Being a confessed history addict, I could not miss the opportunity to chat up the subject with fellow Summit City Scribes member, Jon Anthony Hauser, after the last meeting. We blabbed on and on, infused with the joy of history’s seminal events before we were chucked into this mortal realm/coil/whatever. Everyone had left so we didn’t send them screaming from the room out of boredom and our nerdiness. For the history lover, it’s all now. All the stuff that went before is actually “now” in our heads,
Jon’s field of study and interest, the crusades, is not mine, but it’s history, so it’s all good for me. I’m also reading his fascinating work, THE ROAD TO BYZANTIUM, Bauer Communications, www.amauth.com and also available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Road-Byzantium-Novel-First-Crusade/dp/0989514943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425164273&sr=1-1&keywords=Jon+Anthony+Hauser
While chatting, I realized that I didn’t know much about him. Scribes meetings are kept to a strict timetable in order to get as much as possible accomplished in the time allotted. We’re kinda dweeby about the craft and can get nitpicky-excited over a juicy metaphor . We’re also a group that likes and supports each other. A writer’s life is not an easy one. The lows are constant and the highs infrequent, but as Red Green says: “ We’re all in this together.”
Got that right. So here’s Jonny:
1.) What sparked your interest in history and why?
I always had an interest in history, but it came alive for me when I was 18, a freshman in college. I had a pair of history professors who taught the subject as it should be, a collection of the greatest adventures mankind ever conceived, and it all really happened.
2.) Tell us something about yourself that few people know.
I can still be moved to tears (well, misty eyes anyway) by a very inspirational, emotional, or tragic story, whether it be a book, film, or play. Sometimes a song can do it too.
3.) Briefly explain your opinion of the greatest misconception about the crusades.
The short version of modern conventional wisdom is that the crusades were a series of military adventures a long time ago, led by coddled, unscrupulous aristocrats who used religious fervor and medieval superstition to further their own crass desires for conquest. Some of that is certainly true. But when viewed through a much wider lens, the crusades are as relevant today as ever for two reasons. First, they are the birthplace of contemporary militant, fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. Second, they are the cultural, political, economic, scientific, and technological bridge between the Dark Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe, and therefore Western Civilization in general.
4.) When did you start writing? Do you remember your first idea/subject/story?
The first serious writing I ever did was as a history major while in college. The first story I ever wrote that was entirely my own idea was a semi-autographical short story which chronicled my first campaign for political office, at age 22. It’s the story of a naïve, altruistic dreamer who is forced to see the real world with eyes wide open for the first time.
5.) Who or what had the most impact/influence on you as a writer and person?
The person who had the most impact on me as a writer is William Urban, a history professor at my alma mater, Monmouth College. He taught me to view history as the ultimate expression of the human experience.
The person who had the most impact on me as a person was my mother. I never realized until after she had passed how important it was to her that I strive to be a person of value, rather than of worldly success.
6.) Name one thing you can’t do right now, but would love to do, and why?
If money were no object, I would create a foundation to open and operate orphanages in certain parts of the world where the most vulnerable of us all, children, have nothing. All too many of us in this wealthy nation simply cannot fathom the depth of poverty and suffering in other parts of the world. What better way can this nation, the greatest nation on earth, lead the rest of the world than by serving those who need us the most throughout the world?
ROAD TO BYZANTIUM is available now. Jon is working the next installment, BEYOND BYZANTIUM to be followed by SIEGE AT ANTIOCH.
Please check out his website: www.jahauser.com
Thanks, Jon Anthony Hauser for being a part of my blog!
M.L.Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML