Jared is the author of Surrounded by Monsters
We sat down with Jared Gniewek recently and talked to him about his latest radio play for earstage.com

What inspired you to write your first audio play?

I had been working in the music industry as a percussion technician in one of the oldest rooms of its type in the world. The original proprietor, Carroll Bratman, was an innovator in Golden Age Radio foley effects. I was literally surrounded in this warehouse space by relics of radio sound effects! Creaking doors, clanging machine parts, marching feet, coconuts...you name it. I was asked by earstage to contribute a play as they were aware of my writing aspirations and I remember looking around the room at the thundersheets and boing boxes and thinking to myself, “this is what I need to be doing.”

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write earthy soft hearted fantasy and horror with thematic percussive dialogue. Punchy and two fisted scripting.

How did you come up with the title?

There's an awesome band called High on Fire out of Oakland who put out an album called Surrounded by Thieves. I thought the title to be very evocative of the general (sad) distrust I feel towards other human beings. The title of my play (Surrounded by Monsters) was a rip off of that.

Is there a message in your audio play that you want readers to grasp?

That you're not always right.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

It came from a fear I have that human beings are quite plainly, monsters. That I can't trust people and how sad I am that I feel that way. I wanted to say something about the selfishness of conspiratorial belief.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

I never thought I could write dialogue until I saw “Marty” with Ernest Borgnine and realized that Paddy Chayefsky created themes for each of his scenes that are almost musically repeated. After that I began to use my love of music and rhythm to construct dialogue. I could never have written an audio play without the insight I got from that film.

What book are you reading now?

Dogsbody, by Diane Wynne Jones. It's a batshit crazy science-fantasy novel about a star trapped in the body of a dog.

What are your current projects?

I've  been writing karaoke card game called Scary-oke, reviews of graphic novels for Graphic NYC,  blogging about the writing process for the Sequential Art Collective, and writing radio plays for Audio Movies.

Of course, I've also been working on more scripts for comics and trying to get short stories published as well. Keep your fingers crossed!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest audio play?

No. I think it stands. I'm a forward thinker. If I didn't like something about it, I'm sure I'll improve on that aspect in a future project.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It was discovered by my teachers as I was growing up in Iowa that I was pretty good at it. Being a kid in Iowa who can string a sentence makes you like a star football player anywhere else. They are so proud (and rightly so!) of the Iowa Writer's Conference that if you exhibitt any talent at all the community gets behind you and you are treated like you're something special. I liked feeling special. They had me going to the Young Writers Conference and reading short stories on public radio. It was an amazing place.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Getting the drive to sit down and make the donuts. Once I'm there it comes pretty easily but the act of shutting off the distractions in my room, life, and mind can be a herculean effort. It's a wonder I'm writing this right now!

What was the hardest part of writing your audio play?

Getting confident in my  dialogue. I had to learn to really linger over word choices in a new way.

Did you learn anything from writing your audio play and what was it?

I learned to love the medium for one. It is a distinct and special way to tell a story. And to those who favor it, nothing can compete. It rewards the listener in very potent and real ways.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

This is actually advice for myself but I'm sure someone else may benefit from it.;;

Write hard everyday. Expect rejection and take it well. You can't be what every editor or producer is looking for so don't let it slow you down. The rest is easy. Especially if you aren't expecting to make  a million dollars.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your listeners?

I value the opportunity to share my voice with them and hope they are entertained... and maybe a trifle frightened.

Interview with Jared Gniewek



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A Dollar Short
Episode One
    -Episode Two

The Thinking Machine
-Cell 13
    -Piece of String

Dark Sense Series
-Architect of Fear
    -Surrounded by Monsters
    -The Apollo

Rover Rep.
-The Raven
    -Masque of the Red Death
    -The Tell Tale Heart













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