Friday, June 24, 2011

Dishing it up with Marcus Sakey

Today I have the distinct pleasure of having thriller author Marcus Sakey on my blog. Marcus has worked as a landscaper, a theatrical carpenter, a 3D animator, a woefully unprepared movie reviewer, a tutor, and a graphic designer who couldn’t draw. In 2007 his first novel The Blade Itself was published to wide critical acclaim, and thank god, because nothing else seemed to be working.


His books have been nominated for more than a dozen awards, named to multiple “Year’s Best” lists, and translated into numerous languages. Three are currently in development as films.

JET: Can you tell us about The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes that came out earlier this month - June 9th to be precise?

Marcus: It starts with a man waking on a beach, naked and half-dead. He can’t remember how he got there, or even who he is. He’s haunted by a woman he sees on television, and sets out across America to find her. Meanwhile, the world is looking for him…

It’s a thriller, but it’s also an exploration of memory and identity and the stories we tell ourselves. It’s definitely my most ambitious book, and while it was a beast to write, I’m thrilled with the way it turned out.

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

Marcus: I’ve always been addicted to stories. I was the kid reading under the blanket with a flashlight. The main goal of a thriller is to keep someone up too late, so it kinda makes sense.

The best thing is that the thriller format lets you put people in the most desperate circumstances imaginable, which means you can explore the ideas with the heat turned all the way up. For me, thrillers that don’t take advantage of that are missing the point. It’s not about run, chase, shoot; it’s about everything that happens around that, the philosophies and relationships and beliefs that are tested amidst the running, chasing, and shooting.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Marcus: Writing the books. It’s a great job, the one I’ve always wanted, but it takes discipline, and when it’s going badly, it weighs on you. Especially around page two hundred, when everything seems to be falling apart and you’re contemplating suicide.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Marcus: Writing THE END. It was purest and most powerful on my first novel, THE BLADE ITSELF, but I get a rush every time I type those two words.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Marcus: Is it okay to say all of them? I was, and am, a voracious reader, and I tend to read in a bunch of different genres. I guess if I had to pick one name from young adulthood, I’d say Kurt Vonnegut. He was such a brilliant writer: a guy who could say so much with so little, who was troubled by mankind’s choices but honestly in love with people, who could blend the brutal and the awful and the hilarious.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Marcus: When I was four. I remember the moment I learned to read, and all of I sudden I could see Spot run. I just thought, “Man, that’s it. That’s the coolest thing in the world.” I still feel that way.

JET: I understand you’ve done a tremendous amount of research for your writing. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Marcus: I recently got pepper sprayed for research. It hurt.

The facts I love uncovering tend to be the little details, the things you couldn’t make up. They range from heart-breaking (a cop telling me that to gauge the power of a gang he counted the schools within their turf) to hilarious (tales of bumbling bad guys that you’d never believe if I wrote them) to exhilarating (shooting a fully automatic machine gun).

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Marcus: My favorite novel is always whichever one I wrote last. But you love them all. You have to—you put so much of yourself into them. If the books aren’t you, they aren’t anything.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Marcus: Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard. That’s how you get it done. The rest is window dressing.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Marcus: Cloth bags that we re-use.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Marcus: Ribeye, rubbed with good olive oil, lemon zest, and rosemary, flash-seared and served rare.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Marcus: Beach. I love mountains too, but the ocean is magical to me.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Marcus: Rock.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Marcus: Both.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Marcus: Battlestar Galactica.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Marcus: Coffee.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Marcus: Everything is better with salt. Salt is better with salt.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Marcus: There’s two kinds of literature, good and bad. I’ll take the former, and I don’t care where I find it.

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Marcus: Let me consult the entrails of my enemy.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Marcus: I can’t, really; it’s still taking shape. But I can say that I’m really excited about it, and that it’s unlike anything I’ve done before.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Marcus Sakey and his work at his website: http://www.marcussakey.com/

Next week it’s JULY! Woo-hoo, my birthday month. I’ll be highlighting some new July releases next Friday and then going on a much needed vacation before we get geared up with Tim Ellis, Pam Jenoff, Kiki Howell and Robert Gregory Brown. July’s a hot month. Stay tuned…

Until next week,

Ciao.

