AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – KERRY J. DONOVAN

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Author Wednesday returns with a bang (pun always intended) with crime, action, and fantasy writer, Kerry Donovan. I’m delighted to start the new season with such a talented and creative author. His series, The DCI Jones Casebook, features three thrillers, Ellis Flynn, Raymond Collins,  and the recently released, Sean FreemanTHE_DCI_JONES_CASEBOOK_sean_freeman (1)

Welcome, Kerry! I’m honored you’re the first author after my summer break. I can tell this is going to be an interesting interview.

Hi Pat, thanks for inviting me onto your blog. Great to finally meet you in the flesh, so to speak.

So let’s start it out with a question I like to ask all the authors. When did you first discover your voice as a writer?

Oh Pat, when I find my writer’s voice, I’ll let you know.

Seriously though, I find this quite difficult to answer. Currently, I write in three different genres, crime thrillers, action adventure, and fantasy. I think using the same voice in each would be rather restrictive. I try to set my voice according to the theme of each novel. It’s not easy, but if I keep trying for long enough, one day, I might get it right.

My father, an artist, once told me that if he were ever to be completely satisfied with a finished painting, he’d probably give up and start writing. I can’t paint.

I ask the question because it tells me many things about folks. I’m fascinated because I’ve often wondered if I’ve ever discovered a voice. Glad to know I’m not alone in finding mine. But I have a feeling you have a very strong voice and are simply too modest to admit it. Let’s move along to another favorite question. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

Again, I’ll let you know. And again, seriously, I’ll call myself an author when people start recognizing me in the street and say, “Hey, isn’t that the author …” That’s unlikely to happen as I live in France and only publish in English. I rarely travel to the UK except to visit my three wonderful kids, and three (soon to be four) gorgeous grandchildren.

I had it happen at the gym the other day. Does that count? Probably not, since I’d just done a book signing there. Sweat and autographs — great combo. So let’s talk about how you write. Do you have any writing rituals?

Don’t really have any. I sit at my desk in front of my PC keyboard in my office in the attic and type. That’s it really. I rarely plot an outline but have an idea where to start and then I let the characters take over. I tried writing in the garden last summer, but the flies annoyed me, and I couldn’t see the laptop screen for the bright sunshine. I guess Hemingway didn’t have the same problem when using his typewriter, eh?

Probably not, but he did write in an attic in Paris, so you better get back inside. Do you try to convey any special messages to your readers, even though your writing happens organically?

I don’t. All I want to do for my readers is entertain them with the best story I can create. If writing a crime thriller, I want to thrill. If it’s a mystery I want to give the reader all the information they need to solve the crime but still give them a surprise ending. I hate stories where the author introduces the killer and the motive in the final scene so the reader can’t work things out for themselves. If writing a fantasy, I base it in the real world but add a little something strange and fantastical. I want the reader to ‘see’ and understand the concepts covered. You won’t find any vampires, werewolves, or ghouls in my books. At least not many. If writing a romance, I want the reader carried away on a sea of love and emo… hang on, I don’t write romances. My wife has told me I don’t have a romantic bone in my six-foot, three-inch body.  She’s probably right. In fact, she’s always right, or so she tells me.

All wives are always right. I see you get a little passionate with your answers, so perhaps there’s a romantic fragment in your funny bone. What’s going on with your writing these days? Describe your current projects.

Currently, I have two prime works-in-progress, although my laptop has dozens of unfinished and part finished works, and rough outlines. I like to have at least one book nearly complete—at least close to the beta read level—and one in production.

The nearly complete one, On Lucky Shores, is an action adventure set in the Colorado Rockies and follows down-on-his-luck travelling musician, Chester ‘Chet’ Walker. The story opens with Chet trying to find a gig in the picturesque, and fictional, lakeside town of Lucky Shores. On his way to town, he is involved in a car accident and receives a message from a dying man. In trying to give the message to the man’s daughter, Joey, Chet finds himself embroiled in an eight-year-old secret. He also becomes the target of a ruthless killer or killers who want the secret to remain hidden, and becomes the victim of Cupid’s arrow. Joey steals his heart.

Well, perhaps there is a little romance in my books after all.

My second WIP is the fourth installment of my DCI Jones Casebook series of British crime thrillers. In this story, one of my cast of characters hunts for the crooked cop responsible for the death of another cop. The villain is also involved in the illegal importation of weapons into the UK. I’m half way through the first draft of this one, so it probably won’t be ready for publication until the New Year 2016. As they say, watch this space.

