Saturday, October 27, 2012

Interview with JA Huss

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

When I first started writing Clutch I always felt that the action and fight scenes were difficult, but looking back, I almost never change an action or fight scene once they’re written.  In Clutch, there’s a point where Junco and friends are in a tunnel and they’re looking for answers.  It ends up with a massive firefight and I wrote those scenes from beginning to end in about two hours and never changed a word.  Mostly because I didn’t want to read them again…but I thought for sure my editor would say they were terrible and needed to be fixed.  She didn’t change one word either.  The same thing happened in the third book, those action scenes were never changed after they were written.  So, even though my editor likes them, I still have it in my head that action and fight scenes are beyond my capabilities.

(Also, a sex-writing strumpet I am not!!!  I need to practice this for an upcoming paranormal romance I have planned because so far, Junco’s sex life, while active, is not well documented!)  :)

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Richard K. Morgan is my current favorite author and actually his Takeshi Kovacs series was a major influence on the creation of Junco. I wanted to explore what it would be like to be a soldier who was as hard and ruthless as Kovacs, except from a young female perspective. My favorite book of his is Woken Furies. This book is the last in a trilogy about a ruthless killer who comes back to his home planet after hundreds of years of crime and soldiering and gets sucked back into local politics as he carries out a revenge agenda.

I love this book because it’s a deep character-driven novel disguised in an awesome twisty plot and filled with just about every science fiction element you can think of. This is a story about people more than anything, and lots of readers never got that about the book. I try to make my stories the same way in that they are always about the characters, not the action going on in the plot – even though there is a lot of action and a lot of twistiness in my books as well.

But Jane Smiley wrote a literary book called Horse Heaven that had racehorses as major characters and that started me down the road to understanding how this character development thing worked.  I have an undergraduate degree in equine science so I love, LOVE, love that book, but it’s also the epitome of a character-driven novel and I’ve read it dozens of time just trying to figure out how she pulled it all together in the end.

So I prefer authors who put their character development first, but then can also pull off an original plot as well.

Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
The setting for Clutch is my current home in Colorado as well as the high plains just east of where I live.  I do travel out there extensively for my regular job, but other than that, I didn’t travel to do research.

Who designed the cover of your latest book?
James Ledger of is my cover artist for the second, third, and fourth books.  He’s an exceptional digital illustrator and I’m so lucky that he keeps accepting my requests for work!  :)  We are just getting ready to start our third project together and I can’t wait to do the next cover reveal.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice for writers is to start with your characters first.  There’s a very well-written book called GMC: Goal, Motivation, & Conflict by Debra Dixon – find this book and study it if you want to learn how to write believable characters.  Of course, that’s not enough - you really have to invest your whole self into them to make them great.  Lots of people can write average characters, but to write exceptional characters, you must figure out who they are before you start plotting.

Which brings me to plotting.  Learn how to plot – believe me, it will save you time later.  Try The Plot Whisperer or Story Engineering to get a better idea of what this involves.

What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Red Fox by Karina Halle. 

What books are in your to read pile?
My TBR pile includes all of the books in the Premonition series by Amy Bartol.  I’m participating in a group read-along with some other book bloggers and readers in anticipation of her next book release.  Since I run a new adult book blog called New Adult Addiction, I’ll eventually feature each of these books on the blog.

I’m also eagerly awaiting Christmas vacation so I can lock myself away in a room and read Iain M. Banks’ new Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

My WIP is the fourth book in the I Am Just Junco series.  In this book Junco is still reeling from the after effects of book three (Flight).  She’s got a lot of personal issues to sort through in addition to many physical challenges as the prophecy she’s involved in nears completion.

This book is called Range and will be released on April 1, 2013.

I am also working on a novella told from Tier’s point of view that takes place after the end of Range.  This book will fill in some gaps that readers have been asking for regarding Tier and his past. It doesn’t have a title or release date yet, but will probably be available in early summer.

Thanks for having me on your blog Roxanne!  It’s been a pleasure to tour with you this month!

Book 3

Escape from Earth. Check.

Morph into an avian body. Check.

Survive Fledge and Deliverance, soul intact. Check.

Bring her Siblings back to Amelia and restore the avian race? Not so fast, darlin’.

There’s a new twist on an old prophecy and this one brings the End of Days. Junco must make a choice, but the choices all confirm her only worth is tied up in killing.

Lucan has secrets. Secrets that will make the Stag Camp look like playschool. And the lies are flowing like a mountain river during spring thaw. But he needs Junco to cooperate just a little bit longer or it all falls apart.

The Siblings on Earth are waiting for the Seventh to return and pull their clutch together. But Earth has secrets too -- secrets that change everything.

Junco has survived against impossible odds, but the cost of survival is higher than she ever imagined. Luck is about to catch up with Junco Coot and her debt must be paid.

Book Two

Junco Coot can’t even remember her trip off Earth; she was too busy being morphed into her new avian body.  But reality hits her hard when she wakes up to find her new life is not what she expected. Not even close. Tier is on trial for disobeying his commander’s kill order and only Junco seems to care.

In most places the avian coming-of-age Fledge ritual would be nothing more than mass murder, but here in the capital city of Amelia, it’s called growing up. Junco has no choice; either fight to the death to prove her worth or get sent back to Earth in the hands of her enemies.

Her new military team is hostile, her body is being taken over by an illicit artificial intelligence, the avian president wants her dead, and her only friend is a ten-year old throwaway boy.

On a foreign habitat, in a foreign culture, and surrounded by people she can’t trust or count on, Junco must find a way to save herself and Tier without losing her immortal soul in the process.

Book  Trailer:

Book One I Am Just Junco
By J.A. Huss


In 2152 the avian race is on Earth looking for something stolen from them decades ago – their genetics.  At the center of the search lies the Rural Republic; a small backwards farming country with high hopes of military domination and a penchant for illegal bioengineering.

19 year old Junco Coot is the daughter of the Rural Republic’s ranking commander. She’s the most foul-mouthed, wildly unpredictable and ruthless sniper the Rural Republic has ever trained.  But when her father’s death sparks a trip into forbidden places, she triggers events that will change everything she knows to be true.

As an elite avian military officer, Tier’s mission is to destroy the bioengineering projects, kill Commander Coot’s daughter, and return home immediately. There’s just one problem. Junco isn’t who she claims to be.

With no one to trust, not even herself, Junco must confront the secrets of her past and accept her place in the future, or risk losing herself completely.

About the Author:

J. A. Huss never took a creative writing class in her life. Some would say it shows. Others might cut her some slack. She did however, get educated and graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Equine Science. She had grand dreams of getting a Ph.D. but while she loves science, she hated academia and settled for a M.S. in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida.

She went on to write science curriculum for homeschoolers and now runs a successful home business that creates and offers online science unit studies. When she’s not writing science curriculum or fiction, she works as a farm inspector, traveling the Eastern Plains of Colorado in variety of environmentally friendly vehicles that never have four-wheel drive, so when she gets stuck in the mud in said vehicles, she has to beg for assistance from anyone who will help her. She is not bitter about that at all.

She’s always packing heat and she is owned by two donkeys, five dogs, more chickens and ducks than she can count, and of course, the real filthy animals, her kids. The I Am Just Junco series was born after falling in love with the ugliest part of Colorado and the Rural Republic is based on the area of the state she currently resides in, minus the mutants, of course.

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