For The Madera Tribune
Red Blood White Horse, written by Madera’s Jason Napier, who is also a fine arts teacher at Liberty High School, is available at Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com in paperback, hardcover and e-book.
After eight years of work, Liberty High School art teacher Jason Napier, has finally published his first novel, “White Horse Red Blood.”
“There’s definitely some smiles on my face when I saw the finished product,” he said.
Napier originally began the research for his first novel in 2010, but didn’t actually start writing it until 2012. It took about 18 months for him to finish (in 2014) and then the long, painstaking road to getting it published started.
“I’ve been trying to ask myself that question for a while (about why I wanted to write a book),” he said. “I have loved art and always wanted to share a story. Recognizing that not everyone is interested in the specifics of my story, I was trying to find a way to wrap it into other things. I still make visual art so I will wrap my concepts into my art. I was thinking about how writing a book is so much more detailed. It gives me a little more freedom to elaborate and share the things I wanted to share with an audience while doing it to the background of something interesting as a fictional novel.”
The quick summary of the article is about a person who loses the ability to speak. He distances himself from people, but then gains the ability to speak. However, he hasn’t had social interaction in quite a while so it takes him time to find himself while also trying to find his wife, whom he also distanced.
“There’s that struggle we see all around us,” Napier said. “I’m able to speak. I want people to hear me. My message isn’t being understood or is not clear enough for people to understand. The gritty part of who he is is coming out. He’s rough around the edges. He’s not exactly the kindest person. But he’s also being pushed back on. Through his travels and contacts and relationships, in general, he has been guarded and quarantined his life. Now he can’t do that because he is amongst people. He has to listen to what other people’s opinions are.”
Ironically, Napier’s book comes at a time where society is also looking for its voice and its words can be misspoken or misled, which leads to greater chaos.
“Every single conversation I have with people with the way we were in with COVID-19 and not having a voice with people not being heard, there’s definitely a piece of my story that can relate to it right now,” he said. “I’m finding myself in these conversations not even promoting my book because we’re having a normal, everyday conversation about how tough everything is right now and how divisive things are through different aspects of life and culture. At the end of that conversation, I would say a lot of that’s amazing because of lot of what we just said that I’m writing in my story. I want it to connect to where we’re at, right now. I would use that as my line to get people to pick it up.”
Napier based his book in Rome, Italy. He took a trip to Italy for research and began to immediately start the book.
“I was getting the foundation of where it was going to go,” he said. “I was waiting for the opportunity to travel, which I have had done a lot of by then. The book takes place quite a bit in Rome. In 2012, I spent a week in Rome by myself. I started writing right when I got home, just going for it. I knew it was something I was going to write. I was being patient trying to wrap myself up in everything.”
The paperback version (334 pages, $13.99) is available now on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. There is also a hard cover (282 pages, $23.99) and an ebook version.
“It’s both exciting and a little bit scary,” he said. “I’m just hoping the print run comes out like I expect it to. I didn’t know it was on Barnes and Noble until about a week ago where it was on sale for pre-order. I knew it was going to be on Amazon. I’m doing this as a self-published author. I believe anyone who has a story and is willing to share it, they have the same opportunity I have. It has taken years of work and learning. There’s so much more I need to learn about the process. It’s been six years of education.”
Napier tried to go through a publisher, but found that road kind of rough and ended up self-publishing “White Horse Red Blood.”
“I really wanted to do this through a traditional manner,” he said. “You send out a resume to a literary agent and what it is you’re interested in writing and what you’re interested in.,having done that and listening to hundreds of others authors doing that, it’s definitely a struggle. I’ve noticed, from my perspective, with so many self-publishing avenues available, it’s almost like the big companies expect you to go that route to get your numbers and prove yourself, then get back to them later. It’s like a kid trying to get their first job and being told they weren’t qualified. I went ahead and changed my direction. I looked up how to insert my book into the marketplace. Retailers make it really easy if you follow the steps.”
After six years of working to get his first book published, Napier can’t wait to see the book in other people’s hands.
“I have definitely passed the anxiety stage,” he said. “I’m currently really excited for it to be available for people to read. I love sharing art. As a teacher, I am constantly referring to our history and culture. Those things are actually things you will find in my book. It’s really exciting to think it might be interesting enough for people to enjoy it.”
Napier is already working on the sequel to “White Horse Red Blood” and says there will be a third installment, as well.
“At the moment, the plan has always been to do three books,” he said. “One of the reasons why it took six years to finish is I decided to take a moment to put Book One aside to start Book Two. That way, it was cohesive and I could see it all at one time. Book Two will be completed some time this year. It’s close. It will not release until next year because there will be plenty of editing to do. Now that I know the process, things are going to move a lot faster.
“It took six years to make sure it was exactly what I wanted. I could have published it a long time ago, but there’s definitely timing involved. I wanted to polish it to where I’m proud of it, which I am. The next one is going to be way faster to the market. I’m playing around with the Third Book right now. It’s coming together.”
Napier is planning some book signings and figuring out how to plan it with the COVID-19 restrictions in place. He says to follow jmendeznapier on Facebook and Instagram for updates on book signings.
“I’m trying to get creative with COVID,” he said. “I’m trying to talk to people and find a way to make a book signing happen. If it does, it will be in October. I know there are a lot of people that want their book signed. I guess I need to do that.”