Showing posts with label Kickin The Willy Bobo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kickin The Willy Bobo. Show all posts

Friday, August 5, 2016

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...JANA OLIVER

Derrick Ferguson: Who Is Jana Oliver?

Jana Oliver: I’m someone who has found that listening to the voices in my head and writing their stories into book form is a pretty nifty job.


DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?

JO: I live near Atlanta, Georgia and my tax returns state “Author”. Yeah, for real. I’m still jazzed about that.

DF: Tell us a little something about your background.

JO: I have a checkered past, in that I wasn’t always a writer. I started out as a registered nurse, did a gig as a fill-in DJ, wrote advertising copy for major retailers and was a travel agent. All of which actually helps me now that I’m a wordsmith.

DF: What writers have influenced you?

JO: The late Sir Terry Pratchett’s unlimited imagination still stuns me, the depth of Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries, as well as the world building of urban fantasy authors like Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Chloe Neil, Suzanne Johnson, etc. Most of the time when I read something amazing, I lean back in my chair and go “Wow, I want to write that late someday.”

DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Jana Oliver?

JO: Jana has always been eclectic because my stories don’t stick to one genre. Whether it be young adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, historical/paranormal mysteries or contemporary mysteries, I’ll write the book if the story and characters intrigue me. Most authors try to stick to one genre. I get bored too easily, so my audience is all over the map.

DF: Do you write for yourself or for your readers?

JO: A little of both. Mostly I write for the characters who “use” me as their scribe so their stories are told.

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?

JO: Its. A. Gift. Doesn’t matter who you believe gave it to you this time around, it’s a gift. The books/stories are important. They reach into peoples’ hearts and their lives. So in my mind ignoring that calling is a bad thing. Sure, we all have times we can’t write because of family, etc., but the bottom line is if you having this calling, you should be doing it.

DF: Are you interested in critics and their opinion of your work?

JO: Luckily I’m a lot more thick-skinned than I used to be. Mostly my spouse watches the reviews and lets me know if there’s a common thread, something I might be able to fix in future books. An example is that when I was first writing, my villains were pretty cardboard. Now I give them full back stories, motivations, the whole works. That change came because of reader comments.

DF: How important is it to follow your instincts while writing?

JO: I’ve learned it’s VERY important. Because if not I hit a wall in the story and waste time trying to fix stuff.

DF: Tell us about THE DEMON TRAPPERS series

JO: The DEMON TRAPPERS series is currently five books (the final one—VALIANT LIGHT—is coming out in November) and it has a worldwide following. Which is pretty cool given it’s the tale of a 17 y/o girl who just wants to follow in her father’s footsteps. How hard can that be? Well, pretty hard since he traps demons for a living and the trappers in Atlanta aren’t fond of a female in their midst. But Riley Blackthorne does have someone rooting for her—Lucifer, in fact. That’s never a good thing.


Riley is a great character to write: Strong, caring and actually learns from her mistakes. And she’s mouthy. (I have no idea where she gets that trait. Ha!) Besides Hell and its demons, Riley has an adversarial relationship with Denver Beck, a young veteran who is her father’s apprentice. Their stories have proven very popular. It’ll be sad to say goodbye to them, but I want the series to end at just the right time and not overstay their welcome.

DF: Tell us about THE TIME ROVERS series

JO: Can you say “Genre Blend”? Because that’s exactly what this series is. Historical mystery, paranormal, a bit of science fiction and romance. I send a time traveler from 2057 back to 1888 London during the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, not to find the killer, but to locate a missing time “tourist.” But Jacynda Lassiter, my Time Rover, realizes that nothing is as it seems because of the Transitives, a group of shapeshifters than can mimic anyone’s appearance. Add in some Fenians, some missing dynamite, a plot to change the future and that’s the Time Rovers’ series in a nutshell.



Because I’m slightly crazy, I spent an incredible amount of time ensuring the Victorian details were as accurate as I could get them. To that end, I’ve attended a number of academic conferences on JtR and Victorian London and numerous trips to the East End to wander around the dark alleys. Sometimes you just have to do your pub research firsthand. (wink)

In the end, the Time Rovers series won eight or nine major writing awards, found me a literary agent who helped me launch my career in NY. All because a small Canadian press (Dragon Moon) took a gamble on me and my very unique trilogy.

