Thursday, August 01, 2013

Interview with Jay Posey, author of Three (Legends of the Duskwalker 1) - August 1, 2013

Please welcome Jay Posey to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Three (Legends of the Duskwalker 1) was published on July 30, 2013 in the US/Canada and on August 1, 2013 in the UK by Angry Robot Books.  You may read Jay's Guest Blog - Bad Guys are People too - here and Melanie's review of Three here.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Jay:  Hi, and thank you very much for having me. I’ll take off my shoes and try not to spill anything.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Jay:  Like most of my ilk, I started writing when I was a kid, before I knew it was a “thing” you did. I just always enjoyed making up stories. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s, though, that I decided maybe it was something I wanted to try to do at a more professional level. As far as the why, I’ve just found it’s the way I’ve been able to express myself most effectively, both creatively and also in what should probably be otherwise normal personal interactions. I’m much better looking in text than in real life.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Jay:  I’m not sure if it’s interesting necessarily, but I really have a hard time not editing while I write. That’s a violation of one of the most basic rules of creative writing. Creating and editing are two different jobs and you should never try to do them at the same time, because your Creative Brain is usually very shy and sensitive and your Editing Brain is kind of a jerk, and you have these internal conversations that go something like:
Creative Brain: “Oo oo, an idea! Here I will write it …”

Editing Brain: “Erase that immediately or else everyone will know you are a talentless hack.”

Creative Brain: “Well, it’s not exactly what I want—“

Editing Brain: “It’s terrible.”

Creative Brain: “… but I just thought it was a good start –“

Editing Brain: “You are terrible.”

Creative Brain: “… … … I know.”
And then you end up sitting there staring at a blank page for hours on end feeling miserable and useless. That might just be me, though. It’s terribly inefficient and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jay:  I’m a marginal plotter out of necessity, though it’s so marginal I think most genuine plotters would say I’m a pantser. I plan the major story points ahead of time, so that I always know where I’m trying to get with a story. So I’ll usually figure out the beginning, the ending, and several critical turning points along the way. (That’s usually the only way I can tell whether I have an actual story or just an idea for a story.) But then I leave a lot of space in between those points to enable myself to discover the moment-to-moment drama that always reveals itself over time.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Besides making myself sit down and do it? For me, it’s maintaining the discipline to stick with a project until it’s done. I have a lot of different projects in various stages of completion and usually the thing I’m most excited about is whatever I’m not currently working on … kind of an old grass-is-greener thing.

TQ:   Describe Three in 140 characters or less.

Jay:  A reluctant gunslinger escorts a dying woman and her young son across a wasteland to a distant sanctuary.

TQ:   What inspired you to write Three?

Jay:  Whew, that’s a tough one. I think Three comes from a lot of different places. On a grand scale, I have all these different ideas and things that I find cool, and I knew I’d never be able to do anything that combined them all together in any sort of coherent way unless I went off and created my own world. So part of it was kind of an experiment for me, to see if I could take a lot of varied interests and make them work together in a meaningful way. I had the opportunity several years ago to hear a lecture by Vernor Vinge talking about where he thought things were headed technologically, and it really started the wheels spinning for me.

On a much smaller scale, though, I think the real heart of the story comes from a much deeper and more personal place, from things I’ve learned from friendships and my marriage and from being a father. We see and hear an awful lot about romantic love as if it’s the pinnacle of the human experience, and about chasing happiness. And I think sometimes we gloss over a lot of what actual love looks like; the personal cost, the sacrifice, the service to others. So those were things I wanted to explore.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Three?

