Cloud storage solutions. Home entertainment gadgets. Strange, blood-thirsty, zombie-like aliens?
For Dragonfly editor Jason Bovberg, these topics are all in a day’s work.
Jason worked for tech magazine Windows IT Pro for 17 years, starting out as a copyeditor and moving up the ranks to become senior editor. Now, he’s a freelancer who writes e-books and blog posts on everything from wearable technology to radio access networks, and edits proposals and technical material for Dragonfly’s clients.
An appetite for the eerie
But his true writing passion is far creepier.
Jason is the author of the “apocalyptic horror trilogy” Blood Red, Draw Blood, and Blood Dawn, the last of which hit bookshelves in April 2017. His publisher, Permuted Press, accepted the trilogy on the strength of its first book, Blood Red, which tells the story of Rachel, a young woman who finds herself fighting for her life after an earth-shattering event in Fort Collins, Colorado (Jason’s own home town).
Draw Blood continues the story from the perspective of her father, Michael, and Blood Dawn concludes the trilogy from yet another point of view—but that’s a mystery best saved for the books. According to Alden Bell, a fellow horror author and a Blood Red reviewer, the trilogy offers a “real-time experience of the End Times—replete with visceral terror [and] buckets of gore.”
So how does a horror writer come to be? Jason explains that he’s always been a Stephen King fan (he recommends the author’s Danse Macabre as a primer on the genre) and has been drawn to horror in literature and film since he was a youngster.
His inspiration also comes partly from personal experience. As a teenager, Jason was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, a rare cancer of the lymphatic system. “I wrote one of my first stories while in the waiting room awaiting chemo treatment,” he recalls. “It was one way I could deal with the horror I was going through—to come up with my own.”
Today, horror writing remains a form of therapy for Jason—although it now functions as “my way of getting out aggressions about the publishing world,” he jokes. He also finds that the pillars of horror writing work across genres. “In horror, urgency, active voice, and descriptive language are really important,” he says. “And all of these qualities make for better business and nonfiction writing, too.”
Writing his own story
But Jason’s life isn’t all guts and gore. He’s a collector of first-edition hardcover books of all genres, a self-proclaimed movie buff, and loves hiking and sledding near his Colorado home. Jason and wife Barb have two daughters, Harper (after Harper Lee) and Sophie (after the philosophical protagonist of Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World).
Now that Jason has wrapped up the final chapter of the Blood trilogy, he has embarked on another mystery novel. (He wrote his first mystery, The Naked Dame, in 2011.) Beyond that, he’ll watch life as a freelancer, novelist, and father unfold.
Jason mentions that he doesn’t yet know exactly how his new mystery will unfold. Although he jots down notes to guide his writing, he prefers to work with broad concepts rather than detailed outlines. “If I wrote down too much detail at the start, it would take the fun out of it.”
“I think writing should be spontaneous,” Jason says. “Just like life.”
This post was originally published in 2015, and has been updated.