of literature have inspired me but this book wasn’t written with any set inspiration. Bits and pieces of other ideas were mixed together to create Wrinkling City the main setting for this book. Coincidentally, what inspired me most was bronze-age superhero comics and many do not consider them literature.
How much of your own life made its way into the novel’s protagonist, Alan?
Personally, I didn’t see the resemblance at first. Although, my mom and my brother did. Alan has anxiety and is socially awkward so we are similar in that aspect. We both have a passion for science and prefer reading or lab experiments to movies or parties on a Friday night.
As a writer, you write from a place of familiarity so you can say that Alan and I are returning to Wrinkling City together to face life’s obstacles.
You reportedly went through several drafts of the novel. Was there a sense of nervousness during the writing process, since it was your debut?
Nervousness is an understatement. Imagine James Caan’s character Paul Shelton in the movie Misery after Kathy Bates’ character Annie Wilkes burned his manuscript forcing him to rewrite the entire story. I would say that my feelings mirrored his minus the threat of imminent death. But our parents have a profound effect on us. My mom’s major was English so during the course of writing she was the original editor. Although it came from a place of love she did have an Annie Wilkes moment and my original manuscripts paid the price. She then forced me to communicate in detail to the reader. Now when you read from the first chapter you are being transported to the world I created.
You’re currently enrolled in college. Was it difficult juggling work on the novel with school work?
Wouldn’t say that I have it balanced yet but definitely finding my groove. It definitely helps that I have a passion for both English and History so studying or taking a test for them is never viewed as work. The other courses my mom has me on what we call the ‘college schedule’. Where I work on two subjects on Mondays and Wednesdays. Two other subjects on Tuesdays and Thursday with Fridays being a study day. That when I go to her, teachers, friends, or tutors with the more challenging work.
What has been your greatest professional success?
Professional success would absolutely be the completion of Eerily Wrinkling and the Prodigal Return.
What about a professional setback? What did you learn?
Discovering that I wasn’t as naturally talented at writing as I had convinced myself. The most meaningful lessons aren’t learned through teaching but through experience. Writing has definitely given me experience.
What is a lesson you want readers to take away from Eerily Wrinkling?
Sounds cliche but listen to those who have the wounds of experience. In my case, it would be my mom. She explained regularly that time management, taking notes, work before play, and personal accountability were the only ways to achieve this goal. Sometimes, I didn’t listen and almost missed deadlines both for the book and school. I realized that although I do not have memory delays I also do not have a photographic memory so notes are essential. Playing a game and convincing myself that I would do an assignment later only leads to being grounded. And blaming broken pencils, not enough time in a day, or anything for not taking responsibility will not make folks excited to assist you.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
We are working on a second book in the world of Wrinkling City and partnering with others to encourage literacy in foster care, homeless and low-income teens.
Do you envision Eerily Wrinkling as an ongoing series?
Hopefully, an ongoing series or at the very least a duelogy. My goal is to tell an intriguing story and make everyone eager to venture into Wrinkling City.
Would you like to see your work adapted for TV or film in the future?
That would be amazing! It would be an honor if an opportunity to see Eerily Wrinkling on TV or the big screen was introduced.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
It’s kind of funny because I am always writing. I aim for 1,000 words a day. I haven’t quite gotten there yet but that is definitely a goal. My brother Tony, has me outside a lot skateboarding. I practice parkour and am enrolled in sailing classes.