Archive for November, 2011
Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Today, the fourth installment of the Chesspocalypse micro-interviews! David McAfee is the bestselling horror author of the Bachiyr Series (33 A.D. and 61 A.D.) of vampires in Biblical times, THE DEAD WOMAN (Book 4 in Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin’s Dead Man Series), and a truckload of short stories. He’s now also the co-author of the new installment in the Chesspocalypse Series with Jeremy Robinson, CALLSIGN: BISHOP.
Kane Gilmour: David, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us how you got involved in the project with Jeremy and did you pick Bishop or was he offered to you?
David McAfee: Thanks for having me, Kane.
I’ve known Jeremy for a few years now, ever since I submitted a novel to his independent publisher, Breakneck Books, back in 2006. As a fan, I’ve read just about everything he’s put out, so when he approached me with the idea of doing a novella in his Chesspocalypse Series I was thrilled. I’d never written a thriller before, and the project turned out to be more fulfilling and challenging than I’d anticipated, but working with Jeremy was a real pleasure.
I chose the character Bishop because I thought he was the most interesting of the Chess Team members. His latent anger issues, combined with everything he’d just gone through (The Hydra stuff, the regeneration, etc.) made him a perfect target for exploration, in my opinion. That and his lack of knowledge about his biological parents gave me plenty of gray space to work with, and that’s the way I like it.
Kane Gilmour: As the series editor, I’ve been working on all the books. They all seem to be going for a similar approach to the non-stop action in the Jack Sigler / Chess Team full length novels—all except your installment, which focuses heavily on character development, espionage, foreign culture, and far more than the others, delves into the personality of the main character. Was this a conscious choice on your part? How much of that approach did you hammer out with Jeremy before beginning?
David McAfee: As a predominantly horror writer, I love getting inside people’s heads and tinkering. For me, Erik’s personality was far too fascinating not to explore. I couldn’t help but try and dig in there and bring a few things to the surface. As I mentioned, I’d never written an over-the-top action thriller before, so I had a nice learning curve ahead of me while working on the project. Thankfully, Jeremy was there to help with the action sequences and keep the whole thing from turning into a study of Bishop’s psyche.
I love the final result, though. I think it works very well. Hopefully readers will, too.
Kane Gilmour: The details about Iran in this story really bring the setting to life—almost as a character in the story. Have you been to Iran or to that part of the world? Was your decision to set the story there tied only to Bishop’s origins or do you have a fondness for that part of the world (parts of the Bachiyr Series are also set in the Middle East)?
David McAfee: As a matter of fact, I have spent some time in the Middle East, but not in Iran. My family was stationed in Turkey back in the 80’s. That, like most of my childhood, was a great learning experience, but it’s not why the story is set there. The primary reason for the setting was because Iran is the country of Bishop’s birth, and given the fact that we were exploring his origins, it made sense. It also worked out that relations between Iran and the West aren’t great, which lends a nice air of credibility to the espionage and terrorist parts of the story.
I did a lot of research on Iran while I was writing because I wanted the setting to feel authentic. Things like climate, cities, highways, etc. are details that seem small, but they help to put the reader in the scene, so I consider them important. I also think my experience living in Turkey helped to prepare me for writing a story populated by Muslims.
Kane Gilmour: What’s next for David McAfee? More books in the Bachiyr Series? What does 2012 look like for you and your fans at this point?
David McAfee: At present I’m working on a number of projects, including the next Bachiyr book. I’m also trying to make the rest of my books available in print for those readers who don’t have a Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader. Some people prefer paper, and I want them to be able to read my work, as well. Additionally, I just signed with an NYC literary agent, who is pitching my projects to several publishers. We’ll see how that goes.
Thanks, and here’s hoping we’ll see you in the Chess Team universe again!
In other Chess Team related news, the first draft of CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE is done and it’s on Jeremy’s desk for revisions right now!
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
So, I actually had someone ask me about why I hadn’t mentioned this on my blog yet. It’s not top secret or anything, I just hadn’t had the time yet, and wanted to get the first three micro-interviews with the other Chesspocalypse authors up first. That’s right—other.
Jeremy Robinson, one of the coolest, hippest, most soft-spoken, and kindest authors out there, did me a supremely cool solid. He offered me the chance to write a novella of my own in the Chesspocalypse series. Well, actually, I suggested to him that he do a Deep Blue novella for the series, and he asked if I’d like to co-author. I was thrilled.