If you’ll have me back closer to the time, I’ll be happy to give you more details. :¬)

I hope you’ll come back! My favorite authors always have a standing invitation. I do think there’s a romantic lurking inside waiting to jump out. You certainly like to keep things interesting from the Rocky Mountains to the UK, all the while living in France. Tell me a bit about the fictional folks in your books. Do you have a favorite character that you created?

Absolutely, he’s Detective Chief Inspector David Jones—never Dave or Davie. He’s a senior detective of the old school. I describe him as a veteran, dogged, empathetic, and successful. He’s about my age, but is slim-built, of less than average height, single (never married), and successful. In fact, he’s nothing like me apart from the age thing.

What stands David Jones apart from most veteran fictional cops is that he’s not allowed his job to make him jaded with life. He’s fiercely loyal to his friends and empathetic to the victims he tries to protect. He’s a tad OCD, but only in that he likes things to remain in order and in the correct place and alignment. David can see when something doesn’t fit and often uses this ‘ailment’ to solve crimes.

In my head, I see David Jones as looking like my dear old father. I love them both, but don’t tell David that, or he’ll look at you funny. He’s old school, see, not at all touchy-feely :).

We need him here in the States to help clean up a few things. Even though he’s your favorite, he’s not much like you except for his age, so if a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

Without doubt, that would be George Clooney, but he’d have to wear a much grayer wig. Oh, my wife’s just read that and fallen over in hysterics, excuse me a moment while I help her to her feet and give her a glass of water—she doesn’t drink whisky.

As an alternative to George, maybe you could find a James Stewart lookalike. Did I tell you I was tall?

Thanks for having me, Pat. I’ve so enjoyed our chat.  Blimey, now I’m a poet.

I hope your wife is all right, but tell her if George Clooney plays you, guess who gets to play her? Oh, that’s right, his beautiful Italian wife isn’t an actress. It’s been my pleasure, Kerry. So good to start off the new season of Author Wednesday with such a fun interview. I’m going to hold you to your word and expect you back with the very next release.

Kerry_J_Donovan - Web pagesAbout Kerry: Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in Brittany with his wife of thirty-eight years. He has three children and three/four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. Family apart, Kerry has three loves: making furniture, sport, and writing (but not necessarily in that order).

 

 

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DCI Jones Casebook Sean Freeman Amazon US

DCI Jones Casebook Sean Freeman Amazon UK

 

AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – DAVID RHEEM JARRETT

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Wecome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome David Rheem Jarret who stops by today to talk about his novel Last Straw, a thriller filled with crime and suspense. David admits the main characters is actually “an anti-hero who some readers will actually see as the protagonist, even though some of the crimes he commits are heinous.”  Add two young police officers–an intelligent, sensitive male and a strong, attractive female–who must not only deal with catching him, but also with their own steadily increasing attraction to one another to throw some romance into the mix.  It all sounds exciting, but I’ll let David talk about himself and the book. Welcome, David!

The Writing Life and the Last Straw by David Rheem Jarrett A1RubOdlbwL._SL1500_

I discovered my voice as a writer while in high school but was not able to call myself an author until June of 2014 when I published Last Straw.  I have no writing rituals, although my favorite time to write is two hours in the morning during what I call my quiet time.  This time is after I’ve brought my wife coffee in bed, had a couple cups myself, and read all the current news and mail on the computer.  Once this quiet time is over and the events of the day begin, there’s no point in trying to write.

I have no illusions about being a great writer, although I believe I use the English language well, and my vocabulary is fairly extensive.   I try to avoid clichés and use language that is perhaps more sophisticated than others in my genre.  I try to create plots that are believable – things that could actually happen in today’s world – and characters that are believable also – no superheroes jumping buildings in a single bound or dispatching entire groups of bad guys singlehandedly.  My stories are usually “morality plays” in which good triumphs over evil.  Even in Last Straw, even though I identify and sympathize with my anti-hero, he has to lose in the end.

The two authors who have most influenced my writing are John Sandford and Michael Connelly.  They both write gritty crime/police procedural thrillers, and they write their stories with great realism and accuracy.  One of my pet peeves as a reader is reading a crime/thriller/suspense novel involving firearms in which the author obviously has no real knowledge of them.

