Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse: Interview W/Dan Jolley

 

DanJolleyPhoto[1018]Dan Jolley, Author of the Gray Widow trilogy is back for another interview to talk about his second book in the trilogy, Gray Widow’s Web.

Tells us about Gray Widow’s Web.
Gray Widow’s Web is the second book in the Gray Widow Trilogy, an Urban Sci-Fi story that I actually began working on back in 1996. I wrote a first draft, but ended up shelving it… wrote a second draft ten years later, but shelved it again… and finally, after I realized how to fix a major problem with the book, re-wrote it again and immediately got it picked up by Seventh Star Press. After all that time, being able to continue the story now on a timely basis feels fantastic.

The Gray Widow story centers on Janey Sinclair, a young woman in modern-day Atlanta who, as a teenager, mysteriously gained the ability to teleport from one patch of darkness to another. Janey’s life has been marked by a series of traumas—most recently when her husband was shot during a mugging and left with severe brain damage—and after years of trying to ignore this bizarre aspect of her life, she finally decides to put it to use, and attempt to prevent other people from suffering the kind of cruelty and injustice she has.

As she soon learns, however, not only is she not alone in having a mysterious “Augmentation,” but she’s also a part of a vast extraterrestrial plot that classifies humans as raw material. The trilogy starts off in superhero-flavored waters, but becomes more and more science-fiction as the enormity of the stakes reveal themselves. (There are also not-insignificant horror elements to it.)

Alien plots aside, though, it’s really all about Janey exorcising her personal demons and figuring out how to heal herself. On one hand, she’s a stupendous badass, and can break most people off at the knees. On the other, she’s very human, very flawed, and very vulnerable in a way I hope a lot of people can relate to.Grey Widow's Web_Final_1200X800[1020]

 

In what ways is writing the second book in a trilogy different from the first?
One of my primary concerns with the second (and soon, third) book is walking the line between explaining too much of what happened before, and making things clear enough so that if you haven’t read the first book, or if it’s been a while since you did, you won’t feel totally lost.

That’s just logistical stuff, though. What I’m most concerned about is allowing the characters to grow. In the first book, Gray Widow’s Walk, Janey’s in a situation where she knows, intellectually, that she needs to move on emotionally. And the way to move on is right there, right in front of her, and she knows it’ll be good for her—but she’s torn in half about it. In the second book, Janey might finally begin to give herself permission to be happy, even as she’s facing greater threats and encountering far greater danger than ever.

Likewise, Tim Kapoor, her love interest from the first book, undergoes a pretty significant change in circumstances in Book 2, one that forcibly alters the whole dynamic he and Janey share.

One thing I’ve learned and learned well is that, in any kind of ongoing story, it’s the characters that keep readers coming back far more than any plot shenanigans. So I want to take good care of my characters. Even if that means being horrible to them.

 

In what ways are they similar?
As I mentioned earlier, I wrote the first draft of what would become Gray Widow’s Walk a bit more than twenty years ago. The story has been kicking around in my head all that time, with varying degrees of focus, so now that I have the opportunity to tell the rest of it, it’s really just a matter of getting in the right mental space. Staying in the right groove, I guess you could say. Making sure the prose style matches, making sure the hearts of the characters remain true to themselves.

Of course, I would like to believe that I’ve improved as a writer over the last couple of decades, which is why I think Gray Widow’s Web is a bit better than Gray Widow’s Walk. With any luck that trend will continue, and the third book—Gray Widow’s War—will surpass the first two.

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Did you plan for it to be a trilogy from the start, or did it evolve that way? And if the latter, at what point did you realize it was going to be a trilogy?
I think I realized I had more to say than just what was in the first book sometime around 2006. I love the cast, I love portraying our contemporary world as it really is, and there were always elements that I had left open-ended. It took ten years, but the answers to the questions posed at the end of the first book popped into my head one day, and I realized the story needed to continue past Gray Widow’s Walk.

I have a serious aversion, though, to stories that are supposed to just go and go and… go. Stories like that usually go and go right into the ground. Whenever possible, I tell stories that have a definite, planned conclusion, simply because I think it’s wise to quit while you’re ahead. Consequently, this trilogy will tell one complete story, beginning, middle, and end. If I decide to stick around in the same world after that, I’ll start up another self-contained trilogy. Sort of the Hellboy model: a series of mini-series.

 

What kind of music helped you in writing Gray Widow’s Web?
Music plays a huge role in my creative process in general, but it’s only in the stage before I set fingers to keyboard. I love getting in the car and driving around aimlessly while listening to loud, fast, aggressive music. It does something really good for my brainwaves. If I need to come up with a new idea, or if I’m stuck on a plot point or character detail, I’ll go drive around and think, and nine times out of ten, by the time I get back the problem’s solved.