First and foremost, I’m a big fan of all the work Jeremy has done in the past and the great stuff he’s putting out now—as himself, as horror author Jeremy Bishop, and even as his humor book pen names of Kutyuso Deep and Ike Onsoomyu. I started e-mailing with him some time ago, and that turned into a beta-reading gig. That led to me doing some freelance editing for Jeremy, almost one year ago, for his works published by his Breakneck Media imprint. I think we’re at about 14 projects now, that I’ve worked with him on. It’s an absolute joy. He’s funny, witty, and probably the single best person I’ve ever known for accepting criticism. As an editor, I really couldn’t ask for more. I love to see him succeed, and I love to watch him grow and push himself as an author.
At the same time a year ago, I finished up the first draft of my first thriller RERSURRECT (to be released soon), and Jeremy has been a phenomenal mentor in all things publishing and self-publishing. When I asked him if he could turn me on to his beta readers, because I was having trouble finding people, he offered to read the book himself. When he finished it and loved it, he offered me a stellar blurb, which I’ll be revealing on this blog shortly. He introduced me to people in the industry, offered critical feedback on the story, and even showed me a barrel full of Photoshop tricks so I could put together the cover for RESURRECT, which again, I’ll be revealing on this blog shortly.
So after the man had given me so much (and given me a job!) already, I really wasn’t expecting to be given a shot at contributing to his awesome Chess Team universe. It was a double compliment. First, it meant that he thought I knew his stories and his style well enough that I could contribute to the series effectively. He was trusting me with his universe. It also spoke of how much he liked my writing in RESURRECT. In addition to giving me a chance to play with his characters, the offer to do the novella exposes me to all of his fans—right around the time I’m releasing my own work. A new author couldn’t hope for much more.
So, I’m having a blast finishing up this story. We’ll have a story description up here and on Jeremy’s site once the book is done in a few weeks. For now, make with the clicky on that pic, and feast your peepers on that glorious cover artwork (also by Jeremy, if you are curious—he does all of his own covers except for those on his hardcovers from Thomas Dunne). If you are a Chess Team fan and you’ve wanted to see Tom Duncan, former President of the US and handler for the team, get into some action himself, CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE is going to be the place!
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
Today I’ve got the third in my series of micro-interviews with the co-authors for Jeremy Robinson’s Chesspocalypse novella series.
Edward G. Talbot is the thriller-author duo of Ed Parrot and Jason Derrig. As Edward G. Talbot, they have authored NEW WORLD ORDERS, ALIVE FROM NEW YORK, and 2012: THE FIFTH WORLD. They are also the co-authors with Jeremy Robinson of the third Chesspocalypse novella, CALLSIGN: ROOK.
Kane: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. How did you get involved with the project?
Edward G. Talbot: Funny you should ask. Several years ago, Jeremy was promoting ANTARKTOS RISING and KRONOS and I bought both of the books directly from him in a special offer. I enjoyed them, and when PULSE came out, I read it and realized that it was truly a top thriller. We began corresponding via email, and somewhere along the line, I started doing a little beta reading for him and he offered to read one of my books and give me feedback if I gave him enough lead time. Fast forward to this past April and I sent Jeremy my novel 2012: THE FIFTH WORLD, to read before publication. A few days later, he asked me if I was interested in co-authoring the Rook novella. From my standpoint, it came out of the blue, but I didn’t waste any time saying yes. The dude is my favorite character of the Chess team.
Kane: CALLSIGN: ROOK might become one of the more pivotal novellas in the series, because it focuses on a character that was separated from the rest of the team at the end of the last full-length novel in the Jack Sigler / Chess Team series. As a result, were you given strict limitations on what needed to happen in the story and where and how to begin and end it? How much of the next full-length novel in the series, RAGNAROK, were you privy to?
Edward G. Talbot: I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. The answer is that Jeremy told me some of the very high-level plot, because we needed to lay the groundwork for the next book. There’s definitely some foreshadowing in CALLSIGN: ROOK, and while it is a self-contained set of action, we left plenty of things dangling to whet the reader’s appetite for Ragnarok. Having the limitations actually helped me focus, so it wasn’t a problem at all. A couple of times I had good ideas that I couldn’t use because of what was coming up, but I just wound up taking a little more time and coming up with better ideas.
