The Avid Reader Interview
“Black Veil” by Greg Jolley
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.