1. Which is your favorite genre to write?
I always seem to default to some form of speculative fiction or fantasy, although I’ve written a number of more ‘straight’ works, too. I think it’s the freedom to be able to create worlds, to take ideas and stretch them as outrageously far as I want, including with characters, where I can play with a lot of stuff in creating different species and cultures that I couldn’t pull off with a strictly ‘human’ cast. Maybe it’s my history background, but I also really love creating fictional wars, religions, political systems, corruption…especially when interwoven with our own. It’s a lot of fun!
2. Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
99% of the time, I title the book first, especially novels…although those titles have changed halfway through the writing a number of times, and sometimes even at the end, I’ll realize I got it wrong, or maybe that there’s something that would work a lot better.
3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think messages end up being there, even when authors really intend them to be. In terms of things I do intentionally, however, rather than a message, more what happens for me is that I have concepts I chew on (sometimes obsessively) in the course of writing the book. I don’t usually come to any specific conclusion with those concepts…nor do I really try. Personally, I’m not into preachy books, so I’ve never tried to use fiction to sell any particular idea, since I find that kind of obnoxious. Also, to be totally frank, I often come out of those ‘mulling’ sessions with only a vague inkling of what I think myself. Like in the Allie’s War books, including Shield: Allie’s War, Book Two, I’m often playing around the with the notions of good and evil, obsession versus love, possessiveness, trust, aggression and so on. I wouldn’t say there is any “message” there, though. My only real goal is to create characters that are believably complex, and yet ones I can relate to and like, despite those contradictions, and the fact that they do some pretty questionable things at times.
4. Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think as writers we can’t help but draw from our own lives and experiences with other people and the world. For me, I would say this definitely happens, and gets mixed in with the reading I do, both nonfiction and fiction, and the places I’ve traveled and so on. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever written a 1:1 in terms of characters or situations. I use a lot of composites to play with ideas, but I’ve never based a character on a real person or an exact situation.
5. What book are you reading now?
I’m actually getting ready to go to a workshop on writing mystery novels, with a bunch of other professional writers, so I’m making my way through the reading list for that workshop. I just finished Robert Crais’ very excellent book in the Elvis Cole universe, called L.A. Requiem. I absolutely loved it, and am now buying a bunch of other books in the series. Totally in love with Joe Pike now, lol…he’s a hottie, for sure.
6. What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on book seven in the Allie’s War series, tentatively entitled BRIDGE.
7. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! It’s pretty rough at this point, and I cut it down some to pull out a few spoilers, but here’s a short scene from Chapter One: “Damaged” ~
The younger seer started to speak, his full mouth curling into a frown.
Before he could get out the words, Revik shook his head, once. His jaw hardened, but he was speaking over the other’s expression without bothering to reach out with his light for the specific objections in the young seer’s mind.
“...I don’t want to hear it,” he said.
The younger seer opened his mouth.
“––I mean it, Maygar,” Revik growled. “No excuses. We try it again. From the beginning. Or I start training you the way I was taught. No modifications.”
Maygar’s eyes hardened to brown stones in his high-cheekboned face.
“Yeah,” Revik said. “You’ll like it less than this. Significantly less.”
Maygar glanced at the one-way window, right before he looked back at Revik. Something in the gesture conveyed helplessness, which only managed to anger Revik more.
Resting his hands on his hips, Revik hit at the younger seer with his light, until he had his full attention again.
“Balidor’s not going to help you,” he warned, gesturing towards the same one-way window etched into the organic face of the room’s wall. “No one’s going to help you, Maygar. You said you wanted this, and I have neither the time to waste nor the inclination to pretend I give a damn about your feelings of inadequacy...”
Revik gestured around at the broader room, a nearly featureless square cell they’d built in the basement of the four-story Victorian in which the infiltration team currently lived. He knew there were plans to move the whole operation a few hundred...if not thousand...miles inland of their current location. He knew they would likely need a bigger space soon, and approved of the overall plans, but he wasn’t leaving here until she was able to be safely moved.
In fact, he hadn’t even argued, which Revik appreciated more than he’d expressed, or likely would express. The Adhipan leader made a few jokes about the mountain coming to Mohammad, and that was the end of it. He put his people to work, and they’d left Revik to do what he was doing, and only interrupted him when they needed something specific.
Revik appreciated that, too.
Still, it felt temporary here. All of them felt it. On some level, it was utterly insane to stay here, given San Francisco’s location along major fault lines and its proximity to the sea.
Revik didn’t care.
Revik rarely left this specific building.
The room’s walls glowed with organic life, shimmering with a disconcerting glimmer of sentience as his eyes and light followed their snaking trails. It was the first such room the Adhipan and their technicians had ever attempted to build. While it didn’t quite have the impenetrability of the tank Galaith had built in the mountains of Asia––which had been designed to cut a seer totally off from the Barrier proper––when fully activated, this room came close.
