JL Caban has a history of writing bestselling books, starting with ‘Moving On’ a powerful read that became a bestseller as soon as it was out, capturing the hearts and imaginations of readers. Recently his new book ‘Butterflies in Production; Five Short Stories,’ a provocative and brilliant read, proved that Caban has the right stuff, hitting the bestseller list as soon as it was released.
‘Butterflies in Production’ builds upon his first book ‘Moving On’, a powerful coming of age story of a young man who is attempting to escape a world of drugs and alcohol. In ‘Butterflies in Production; Five Short Stories’ he pulls characters from ‘Moving On,’ and draws attention to some of the moral and social issues in which these new characters are dealing, including everything from biracial relationships and the prejudices that come with them to having no choice but to deal in narcotics to put food on the table.
Caban is brilliant author, who has taken the literary world by storm with his intriguing emotion charged books, with each one is destined to be a classic for years to come. We were thrilled to have a chance to catch up with him to learn more about the man, his work and what’s coming next.
You are a sergeant with the NYC police department, as well as being a bestselling author, who has clearly captured the hearts and minds of readers and reviewers. Do you ever find inspiration for your writing in the streets of NYC?
Being a member of the service with the Department for twenty years has definitely had an impact on my writing, most especially as it pertains to my second book, ‘Butterflies in Production.’ One of the stories, ‘Selena,’ focuses on the protagonist’s turbulent career as a law enforcement officer. In this particular vignette, ‘Story Four,’ to be precise, Selena’s rise to become a cog in the machine that is the Police Department is the focus. As a young girl, she admired, to the point of a sort of romanticism, the profession, and very much wanted to become a part of its esoteric allure; which she eventually does, afterwards realizing that, perhaps, she experiences more than what she bargained for. There are things, both internally and externally, about being an Officer that she never imagined, and that particular story is what is shared with the reader. Not to say, getting back to the question, that these are my experiences, per se; however, my career has definitely had an impact on the way in which I see The Job and, quite honestly, the world in general.
Both your careers require a lot of commitment and perseverance. What has it been like for you to find success in both aspects of your career?
I don’t believe I have truly found success in either, to be brutally honest. My twenty years of service has brought me to the conclusion – albeit a morbid one (my apologies to the optimistic hopefuls out there) – that things, on the whole, will never get “better.” Evil is as timeless as the snake slithering about Eden, and cannot be truly eradicated. As my career as a law enforcement officer comes to its crescendo, the orchestra plays the same song as it did in the exordium; nothing, for the most part, has transmuted; except, of course time gone by. I leave The Job the way I found it, just as convoluted and unsure of itself as it was at the start. As for my being an author, I suppose there is personal ‘success;’ but certainly as an essentially unknown, there is not much of that (chortles). I only humbly wish that, whomever has had an opportunity to pick up and read my work, they found it somewhat entertaining and didn’t find occasion to toss it across the room, possessing feelings of utter disgust.
You wrote your first Bestselling book ‘Moving On’ when you were 18, but released it decades later, and then wrote ‘Butterflies in Production; Five Short Stories’ in 2021. These books can be read on their own, but also as a series. What was it like for you on a personal level to write these books, release them, and then achieve success right out of the gate?
On a personal level, it was an amazing feeling. As I wrote these books, the characters actually spoke to me; not in a figurative sense, but a literal one… I actually heard voices in my head that guided my fingers on the keyboard. As was mentioned by me in one of the previous interviews, it felt as though I was a schizophrenic with an outlet. This was the case for the entirety of my writing – they, my characters, would not leave me alone until the project was completed; therefore, I suppose I have all of them to thank; without their incessant bantering and carping in the deepest, darkest depths of my mind, I would not have seen the books through.
Living a very busy work and creative life can be challenging. What are some of the things you do to keep your creative juices flowing?
To say that writing creatively, while also working a full time job – a demanding one, at that – is not easy would be the understatement of a lifetime. It isn’t easy at all and, upon reflection, I have absolutely no idea how I did it… the mere thought of it brings forth uncontrollable dry heaves and cold sweat across the brow. At this point, it’s safe to say that I’m fortunate to be at the conclusion of my work career and can now put all of my attention to writing. As for what gave me the inspiration to finish ‘Moving On’ and ‘Butterflies in Production?’ again, it was largely due to my character’s endless nagging to push forward; that, and large quantities of libation – whisky to be precise (not that I am, for the young writers out there, promoting such a method of accomplishing one’s tasks… I am merely stating the facts of the matter).
I know you are still in the midst of the success of both of these books, but I know your fans are probably dying for you to drop another book. Do you have another book you are working on that you can tell us about?
Thank you for the complement and I humbly wish that to be the case (in terms of the fans waiting for another book). I am, incidentally, in between two books. One of which, another book of short stories (untitled as of now) is currently underway; the other, at this very moment, is in the infancy stages (a zygote of sorts) and exists as my somewhat implausible quest to write the coveted ‘great American novel.’ It’s every author’s wish… their dream… to create the masterpiece that bears this claim to fame, as it were; it is what a championship belt is to a pugilist. I have no great delusions of grandeur that this will be the case for me; I only suggest that it is my “quest.” Many explorers have journeyed the unknown, never realizing what they sought… not all can have the fortune of a Marco Polo, Columbus, or Ponce de Leon. I suppose one can only hope the world isn’t flat, plunging one off the precipice to one’s demise.
Let’s change things up a bit – when finishing up a new book, do you celebrate with a glass of wine, a glass of bourbon, or perhaps a good cigar? Do tell…
Well, if I am to be painfully honest, I do not wait for the conclusion of a work to indulge in the art of libation, peanut butter whisky over ice, with a sliced green apple is my go-to, in particular, accompanied by the smoking of a good cigar – that of the flavored variety because I do detest the stronger variety. These, in addition to a quill pen; bottle of ink; and parchment paper, are the essential tools of writing… are they not?
For more information about JL Caban and his books head over to his website.