JET

Monday, June 20, 2011

Manic Monday Giveaway with Deborah Riley-Magnus



Joining me today on my Manic Monday series is Deborah Riley-Magnus.  Deborah is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction.


Deborah produces several pieces weekly for various websites. She also writes an author industry blog, Writaholic, and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. In 2011, she has two novels and one non-fiction, “The Author Success Coach”, being released.

She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. 

Comment today and you could win an e-book copy of Cold in California!

 
Thanks so much J.E. Taylor, for letting me be part of your Manic Monday. Thrilled to be here! You asked about Cold in California and where this crazy story came from. Well …

What happens to a vampire after he finally dies? Heaven? Hell? Nope, purgatory in a West Hollywood warehouse. Go figure.

Where does any original idea come from? I’m a firm believer that creativity is plagiarism with a flare; the wheel can’t be reinvented and if it’s square, it can’t roll. Basically, all story ideas come from the same original four or five plots, but I strongly believe that how a story is told makes a bigger impact than what the story is about. Most ideas start with love or adventure, coming of age or fantasy; the great ones come from a skewed point of view no one ever thought of before … Cold in California came to me from a very twisted and off-center point of view.

Like most people, I’ve spent countless hours wondering about life after death. Is there a heaven or hell? Who, after a mere few decades on the planet, actually earns one or the other? What pivotal points lead a man up or down? Unless a person is completely devoid of faith, religion or spirituality, I venture to guess there’s a deep, unbridled fear of hell and the horned demon awaiting, his fiery eyes and pointy-toothed grin haunting, evil and looming from childhood nightmares. Shiver!

Consequently, my own terrors of the hell and billowing hopes for heaven guide many of my life choices as well as my creative process. I’ve taken long hard looks at organized religion, new age philosophies, Native American ceremonial traditions, Eastern philosophy and ritual Christianity. Sometimes it’s horrifying, sometimes it’s revealing… and in the case of Cold in California, sometimes it’s fun.

If a man is generally a good man and something horrible happens to him, something that stretches his world view, how do the powers that be evaluate that man’s subsequent qualities and flaws? It’s a simple exploration that started to go strange and make me laugh. What if that man was turned vampire? What if he retained some semblance of human honorability but still needs to suck blood to survive? What does heaven think? Should this man be condemned for having to survive within those extreme parameters?

Then my head went a little further. Please understand, I don’t like vampires. Everything I’d read or seen in films was kind of a turn off. It’s not so much the blood and gore, it’s the stripping of humanity that kind of bothered me. Granted, more contemporary authors have made their vampiric characters far more likeable and humane, but still, there was always something about the whole idea that confused me. Then I figured it out.

It wasn’t the fact that vampires are dead, scary monsters, it was the fact that they had no hope. No redemption. No heaven. Cold in California is a book about redemption. Based on standard mythology I couldn’t have redemption for my vampire, Gabriel Strickland, unless I gave him a soul and a second chance. Oh, and it had to have humor, too. Lots and lots of humor.

Cold in California is an urban fantasy that takes a standard vampire, makes him double dead (twice-baked) and puts him in a West Hollywood warehouse where he has to live out purgatory with other dead supernaturals – trolls, werewolves, pixies, leprechauns, fairies, you name it. A chosen few from each supernatural race are there, even a few you may have never heard of. Against their natures, all these strange characters are challenged with earning the brownie points to get through the pearly gates. Gabriel, of course has far more difficulties, after all he’s handsome, has to now live among humans and dead supernaturals and the other ‘living’ supernaturals infesting the planet. He has to deal with the fact that everything he believed about final death is a lie. He must tolerate the unique West Hollywood culture, endure intense new love (of course) and win over pending disaster. Go figure. And all this guy wanted to do was be dead.

My goal was to create a vampire story you’ve never seen before! How much fun is that?

Cold in California is the first of a five book “Twice-Baked Vampire Series” and was released June 15, 2011.