Revik’s eyes didn’t leave the other man’s while he thought this.
“...Plenty of other seers want to be on the ground for this,” he growled at Maygar’s silence. “Plenty of other seers would kill themselves for the opportunity to help, particularly at this level. Say the word, and I’ll start training for a different approach...one that doesn’t need your skills. Or your excuses.”
Maygar’s frown deepened, but something in that last speech caused his dark brown eyes to clear somewhat. The younger seer shook his head while Revik watched, clenching his jaw as if he didn’t trust what might come out of his mouth if he were to speak.
Revik found himself hardening his light against the expression there.
He saw the grief behind it. He felt enough of a flavor of Allie’s light on the other seer that a pain rose abruptly to his chest. He felt the intensity of Maygar’s hurt...and that sadness resonated briefly with his own, enough that he had to fight back his light, to control it with an iron hand before he did something he would regret.
His words came out the same as before, however.
“Now try it again,” he said, aiming his light deliberately at the relevant structure over the younger seer’s head. “Exactly like I showed you...”
That time, Maygar nodded, his expression taut, almost vulnerable in its determination.
“All right,” he said, unfolding his arms. “...I’m ready.”
8. Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
I did some traveling in the beginning, especially for the first few books. I visited Vancouver, B.C. to find them a good hideout while they were on the run in book one. I also took a cruise ship to Alaska, since I’d never been on a cruise before and I’d planned to set a chunk of the book on one, so I figured I should have some idea of what they were like. I also traveled to India, and ended up drawing from that experience quite a bit in writing some of the sections located in that part of Asia, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
9. Who designed the cover of your latest book?
Actually, I’m embarrassed to admit that I did. I did hire people a few times, but I never ended up with something that seemed to capture the feel of the series well enough to market it effectively. So this version can be blamed squarely on my shoulders, since I designed all of the covers myself. I did try to study what was out in my genre, so I wouldn’t be working in a total vacuum, but yeah, I’ve obviously still got a lot to learn.
10.Do you have any advice for other writers?
Honestly, this is such a great time to be a writer, you almost can’t go wrong as long as you are constantly striving to get better at your craft and continue to put stuff out there. Audiences are growing, retailers are proliferating, independent bookstores are doing great…it just became a lot easier for indies to get paperback books in bookstores at the same level of discounting as the major publishers. You can pursue a hybrid career or go exclusively indie or exclusively traditional, if you so desire. You can pretty much write whatever you want and still find a market for it somewhere, so for the first time in ages, it doesn’t matter so much what a bunch of salespeople in suits think about your stuff being “marketable” in that broad, mega-seller sense. You can be a niche writer and still make a living. I would say, in terms of advice – just have fun, and write what you love, and worry about the market later. For once, that’s actually a viable strategy, no matter how off-beat your writing and/or voice is.
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Romance on a Budget
Allie’s War, Book Two
Genre: New Adult / Urban Fantasy/ Romance
Publisher: White Sun Press
Number of pages: 432
Word Count: approx. 160K
Cover Artist: White Sun Press
“And they say Death will live among them in the guise of a child....”
Grappling with her new identity as “Bridge,” a being meant to herald the end for all of humanity, isn’t even Allie’s biggest problem. She’s also coping with a whole new set of rules around her seer marriage, as well as the power-hungry Rook she helped put in the White House, who is currently doing his best to start a war with China.
Then the boy appears. A sociopath with all of the energetic markings of Syrimne, a highly dangerous telekinetic seer who killed thousands during World War I, he doesn’t appear to have aged in one hundred years.
Worse, he thinks Allie belongs to him.
About the Allie’s War Series:
An urban fantasy paranormal romance set in a unique, gritty version of Earth, populated by a second race of beings called seers, the Allie’s War series centers on the relationship of a strong female protagonist, Allie Taylor, and her antihero guide, Dehgoies Revik. Falling into the new adult genre of books, the Allie’s War series takes place in a modern version of Earth you’ve never seen, that spans centuries along with the lives of its main characters, the seers, and the wars they fight with themselves and their human allies and enemies, (steamy sex scenes in parts!).
Allie's War series
Shield: Allie’s War, Book Two
About the Author:
JC Andrijeski has published novels, novellas, serials, graphic novels and short stories, as well as nonfiction essays and articles, including the Allie’s War series, The Slave Girl Chronicles and bestselling novella, The Alien Club. Her short fiction runs from humorous to apocalyptic, and her nonfiction articles cover subjects from graffiti art, meditation, psychology, journalism, politics and history. JC has traveled extensively and lived abroad, but currently lives and works on the Oregon Coast.
FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/J.C.Andrijeski
Goodreads author page:
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/JC-Andrijeski/e/B004MFTAP0/