E: Hey, Johnny! Welcome to Erindipity! Take a seat, have a beverage. I realize it’s no Blog Mansion, but I do what I can. Charlie! Don’t be rude. Greet our guest.
Unintelligible corpsy sounds.
J: I have a Charlie, too. Well, bits of one anyway.
E: You’ve just had a novel release from Omnium Gatherum Media, BEATRYSEL. I can’t wait to get some time to actually read it. Tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to write it.
J: BEATRYSEL is the tale of a demon, created by her Magus lover, rent from him but seeking return. It is the tale of the Magus who made her and lost himself in the act. It is a tale of jilted lovers, betrayals and loss; power and Magick. It explores modern occult theory as practiced today and the manifest power of love made real.
BEATRYSEL arose from a distinct moment in my life. First I couldn’t find modern occultism treated accurately or sympathetically in fiction. Having studied it for years and understanding its potential, I wanted to incorporate that belief system into a story with like-minded characters.
Then there was the issue of love and a hate, betrayal and affection. BEATRYSEL was born at a time in my life when my friends were all hit with a plague of divorces about the same time. It was frightening and contagious. I watched best friends suffer pain and anguish like I’d never thought possible. The raw emotion took on an almost living form and it was an easy step for me to visualize it just that way, as a spirit. And thus, I made BEATRYSEL.
E: This is your debut novel. What has been the best part of the experience and what has been the most terrifying part for you?
J: Seeing it done has been the best part of it. I started my writing career late. Then I made the mistake of seeking publication in the traditional way of having a great book and seeking an agent. That way lies madness. Thus, I got an even later start. Once I went straight to publishers and editors I got picked up in short order and for multiple titles and have kicked myself ever since.
And so finally, after trying to get published for so long, seeing my book in print was a life-affirming event, an unparalleled thrill. But now, of course, it’s out there. And anyone can see it. That’s the terrifying part right there. I’m exposed. Or rather, my baby is exposed and there’s nothing I can do now. It’s like sending a kid to college, really. I know because I did that this year too. I’m all worry and powerlessness now. I can only hope that I did a good enough job that my baby can succeed on its own.
E: You’re also in the process of releasing another novel. Well done, Sir! What is the title and what can you tell us about it?
J: “Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.”
ELEANOR begins a young adult paranormal trilogy. It’s a story about a young girl growing up as inconspicuously as possible in a small Wyoming town.
ELEANOR is a very different book and very different experience than BEATRYSEL. Where BEATRYSEL is terrifying, ELEANOR is emotional; where love drives people to madness in BEATRYSEL, it redeems them in ELEANOR.
E: Today is also the cover reveal. Well, don’t just sit there! Show it to us, man! How did you choose this cover?
J: The cover reveal is early. My publisher’s catalog is set far in advance. ELEANOR will not be released for months still. I’m looking at the summer in fact. That’s alright though. Eleanor is patient.
E: How was the process for this new book different from the first one? Did you learn anything from the first book that made it easier with this new one?
J: I was more disciplined with ELEANOR. I wrote BEATRYSEL before I made writing a career and so it was took years to write. With ELEANOR, I made it my life’s work to see the story through and worked diligently and straight on until the third book was done. It was intense but wonderful.
I tend not to censor myself in regard to theme and language in my stories, and knowing I wanted ELEANOR to be for young adults I struggled for a while on how to “dumb it down,” so to speak. Then I realized the only change I needed to make was to curtail my potty mouth. Young adults are more than capable of handling the big themes of love and change, fear, belonging and loneliness, life and death as are adults, perhaps more so. Once I realized this, I was free to write ELEANOR as she needed to be written.
I should say that I am not a fan of books that drag it into a series whether you like it or not. Therefor, ELEANOR, the first book in the series is actually a complete stand-alone title. The next two in the series continue the story, and I encourage you to read those too, but the first book, ELEANOR is thematically and structurally complete.
I’m not sure why I felt I needed to mention that.
E: What are you currently working on?
J: I’m in edits with another literary horror called WHAT IMMORTAL HAND and I’m shopping a mystery thriller called THE BRAND DEMAND. As of today, I am 15,000 words into a book I know only as XANDER, a near future dystopia of haves and have-nots inspired by my recent readings of THE HUNGER GAMES, and Howard Zinn’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.
E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc., that you’d like to share with us?
J: I wish I did. I’ll be at Wordharvest, The 2013 Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference in Santa Fe from the 7th to the 10th of this month. After that, I’m back in hermit mode. I’ll be lining up book signings for BEATRYSEL but I haven’t yet. I’ll have to wait until Spring for ELEANOR events. I’ll keep you posted.