In August/September of 2011, I have a non-fiction being released entitled The Author Success Coach: Strategies for Author Success in a Turbulent Publishing Landscape.


Cold in California Amazon Link

http://www.amazon.com/Cold-California-Twice-Baked-Vampire-ebook/dp/B0055EC7E8/


My Website and Blog Links

I blog - http://rileymagnus.wordpress.com/


I teach - http://theauthorsuccesscoach.com/


I fiction – http://coldincalifornia.com/


I write - http://deborahriley-magnus.com/


I play - http://whispersofthemuse.org/


I tweet – http://twitter.com/rileymagnus


I facebook - http://www.facebook.com/deborah.rileymagnus


I should be sooo tired!


My Wonderful Publisher’s Link

http://ireadiwrite.com/


Thank you for swinging in Deborah!  Folks join me on Friday when I dish it up with Markus Sakey!

Until then,
Ciao
JET

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dishing it up with Morgan Gallagher

Hi folks, today we’re dishing it up with Changeling author, Morgan Gallagher! Morgan is in her late 40s, and should know better about spending her writing life with vampires. However, she has no choice, as they refuse to go away and leave her alone. She lives in the Scottish Borders, with her husband and their six-year-old son. A full time career for her husband who is severely disabled, Morgan also works as a volunteer for several charities and is passionate about the rights of babies, children and mothers. She has campaigned vigorously against child detention during immigration procedures. She and her husband home educate their son and attempt to keep a never-ending stream of cats under control. The North Sea pounds their fishing village every winter, and every major storm, the entire family are to be found in the car parked on the headland admiring the view. Apart from the cats, that is, who are at home dreaming of summer.


JET: Can you tell us about Changeling?

Morgan: Changeling is a dark and brutal tale. Almost literary in its detailed depiction of day to day lives and living. It’s about a young woman who goes out one night for a night out with her office, and disappears. She’s been taken by a vampire. A very old, very controlling and extremely psychotic vampire. He is not a dark prince, and he is not a hero. He’s a complex psychological mess, and he slowly tries to dismantle his plaything. His plaything, Joanne, is made of sterner stuff than he thinks. Slowly, they change each other. Joanne, the girl, isn’t aware he’s a vampire for a long time, the reader is. In that, there is a great deal of horror. The book is about a battle of wills, and who wins.

JET: What drew you to writing about the paranormal?

Morgan: It’s what I’m best at. I’ve tried to be other things. I’d rather be a science fiction writer. Failing that, fantasy. I’m terrible at science fiction, truly dire. I’m okay at fantasy. In the dark, however, my gift flourishes. I’ve always loved horror. I’m an avid reader. The darkness always mixed well with my background, being Scottish, being brought up with lots of legends of dark powers and lost souls being tricked to their death... it’s natural to me I guess. It’s just what comes out best, when I write. We don’t get to choose what we’re good at!  And I’ve always loved vampires….

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Morgan: Dealing with how to portray extreme violence, male to female, without it being either gratuitous, or fetishised. It’s hard stuff to write, and it’s incredibly difficult to read. A couple of beta readers and a reviewer couldn’t hack it. It’s been hard to expose myself by being both so honest and open, and by allowing the story to be what it needs to be.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Morgan: My first review. I was terrified, and the author who did it, Betty Carlton, hit it in one. She understood the book, and why it was the shape it was, and how it worked. That was pretty awesome. A close second is the private email I got the week of publication, from a reader who stated the book had helped her cope with her own past, and was healing for her. Reader feedback has been just the best thing. When you spend so long on a book, you somehow think it’s never gonna get out, never gonna get read. And then people you don’t know, have never met, are buying it and thanking you. That’s just wonderful.


JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Morgan: It’s a long list! Harlan Ellison, Anne McCaffrey, Stephen King, John Wyndham, James White, Tanith Lee, Minette Walters, Arthur C Clarke, James Herbert, LM Montgomery, The Brontes, Jane Austen, I could go on for some time....

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Morgan: I’ve always known. I was given a typewriter for my fifth birthday. A real one: not a toy. I read the way I breathed; without thought of it. It was the same for writing. I started my fist novel at 12. A spy novel!

