Jeremy Robinson is the author of several bestselling thrillers. His Jack Sigler / Chess Team novels from Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press) have earned him legions of voracious fans. Now he is becoming a huge name in e-books and self publishing (after initially making a name for himself with self publishing and small press publishing before getting noticed by St. Martin’s). He’s got a tremendous output of new material and the latest is a series of Chess Team novellas with co-authors.
Jeremy graciously took the time to answer a few questions about this series of novellas.
What is the Chesspocalypse?
The Chesspocalypse is my fun name for a group of novellas taking place in the Jack Sigler / Chess Team series universe. Each novella is co-written by a different author and follows a single member of Chess Team: King, Queen, Knight, Bishop, Rook and Deep Blue. Each book is titled for the team member it follows—CALLSIGN: KING, CALLSIGN: QUEEN, etc. Like the Chess Team novels, the books feature fast pacing, ancient myths, modern weapons and the coolest creatures imaginable.
Do you want to discuss the change of series title on the Thomas Dunne hardcovers from “Chess Team” to “Jack Sigler”?
The reason for the change is that “Chess Team” conjures images of pocket-protector nerds hanging out at chess club. And bookstore buyers were pointing that out. So, to help sell the series, the publisher switched it from “A Chess Team Adventure” to “A Jack Sigler Thriller,” which is actually how I wanted it from the beginning! So, I totally support the change for that reason, but it’s also created some confusion for readers and even some ire from the hardcore Chess Team fans. My solution on future novels will be to put “A Jack Sigler Thriller” on the cover, but in online bookstores use “A Jack Sigler / Chess Team Thriller”. That way people searching for Chess Team will still find them.
How did you come up with the idea to do these novellas and why use co-authors?
The idea for the novellas was actually not my own. I was doing an interview with David Wood for his Thrillercast podcast and he brought up another author that was doing novellas and asked if I’d considered doing something like that. My answer was, “I am now!” And a few weeks later I signed on my team of co-authors, which included David, who co-wrote CALLSIGN: QUEEN.
All of the authors I selected are guys that I have read and provided blurbs to, so I knew I would like what they wrote. I also picked guys I thought could benefit from teaming up with me. I wanted the books to be mutually beneficial, and so far, that’s working out.
What was the experience like working with co-authors? Would you consider doing it again with any of your other properties?
The experience has been great. I think, in part, because I chose the right co-authors. The books have all come out great and the authors have all been professional. I’ve already signed Sean Ellis to write a second King book titled CALLSIGN: KING — UNDERWORLD and hope there will be more for all the characters. As for other properties, I’d be open to it if the right authors are interested. THE LAST HUNTER series definitely has potential, but I’m very protective of that world and probably won’t consider it until after the five book series is complete. But I’d be open to doing novellas for any of my books with these authors or with other established authors. There are time travel options for THE DIDYMUS CONTINGENCY. The Aeros could return in RAISING THE PAST. The creatures from BENEATH could reach Earth. The possibilities are endless.
Do you plan to do more than the original five novellas for the Jack Sigler / Chess Team series?
The Chesspocalypse originally had just five books, but I recently expanded it to include CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE. Deep Blue is the team’s handler and his solo book is different from the others in that the danger he’s facing is in his own backyard. There will also be CALLSIGN: KING — UNDERWORLD and potentially more books for the other characters, though I don’t think those will come out until after the fourth novel.
If I’m going to do more novellas after the second CALLSIGN: KING book, they’d take place between books 4 and 5, yes. The challenge will be co-authors at that point. I suspect my current roster of co-authors will be so successful that by that point, doing a collaboration with me won’t be as enticing. So we’ll have to wait and see!
When can we expect Jack Sigler / Chess Team Book 4? Does it have a title yet?
I’m hoping the fourth Chess Team novel, tentatively titled THE RAGNAROK AGENDA, or possibly just RAGNAROK, to stick with the single word titles in the Chess Team novels, will be out in summer 2012. It’s off from the typical spring release because Thomas Dunne didn’t opt to continue the series. They signed me for two stand alone novels instead. So the writing of RAGNAROK is delayed while I write those other books. I’m also hoping to find a publisher willing to publish the hardcover edition of RAGNAROK who will let me retain the e-book rights. If Book 4 comes out in paperback first, I know I’m going to hear about it from the hardcover readers!
Yeah, I’ll be one of those readers giving him a hard time. Thanks Jeremy, for the great info.
Coming up next, I’ll try to get a hold of the co-authors of each Chesspocalypse novella to tell us a little about the experience of working with Jeremy Robinson and bringing the Chess Team characters to life in their own individual adventures!