DF: You appear to have achieved a good deal of successful in both the Young Adult and Supernatural genres and joined them both successfully. Care to tell us your secret?

JO: I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’m best when I incorporate some paranormal element, even a small one, into my stories. When paired with the young adult genre, that worked very, very well. I think part of the success is that I always try to do something unique rather than following the trends. Which is why my heroine in the Demon Trappers did end up with the Fallen angel as her soul mate.

DF: You were around at the beginning of the independent self-publishing movement on The Internet. How did it begin for you and has it developed into what you thought it would?

JO: I began my career self-pubbing in 2001, back when there weren’t all the tools in place to help make the job a “easier”. Getting the books stocked at Amazon was a pain in the butt (now I work through Createspace so the printing and shipping are automatic) and e-books didn’t exist. At present 80% of my sales worldwide are in electronic form. That rocks. Back then the best way to build my name was going to conventions and hosting a podcast, which is how you and I met. Now there’s all the social media platforms that offer a truly worldwide audience. It still boggles my mind that people in far-flung parts of the world are downloading my indie books.

DF: What have you got in the works?

JO: I just published DEAD EASY, which is a YA/New Adult contemporary murder mystery set in New Orleans. Couldn’t resist messing around with a serial killer and a quartet of amateur detectives. I’m about to start writing VALIANT LIGHT, that final Demon Trappers book.


DF: What is a typical Day In The Life of Jana Oliver like?

JO: I drag myself out of bed about 8, and veg until about 9:30 as I don’t like eating first thing in the morning. Usually I answer e-mails, do social media posts during that time period. And pet the cat, who insists that she curl up next to me on the couch while I sip my coffee.

I’m more of an afternoon person, so I truly don’t really start writing until noon or later, then work through until my nap. A brief snooze allows me to work out scene problems and refreshes me. Then I write until the spouse gets home. If I’m on deadline, I will write after supper and on the weekends. It all depends on the schedule.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?


Jana Oliver: Just wanted to thank you for all the great questions!




More information about Jana Oliver can be found at her website so just bounce on over THERE RIGHT NOW and her Facebook page can be found RIGHT HERE

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With: KEITH GASTON

Derrick Ferguson: Who is Keith Gaston?

Keith Gaston: I am the author of more than a dozen books ranging from Speculative Fiction to Crime novels. My first book was published in 2007. After serving five years in the military, I began college, earning a degree in Computer Science. Since earning my degree I've gone on to earn two Masters degrees in Technology Management and Business Administration. My experience in the military and computer sciences has shaped many of my stories and characters over the years. I also write under the name D K Gaston.




DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?

KG: I currently live in Michigan and still file my taxes under the title of computer tech guy.

DF: Tell us something about your background

KG: I am married to a wonderful woman and have two beautiful children. They're twins, one boy, the other a girl. I have worked in pretty much every IT field at one time or another from programming to systems administrator.

DF: How long have you been writing?

KG: I started drawing and writing comic books with friends in the fourth grade, creating such characters and teams as the Hooded Phantom and The Legion Unknown. It wasn't until I was working on my Masters degree that it hit me that I should start writing again. I enjoyed in a creative writing class, helped form a writers group and then I was well on my way to working on my first book titled, XIII.


DF: What do you love most about writing?

KG: Tough question. I think I love coming up creative stories the best. I enjoy brainstorming these ideas off the members of my writers group.

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?

KG: Don't ever write for the money, do it for love. Once it becomes about money, it turns into a business using a formula style of repeating the same story and then you produce nothing original.

DF: What’s the best advice you can give for someone wanting to become a professional writer?

KG: Once you start writing, don't stop until you finish that first draft. This means do not edit yourself, because it'll only slow you down during the process. Once you're finished, but the first draft away for a week and then blow off the dust and start working on that second draft.

DF: Who’s Taurus Moon and why should we be reading his adventures?

