Today we have a guest! It’s J.A. Konrath (Joe), author of soon-to-be-released horror novel Afraid and of the Lt. Jack Daniels mystery series (Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, etc.). Joe is on a blog book tour to promote Afraid, which I’m looking forward to reading. Here’s a blurb from Joe’s newsletter:
Welcome to Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Miles from everything, with one road in and out, this peaceful town has never needed a full-time police force. Until now…
A helicopter has crashed near Safe Haven and unleashed something horrifying. Now this merciless force is about to do what it does best. Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate. As residents begin dying in a storm of gory violence, Safe Haven’s only chance for survival will rest with an aging county sheriff, a firefighter, and a single mom. And each will have this harrowing thought: Maybe death hasn’t come to their town by accident…
And now, Joe’s here to tell us a little about his life as a writer.
Afraid is written under a pseudonym (Jack Kilborn), which you are
totally open about. Why bother with the pseudonym if it’s not even
going to be a secret?
Two reasons. First, the Jack Daniels books I write under JA Konrath are
funny. That’s part of their brand. Because of this reason, people who
don’t like funny books don’t read JA Konrath, and that bias carries over
to all JA Konrath books.
Second, though the Konrath books sell well, they haven’t cracked the
bestseller list yet. Bookstores order quantities based on an author’s
previous sales numbers. Jack Kilborn has no previous sales figures,
hence the chance for a larger preorder.
Afraid will be out March 31, and will be followed in July by your newest
Jack Daniels thriller, Cherry Bomb. What’s different about writing for
AFRAID is a scare machine. I’m trying to frighten the hell out of
people. While it has some heart, and a human element, the point of the
book is to induce nerve-jangling fear.
I’m upfront about the fact that a certain percentage of people who begin
AFRAID will be too scared to finish it. It’s already been released in
England, and it fosters either overwhelmingly positive response, or
decrees that I’m the devil for writing something so horrifying.
CHERRY BOMB is an anomaly. I can say, in all seriousness, that no one
has ever written a book like it before. As in the previous five Jack
Daniels thrillers, it alternates between scares and humor. But CHERRY
BOMB has a unique structure. Half of the book is in Jack’s point of view
as she chases a killer. But the other half of the book takes place in
the killer’s POV.
Anthony Hopkins won the best actor Oscar for Silence of the Lambs, but
he only has fifteen minutes of screen time. In the book, Lecter only
appears on a few dozen pages.
With CHERRY BOMB, we’re in the villain’s head for as many pages as we’re
in Jack’s head. There are still laughs, and there are still many of the
supporting characters from the prior books, and there’s even a four page
sex scene–something I hadn’t done before in the Jack series. But CHERRY
BOMB is ultimately a character study of two adversaries heading for a
You’re a parent. Writer-mothers are frequently very concerned about
maintaining a work-family balance, and are often searching for ways to
find time both for writing and for their kids. How is this similar
and/or different for a father?
I’ve got an eleven year old at home, and he knows when Dad is writing to
not bug him too much. That said, I make time to help him with his
homework, and so far this year we’ve beaten six Xbox 360 games together,
so he isn’t really lacking for parental attention. I’m the cook, and he
helps with that. I go to parent teacher conferences. I force him to
listen to my music, so his iPod is filled with Motorhead, Tom Waits,
They Might Be Giants, and mc chris. I probably see more of him than most
parents see their children.
I expect, when he’s older, he’ll try to make me pay for his therapy.
You have both a blog and an e-book called A Newbie’s Guide to
Publishing. Why are you giving this stuff away for free?
The Ebook is a 750 page collection of previous blog posts, organized by
topic, bookmarked and searchable. It’s much easier to use than surfing
my gigantic blog, trying to find that one bit of information you’re
looking for. Eventually I’ll update the Ebook, because I’ve done a few
dozen blog entries since then that should be included.
Why do I give away everything I know about publishing for free when
there’s a whole niche market for exploiting newbies with How-To books?
I believe all writers need to reach out with both hands. One should
always be reaching for your next goal. The other should be reaching
back, to help other writers get where you’re currently at.
People want two things on the Internet: Information and Entertainment.
My blog has over 300,000 words worth of information about writing,
marketing, and publishing. My website has six free Ebooks worth of
entertainment, so people can try me out at no risk. It’s also filled
with interviews, videos, games, and various other fun things to do.
The first goal it to make people aware of me. The second goal is to make
people try me. Free information and entertainment leads people to me.
Some of those people will become fans, some of those fans will become
buyers, and some day I may earn enough money to replace my 1997 Jeep
with something sportier. Like a 2004 Jeep.
AFRAID comes out March 31, but it will probably trickle into the
bookstores prior to that date. If you think you’re brave enough to
handle it, shoot me an email to let me know what you think. I get a bit
of email, but I still answer all of it.
Let’s see Stephen King make that claim.