When the mysterious stranger, John Carter, arrived in the small gulf coast town of Newcastle Beach, he expected to find a quiet retreat in which he could remain anonymous. But after he encounters the most powerful family in town, their secrets quickly begin to unravel, and Carter is caught in the middle. He learns that nothing in Newcastle is what it seems and random is a word that should not exist. But the stranger has his own dark past, and what unfolds is hard to imagine. As revelations are made and pieces fall into place, everyone involved has only one question: who is John Carter?
James has graciously allowed me to interview him.
The main character of your book, John Carter, is a man who arrives in the little town of Newcastle Beach--I too am a fan of making up the cities in my books--there are a million little towns to choose from, why did you make yours up?
I am a believer that setting is nearly as important as character development to a story. If a reader can really feel the things and places around the characters then it gives them a chance to grow the vision in their minds, much the same way the characters personalities grow as the story develops. As a writer, creating a setting from scratch can only add to the dynamics of the plot. Also, if a reader has had an experience in a real city or a town then it is likely that that experience, either good and bad, will bleed over into their perspective.
Like your character, you live in Florida, are you also from a small town?
I am. I actually grew up in small town in North Carolina where I lived much of my life before moving to Florida.
Tell me about what inspired the idea for The Last Man Out?
The story developed over time and comes directly from my professional background in financial markets. The concept of a man on the run is something that I have always found intriguing and so I decided to mesh the two into an action novel.
If you got to choose a theme song for your book, what would it be? Who would star it in if it were made into a movie?
I like to think that the book’s theme song would come from the readers themselves and it would fit the narrative as they see it. As for the actor who plays John Carter, it would be my preference that it be someone who is yet unknown and perfectly symbolizes the character.
Personally, if I were living on the gulf coast of Florida, I’d be writing on the beach all the time, but that’s just me. Tell me about your writing process and preferred environment.
It’s funny Jay, most authors like to think of themselves sitting in a picturesque and inspirational setting on a mountain top or a beach. But the truth is, at least for me, I prefer the peace and quiet of my home office with absolutely no distractions. I just get lost in the story when my writing is really in the zone.
You are working on a second John Carter book, scheduled to be released this fall, what can you tell us about it?
I am currently putting the finishing touches on the second book in the series. The story continues where The Last Man Out leaves off. Of course I wouldn’t want to give too much away but I will say this- the lead villain, Andrew Brighton is not the only one who is after John Carter.
Are you able to write full-time, or do you have use your degree in economics to pay the bills?
I have a full time job working in finance. In fact my real life work experiences are applied to some of the plot lines in my writing.
Some authors, such as John Grisham, use their specialty knowledge to write some really spectacularly thrilling tales. Any plans to write a story about a terrorist that tries to take America down by undermining its economic integrity?
Well…. I can’t say that I have but now that you bring it up….. No actually I sort of cringe at some of the movies and books that have been produced that comingle economics into action/adventure. I intentionally wrote The Last Man Out with the idea that the characters experiences in finance where part of their backgrounds and part of the story, but not necessarily the dominant focus. There are plenty of great writers out there that focus on fighting terrorists, and I love some of those novels. It just isn’t my thing.
Now for the fun stuff!
Are you a sports fan and if so, who do you follow?
Huge sports fan. Particularly football. I am a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan, which is my alma mater. I also follow the Pittsburgh Steelers because my wife is from there. If you have ever met a Steelers fan then you know how passionate they can be, bordering on crazed.
Say you have multiple personalities—maybe you do? Perhaps I could interview them individually?--Tell me about them.
No Jay, you cannot. If I let you then my secret would be out.
Who is your favorite fictional character from any writer? What about in your own writing?
That is a tough one. I am a fan of Jack Reacher of course, but I would have to say that my all time favorite is Mitch Rapp from the Vince Flynn books. Although my writing style is in no way similar or remotely as good as Mr. Flynn, he was one of my first addictive authors. I am more than saddened by his recent passing.
What do you take in your coffee?
Lots of cream and, according to my wife, an unhealthy amount of Splenda.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Probably just sitting on the couch watching college football with friends.
If you could spend one day with any person, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
I would say George Washington. I am fascinated by revolutionary history and would love to know exactly what was going through their minds at the time. I think we romanticize that era to some degree but the truth is they were just men trying to make brave and difficult decisions.
You are granted one super power, what would you want it to be?
Time travel. No question.
What is the best prank you’ve ever played on someone?
I'm not much of prankster to be honest. So I cant really say.
If you could go to one concert for any band in history, who would it be?
I know you will think this is somewhat uncultured, but Kenny Chesney. In the late 90’s when he was just starting to get national, I was in school in Tennessee. He was from that part of the state so his older music was the soundtrack of my college life and always takes me right back to that time.
If you were a professional wrestler, what would your ring name be and why?
I’m too small and slow to be a professional wrestler.
Thank you, James, for stopping by and sharing with us today. I appreciate the chance to get to know you a bit better.
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Thanks again, James!