KG: Taurus Moon is a relic hunter who will work for pretty much anyone if they can afford him. He's financially strap most of the time, lives in a run-down apartment in Detroit, and always seems to be in trouble. He searches for lost supernatural artifacts that may or may not be located on Earth.

He doesn't see himself as a hero, yet always finds himself helping those in needs, whether he wants to or not.

The Taurus Moon novels blends action, fantasy, science fiction and humor. Fairy tales, mythologies, and legends are not stories, but his reality.

Readers will enjoy Taurus Moon because his stories are a fun thrill ride.




DF: What further Taurus Moon adventures do you have planned?

KG: I'm working on an anthology featuring many of the secondary characters from Taurus Moon. I haven't come up with a title just yet, but I expect the book to be published sometime around August 2014.

DF: You really seem to have hit your stride in the suspense/thriller genre. So much so that you’ve been described as “the black James Patterson.” How do you feel about that and what is it about the suspense thriller that attracts you as both a reader and a writer?

KG: I think I'm referred to as the black James Patterson because I tend to write my novels in a movie-style much like Mr. Patterson. If there's a car chase scene, I like readers to feel as if they are sitting in the passenger seat. I take the reference as a compliment.

I am a big movie buff and a huge fan of the action movies of the seventies. It is the great movies of that yesteryear like, “Three Days Of The Condor”, “Telefon” “Shaft”, and many others, that have influenced my writing. This of course led me to finding books with the same type of story-telling, and I discovered writers like David Baldacci, James Patterson, James Rollins. And of course I was a huge fan of comic books and used to read Doc Savage and Conan the Barbarian.

When I first ventured into writing, what I discovered was lacking were action and speculative fiction novels written by Black authors. When I stumbled on a book written by Brandon Massey, I was thrilled, and he became part of my inspiration to write in genres other than thrillers.

DF: The TEASE Trilogy blends the spy/espionage genre with blaxploitation and urban/street lit. Was that deliberate on your part or did it just turn out that way?

KG: The TEASE novel was an experiment for me to see if I could attract readers who typically read Street Lit. I used a character I introduced in Darkest Hours (a Joe Hooks thriller) a spy called Shaw as my protagonist. To my surprise, TEASE became my best seller.

Tease is an assassin working for a local crime lord named D-Shroud. She has never failed on any of her missions... Well, not until she assigned to kill Shaw.

The book wasn't going to be called TEASE, nor was her character supposed to live beyond the first novel, but my beta readers insisted she continue on. Strange how things work in the writing world. LOL.



DF: You’ve just recently co-wrote a novel with Teresa D. Patterson: A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW. How did you two come together on this project?

KG: She approached me with the idea, wanting to reach an audience outside of her normal fan-base. I thought it was an opportunity for me to connect with readers who don't typically read my works.

She told me her idea and we hashed out the details of the basic plot and began writing together. She's located in Florida, while I'm in Michigan, so we did all this via the Internet.



DF: What did you learn from collaborating with another writer? And are there any future collaborations we can look forward to?

KG: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed collaborating with another author. It took a lot of pressure off my shoulders creatively and I believe our writing styles blended well.

I've also been co-writing a novel with Keith Kareem Williams called Blood & Vengeance. This book will be published mid-June 2015.

Yes, I am looking forward to working with other authors in the near future.

DF: Out of all your work, pick the three books that a new reader should start with that you feel represents you at your creative best.

KG: I always recommend The Friday House (government conspiracy thriller), The Promise (a mystery thriller), and Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter (action/speculative fiction.)

DF: What’s A Day In The Life Of Keith Gaston like?

KG: I work from 8 to 5 on weekdays, squeezing in a hour of writing during lunch. On weekends, I spend most of the time working around the house and spending time with the family. When I get a break, I do some writing and surf the web... Oh and I play Call of Duty.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Keith Gaston: I have two audiobooks, TEASE and Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter. Both bring the characters to life and should be checked out.

Thanks for interviewing me, Derrick, I've had a blast answering your questions.


For more information on Keith’s books, please check out both his Amazon pages: Keith Gaston and D.K. Gaston