Book Nerd Interview
Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and young adult novels.
+ The Sunset Vampire Series:
Book #1, Sunrise at Sunset
Book #2, A Bloody London Sunset
Book #3, Summit at Sunset
*** Released Sept. 1, 2012 ***
+ Gwen Reaper (YA Paranormal Romance)
*** Coming November 30, 2012 ***
+ Book #1: Bringer of Fire (New Urban Fantasy Series)
*** Coming in Spring 2013 ***
Book #4: Untitled Sunset Vampire Novel
Happy holidays, everyone! I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to visit with you today! This time of year brings out a magical quality inside me, much like a light that shines just a tad brighter. It’s no wonder there’s so many rich stories originating from, or even contributing to, the lore of the holidays. Special events are a catalyst for great storytelling, but you don’t have to rely upon “high days” such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s to have an engaging or emotional story. In fact, effective storytelling has a formula that’s relatively easy to divine.
First, it’s important to realize that storytelling in the classical sense is something quite different from the type of storytelling that authors reference. Traditional storytelling is an oral tradition, even an art form, unto itself; a skill and practice of reciting cultural and societal stories to future generations for cultural preservation. Rather, I’m referring to storytelling as it relates to the context of novel writing. A good story involves engaging character development, plot or plots that progressively escalate until reaching a conclusion, and emotional or situational circumstances and settings that the typical reader might be able to relate to. Let me explain…
Engaging character development requires the creation of central figures in your story that the reader wants to cheer for, or perhaps admire. Your characters should be figures that make your reader want to know them better. Most of all, don’t design your characters as static, predictable figures. Your characters should have the same kind of depth that you or I embody. Imbue them with a nuance or quirk that’s amusing or engaging; perhaps they have a strange hobby such collecting crystal figurines of a specific animal, or maybe they strive to avoid taking escalators due to a bad childhood experience, which your character must overcome to successfully fulfill a key obstacle in your story.
The plot in your novel should be something that is focused and linear, though not necessarily something that is straightforward; unexpected twists and turns in plots are exciting to most readers. In the beginning of your story, the plot may begin innocently enough, such as avoiding a dangerous car crash or accidently receiving a package intended for someone else. However, your plot should develop, broaden, and increase in severity or consequences for your characters so they are progressively challenged until meeting a climactic turning point presented to them to overcome.
Finally, relating a story in a way that’s meaningful to the reader is critical; they must be able to sympathize or empathize with the circumstances a character is experiencing. Perhaps not everyone knows what it’s like to be a vampire or werewolf, but many of us know what it’s like to feel “different” from others, which can make a person the source of ridicule or cause them to become reclusive to keep their secret. Most people have never traveled through the deepest regions of space, but many people have been isolated away from family or friends for a period of time due to illness, military deployment, or travels that take them far from home. In that manner, you can approach a character’s circumstances by conveying common feelings or themes that the reader can relate to.
While there are a number of other considerations to master for effective novel writing, if you successfully address the key issues surrounding the creation of engaging characters, generating a focused plot, and presenting relatable circumstances to readers, then you’re well on your way to creating a successful novel!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed our time together today, and I hope that you’ll consider adding my latest novel, Gwen Reaper: A Young Adult Paranormal Romance, to your reading queue for the holidays. A brief teaser is included below. Thanks for your consideration, and I hope you and your family enjoy a safe and wonderful holiday together. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
All the best,
John Keats, English romantic poet.
I never thought that my first exposure to real beauty would be tinged with the threat of oblivion…
When high school junior Scott Blackstone is forced to move from his childhood home in Springfield, Illinois to small-town Custer, South Dakota, he expects nothing less than to languish in complete disappointment. Instead, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious seventeen-year-old girl named Gwen, who captivates him from his initial, adrenaline-laced sight of her on the shores of Stockade Lake. Scott’s pursuit of the elusive Gwen sweeps him into the midst of a potentially lethal family heritage that was birthed in hope, only to be passed into a legacy of guilt and death.
Scott engages in a journey of discovery, tinged with both angst and danger. Like many dire legends throughout history, he is unprepared for the untimely revelation that both love and despair are often two sides of the same coin.
The male point of view of this amazing paranormal story is a nice shift from the abundance of female viewpoints available. The characters of this small town provided much spark into the story. Scott Blackstone is your typical good guy teenage boy. He makes good grade, plays football and like many boys his age, eyes the pretty girls that intrigues him. Beneath Gwen’s beauty, it is obvious that she is broken but has something captivating that wants to reach the surface. Readers will have the same level of interest Scott has for Gwen.
Jaz’s writing style continues to shine in this book. He provides rich and crisp description of not just the environment, but also the personalities of each character. The breath-taking storytelling will make readers want to be a part of the book. It travels through an array of emotions making readers laugh and cry. This is one of those stories that will have readers flipping through the pages quick so that they will be able to find out what will happen next. Gwen Reaper is a highly interesting paranormal story that will absolutely satisfy any reader and leave them wanting for more.