Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interview with J.C. Nelson, author of Free Agent, and Giveaway - July 30, 2014

Please welcome J.C. Nelson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Free Agent was published on July 29th by Ace.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing fiction?

JC:  I started writing when I was 18, a series of epic fantasy novels. Those novels were burned, their ashes locked in a lead-lined box, and the box buried at midnight in an unmarked grave. I began writing for the same reason I still do – I wanted to tell a story that would make the reader laugh, cry, and cheer.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

JC:  Plo-ntser? I start out with the opening dialogue and scene. From there I develop and write the ending. I make a rough outline detailing where I think it will go, but when my gut says to derail, then off I head in whatever direction that is. It’s like a road trip – I know where I’m starting, where I’ll end up, and have a good idea of the route, but detours are some of the most fun.

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

JC:  I have a family and a job. For me it’s moderation – finding the balance between all the people and activities I love.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

JC:  Stephen King and Ray Bradbury for my earliest ones. Terry Pratchett much later.

TQ:  Describe Free Agent in 140 characters or less.

JC:  In modern day New York, where wishes are bought and sold, a young woman enslaved to the Fairy Godfather fights for her happily ever after.

TQ:  Tell us something about Free Agent that is not in the book description.

JC:  I use humor to offset the darker story elements. Marissa’s been through so much, lived through so many disasters that her view of the world is…skewed. It’s great fun to switch hit between serious and funny in the same scene.

TQFree Agent is the first novel in the Grimm Agency series, which is fairy tale themed. What attracted you to fairy tales and do you have any favorites? If you worked at the Grimm Agency what would you do?

JC:  I’d be a contractor, no doubt. You can apply to work at and see what your position would be. I like being a contract because would work normal hours, for decent pay, and most of the awful things which happen at the Agency wouldn’t involve me.

The thing I love about fairy tales is how ridiculous some of them are. If a rational human being were to look at the problems in them, you’d say “You don’t need a frog to fetch that golden ball, you need a pool net. And kissing amphibians can lead to salmonella, or worse yet, marriage.

My favorite in the weird flavor are Hans-My-Hedgehog, which is about a half hedgehog, half man who rides a rooster around. Second up would be the goose girl, which I secretly believe is about a mentally disturbed princess and the poor handmaiden cursed to help her.

TQ:  What sorts of research did you do for Free Agent?

JC:  I bought an entire book of every fairy tale known and read through not only the popular ones, but the variants and weird ones you’d never see in a Disney movie. Then I made notes about recurring themes, and realized that while I’d thought the weird ones would be the most fun, it’s the most common ones that speak to everyday life.

Blended families are hard.
Mothers and daughters don’t always get along.
Don’t drink a lake with a duck in it.
You know, the truths that are still true to this day.

TQ:  In Free Agent, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

JC:  Marissa is hands down the easiest, because I understand her motivations so well. She’s smart. She’s sarcastic as a defense. She’s out of her league and not backing down. I sit down and begin writing in her voice and it just comes naturally.

Hardest character, hands down, is Prince Mihail. He’s so oily it made it hard for me to see things from his point of view and write him as a real person with real desires.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Free Agent.


“My wishes are weapons, child, and I can destroy you with your own desires. Indeed, it is the only way.” – Fairy GodMother

“She comes for you soon, our half-sister. The Black Queen.” – The Fae Mother.

TQ:  What's next?

JC:  Next up in the Grimm Agency series is Armageddon Rules. Marissa’s about ready for some happily ever after, but in this world choices have consequences. Marissa will face off against an enemy who isn’t afraid to fight dirty, and does her homework to make sure vengeance really is served up for Marissa and the Agency gang.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Free Agent
A Grimm Agency Novel 1
Ace, July 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 Pages

When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…

Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.

Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.

Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…

About JC

JC Nelson is the author of the Grimm Agency series. The first book in that series, “Free Agent,” is available from Penguin/Ace. A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC works for a large software company building things you’ll never know about if they are working. JC can be found by day drinking espresso and writing code, and by night writing books and playing online games badly. With his family and a flock of chickens, life is never dull.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @AuthorJCNelson  ~  Pinterest  ~  Goodreads

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Free Agent by J.C. Nelson 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 11:59PM US Eastern Time on August 9, 2014. 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 without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. If I worked for Grimm? I'd want to hit the Tri-Fecta of lotteries... Mega, Power and State. Then I could pay all my bills, pay off the mortgages on all my kids homes and still have enough to retire on.

  2. ooooh... I like the concept of this new series! Congrats to JC on the new release! I'd play it safe too and be a contractor, as long as I had a front row seat to all the other events playing out ;) Thanks for sharing!

  3. thank you a lot for this interessting interview it made me want to discover the series even more. As what i would like to do if i worked there.... i would want to be safe so i guess i would opt for contractor^^ ( better be cautious with fairies^^)

    thank you a lot for the giveaway

  4. I'm not sure what I'd like to do- preferably something that involved invisibility and flying.
    Sounds like a fun new series!

  5. I would *like* to be a contractor, preferably in the IT department, unless social media positions are available. However, based on the results of my employment application, I am not at all suited for hire by the Grimm Agency. I apparently am destined to be a Post(wo)man. I would be content to toil among my bureacratic brethren.

  6. I think I'll be a contractor to play it safe .

  7. I'd want to be a Free Agent and just do contracted jobs so I wouldn't be tied down.

  8. I'd be a dragon specialist. Not sure what I would need to do for that but that is probably the only thing I'd qualify for!

  9. I'm not sure. I'm not adventurous. Do they need a scribe?

  10. I'm not sure. Maybe be a contractor. Sounds like a really interesting book!