Kane: So you guys are already a writing team with two authors making up the Talbot pseudonym. I’ve heard of other author teams (like Russell Andrews) where the first part of the author name comes from one author and the surname from another. Where did the Talbot part of your author name come from? How does the work break down between you two normally? What was it like collaborating with a third author (and an editor) to make CALLSIGN: ROOK a book that actually had four people working on it?
Edward G. Talbot: Heh, some good questions. I’ll start by saying that it’s Ed Parrot answering these questions. The Talbot name comes from the pen name Jason created for himself before either of us started writing the first book: J.C. Talbot.
Now, the other half of Edward G. Talbot, Jason Derrig, likes to keep a low profile. He also sometimes lacks motivation. Did I say that out loud? Truth is, Jason and I have been best friends for over twenty years, but I’m the more active member of writing partnership. I do most of the writing, as well as the public stuff. Where Jason shines is in plots. He’s constantly coming up with brain dumps of either large-scale ideas or small twists. We’ve just started on our third novel, and I’m certain that any day now, I’ll get an e-mail from Jason with the perfect idea for our next book after that. Jason’s also very good at big picture editing and identifying inconsistencies, so being able to bounce chapters off him as they’re written is really critical. I honestly feel like the process we have results in work that we’re both proud of, that neither of us could produce on our own.
As for adding Jeremy to the mix, actually CALLSIGN: ROOK was pretty much me and Jeremy. It felt a little odd, not having Jason read every chapter as soon as I wrote it, but I pestered Jeremy enough during the process that it worked out fine. Jason did some beta reading, and I got an idea or two from him, but that’s it. I basically wrote the first draft, with a fair amount of correspondence with Jeremy. After that, Jeremy made a bunch of changes to fill in Chess Team details, as well as some editing. Then it went to the editor, who came back with some questions and Jeremy and I reworked and added and removed some things together. I can’t speak for Jeremy, but I felt like it went pretty smoothly; I think we all knew exactly what needed to be done and who was the best person to do each thing.
Kane: Without giving us any spoilers, the end of CALLSIGN: ROOK leads directly into the events of the next full-length Jack Sigler / Chess Team novel, RAGNAROK. How much information did you get about what Jeremy plans for that book to ensure you could make this tale fit?
Edward G. Talbot: Really, Ragnarok is mostly going to be new to me when I read it. Jeremy did have to give me quite a few details, but not anything approaching an outline. There are always creatures in Jeremy’s books, and I do know about one of them in RAGNAROK. Obviously, I have a sense of how the small town in Norway where CALLSIGN: ROOK is set will play into the next book, and I know about some motivations. But I couldn’t begin to tell you anything about character interactions or how he plans to get from one point to the next, and there is a lot of the plot I still haven’t been privy to. To be honest, I’m dying to read it, but I’ll have to wait like everyone else—maybe I can talk him into letting me read the draft.
Kane: You’ve recently released 2012: THE FIFTH WORLD back in July and now CALLSIGN: ROOK is out and doing well. What’s next for you?
Edward G. Talbot: I think we’ll probably put out a few short stories in the next several months, but aside from that, we’re working on our third novel. It will take us into next year at some point to get it done. We decided to try our hand at something funny, so the next one is a humorous thriller revolving around a group of inept domestic terrorists convinced that God has chosen them to help fulfill the prophesies in the Book of Revelations. The protagonist is a surfer, and we wanted to call it Surfing the Apocalypse, but wouldn’t you know, a band exists with that name. So we’ll announce the final title once we’re done. We’re both huge Carl Hiaasen fans, and I also love Ludlum’s two funny thrillers, the “Road” books. So that’s sort of the direction the book is going.
Jason’s got loads of ideas, so it’s a question of what we choose to do in the time we have rather than trying to come up with something. Beyond the humorous thriller, we’ve got some ideas for a sequel to 2012 (and in a shocker, the working title is 2013). And we’d like to get out a sequel to our thriller novella, ALIVE FROM NEW YORK, which at 35,000 words is pretty much half a novel. It hasn’t had anywhere near the success that our two novels have had, but in some ways I think it’s our best writing. It’s the first book in our “Terrorist Chronicles,” and we have a decent idea where Books 2 and 3 are going to go.
Thanks for having us on the site!
Thanks, guys. We’ll keep an eye out for the next Talbot book, and here’s hoping we see you back in the Chess Team universe!