An Interview with Gestalt Media Founder, Jason Stokes
This week, Jason Stokes, the founder of Gestalt Media sat down with me to answer a few questions about himself, his writing, cats, and Gestalt Media.
Hi Jason! Tell us a bit about Jason Stokes. Who are you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Darlington, SC a tiny town that no one has heard of unless they watch NASCAR. If you have "Whoo Jr....whoo!" Did I do that right? Otherwise, I moved around the country, spent some time in Europe, northern Africa, found myself in Arizona and finally had the good sense to move back home to Carolina. We now live outside of Asheville, in the Blue Ridge mountains.
I am an artist, an author and entrepreneur...most of all I consider myself a storyteller, constantly looking for new ways to do that.
You started a publishing company, Gestalt Media. Why did you decide to start the company?
Gestalt Media was created out of necessity, but it's something I've worked towards in various forms for years. When it came time to publish Watcher, it was important to retain all the rights I could, and creative control, while not losing a huge chunk of royalties to someone else. Starting an imprint was the logical choice. Things have snowballed from there and reached levels I never foresaw when this all started.
Why did you name your company Gestalt Media?
Gestalt is a word I've been infatuated with from a young age. It's a principle used in psychology and art. I was a design major (which is why I've worked in IT for ten years) and the concept of what is hidden, how many things can relate to one another is the driving force behind Gestalt Media. In Gestalt principle items laid close to one another will show an apparent relationship. A new whole. I feel like the stories we tell are all parts of a larger whole. When we gather them together, we begin to get a glimpse of the bigger picture.
What are your goals for the company?
We are more than a publisher though that's where all our energy is going right now. GM is a media company and we're always looking for new ways to blend, mix, match and cross-genres. To tell new stories, to explore boundaries and create new ways of relating to one another.
For those who may be interested, are you currently accepting submissions?
We are currently working by referral only but will open submissions around December for a special project and hope to have a new window early next year for fresh talent.
Now to switch gears a bit. What are your own personal writing dreams? (If the impossible were indeed possible)
Not impossible by far. I want to share as many stories with as many people as possible. I want to be remembered for the worlds I created.
Your first book, Watcher, featured a main character with Multiple Sclerosis.
Why was it important to you to have a main character who had physical limitations due to illness?
My wife has had MS for close to twenty years. She is a big fan of the type of mysteries that Watcher belongs to, but she never had a character like herself, someone whose struggles began with getting out of bed in the morning. It was an homage her strength and resilience as well as a highlight not of her disability but her abilities. The things she can do every day that many of us would probably struggle through.
What a beautiful tribute to your wife! Now tell us a little bit about Ghost Story. What inspired it?
Ghost Story is about family. At its core this is a story about the things we can't leave behind, that haunt us forever.
What is it about?
Ghosts....and stuff. It's about a twenty-six year old protagonist who has seen the lingering spirits of the dead for his entire life, but on the heels of a life-altering tragedy he realizes they have started to behave in ways that could mean a dangerous change in his lifestyle. He sets out to find the only person in the world who can tell him who and what he really is.
I call it a paranormal road trip.
What is your biggest struggle as a writer?
Schedules and deadlines are essentially kryptonite when it comes to my own writing.
What is your proudest moment as a writer?
My proudest moment was publishing my first book. Since then the success that GM has seen in a short period of time is humbling. Dark Tides is a true to honor to work on and I couldn't be prouder to be a small part of it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In mirrors mostly, unless holograms have progressed significantly.
Oh, Jason! Always a funny guy! Tell us a bit about the best vacation you’ve ever taken.
I spent a month in Morocco volunteering at the orphanage in Rabat. On weekends we went into the country, including a camel ride into the Sahara for one of the most surreal moments of my life. A caravan of nomads passed our campsite in complete darkness. Standing on my own beneath a massive dune I felt the air as they brushed by, but we never saw each other.
That sounds absolutely amazing! Now, onto the subject of cats…You often post pictures of your cats. Tell us a little bit more about them.
We do not own cats. We own mutant monsters. They're Rex cats. It means they're like a Siamese, but they have no real fur. There's a thin coat of down that is soft as anything in the world. They're super energetic. Too smart and mischievous. Life would be completely different without them.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I've been homeless three times and each time I walked into the best moments of my life shortly after. This was when I started my first business on borrowed equipment, on free wifi, in a car that didn't run. Nothing is impossible.
What a wonderful story of resiliency! It’s incredible how far you have come. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Dark Tides is easily the most important thing we've ever done. I beg anyone that hasn't considered backing this important cause to please consider not only for the beautiful work done by our artists and designer, or the all-star list of authors but for the families who will benefit from 100 % of the profits we make.
Where can readers find you?
To be entered to win a free eBook copy of Watcher, by Jason Stokes, please comment on the social media post sharing this blog post about your favorite vacation spot!
Winner will be chosen on October 8, 2019.