TQ: Describe Deadworld in 140 characters or less.
J.N.: Struggling FBI agent gets caught up in centuries-old conflict between two vampires.
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
J.N.: I'm a big plotter. I'll work out my story for several weeks before I actually start writing, and if things go according to plan, I'll have a chapter by chapter breakdown of the whole thing before word one gets on the page. Conversely, I do little, other than broad stroke characterization before I start, working that out as the story goes on the page. The drawback to that is I end up editing a lot of dialogue in my stories.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
J.N.: The bulk of my reading has come from fantasy and thrillers. A couple of my favorite authors/books is G.R.R.M.'s Ice and Fire Saga and King's Dark Tower series. The best writer I've read in the past year or so though, is Tana French. Wonderful, wonderful mystery writer.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?
J.N.: Given my above quirk, I'm totally a plotter. That said, often my plotting for a chapter will be something like, "investigates crime scene and sees ghost." This obviously leaves a fair bit to the imagination, so in some ways, I pants my way through, but I always know the general direction things are heading. I'll also "plot" my characterization out to some degree, designating points in the story where significant emotional develop points or conflicts arise. This is far more up in the air compared to the physical action of the story, but I still have clear goals in mind for the development of my characters. I am not the sort who can sit down at a starting point and then "see what happens." My brain doesn't function well that way.
TQ: What inspired you to write Deadworld?
J.N.: Deadworld was my "break" from writing a fantasy novel, which I had just finished after three years (and which I still plan on doing something with in the future). I went from third person epic, to first person thriller. Basically I wanted to do something different, and being a fan of the paranormal and big thriller reader, I wanted to write a paranormal thriller (which honestly, is what a lot of urban fantasy is, in my opinion). To that end, I am fond of vampire stories. I think they make cool villains, and so I went at it with the thought, "How can I take the vampire story in a little different direction?" What I ended up with, based on other favorite characters I've loved to read, is something along the lines of (and please don't take this as a literal blend because it's not) Eve Dallas meets Roland the Gunslinger. But it all started with the vampire character and his backstory, and where it might end up in present day.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Deadworld?
J.N.: Honestly, not a whole lot. I looked up and got some general info about the FBI and how it's structured and operates, kinds of crimes they investigate, how they interact with local authorities and such. But I didn't want to get too detailed, because for one, it's so easy to get that stuff wrong, but also the story isn't about the FBI. I just wanted enough to make the elements feel legit. The nice thing about the paranormal end is that there really are no set rules. I'm free to create however I want as long as the rules are consistent. It was, and still is, a lot of fun developing how the living and dead aspects interact in my stories.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?
J.N.: Hmmm, tough one. I love the turning point in the middle of the book, very intense scene, at least it was to write it. Piano scene between Nick and Jackie was fun to write. And I loved the sequence in the funeral home. Hopefully readers find that one as dramatic as I did.
TQ: How many books are planned for the Deadworld series?
J.N.: I am contracted for three books right now. Beyond that all depends on the readers. I'd love to keep writing it though. The series is heading in a very intriguing direction, I think.
TQ: What's next?
J.N.: Next up is The Vengeful Dead. It'll be out in October, and I'm just starting into book three, which I'm tentatively titling The Lingering Dead.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery
J.N.: It was great being here, and really glad to answer questions and talk about the book and being a writer. This is fun stuff.
About J.N.'s Books
Jackie Rutledge has seen her share of supernatural killers. But her latest murder case is what recurring nightmares are made of. Brutally exsanguinated human victims, vanishing-into-the-ether evidence, and a city on the edge of panic mean that she and her psychic partner, Laurel, are going to need more than just backup …
So Jackie is fine with any help rugged P.I. Nick Anderson can give—even if that includes the impish ghost and sexy vampire who make up his team. But Nick is hiding secrets of his own. And Jackie’s investigation has plunged them both into a vengeful game reaching back centuries—and up against a malevolent force hungry for more than just victory…
Look for The Vengeful Dead in October 2011.
J.N. Duncan is a father of four and an aspiring teacher, living in Ohio. He's got as many pets as kids, and a partner who is published as well (romance author Tracy Madison). He's a big fantasy gamer, sf/f geek, lover of astronomy, and generally scores pretty high on the nerd scale, if one were to measure such things.
What: One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Deadworld.
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What kind of supernatural help would you like on your investigative team?
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