Jay:  It’s hard to really pinpoint any one particular time or theme that I would consider directed research. I’m just naturally curious about a lot of different things, and I think Three is largely the result of an accumulation of various interests more than any sort of specifically targeted study. For my day job, I’m a Senior Narrative Designer for Red Storm Entertainment (a video game company started by Tom Clancy), so for my years there, I’ve had to constantly keep tabs on things like world politics, the military, technological advancements (with a particular focus on near-future developments), information security, those sorts of things. And I’m not sure how many articles I’ve read on cool science like hacking DNA or implants. So those things certainly played critical roles in the novel’s development, but I didn’t necessarily sit down and say “Okay, today I study genetic modification!” or anything.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jay:  Probably unsurprisingly, I think the main protagonist, Three, was the easiest for me, because it was almost like he sprang into my mind fully formed. I ran into a lot of tough situations over the course of writing the book where I wasn’t exactly sure how he was going to get out of the messes I put him in, but I never really had a crisis of trying to figure out who he was or why he made the choices he did.

Cass, who is a secondary protagonist, was the toughest for me, primarily because I was writing a character that I knew was incredibly strong and capable, but who, in this story, is also in her absolute weakest and most vulnerable state. It was really tough to walk that line of portraying her struggles honestly without having her coming across as helpless.

TQ:   Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Three?

Jay:  Oof, that’s another tricky question. There are several scenes that stand out to me, but I have no idea how to share them without spoiling them. I will say, I was really pleased with how the first meeting between Three and Cass turned out, and also I liked the relationship that developed over the course of several meetings between Three and another character. There are also a couple of more action-oriented scenes that didn’t quite go as I was expecting when I sat down to write them, but that came out in a way that served the story better than “just an action scene”. I hope that counts as an answer.

TQ:  What's next?

Jay:  I’m wrapping up Book Two in the Duskwalker series at the moment. After that, I’ve got at least one more book in the Duskwalker world in me, if The People want it. Otherwise, I’ve been locked away in the word mines for several months, so I’m really looking forward to taking some time to fill my brain back up with all the excellent books I have to catch up on. I’m particularly looking forward to finally getting to read Wes Chu’s The Lives of Tao, Adam Christopher’s The Age Atomic, and Myke Cole’s Fortress Frontier.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jay:  Thanks so much for having me!

About Three

Legends of the Duskwalker 1
Angry Robot Books, July 30, 2013 (US/Canada)
        August 1, 2013 (UK)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.

But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantle of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Three For All | Apocalyptic Wasteland | A Journey Home | Fear the Weir ]

About Jay

Jay is a narrative designer, author, and screenwriter by trade. He started working in the video game industry in 1998, and has been writing professionally for over a decade. Currently employed as Senior Narrative Designer at Red Storm Entertainment, he’s spent around eight years writing and designing for Tom Clancy’s award-winning Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six franchises.

A contributing author to the book Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing, Jay has lectured at conferences, colleges, and universities, on topics ranging from basic creative writing skills to advanced material specific to the video game industry.

You can find him online at his website,, as well as on Twitter (@HiJayPosey).

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Three (Legends of the Duskwalker 1) by Jay Posey from The Qwillery.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on August 12, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Just finished Sky On Fire by Emmy Laybourne and will read In The After by Demitria Lunetta next.
    And from the sound of it I should add Three to my wishlist.

  2. Great interview! "Three" sounds really interesting and I look forward to reading it and exploring the world Jay has created.

  3. Also, I'm currently reading Time's Twisted Arrow (Timebound) by Rysa Walker

  4. I've heard good things about this, even if post apocalypse is not the usual genre I read (with some notable exceptions)

  5. I'm currently reading Magic Rises here: :)

  6. I am reading Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews too! Thanks for the great post and giveaway!

  7. I'm currently reading Chuck Wendig's MOCKINGBIRD. Thanks for the giveaway! I can't wait to read THREE.

  8. Great interview! I've heard quite a lot about Three and I've been DYING to read it! I've just finished Rick Riordan's short story The Som of Sobek yesterday and I'm currently rereading Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I'm reading Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr and loving it. I've also just started the ebook Vengeance Borne by Amanda Bonilla.

  10. I'm reading CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell.

  11. I'm currently reading A Little Bit Scandalous by Robyn DeHart (Historical romance)

  12. fallen too far by Abbi Glines

  13. Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews.

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com