March 3, 2022 – A Life Through Books – Interview
March 10, 2022 – The Avid Reader – Interview
March 18, 2022 – My Reading Addiction – Interview
A LIFE THROUGH BOOKS INTERVIEW
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
First of all, thank you for the interview. Recently, it has been the second draft before the books go to my editor and then on to the publisher. While I am confident I have discovered and told the story well in the first draft, there’s always a bit of over writing that needs to be trimmed, as well as adding additional color. The second draft also focuses on adjusting rhythm and pace by revising each chapter and paragraph as a stand-alone.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
For the “Where’s Kazu?” write, it was all Steely Dan, in particular their live recordings. They always got my blood running, even at 5AM, when I start. I enjoyed the spark of their complex melodies. As always, I don’t have a clue what their songs are about or listen to the lyrics. Also, The Hellecasters, of course!
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
As close as I come to that is working closely with my hired editor before the book goes to my publisher. We typically go through the manuscript three times, passing it back and forth. This is vital for two reasons. First off, I write by using punctuation as a drum kit which often needs a clean-up. Secondly, there are always a few continuity issues that get pointed out and fixed. I can’t say enough about the importance of working with an editor who is professional and who you can trust.
What book are you reading now?
All non-fiction. I’m finishing up the research of the Bath Michigan School Massacre 0f 1926 which will play a key role in the fourth Chas Danser novel. With rare exception, I don’t read fiction, unless it is Elmore Leonard or Stephen King and a few others, which I do with a pen in hand. I’m not focused on their stories, but love studying their creative formatting and structures.
How did you start your writing career?
On a typewriter on a deck in the sun. I also had a cigar box of large index cards at my side, filled with what I still call Ingredients. These included character notes, motivation sketches, bits and pieces of dialogue and details on locations, as well as ideas about theme and structure.
I’d love to. The next title is “Molly’s Run: Book Two of the Maison de Danse Quartet.”
It is being released April 1st of this year. This was a really fun Danser novel to write, like building a fast paced roller coaster ride through a haunted house. Here’s is its description (blurb):
Nothing’s slowing this girl down. Not the law, not her crimes, not her ugly and checkered past.
Molly Danser is a master thief, sharp as a razor and with no boundaries, racking in riches with her brilliant, high-tech bank hits.
Fighting her private demons, she and her partner, Alison, depart the Isle of Mann for Florida in search of new targets. Little do they know that they’ve pinged the radar of the one person who can bring them down.
Known only as Hillary, their pursuer has a twisted and deadly ending planned for them. Her black heart is set on revenge and nothing short of their horrific deaths will satisfy her.
When Molly learns of the pursuit, she and Alison go on the run.
From the St. Augustine to North Captiva Island, they do their devil best to escape. When finally cornered, Molly see’s that there’s only one way out.
No more running.
It time to turn the table.
Time for the hunted to be the hunter.
Can she take down the monster?
Can she survive?
Name: Nancy Allen
Blog: The Avid Reader
Fiction Author Interview Questions
Interview with Greg Jolley
- How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
Hello Nancy and thank you for asking. I appreciate your time and the interview. For “Where’s Kazu?” I was delighted to be working with Pierce and Kazu Danser again as well as explore the lives of pre-teen street kids. Sometimes, I want a break from adult concerns and, while Pierce is a grown man, he’s most often a kid at heart.
The theme of risking all to survive was a natural choice. It allowed me to explore the choices my characters made and the effects that they would have to somehow live with.
- What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I wanted to describe the lives of street kids, who have a healthy disdain for the adult world. I also wanted to show the power of love, as Pierce Danser goes through hell and back to rescue Kazu. As always, I’m curious if readers and reviewers believe I achieved the goals. Their feedback and insights are very important to me.
- What was the hardest part of writing this book?
For “Where’s Kazu?” it was the first round of edits with my private editor. There are always a number of punctuation issues that she corrects because of the way I often break the rules in favor of pace and energy. I love working with a professional editor before the book goes to my publisher, as it’s a chance to improve the reader’s experience of the story.
