Jerrod Begora is a well-rounded individual with a thirst for knowledge. He has studied theology, philosophy, economics, and mathematics, and he earned a master’s degree in applied economics from Marquette University. Since then, he has worked as a statistician, an economics instructor, and an entrepreneur.
Begora published his first novel, The Angel Hunter, in 2011, and has since followed it up with Andrew’s Journal, The Blood Between Us, and The Case of the Missing Cat, which is scheduled to be released in June of 2014.
What made you decide to become a writer?
When I think about it, I was always a writer. Like how people doodle drawings in a notebooks. Mine were always words, phrases, poems, conversations, philosophical ideas. When I realized that my love of math and logic set me apart from others in this field, I decided to focus and become an author.
Your first novel, The Angel Hunter, features a devout Catholic protagonist and delves fairly deeply into some religious themes. Are you a religious man? If so (or if not), how did your beliefs influence or inspire the story?
I am deeply religious. My wife often laughs at me for it. Not because she thinks I’m dumb. It’s because I base my life on rational thinking, mathematic thought, and logic, yet I have a seemingly unshakable faith in God. One of my strongest beliefs is that this world is made with purpose. The dichotomy of good and evil, the suffering of humans are all part of God’s plan. The book was an attempt to demonstrate that if I flip the dichotomy, God’s purpose is not lost. God lets bad things happen so that free will can exist and sinners can be saved. Taking this to a ridiculous degree, angels protect sinners and protect their free will. People against God in this book are against free will.
My biggest disappointment in this book is that I focused on the evil being right too much. It was my first book and I didn’t want my bias message to get in the way of a good thriller. The result is a book that drifts between a cool idea about God and an action thriller. I also think a lot of readers check this book out and say, this author is a blasphemist, but that was not my intent. I hope to salvage this message and story now that I’m a better writer by continuing the series with a book called The Angel Hunter: Mastema’s War.
As a religious man, what do you feel your duty is in this world?
We all have a duty to use the gift God gave us — life. Charity starts at home. Start by making the world a better place by fixing/loving yourself, then your family, then your community, then your town, and work outward until the whole world changes. If we all did this, there would be no problems.
How much of your own personality and life experiences are reflected in the three siblings featured in The Blood Between Us?
Simple. These are my kids, but they are nine, six, and three. The funny part is the my girl with Down’s syndrome is the youngest. I had to change the birth order in the book so that Lorelei was more believable in terms of her maturity.
What were your goals with The Blood Between Us?
My goals were to change the way I write. In my first book, I tried to do everything. Conversation, narration, action, theme, and let’s not forget those flashbacks (my Lord). In this book, I said to myself, “write only what your best at.” And there you go, simple premise and all conversation. I wrote the whole story by using conversation and a smidge of action sequences. The next Angel Hunter book will follow a similar writing style, except for more action.
What were you like in high school? Outgoing? Introverted? Happy? Lonely? And what did you aspire to be when you were that age?
All of the above. Like most teens, I was a mix of emotions and personalities. Negatives… being attacked for being gay (which I’m not, just don’t believe in gender roles), ADHD kid back when they called it ADD, couldn’t read fast or out loud. Positives… band geek, straight edge punk rocker (Slapstick!), honors classes, popular with the unpopulars, and a loving family.
I never realized that I could write a book. Of course, back then, my writing was too unpolished.
If you could jump back to your teenage years, would you do anything differently?
Not in terms of being an author. Being an author takes time. You have to have a different full-time career while you wait to develop. And, you have to have the right opportunity cost… that is, it’s easier to write when you don’t have children to feed.
What’s the best piece of writing and/or life advice you’ve been given?
“You gotta suspect, a suspect device.”
If you could wave a magic wand, what ill in the world would you solve?
Poverty. The conservative philosophy of people making their own way works if a person’s basic needs are met. It’s hard to be free when you can’t feed your kids. Poverty is a difficult, complex problem, with a simple solution that does not involve government. But no one cares. A magic wand would be helpful.
What are you working on next?
Andrew’s Journal’s got three more parts. The Case of the Missing Cat is going to be a novella on Lorelei’s detective agency (almost done). I have to do another Angel Hunter so that I don’t go to hell.