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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Interview With Author Brent Jones



Go Home, Afton (Book 1 in The Afton Morrison Series)

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? The idea for Afton Morrison came to me one night after watching a rerun of Forensic Files. I thought about creating a character who was cold and arrogant enough to think he or she could pull off a string of perfect murders without getting caught. The question became, who in a small town would be the last person suspected of committing a grisly murder? A children’s librarian, that’s who. I shadowed our children’s librarian here in Fort Erie to learn more about her role and responsibilities, and then got to work soon after on creating an unlikely vigilante heroine that readers could root for.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? Go Home, Afton is the first of four books that follow Afton Morrison, a twenty-six-year-old children’s librarian in the fictitious Midwestern town of Wakefield. As a teenager, Afton first becomes aware of the violent impulses inside of her, demanding that she claim a human life. She resists those impulses until she’s an adult, at which point she chooses to direct her murderous intent toward those who, she feels, deserve it. In Go Home, Afton, our titular protagonist hunts down a known sexual predator, intending to make him her first kill. Readers that enjoy fast-paced thrillers, teaming with action, are sure to enjoy Go Home, Afton. Fans of true crime, vigilante justice, grit, and strong female leads will appreciate this story, too.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? If I’m being truthful, I hope readers say to themselves, “I need to pre-order the second book! That was exciting, and I have to know what happens next.” Those are immediate thoughts, however. In terms of everlasting thoughts, I hope the tagline of Go Home, Afton resonates with readers. That tagline being, “We all wear masks.” To phrase this sentiment as a different saying, don’t judge a book by its cover. You never know what’s lurking beneath the surface, and things may not always be what they seem.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? You’ve got to write the story inside of you. Authors that attempt to chase market trends or write what’s popular almost always end up crafting an uninspired manuscript. I firmly believe that the story is more important to readers than the genre. Tell the tale that captures your interest, and it will hook others, too.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? Self-published titles represent a growing percentage of book sales each year. The thing about self-publishing is that anybody can do it. I’m self-published, for example, and I recommend following that path to anyone thinking about writing fiction for the first time. The downside, however, is that because anybody can self-publish their work, there are a lot of low quality self-published books out there. There are no barriers to entry for self-publishing. So while I think self-published titles will continue to grow in popularity, there will increasingly be “noise” for readers to sift through when choosing a title to read.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book? There were several challenges, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll outline two. The first was writing a female lead as a male author. From a first-person perspective, no less. There are entire online threads dedicated to discussing “men writing women” and, to be blunt, most aren’t kind. Compound that with writing a female lead that happens to be unconventional and it made the entire process more difficult at times. Between my wife, my editor, and beta readers, however, I got plenty of constructive feedback along the way. The second challenge I’ll highlight is with respect to some of the subject matter in Go Home, Afton. The target of Afton’s murderous intent in this book, Kenneth Pritchard, is a known sexual predator. A predator that, Afton notes, has slipped through the cracks one too many times, thanks to the conservative all-male police force, tasked with investigating claims of his misconduct in a small town. As such, the topic of sexual assault is broached more than once, and at a time in which allegations of misconduct are making front page news every day. Some sensitivity was required here while being truthful about the viciousness of such crimes.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? I think Go Home, Afton will tick a number of boxes for readers. It is, first and foremost, an action-packed thriller. One reader of an advance copy described the tension throughout as “so thick you could cut it with a knife.” Fans of morally ambiguous characters who operate within a gray zone are bound to be drawn into the story, too. Second, Go Home, Afton is the first of four parts. It’s novella-length and only 99 cents on Amazon. In other words, checking out Go Home, Afton is a great opportunity for a reader to decide if he or she might like to pick up the rest of the series. It’s a fast and inexpensive read. Third, and perhaps most compelling, Afton is not only a strong female lead, but she’s an unusual character with a fair amount of depth. I think readers will appreciate her quirks as much as her brand of vigilante justice.

About the Author: Brent Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex. For more info, please see: https://authorbrentjones.com/2018/04/10/go-home-afton-cover-reveal/

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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