- What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
When I stopped plotting and scheming and turned the reins of the story over to Pierce and Kazu Danser. After months of research and sketching, it’s a great experience to look at the first blank page and dive in without hesitation.
- Where there alternate endings you considered?
Always. With “Where’s Kazu?” I was fairly certain I knew where it was headed, but just like the prior Danser novels, the cast took control and told the story their way, including the final ending.
- Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I had worked with Pierce and Kazu on a few books, so this was a chance to further explore their minds and hearts.
A lot of the kids that I cast for “Where’s Kazu?” were Ponce Inlet and Flagler Beach surfers, some of the finest small lunatics in North Florida. Being around them every day, in and out of the water, I watched and listened and learned so much about the magical and strange pre-teen world.
- What genre of books do you enjoy reading?
Almost a hundred percent non-fiction, for research, most dealing with current and historical true crimes. These days, I only read select fiction, primarily Elmore Leonard and Stephen King, and I do so with a fine tipped pen. I love the ways these two writers experiment with structure and that’s where I learn so much. I often have no clue what their stories are about: it’s the ways they build them that I’m inspired by.
MY READING ADDICTION INTERVIEW
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
Stay young, no matter your age. And avoid adults and their antics like the plague (laughter).
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Seeing the first set of red-marked revisions from my private editor. This is always a good and humbling experience. During the write of “Where’s Kazu?” and the other Danser novels, I play fast and loose with punctuation, treating it like a drum kit. By working with my editor before my publisher gets the book, together we enhance the story and the reader’s experience.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
If my math is right, and it’s usually suspect, thirty-one Danser novels have been finished. “Where’s Kazu?” is the fourteenth title published, with the others in queue. The main reason my publisher is launching four titles this year and another four in 2023 is to get more of the collection in reader’s hands. Each book is very much like a daughter to me and I wouldn’t dare name a favorite without risking death at the hands of the others.
If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
I have a love and appreciation of film, but am dreadful with actor’s names. From my time on movie sets, I’ve developed a deep respect for the hard work and artistry and craft of the acting profession. Given a chance to have a say on casting, I would focus more on an actor’s creativity and skills than their name, looking for those rare and fine creators who delight in surprises and twists as well as their ability to full immerse themselves in their role.
When did you begin writing?
Not long after I bought a stack of index cards and a stash of number two pencils. I spent months writing details and sketches without concern for the book’s theme, genre or structure. I pretty much work the same way today. Back then, I didn’t go and buy a pawnshop typewriter until the Ingredients, as I still call them, were screaming at me to get off my ass.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
I want to say I probably did ten or eleven drafts, so it would have been two years or more. Thankfully, I’m now writing with more confidence and don’t have to struggle with the kinds of issues I had way back then. Writing seven days a week, it seems I average about seven hundred words each morning. I’ve also learned how to write more direct and concise so fewer revisions are needed.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
Yes, quite a few (and they are the same inspirations today). Here they are:
Peter S. Beagle
Neil Young song lyrics
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
After the first half hour or so of each morning, spent reviewing and revising the past day’s write, the immersion begins and the real world around me takes flight. I love entering the story and the lives of my cast and the challenges they face. I always stay among them for four to six hours, by which time the sun is up and the surf is calling to me. I believe in spending some time in the real world (laughter) so I’ll head to Ponce Inlet for a few waves. Throughout the day, I weave in and out of the book, scribbling notes no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
The hunt is on
Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
I’m halfway through the write of “Audience of the Dead” (w.t.), which is the fourth
Chas Danser novel. All of the Chas Danser books have the filming of a movie as their centerpiece, which lets me tell a second story for the reader, often in different voice, structure and color. These “films” are also a great opportunity to tell a secondary story in a cinematic style, meaning brevity of pace and voice. It is a hell of a challenge and also a lot of fun.