A Life Through Books: Greg Jolley Interview



“Black Veil” by Greg Jolley

What is the hardest part of writing your books?
For Black Veil as with all off the Danser novels, it’s the work with my private editor before the book goes to my publisher. We have an amazing relationship based on a lot of trust and she is a true professional when it comes to grammar and punctuation. We always go through a book three times before either of us is satisfied and while the work is not hard, it is often humbling and a challenge because I treat punctuation as the song’s rhythm section, which is often breaks a lot of rules.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?

For this write, it was Los Lonely Boys and The Hellecasters.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I don’t work with beta readers (and I stay a million miles away from writing and critique groups), but I did work closely on Black Veil with my two favorite partners in crime. The first is the brilliant professional editor, Nicki Kuzn, who corrects my abuse of grammar and punctuation rules. The second is Robert Jolley, who is amazingly gifted at continuity edits. I love it when he says, “The gun was in the glove box. How did it get on the kitchen table?”

What book are you reading now?

Candide by Voltaire and The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montello (a Mary Shelley – Frankenstein study)

How did you start your writing career?

Like most of the best adventures, with a dare. Having a deep love of language and word play and stories since I was a child, and being a constant reader, I simple said to myself, “Why don’t you write one?” That was the spark for Distractions, published about two years later.

Tell us about your next release.

The next novel is Thieves, a Molly and April Danser story. It is scheduled for release by Épouvantail Books in December of this year. The sisters have lived a life of crime, mostly thefts from those they believe deserve it the most – social vultures such as 1-800 lawyers.  Things turn dark and twisted when an innocent man dies and an ex US Marshal decides that he has to put them down, permanently. Thieves is more of a roller coaster than Black Veil, which is actually more like a haunted house ride.






The Avid Reader Interview

lack veil ember copy

The Avid Reader Interview

“Black Veil” by Greg Jolley



  1. For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start? There are many brilliant non-fiction titles that tell the tragic story of the Donner party. For a similar fictional book, you could do no better than enjoy The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West.


  1. How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book? I joined the Broken Television Film Company to both learn the craft and art of movie making and to research Black Veil. I was always interested in the tragic story of the Donner party and wanted to research it and retell it from a movie perspective. The themes of greed and evil are recurring in a few of my books, as well as exploring the light and darks sides of all of us.


  1. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?  

My goal with each Danser novel is always the same: Grinning with amusement and satisfaction while typing those two fine words, “The End.” I find each journey, each write, to be an adventure. I also love the fact that while I do miles of research and believe I know where the book is headed, the road is always full of surprises and the cast and events always take over. The writing is often like constructing a roller coaster while you’re riding it, hoping to get enough track laid out to support the journey to the end.


  1. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans? As always, write to me and let me know your thoughts and reactions, as well as questions. I always learn so much from readers and have a tough hide for those who want to take me to task for why this or any of my novels don’t work for them.


  1. What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Building the skeleton while doing the research, months before the start of Black Veil. The skeleton is somewhat like a badly disfigured outline where ingredients such as the locations, cast, motivations and passions play off each other. I will typically have ten to fifteen thousand words of the skeleton and ingredients before I type a single page of a novel. Such was the case with Black Veil. Because this effort is unstructured, I delight in letting imagination and facts run riot.


  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future? The next novel is about Molly and April Danser and is titled, Thieves. It is scheduled for release in December of this year. The sisters have lived a life of crime, mostly thefts from those they believe deserve it the most – social vultures such as 1-800 lawyers. Things turn dark and twisted when an innocent man dies and an ex US Marshal decides that he has to put them down, permanently. Thieves is more of a roller coaster than Black Veil, which is actually more like a haunted house ride.


  1. How long have you been writing? Oh, jeez. Since 1984. That’s when Distractions was published, the very first Danser novel. It also began my love of passionate eccentrics who have little regard for social norms and laws.


  1. Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in (Please insert name of book here)? In Black Veil, Film producer Florentino Urbino is a very dark man driven by jealousy, madness and rage, determined to ascend his second-rate status within the movie company filming the Donner Party story. Opposite him is six-year-old SeaBee Danser in her first acting role, up against tremendous odds, but also determined to win out in the end, albeit her motivation is to simply survive and lead the others to safety.


  1. If you could spend the day with one of the characters from (Please insert name of book here) who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do. It certainly wouldn’t be with “Flor” Florentino – laugh. I have to go with SeaBee Danser, enjoying that strong and smart-assed little girl. I imagine lots of surprises from her as well as much shared laughter. I think I’d take her surfing followed by an ice cream lunch.




Ten Things You Didn’t know about “Black Veil”


Rainy Day Reviews

Published 7/8/2020

 Ten Things You Didn’t know about

Black Veil by Greg Jolley

lack veil ember copy

  1. The book was started while on the set of Broken Television’s filming of “Memoirs of Wroth City” where I learned so much about the behind-the-scenes magic.

  2. Justin Diemert is both a brilliant film director and an inspiring couch in the art of movie making.

  3. Because I didn’t yet see the theme of Black Veil, the dull and simple working title was “The Movie Book” during the first draft.

  4. There was a struggle to tell the Donner Story respectfully, all the while knowing how such events are often treated in films.

  5. Yes, I researched the gruesome details and effects of eating human flesh and the mental and emotional and spiritual impacts of doing so.

  6. For Black Veil, the use of alternating storylines was taken on as a creative challenge and to share the good and evil behind the player’s veils.

  7. The brilliant cover artist, Fay Lane, actually let me have a small voice with the amazing cover design.

  8. Unlike the cast in Black Veil, without exception I’ve found that actors and actresses are hardworking and dedicated to their art and craft.

  9. Black Veil is another of my ‘slender’ novels. I don’t worry about word counts with any of the writes, but they always seem to end themselves at around 60,000.

  10. I truly enjoy hearing reader’s thoughts and questions about Black Veil or any of the Danser novels. Engaging with readers is one of my main motivations.

All the best,