Monday, November 7, 2016

Ethan Cross Author Interview


Book Nerd Guest Post

Ethan Cross is the award-winning international bestselling author of The Shepherd (described by #1 bestselling author Andrew Gross as “A fast paced, all too real thriller with a villain right out of James Patterson and Criminal Minds.”), The Prophet (described by bestselling author Jon Land as “The best book of its kind since Thomas Harris retired Hannibal Lecter”), The Cage, Callsign: Knight, Father of Fear, and Blind Justice.

In addition to writing and working in the publishing industry, Ethan has also served as the Chief Technology Officer for a national franchise, recorded albums and opened for national recording artists as lead singer and guitar player in a musical group, and been an active and involved member of the International Thriller Writers organization and Novelists Inc.

He lives and writes in Illinois with his wife, three kids, and two Shih Tzus.


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What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

The issue of voice is a lot simpler, yet more challenging, than most aspiring authors realize. I feel there are two unique aspects of voice for fiction writers. The author’s own voice, and the voice of the character. The first will come naturally and develop over time. The second comes down to this: Create great characters.

We all have our own unique voice and writing style and those attributes of the author will bleed over onto the page. But for most of us, our characters are much more interesting than we are. We, as authors, should get out of the way and let those characters speak to the reader.

These great characters that you’re creating will be your POV (point-of-view) characters, and it’s my belief that the individual sections of your writing should have only one POV character and you should remain in that character’s head alone throughout the section. This means that the reader experiences the story from that character’s perspective, only knowing what he or she knows and thinks.

When allowing your POV character to truly speak, it can be a temptation to take this too far. The rule of thumb here is don’t annoy your reader. If the POV character is uneducated, that doesn’t mean that you have to write their section as if you are also. If you can foresee that section of writing as being a stumbling block or a distraction, anything that takes the reader out of the story, cut that part out or trim it back. As authors, it’s our job to create a story in which the reader can lose themselves.

So, you take this interesting character and put the reader in his or her shoes while allowing a portion of your character’s unique language, thought-processes, attitudes, and feelings to bleed over onto the page. In order for the reader to hear this unique voice, however, you have to create characters who are infinitely fascinating and know them like you know your best friend. But if you can accomplish this, you’ll have penned a journey that readers will want take time and time again.



When a correctional officer climbs to the top of his watchtower and opens fire on the inmates and guards, federal investigator Marcus Williams and serial killer Francis Ackerman Jr. must join forces again to unearth the truth behind the incident. What they find is a serial killer using the prison as his hunting grounds. But the Judas Killer’s ambitions don’t end with a few murders. He wants to go down in history and has no reason left to live.

With Ackerman undercover among the inmates and Marcus tracking down the mastermind on the outside, the team must learn the identity of the Judas Killer and stop a full-scale uprising that he’s orchestrated. But the more they learn about what’s happening at the prison and why the more enemies they must face. From inside the overrun facility, Marcus and Ackerman must save the hostages and stop an elaborate escape attempt while trying to determine how a rival corporation, the leader of one of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations, and an inmate with no identity only known as Demon fit into the Judas Killer’s plans.

Launching a bold new cycle of novels featuring The Shepherd Organization, The Judas Game is searing, mesmerizing fiction—it’s Ethan Cross at his very best.

EXCERPT

As he climbed the ladder of Tower 3, a strange memory struck Ray Navarro. It was of his son. Ray had been sitting on their front porch after finishing the mowing, and a green blur had come zooming down the road. His little boy, in a bright green T-shirt, running full blast, and tugging along their cocker spaniel puppy, the dog’s legs struggling to keep up with those of his son, Ian. A son he would probably never see again.

As Ray placed one hand in front of the next, his wedding ring kept clanging against the metal of the rungs. The echoes of metal on metal trickled down the concrete walls of Tower 3 like water. Each high-pitched sound sent shockwaves of regret and doubt down through Ray’s soul.

He felt like the world was upside down, and he was actually climbing down into hell instead of ascending Tower 3 at Foxbury Correctional Treatment Facility.

The prison was actually an old work camp and mental hospital, which had recently been recommissioned as part of a pilot program for a private company’s experimental prison. All of the guards, including himself, had been warned about the unique working conditions inside Foxbury. The program was voluntary. He had known the risks, but the money was just too good to pass up. He had bills to pay and mouths to feed.

Ray Navarro pushed open the hatch in the floor of the crow’s nest and pulled himself up into the ten-by-ten space of the tower. The little room smelled like cigarettes, even though no one was supposed to smoke up there. A tiny window air conditioner squeaked and rumbled in the tower’s back wall. He shed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. The gun case was bolted to the left wall of the crow’s nest. With almost robotic, instinctual movements, he watched himself unlock the case, grab the 30-06 rifle, and insert cartridges loaded with just the right mixture of chemicals and shrapnel, fire and steel, needed to blow a one-inch hole in a person’s flesh. He had always excelled in the use of high-powered, long-range weapons. A pistol and a tactical shotgun also occupied the tower’s gun cabinet. He was rated as an expert in their use as well, but he had taken to the 30-06 like a boy’s hand to a well-oiled baseball glove.

Ray Navarro extended the rifle’s bipod and started searching the prison yard for his first target.

The scope’s line of sight slid effortlessly over each man’s face. He noticed a pair of the prison’s celebrity inmates. Leonard Lash, the infamous gang leader awaiting execution, and Oren Kimble, the madman responsible for a mall shooting five years ago. Then his eye stopped on two of the guards moving along the perimeter of inmates like cowboys watching over the herd. The men seemed to be having an in-depth conversation, a wiser silver-haired mentor teaching a younger pupil. He knew the older black man well. Bill Singer was a war veteran and a former sniper, just like Ray. When Ray returned from his last tour, he had been lost in doubt and fear and hadn’t known where to turn. Until he had met Bill. Now, Ray Navarro was five years sober and had even patched things up with his wife, who had come very close to being an ex-wife before Bill had started counseling him.

Bill wasn’t supposed to be on duty until Sunday, but something must have changed because there was his friend giving what seemed to be a mini-sermon to his younger counterpart.

The younger white man beside Bill, Jerry Dunn, had just come on with them. Jerry walked with a catch in his gait which made it seem like three of his steps were equal to two of a normal man’s, but that wasn’t the only aspect of Jerry Dunn which had earned him the nickname “Gimp” among his fellow correctional officers. Jerry also blinked about four times more than a normal person and often struggled to spit out more than a sentence or two.

Ray had no problem with Jerry and even felt sorry for the way many of the other guards treated him. A minor limp and a few tics didn’t mean that Dunn couldn’t do his job and, by all accounts, the young CO was more than competent.

Ray prayed that the next person up the tower’s ladder after him wouldn’t be Bill Singer or Jerry Dunn. Although, he didn’t really want it to be anyone else either. It was one thing to kill enemy soldiers or even an inmate if there was no other choice. This was different. This was the outright murder of men who were his coworkers, his friends.

Ray threw up all over the floor of Tower 3.

He cursed under his breath and then said, “It’s them or you.”

He re-acquired his target. Slid the crosshairs over the man’s heart and then up to his head. Normally, he would go for the chest, a larger target capable of accomplishing the same task. But since this was quite possibly one of his very last acts on the planet, he figured there was no harm in showing off and going for the true killshot.

“It’s them or you.”

He kept repeating that phrase like a mantra, over and over.

“It’s them or you.”

You can purchase The Judas Game (Shepherd #4) at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Ethan Cross for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Judas Game (Shepherd #4) by Ethan Cross.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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