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Morgan: Standing around in the North Sea winds in winter, being hit by a sideways wave of water in freezing temperatures, photographing gravestones. Thankfully, it was so bitter cold, and so wet, no one else was around to witness the madness. Most interesting fact? My, you do ask interesting questions. I genuinely don’t think I can answer that, given that my head is packed full with nonsense about so many things. Oh, I know. What happened to the Cemetery of the Innocents in Paris in May 1780. That proved that truth is waaay stranger than fiction. It’s a tiny footnote in the second book, but boy, is it just amazing. Why yes, I am a tease, what made you ask?

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Morgan: Changeling. Always will be. It’s my darling. My child. I have other children, but Changeling is the book where I speak the clearest about things that touch me.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Morgan: Write, write write. It’s the only way. It may take ten years to find your voice, it may take twenty. But the only way you have of finding yourself in the words, is to keep churning them out. Write, write, write. That, and find a good editor. Always.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Morgan: Paper.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Morgan: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Morgan: Beach, but not in the Summer. I like my beaches wild and windy and crashing. You won’t find me on a towel under the sun.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Morgan: Country

JET: Paper or Digital?

Morgan: Paper.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Morgan: Both. I’m a film teacher.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Morgan: Tea

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Morgan: Salty

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Morgan: Unknown Back Shelf Find

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Morgan: Puhleese. *rolls eyes*

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Morgan: I should be working on the sequel to Changeling, Lucifer’s Stepdaughter. But when Changeling went out, I found room in my brain for something else. So I’m working on a short horror novel named Bedlam Maternity, set in the East End of London in the present day. I’ll put it out in about 4 months, hopefully, and them get back to Lucifer’s Stepdaughter.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Morgan Gallagher and her work at the following places:

Buy Changeling: Amazon UK Amazon USA Smashwords

Author Pages: Ethics Trading Amazon UK Amazon USA

Contact Author: Novel Blog Twitter: @DreyfussTrilogy FaceBook


Join me on Monday when Deborah Riley-Magnus shares her Manic Monday with us.

Until then,

Ciao

JET

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Manic Monday With Kelvin O'Ralph

Today I’ve got Kelvin O’Ralph on tap for Manic Monday – and yes, I’m aware it’s Tuesday. Sometimes stuff happens and all good intentions get sidetracked. Well, Kelvin’s a student at a University in UK who has a profound passion for the art of writing. He also loves meeting new people and interacting with them. His new paranormal romance novel, LS The Beginning is currently available on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Smashwords.


Here’s a little teaser for you:

A handshake between strangers has never held so much promise for discovery.

When Stephen Wilson meets Lisa Morgan at his new school in Sloutenville, it is the simple act of extending his hand in greeting that flips both of their worlds upside-down. With the gesture, both discover that in some way they are connected, and that they share the ability to manipulate the elements, fire and water. Though their abilities vary, they share the gift of telepathy allowing them to communicate without words, which creates a bond between them stronger than either had expected.

As the two begin to spend more and more time together, David, Lisa's ex becomes wild with jealousy, lunching multiple attacks on Lisa. In the fight against the dangers that await them around every corner, Stephen and Lisa soon discover that they are up against much greater odds than they had originally known, and that their struggles are far from over

Kelvin is also hosting a giveaway on his blog, titled, Lisa & Stephen's 500 Giveaway. There are amazing prizes to be won, including Amazon, B & N gift cards. Check it out here.

Kelvin decided to shoot off his own Q&A for today’s guest blog, so without further adieu, here’s Kelvin…

What inspired you to become a writer?

I discovered that I expressed my feelings more through writing, and ever since I became a writer. I took it on professionally the moment i got good reviews from a person I'd never met before.


Why should people read your book?

Not only does LS: The Beginning bring out a new aspect of paranormal other than vampires and werewolves (which I love as well), it tells a romance story from a male's perspective.


Can you relate to any of the characters and why?

I can relate to Stephen, the male MC of the book. He's a bit light headed, and always cares for the people around him.


