I’d like to welcome the wonderful J.N. Duncan to my blog! He graciously agreed to do an interview with me. His debut novel Deadworld hits shelves April 2011. Here’s the blurb from his blog:
She’s as tough as anything haunting Chicago’s streets. But to deal with an inhuman power that won’t stay buried, this FBI agent needs help that comes at an immortal price…
Jackie Rutledge has seen her share of supernatural killers. But her latest murder case is what recurring nightmares are made of. Brutally exsanguinated human victims, vanishing-into-the-ether evidence, and a city on the edge of panic mean that she and her psychic partner, Laurel, are going to need more than just backup …
So Jackie is fine with any help rugged P.I. Nick Anderson can give—even if that includes the impish ghost and sexy vampire who make up his team. But Nick is hiding secrets of his own. And Jackie’s investigation has plunged them both into a vengeful game reaching back centuries—and up against a malevolent force hungry for more than just victory…
When did you decide you were going to be a writer?
My grandmother was a mystery author and published three novels while she was alive. They aren't in print any more, but it was seeing her writing when I visited her in the summers of my youth that inspired me. It was all type written, with white out and everything. Ah, the days of old (lol). I was fourteen when I decided to write my first novel. Thanks to my grandmother, who was in a writing group with well-known children's author Eve Bunting, I got some of my first written material critiqued. Eve said the writing had promise and to keep at it, which I did.
As a debut author, how awesome was it when agent Nathan Bransford offered representation for Deadworld?
Oh, it was very exciting. Nathan was one of my top two or three agents, and I had been shopping Deadworld around for over a year. He actually rejected my first query for the book. I got offered a deal from Kensington and went back to him to see if he would take a second look (which isn't an automatic yes, as some might think), but he really liked my story/writing, and we both already knew we'd work well together from interactions we'd had through his blog.
What inspired Deadworld?
Deadworld was inspired by something pretty simple, actually. I'd just finished up editing my first novel, an epic fantasy, and wanted to do something completely different, as much to give me fresh eyes on the fantasy as anything else. Fantasies and thrillers are my two main genres for reading, so I decided to do my other love. The only thing was, what sort of thriller? At the time, there was a fair amount of stuff in the blogosphere about people being tired of vampires versus vampires always being around. I like vampires, from campy to creepy, I think they can be great villains. I thought people were tired of them because it was too much of the same thing. So, I decided to come up with something different, a subtler, and in some ways maybe more menacing kind of vampire, very removed from the gothic mythos which is more typical.
Your blog touches on the paranormal, and Deadworld has its fair share of ghosts and vampires, but have you ever had a paranormal experience?
Nope, not that I'm aware of anyway. I'm a skeptic, and tend to believe that 99.9% of what people claim as paranormal experiences are likely explainable by things we understand. However, there's always that one tiny percentage of really weird shit that can't really be explained. I do believe there is stuff out there that we just don't have a grasp on yet and maybe never will, except for a few select people.
Can you shed a little light on Deadworld 2 (which will come out October 2011)?
Hmm, this is tough without being spoilery for number one. It's more ghost than vampire in book two, and it's a real emotional struggle for Jackie, dealing with the aftermath of book one. There's also a very intriguing paranormal element introduced that will continue over into book three and perhaps beyond.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep at it. That's the best advice really. The only way to get better and to get anything finished is to write regularly. Also, be humble. When it comes to writing, there's always room to improve, in every aspect of your writing. And read, in and out of your genre. There's no magic formula. It's mostly persistence, dedication, and creativity. You have those, you're ahead of the game compared to most others.
I’m a lover of random and weird facts… Is there something strange people don’t know about you?
I'm a fairly mundane, family guy for the most part. Kind of boring really. Plus, I can never think of things like this when people ask. I have a sieve-like memory. Lol. There's you a random fact.
Deadworld hits shelves April 5, 2011.
You can find Jim on Twitter @jimnduncan and at his blog Writing in the Dark. If you have any questions for him, you can contact him through his blog!
EDIT: Jim is now represented by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown LTD