My current work in progress involves a rather complicated scenario.  It is also a thriller of sorts, but not what I would all a classic one.  A man and his wife, fed up with life in the city, retire early and move to a remote rural area of California where they own property.  A Native American Vietnam veteran, feeling he has not lived up to his heritage, moves to the same area and tries to live in the woods alone in order to experience the lifestyle of his ancestors and perhaps vindicate himself, at least in his own eyes.  The actions of these characters are often seen through the eyes of a great bear, a character in its own right, that the Indian saves from a poacher’s trap early in his odyssey.  There is political intrigue as the local power company uses a nefarious scheme to coerce the county commissioners to vote to dam the river on which the ranchers depend in order to create a recreational area and power plant.  In addition, there is constant tension between the city man and the perverted poacher, who hates him and covets his wife.  As of now, the book is too long and needs to be cut somewhat, and I am in the process of editing.  It is a very ambitious project and may need to be longer than planned in order to be able to tell the whole story.  As yet, I have no title for this WIP.

I chose to write Last Straw because of the shenanigans being pulled by members of the financial community during the lead-up to the Great Recession in the United States.  An enormous number of people, myself included, got hurt because of their actions, and I felt compelled to write about one fictional person’s response.

My favorite character is Thomas Pickering.  He is a product of the school of hard knocks.  He is not a young pretty-boy and has character flaws.  However, he is smart; he is tough; and he believes as I do in “an eye for an eye.”

I use third person omniscient past tense in all my writing.  I detest the use of first person or third person limited, as neither has the ability to show the reader the thoughts and feelings of each character.  I use italics to describe these inner thoughts, and though some do not like this technique, I do, and as long as the italicized passages are not too long, I believe them not to be objectionable to the reader.  I never use present tense narration as I think it sounds stupid.

As far as bad reviews are concerned, not everyone is going to like every book.  You are going to get a bad review now and then.  They are usually emotionally driven and not constructive, but learn from the ones that are thoughtfully written and that actually might help you in your future writing.  Always remember, though, that writing is an art, as is music, painting, or sculpture.  It is not a science, and therefore whether you are happy with it determines whether it is worthy or not.  Of course, if you are writing solely to make money, this changes the paradigm and you must write what the public wants to read — hence the plethora of romance novels and series novels so prevalent today.

Last Straw tells the story of a bitter man, robbed of his future by unscrupulous financiers, who finds and punishes them in very creative and ugly ways, and the attempt by two young police officers, themselves embroiled in an escalating affair, to discover enough evidence to arrest and convict him.

My wife actually chose this title, and since she has been so supportive of my writing and a good beta-reader, I deferred to her judgment.

This book took approximately three years from inception to publication.  It was self-published as an e-Book primarily because I could not obtain representation from literary agents (Do not get me started on that subject, as the diatribe will go on forever).  I decided if the e-Book were well-received, I might order print copies also, but I am finding it hard to find enough readers, even though almost all reviews have been positive, to justify the trouble and expense of doing this yet.

Simply put, the message conveyed in the book is “if you mess with the bull, you are going to get the horns!”

The best thing someone could say about this book is that it kept him or her turning the pages from beginning to end without ever becoming bored or tempted to skim.

Conceiving this book took little imagination. I was financially damaged by the same type financiers as my character, Thomas Pickering. The book was my vicarious way of getting even.

Thomas Pickering is the antagonist (although some may feel he is the PROtagonist depending on their point of view), and I don’t think I have ever enjoyed creating a character more.

Any prospective reader must know that there is both graphic sex and graphic violence in the book, but the story does not dwell on either.  These are necessary to provide the elements of a thriller, but the actual book is more about feelings, relationships, and right versus wrong.

As I have said before, John Sandford is the quintessential crime thriller writer, with Michael Connelly a close second.  They both would be welcome to share dinner and a few cocktails with me.

I have no rituals, no music while I write.  I usually write in my bathrobe and slippers in my study/computer room prior to the day’s other activities. My immediate family is highly supportive of my writing. I do use places with which I am familiar as the settings for my books.  I do not like travel unless I can do it in our motor coach; therefore I will probably never write novels set anywhere but in the USA.

If one were to make a movie of me, Bruce Willis would be my pick for my character.

Dave - Publicity photoAbout David: David Rheem Jarrett was born and raised in Berkeley, California. After graduating from Dental School, he and his wife and two daughters moved to Reno, Nevada, where he and two others started the first group practice in the state, and practiced general dentistry for thirty-five years before retiring in 2005.  Since then he has been doing what he promised himself he would do years ago – writing novels. He is active in physical fitness, golf, fly fishing, firearms, and gunsmithing, RVing, computers, and reading.  He and his wife have been married for fifty-two years, and enjoy spending time together and with their three children and seven grandchildren.

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