Tell your readers something personal about you?

I always say this in every interview. I have a deep crush on Emma Watson, the girl from the Harry Potter series.



How can people contact you?

The best way to contact me is through my blog, http://icire.blogspot.com and also my Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/f953Nv



Thanks for swinging in today – and sorry this post is a bit late. Swing in on Friday when I have Morgan Gallagher dishing it up about The Changeling!

Until then,

Ciao,

JET

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dishing it up with Ian Barker

Today I have the pleasure of dishing it up with Ian Barker, author of Fallen Star. Ian has always dabbled in writing since leaving school. However, he spent almost 20 years working in IT before he discovered that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He is now editor of PC Utilities magazine and lives and works in Greater Manchester, UK. Fallen Star is his d├ębut novel.


JET: Thanks for joining us Ian. Can you tell us about Fallen Star?

Ian: Fallen Star is about discovering that there are more important things in life than fame and celebrity. It follows boy band member Karl on his downward spiral from stardom, taking in some terrorism, family conflict, a look at how our lives are influenced by our parents and falling in love along the way.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Ian: I think, as for any new author, it’s getting that initial foot in the door of publication. Whether that’s with a short story or something more substation. You need that affirmation that you have what it takes. I think most new writers make the mistake of sending out stuff before its ready. It’s important to learn the discipline to hold back and polish your craft.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Ian: I got one of my early breaks into getting writing accepted doing topical comedy radio sketches. Hearing your words spoken by professional actors is a fantastic buzz.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Ian: As a teenager I read a lot of Alistair MacLean. Not a great writer in the literary sense but boy can he tell a story!

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Ian: I’ve always been a writer on some sort of level, though I spent a long time doing other things with just the odd bit of writing here and there. It wasn’t until turning forty that I began to approach it more seriously, a desire to leave something behind perhaps? That ultimately led to a shift of career direction as I ended up writing for computer magazines – classic write what you know.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Ian: I’ve stood out in the rain in order to work out how to describe what it feels like. I discovered you get very wet.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Ian: I’m still very fond of my first – and as yet unpublished – novel. Why? Because it’s a very personal story. As it stands I think that works against it, but someday I’m definitely going to go back and write it better, with a little more detachment.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Ian: Write first research later. If you do a lot of research up front you’re tempted to include it all and you end up with a book that reads like an encyclopedia. Concentrate on telling the story then do your research to make sure you have the facts straight.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Ian: Paper.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Ian: Steak.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Ian: Beach, I grew up by the sea.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Ian: Tough call. Rock-n-Roll, as long as I can still have access to Willie Nelson and Don Williams.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Ian: Digital, it was a long hard road but I’ve eventually trained myself to write straight to the computer rather than doing it longhand first.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Ian: Silent classics (with the proviso that Charlie Chaplin really isn’t funny).

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Ian: Tea, black no sugar, thanks.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Ian: Sweet.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Ian: Back shelf find, but it’s important to read the best sellers too.

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Ian: Ain’t gonna happen – at least I hope not after we’ve spent all that money on the Olympics.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Ian: I’m working on a sequel to Fallen Star which picks up the main characters a few years further on. I don’t see this turning into a long series though.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Ian Barker and his work at the following places:

http://www.iandavidbarker.co.uk/

www.twitter.com/IanDBarker

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fallen-Star/132351093483591?ref=ts

Swing in next week when I have Morgan Gallagher on tap.

Until then,

Ciao.

JET

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dishing it up with Brett Battles

Folks, I’m thrilled to have author Brett Battles dishing it up with us today. Brett has published eight thrillers since 2007, including The Cleaner and The Deceived. He was born and raised in southern California where his parents, avid readers, instilled the love of books in him early on.


Though he still makes California his home, he has traveled extensively to such destinations as Ho Chi Minh City, Berlin, Singapore, London, Paris, and Bangkok, all of which play parts in his current and upcoming Jonathan Quinn thrillers.

Welcome and thank you for hanging with us for a bit.

JET: Can you tell us about your latest thrillers Little Girl Gone and The Silenced?

