Please welcome debut novelist Jay Scott to Saturday Coffee with Authors. Jay is currently working on book one of his gritty trilogy, 122 Rules, which will be with beta readers next month. Book two is already complete! (No grass growing under Jay’s feet!)
When did you start writing and what made you start?
I started writing two years ago. I had wanted to do it for a long time, but it was my coworker, who, unbeknownst to him, actually prompted me to get more serious about my dream. What spurred me on was when he told me about an article he read. In it the author reported the results of a survey done on a several thousand WWII veterans. The men came back from the war, got jobs, and eventually retired. Their mindset when they got home was to work and take care of their families. 50 years later when these men were asked what they would have done differently, an overwhelming percentage of them said they wished they had done something creative. Writing, drawing, painting, and acting where the most common. I realized that if I ever wanted to write, I was just going to have to make time for it, and since my first idea (see below), I have.
Tell us a little bit about your latest books.
Here is the latest version of my synopsis: College student Monica Sable records a conversation between the mob boss, Laven Michaels, and his number one henchman. She manages to slip away without them catching her, only to be nabbed by the FBI who force her into witness protection. With her testimony they have enough to shut down Laven’s operation and put the mobster away for life.
Sam Bradford, a man living outside of society, is an expert at finding people who do not want to be found. He’s the best The Agency has to offer and a master of the 122 Rules of Psychology. With these rules he can manipulate people into doing and telling him anything.
When Sam is hired to find Monica, he doesn’t know he is ultimately working for the mob. In spite of misgivings about the case he tracks her down, seduces her and reveals her true identity. Later he reads about an explosion in her house where she is thought to have been killed. Deeper investigation reveals the truth of the “accident,” and who wants her dead. He also learns that, incredibly, Monica is still alive.
Laven has also learned Monica survived and sent his henchman across the country deal with her. No mistakes this time.
Sam is caught, forced to either right a wrong he helped create or follow orders and stand down. For the first time in his life he ignores protocol and instead pursues both the henchman and the mobster who hired him. Sam’s only plan: get them before they get to Monica.
Where did you come up with this idea?
I was on my way to work one day, listening to music and not really thinking about much when this insanely vivid scene came to me of this girl asleep in her room. In my head I could see that her bed was covered with a huge pile of blankets. Across the room was a large open window overlooking the ocean. I was even able see the books on her dresser and the dust bunnies tumbling across the floor in the breeze. All the way to work I thought about it and when I got there I typed it up…on my phone. I sent myself an email of this first scene, then lost it. No idea what happened. Just gone. Poof. It’s still probably cruising the halls of cyberspace.
So that weekend I typed it up again…on my computer. Fool me once and all that. Didn’t really know why, but this time around a dog appeared in a basket on the floor. Black and white terrier. After I completed the chapter I kept writing and the next one came out, then the next, and so forth. It wasn’t like I came up with the idea for my book, it was more like the book found me and my job was to unearthed it.
Who did the cover art for your book?
I don’t have a cover for my book yet. I have an image in my head of a guy on a motorcycle, my antagonist whom I met during my writing journey, riding towards the reader. It’s nighttime, on a long, deserted country road, with mountains and a full moon in the background. Haven’t found the art yet. I suspect whomever actually designs my cover will probably have a much better idea.
Who do find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that?
My literary hero is Stephen King. No question about it. My blog, Jay On Writing, is named for his book On Writing, which if you have not read I highly recommend. Here is an excerpt from my blog about him:
Arguably there are authors who write with a larger vocabulary, create better, more vivid descriptions, have a higher Lexile reading level, blah blah blah, but there is no one that can tell a better story, and for me it’s all about story. Whether or not you like his genre is immaterial. The man can spin a yarn that hooks you from word one.
Which one of your characters would be the best to meet in real life?
One of my secondary characters: Angel. When I first learned about her I thought she was a throw away. Someone that would simply be used as childhood friend of one my main characters, helping to give her more depth. But Angel surprised me. In spite of her being a checker at a grocery store and having no real direction for her life, she turned out to be surprisingly resourceful and spunky. She saves my main character’s behind over and over with her mad ninja-like skills and take-no-crap attitude. She would terrific fun to hang out with.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Mary Waibel’s, Charmed Memories—I was lucky enough to get a pre-release copy from her, before that was Hank Buchmann’s, Dead Woman Creek, before that was Dean Koontz’s, Deeply Odd. The entire time, I have also been reading George R.R. Martin’s, Game of Thrones. This last book is more a marathon, where I keep stopping at different intervals, 2 miles, 12 miles, 15, to read other books. I love his story, but I have ADD and keep getting distracted.
What is the one thing that seems to always get in the way of writing time?
Time! Ugh!!! I get as few hours of sleep as possible, always riding the ragged edge between bleary and prostrate, but between family, work, working out, commuting, and miscellaneous—don’t you just love that category?—I have only about an hour a day during the week. My primary time is on the weekends were I work from my hammock, weather permitting, or from the couch if it isn’t.
Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?
I have a complete novella in the final edit stage. My first book, 122 Rules, was originally a 157,000 word tomb—I missed the debut-novels-need-to-be-80,000-words rule—so I broke it up into two books. Never thought it possible, but I worked the manuscript over, new ideas came, and am now almost done with the initial edits. What is coming out is better than the original. I expect to have it fully edited and ready for beta readers by mid-September. The good news is that the next book, 122 Rules – Redemption, is largely complete and edited. It required a lot less modification than the first half. In addition, I have 35,000 words of the third book in the trilogy. My goal is to be querying the first book by November.
You’re throwing a fiction character party. What fictional characters would you like to invite (name and where they are from (book/TV/Movie/etc.) and why?
I would LOVE to hang out with Christopher Snow and friends from Dean Koontz’s, Fear Nothing. I wouldn’t want to invite them to a party though, I’d want to run with them in Moonlight Bay, the town where the story is based, and go on an epic adventure.
Christopher is, hands down, my favorite character. Ever. He has XP (xeroderma pigmentosum) a disease where a person’s DNA does not repair itself after being damaged. Because of his affliction he only goes out at night, thus protecting himself from the harmful rays of the sun. He also lives near this “abandoned” old military base–only it isn’t completely abandoned–and he and his friends have all these fantastic adventures there. Christopher is also a surfer and he and his girlfriend surf at night.
This sounds like the best time ever.
Feel free to add any of these this/that questions to the end of the interview:
Coke/Pepsi – I don’t drink soda, except occasionally. I like coffee, tea, water, wine and beer.
Cat/Dog – Ugh! None please! I’ve taken care of a dozen dogs over my life, not one of which was mine!
Vampires/Zombies – Vampires from TrueBlood are awesome!
Marvel/DC – Marvel
Thor/Loki – Thor kicks booty. I normally like the villains, but Loki annoys me. My favorite scene of Loki’s is during Avengers when Hulk smashes him into the floor. Loki’s potential realized!
Hero/Villain – I always seem to identify with the villain…except in the Thor/Loki debate.
Car/Plane – Depends on my mood. Sometimes a road trip sounds like just the ticket, other times I just want to get to my destination.
London/Paris – Yes, please! England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Greece, France
Ice cream/Chips – Occasionally. When that’s what you want there is nothing else that will satisfy the urge, but if I’m going to indulge, usually it’s in dark chocolate and/or beer.
Find more from Jay here: