Jason Kasper writes about car chases and gunfights while walking on a treadmill. I have a bike desk that I can respond to emails from, but anything more creatively taxing, and my brain can’t handle both tasks. The more intently I focus on what I’m writing, the slower my pedaling becomes. Before I realize it, I’m just sitting on a bike while typing. Though Jason began his writing career logging illegal BASE jumps, his ability to multitask with creative and active activities is not surprising. Enjoy today’s Write Now interview with Jason Kasper.
Who are you?
My name is Jason Kasper. I’m a thriller author and Army veteran living in Cary, North Carolina.
What do you write?
I write thriller novels across two series.
The Spider Heist series is about a woman who joins the same high-profile heist crew that she used to hunt as an FBI agent.
My Shadow Strike series follows a team of CIA contractors to the world’s most dangerous corners, where they begin to piece together a sinister conspiracy with global implications.
I started writing as a junior at West Point. At the time, I was an adrenaline junkie, and my weekends consisted of illegal BASE jumps in NYC and elsewhere. Since I couldn’t document that in a logbook like I did with skydiving, I logged my jumps in a secret Word document on my computer. My descriptions got longer and longer. Eventually, I was reliving the events with a corresponding hit of adrenaline — and I wanted to see if I could replicate that experience with fiction.
I wrote a scene where a character named David Rivers confronts an armed opponent and survives. By the time I finished writing it, my heart was racing as much as any BASE jump. That scene became the opening chapter in my first book, Greatest Enemy, and from then on, I was hooked.
I left the Army in 2016 to pursue writing full-time. My newest release, Last Target Standing, is my 12th book. It also stars David Rivers, the same hero I created when I first tried my hand at fiction.
Where do you write?
I write in a home office that’s covered with pictures from pre-writing adventures — deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa, along with skydiving and BASE jumping. It’s my favorite place in the world.
I use Sharpie markers and notecards color-coded by act, sequence, and scene for plotting a new book. I’ve also got a collection of fountain pens — Omas, Namiki, Visconti, and Pelikan, among others — and usually “warm-up” before each writing session by sketching out the next scene on a Rhodia Webnotebook journal.
Once it’s time to write, I do so with a MacBook, walking treadmill, and noise-canceling headphones for music.
When do you write?
I aim for 3,000 words per day, broken up into three writing sessions. The first starts around 5 am, and that’s generally my most productive time. After taking care of the kids, I return to the keyboard around 9 am, then take a break to work out and grab lunch. Then there’s an afternoon session to wrap up the workday.
Why do you write?
On the best of days, writing is an “in the zone” endeavor when I feel like I’m with the characters in the middle of the action. On the worst of days, I’m struggling to hit my word count. But the overall process is the reward — the discipline of showing up to write every day, overcoming all the plot obstacles, and seeing a story through to the end. By the time I finish rewrites and edits on a manuscript, I can’t wait to start the process over with the next book.
Then there’s the side benefit of a passionate readership. I communicate with my readers a lot, and their continued support and energy help fuel me. Reading their reviews on a new book and getting to re-experience the story through their eyes is its own reward.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I don’t get writer’s block. I DO get stuck on how to proceed with a scene, and that’s when I take to my battered recliner with a notebook and pen and start writing about the problem. More often than not, I find out I plotted something wrong — i.e., I envisioned a multi-part car chase, but the setting research means it really needed to be a footrace through the mountains with bad guys closing in. So far, there hasn’t been a story issue I haven’t been able to work out by brainstorming on paper, although it sometimes takes me a while…
Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Playing with my kids is my number one recreation. Lots of family weekend trips to the mountains or the beach (I live in North Carolina, after all) and hanging out with local friends, usually with some good bourbon on hand. Now that my adrenaline junkie phase is behind me and I spend my days writing about gunfights, heists, and car chases, I’m content for all my free time to be filled with being a father of two young children and all that entails.