Right now my favorite band is Disturbed. Immortalized is a fantastic album, followed closely by Asylum, not only for driving around, but also for when I’m doing cardio (which I don’t end up doing as often as I should, sadly).

 

Anything you want to tell your readers about what’s to come?
Gray Widow’s War, the third book in the trilogy, will be out in May of 2018, and if I can pull off what I’m seeing in my head, it’s going to be the biggest, craziest, most nail-biting conclusion I’ve ever written in my entire career.

If you’re looking for something almost, but not quite, completely different in the meantime (to borrow wording from Douglas Adams), I also have a Middle Grade Urban Fantasy series going at the moment called Five Elements. Book 1, The Emerald Tablet, is available now, and Book 2, The Shadow City, comes out at the end of this month. It’s about four best friends in San Francisco who get accidentally bound to the magical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, and end up conflicting with a century-old sorcerer who wants to merge Earth with a nightmare version of San Francisco called Arcadia. I am told by readers that it scratches the same kind of itch that the Percy Jackson books do.

 

Where can people find you online?
I’m on Twitter, @_DanJolley, and on Facebook, facebook.com/dan.jolley1. Feel free to send me messages. I am waaay better at responding to readers directly than I am at writing blog posts.

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July 20, 2017 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Author: Dan Jolley Featured Book Release: Gray Widow’s Web July 19-26, 2017

 

DanJolleyGrayWidowsWeb_BlogTourGraphic[1017]

About the author: Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he soon branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games. His twenty-six-year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and is the author of the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy novel series Five Elements. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats.

Learn more about Dan by visiting his website, http://www.danjolley.com, and follow him on Twitter @_DanJolley.

Book Synopsis for Gray Widow’s Web: JANEY SINCLAIR never knew how or why she gained her ability to teleport. She never wanted it, and for years tried her best to ignore it. But when horrible violence shattered her world, she vowed to use her mysterious talent to protect the citizens of Atlanta, in an effort to prevent anyone else from suffering the kind of agony she had. Wearing a suit of stolen military body armor, Janey became known to the public as the GRAY WIDOW.

But now the extraterrestrial source of her “Augmentation” is about to reveal itself, in an event that will profoundly impact Janey’s life and the lives of those closest to her—

TIM KAPOOR, who barely survived the assault of twisted, bloodthirsty shapeshifter Simon Grove and still struggles to pull himself together, both physically and mentally.

NATHAN PITTMAN, the teenager who got shot trying to imitate Janey’s vigilante tactics, and has since become obsessed with the Gray Widow.

SHA’DAE WILKERSON, Janey’s neighbor and newfound best friend, whose instant chemistry with Janey may have roots that neither of them fully understand.

And Janey’s going to need all the help she can get, because one of the other Augments has her sights set on the Gray Widow. The terrifying abomination known as APHRODITE LUPO is more powerful and lethal than anyone or anything Janey has ever faced. And Aphrodite is determined to recruit Janey to her twisted cause…or take her off the field for good.

Unrelenting ghosts of the past clash with the vicious threats of the future. Janey’s destiny bursts from the shadows into the light in GRAY WIDOW’S WEB, leaving the course of humanity itself forever changed.

Author Links:

Twitter: @_DanJolley

Website: www.danjolley.com


Tour Schedule and Activities

7/19/17 Jordan Hirsch Review

7/19/17 I Smell Sheep Top Ten’s List

7/20/17 SpecMusicMuse Author’s Interview

7/21/17 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Top Ten’s List

7/22/17 http://bookishlyme.blogspot.com/ Review

7/22/17 The Seventh Star Blog Author’s Interview

7/22/17 StoreyBook Reviews Guest Post

7/23/17 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post

7/24/17 Infamous Scribbler Author’s Interview

7/25/17 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post

7/26/17 Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Mystery and More! Author Interview

7/26/17 Jeni’s Bookshelf, Reviews, Swag, and More! Review

Tour Page URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/dan-jolleys-gray-widows-web-blog-tour-urban-scifi/

Tour Badge URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/DanJolleyGrayWidowsWeb_BlogTourGraphic.jpg

Amazon.com Links for Gray Widow’s Web:

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Gray-Widows-Widow-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B06XKXYCHQ

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Gray-Widows-Web-Widow-Trilogy/dp/1941706584

Barnes and Noble Link for Gray Widow’s Web:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gray-widows-web-dan-jolley/1126374474?ean=9781941706589

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ravenous #Review: The Silverblade Prophecy by Scott M. Sandridge

Check out this awesome review of my novel! 🙂

Source: Ravenous #Review: The Silverblade Prophecy by Scott M. Sandridge

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment