Shervin Jamali has been writing his whole life, after starting out as a playwright. He wrote his first play, “Barstruck,” when he was nineteen. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that it started to click and Shervin felt he had stories to tell that people might like to read. He enjoysthe ride, but his children make his world go round. Being a writer will always be secondary to being a father.
Kai Raine: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Shervin Jamali: I’m married with two children. I live in Knoxville, TN, but am originally from Florida; not a day goes by that I don’t miss living there.
Kai: What do you miss most about Florida?
Shervin: The weather. Sunshine.
Kai: Can you tell us about your books?
Shervin: The two books that are out now are part of a supernatural thriller series. There will likely be four books in the series, I think, but it’s hard to say, because I wasn’t planning on going beyond the second, but came up with an idea that I couldn’t dismiss that would lead to a third.
Kai: What inspired The Devil’s Lieutenant?
Shervin: I asked myself a question: what would you do if something happened to your family, your wife and children? The answer was terrifying and unbearable, so I created a protagonist, Michael, to experience the potential on my behalf. Although I raged and wept with him, I was able to maintain a distance from it as well.
Kai: So, would it be fair to say that you identify strongly with Michael?
Shervin: Definitely. Michael is a good and moral man, a family man. His devotion to his family is unparalleled. So, yes, I can relate.
Kai: What was your biggest challenge in writing these books?
Shervin: Honestly, the first book came easily to me. I completed the first draft in just two months. Escape from Hell was much tougher.
Kai: After you finish these four books, do you have any idea of what you might write next?
Shervin: I might try to write some children’s stories for my kids. There is also another series that’s rattling around in my head that’s a bit more in the sci-fi genre.
Kai: When you were writing your books about the devil, did you ever worry about alienating certain demographics?
Shervin: Not really. I mean, it is a work of fiction and I never tried to insert my own beliefs and sound preachy. While the Devil is a central character, I kept his description limited and left it to the reader’s imagination to conjure up their own representation.
Kai: Can you tell us about a time you’ve pushed your boundaries as a writer?
Shervin: I’m doing it now, dabbling in uncharted waters to pen a unique love story that I hope to have completed in a couple of months. It’s called Remember.
Kai: What book or story influenced you as a child or teenager? How do you feel about that book or story now?
Shervin : I used to read a lot of James Herbert as a youngster. His book Domain is responsible for my fear and hatred of rats. As far as inspirational and positive, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Bach has always been one of my favorites. I’ve read it several times, both as a teenager and an adult, most recently to my seven year old.
Kai: What’s a book, movie or story you’re particularly into at the moment? Why?
Shervin: You’ve read The Devil’s Lieutenant, so it’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a good Anti-Hero, a flawed character who is inherently good, but suffering. Perhaps it’s some sort of addiction or personal demons holding him back. Still, he perseveres, seeking redemption. One of my favorite films is Man on Fire. Denzel Washington’s character is the perfect example of the Anti-Hero. My favorite line in the movie is when he asks Christopher Walken, “Do you think God will forgive us for what we’ve done?” When the response is no, he says, “Yeah, me neither.”
Kai: In your opinion, does it make an anti-hero more compelling if he believes he’s beyond forgiveness and salvation, but tries to do his best anyway, or is striving for forgiveness or salvation?
Shervin: I would say the former because it makes his journey more interesting. Buddhists strive for enlightenment but also believe it to be unattainable; it’s the journey that matters and they take it regardless.
Kai: What’s the most crucial insight you’ve had about writing?
Shervin: The easy part is the writing; it’s the marketing and hard work to follow that is excruciating. Getting your book out there and developing a readership can be frustrating, but the end result, readers enjoying your fiction, is incredibly rewarding.
Kai: What advice can you offer to the new indie author?
Shervin: First and foremost, write, write and then write some more. Seek out other like-minded Indie authors and befriend them, building your support base. I have a handful of author friends that I can always rely on to read my books and offer feedback. And I do the same for them. Establish a social media presence. Read a lot as it will bring about inspiration. And never give up!
Kai: Is there any advice you can offer new independent authors about how to market themselves?
Shervin: Make use of both Facebook and Goodreads. Reach out to book bloggers, run sales promotions and use services like Freebooksy. Invest some money in a good book cover and editing. Make your book as professional as it could possibly be.
Kai: If you died tomorrow, what would you want people to remember about you?
Shervin: That I was a great story-teller that offered them escapism from every day life.
Click here to read Kai’s review of The Devil’s Lieutenant.