Brett: The Silenced is the fourth in my Jonathan Quinn series. Quinn is a cleaner whose job it is to make bodies disappear. In this latest installment, the unthinkable happens. His past, a life he’s tried hard to bury, collides with his life in the secret world, and he has to do whatever he can to keep people he loves alive.

Little Girl Gone is the first book of my Logan Harper series. Unlike Quinn, Logan isn’t a professional working in the world of spies. He’s a former Army soldier who then worked for several years at a defense contractor training private troops before a horrible event caused him to quit. He now lives in his hometown, a small place on the California coast, working as a mechanic at his father’s auto garage. One morning he interrupts the attempted murder of his father’s friend, then is pulled into a search for the man’s missing granddaughter.

I also have a third thriller out right now called Sick. I’ll sum it up this way. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and man is pulling the trigger. And a Middle School/Tween book called Here Comes Mr. Trouble about an unusual family that helps kids with a certain type of trouble.

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

Brett: They’ve always been a part of me. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, reading Alistair MacLean and Jack Higgins. It was just a normal progression, I guess. I don’t think I realized I was even writing a thriller the first time I did it. I was just writing what was naturally coming out of me.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Brett: Getting a publisher to buy that first book. While The Cleaner was the first book I sold, it was the third I wrote, and I actually had a fourth done when I got the call. I think I sent out 100 queries each for the first two, and about seventy for The Cleaner. But I knew then that it was all about persistence. If one book didn’t sell, I immediately moved onto the next. I felt to do otherwise would have been to insure failure.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Brett: Getting that phone call from the publisher saying they wanted to buy The Cleaner. I was sitting at Starbucks, working on edits on that fourth book. I had to stop him in mid conversation and say, “Wait. Are you saying you want to buy my book?” Everything after he said yes, I forgot.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Brett: I couldn’t say it wasn’t just one. The sci-fi troika of Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein were huge for me. Thriller-wise, Alistair MacLean. Later it was Ludlum, Graham Greene, Stephen King, and a rotating stack of other amazing authors.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Brett: Fifth grade. That’s not an exaggeration. I remember telling my friends that I was going to be a novelist. I loved stories even then, and I wanted to be the one to tell them. From that point on, I always knew it would be my future.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Brett: My most interesting research is location research. I love to travel, so I’ve made that a part of my work. Not sure what the craziest would be, but one of the coolest was taking the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. I was in the second class sleeper car. It was like one of those 40s movies with each berth covered by a curtain. Spent several hours in the restaurant car with some Irish and German backpackers, drinking beer and sharing stories. Oh, for crazy, I also spent two day on Khao San Road in Bangkok for Songkran, Thai New Year. It’s four days of INSANITY. Basically a 12 hour long water fight each day on a street as crowded as Disneyland on it’s busiest day with music and drinks and dancing and water, water, water. To say that I was constantly soaked would be an understatement. While I’ve worked the train ride into a story already, Songkran hasn’t made it yet, but it will.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Brett: Impossible to say. I love each of my books for different reasons. I guess The Cleaner will always have a special place because it was my first published work. I love my three latest – The Silenced, Little Girl Gone, and Sick – a lot! But I’m honestly happy with all of them.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Brett: Write, write, write, everyday. Even if you write crap keep going. It’s through practice of the craft that you improve. One of the most important qualities for a writer: perseverance.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Brett: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Brett: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Brett: Yes

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Brett: Rock-n-Roll

JET: Paper or Digital?

Brett: Paper transitioning into Digital

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Brett: Silent Film Classics

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Brett: Tea

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Brett: Both

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Brett: Back Shelf Find

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Brett: Ain’t Gonna Happen, but it’s going to be amusing watching people go a little nuts as the date grows closer.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Brett: In the middle of the follow up to Little Girl Gone. Then it’s on to the sequel to Sick. This fall I’ll be diving into the new Quinn…I’ve got them lined up back to back to back.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Brett Battles and his work at his website: www.brettbattles.com

Join us next Friday when we dish it up with Ian Barker.

Until next week,

Ciao

JET