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.
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!