Monday, 9 May 2016

Deviant Acts by J.J. White

J. J. White is an award winning novelist and short story writer who has been published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review, Bacopa Review, and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Adventures of the Nine Hole League, was recently published in The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, #13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.

His crime fiction book, Deviant Acts, was released by Black Opal books in November, and will be followed by his Historical Fiction book, Nisei, in 2016. He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece, Tour Bus. He lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife and editor, Pamela.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Jackson Hurst lives his nightmares with his eyes open. Only the heroin he’s been addicted to since Vietnam keeps the horror at bay. A poster child for losers, Jackson’s addiction has cost him his job, his girlfriend—and unless there’s a change soon—his life. That change comes in the form of the wicked Aunt Camille, a Vermont millionaire who desperately needs Jackson’s services to retrieve her twenty-year-old daughter, Cheryl, from kidnappers. Camille wants her back at any cost and she wants the kidnappers, who maimed her only daughter, murdered. Jackson could use the money—no, he desperately needs the money—but can he stay clean long enough to get her back? And, more importantly, can he kill again, despite the demons that haunt him from the war?

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

About ten years ago I injured myself playing tennis. I had to stay in bed two weeks recuperating, so I decided that would be a good time to write all the stories I had in my head that I had been promising myself I would write, someday. Nine books and 350 short stories later, I'm still at it.

What genres do you write?

Primarily Crime Fiction and Thrillers but my next book after Deviant Acts is Historical Fiction, so I guess I'll run the gamut of genres until I run out.

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?

Science Fiction. I like the idea of writing books that can't be fact-checked by readers. Plus I grew up on Asimov, Rod Serling and Philip Dick.

What inspires you to write?

Usually one or two beers, but seriously, if I hear or read about an interesting story or character it gets the literary juices flowing and the fun begins.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Cormac McCarthy - Blood Meridian, Frederick Forsyth - The Day of the Jackal, Ernest Hemingway - A Movable Feast, Ken Follett - The Eye of the Needle, Dennis LeHane - The Given Day and Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Stephen King, not because I want to learn how to write horror, but because he's one of the most knowledgeable teachers of the writing craft among contemporary authors.

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would like to be published by one of the big five . In five years it'd be nice to see my book at a Barnes and Noble in hardcover and with a dust jacket.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

A friend of mine read, Deviant Acts, and then gave it to his father to read. His father finished it and then asked him if the author had written anything else. 

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Make your characters as crazy and eccentric as possible. You want them to be people you like to read about but not someone you would invite to dinner at your house. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

"Outdoor Survival Skills" by Larry Dean Olsen, "Edible Wild Plants" by Lee Alan Peterson, "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy, "War and Peace" by Tolstoy and "Madame Bovary" by Flaubert.

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

What is your writing process?

I usually have an idea of the plot, the beginning, and ending of the novel and wing most of the rest of it. I don't outline, but I will bullet the highlights of a chapter and reference them while I'm writing. 

How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually around nine or ten months for the first draft. That's working about two hours a night on it, five days a week.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.

I had a friend at work who told me a story about his daughter, Emily. It seems that from the time she could run she would always run on her toes. She had no problem otherwise so he and his wife let Emily do as she pleased and even enrolled her in a ballet class when she was seven because pointe would come easily to the girl since she already ran on her toes. One day at a park, a nurse told my friend he should take Emily to a neurologist to see if dancing and running on her toes was a sign of impending disease. They did and the doctor diagnosed Emily with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. Apparently she was compensating for the lack of muscle in her calves by running and dancing on her toes. I wrote a short story about it called, Dancing on Her Toes, and it was published by several magazines. In my story the girl dies in puberty but thankfully the real Emily is alive and recently graduated from college. 

What are you working on now?

I'm just finishing a Crime Thriller about an American sergeant who abandoned a young girl to the Soviets in post-war Berlin after promising her he would get her to the American sector. Three years later, he plans to go back and keep his promise. The tentative title is, "A Promise to Lena."

How do you market/promote your work? Have you found something that works really well for you?

I use PJ Nunn of Breakthrough Productions for most of the publicity for my novels along with whatever I can muster locally and on the social networks.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Try to read as much as you can even while you're writing. And when you need an idea for a story, go to a local Irish pub and listen to some of the stories told by the patrons after they've had a few. No one can tell a story like an Irishman. Then go home and stretch their story into a book.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Thank you for the read and please review the book honestly. Nothing helps a writer with his craft more than a good critique.

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