Monday, March 9, 2015

Jason Mosberg: The Desert, Desert Cities, and my YA Novel Grift

Today I welcome my first guest  author, Jason Mosberg. I read an Advanced Reader Copy of his new novel, Grift, and loved it. It's an exciting crime caper, with plenty of action and suspense, suitable for ages 12 through adult. (Read my full review on Goodreads.) Here's Jason on his experiences in the Southwest:

As a child, I was fortunate to get to travel to some terrific places. Adventures with my family took me to the San Diego Zoo, skiing in Vermont, hiking Grandfather Mountain, and even snorkeling in the Virgin Islands. But I almost never went to the desert. At the time, I never realized that I wasn’t going to the desert. The desert wasn’t really on my radar. The desert just seemed like dirt, sand, and emptiness.

Since then, my writing career has brought me to the desert. I graduated college with a degree in mathematical business and a random, sudden desire to purse a career as a screenwriter. If you want to be a screenwriter, you have to move to LA. So I did.

Years later, when I set out to write my first novel, I wanted to write it in the location where the story takes place. The novel’s about teenage con artists living in Las Vegas, so I spent a month living in Las Vegas writing the first draft of Grift.  

Los Angeles and Las Vegas are both desert cities. I have a love/hate relationship with both towns. The elements that make Las Vegas so magical and fabulous also make it overwhelming, noisy, and expensive. The elements that make Los Angeles so appealing also make it crowded and difficult to navigate.

But my experiences with the desert have not been limited to these two cities. While living on the west coast, beyond my experiences in LA and LV, I’ve spent many weeks exploring the desert. On different trips with friends, I’ve gone to Anza Borrego, Joshua Tree, Sedona, Red Rock Canyon, and Palm Springs. I’ve gone on dozens of hikes. I’ve climbed through wind caves. I’ve camped under the stars. I’ve seen rattlesnakes, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and bobcats.

There’s something tranquil about the desert. It can be harsh in its hotter months, but it can be gentle and soothing as well.

So if you head to Las Vegas from the east coast or Europe or wherever, and you’re tired of losing money to the corporations that own the casinos, or you’re tired of the smell of the Strip, or if you’re tired of the flashing lights, head out to Red Rock Canyon and find more the desert has to offer. 

Or if you live in Los Angeles and find yourself feeling claustrophobic and wanting to get out of the city, drive a couple hours to Joshua Tree or Anza Borrego.

Just don’t forget your water. 

Jason Mosberg lives in Los Angeles where he works as a screenwriter. His debut novel Grift can be found on Amazon or iBooks. You can follow Jason onTwitter @ThreeStoryJason. 

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