Friday, October 10, 2014

Welcome to an Interview with Crime Thriller Author J. J. White...

Welcome to an Interview with Crime Thriller Author J. J. White....
Hello-Hello and how are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! Welcome back to my blog where I try to share whatever I think may interest  you. Today is the second time I interview a fellow author. And with me this very second is crime and thriller author, J. J. White. ...

J. J. has graciously accepted to take some valuable time out of his writing schedule to talk about writing and his latest novel, Prodigious Savant available for sale tomorrow, October 11, 2014 from Black Opal Books and online retailers such as, and more. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming J. J. White to this blog. Thank you J. J. for spending time with us. Shall we begin...
A Synopsis for Prodigious Savant:

Burlington, Vermont, 1962. Seventeen-year-old Gavin Weaver survives a dreadful explosion, six hours of brain surgery, and thirty days in a coma, to awake possessing not just one savant talent, but several, including art, music, mathematics, and memory, and all without suffering any of the usual mental disabilities associated with head trauma.

His newly acquired abilities thrust him into the public eye as the amazing ‘Whiz Kid’ from Burlington; a moniker he detests. His genius, paranoia, and increased hallucinations result in some strange and extraordinary encounters with the icons of the ‘60s, including Bobby Fischer, Nikita Khrushchev, Edward R. Murrow, John Chancellor and even a tragic meeting with John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

The odds are slim Gavin will survive both the internal and external conflicts that keep him from the one thing he wants most, the girl he’s loved since childhood.
And now for the interview:  

SJ: I love the title and scope of this book. What was your inspiration for Prodigious Savant?  Can you tell us a little bit of how the idea came about?
     JJ: Well, this may be a long answer since there was not just one thing that inspired me. It was very much like what Stephen King said in his book, On Writing, about how stories are fossils in the ground waiting to be found. My story was a fossil that first surfaced when I was seven. It happened in Burlington Vermont, the main setting of my novel. Two local teenagers fired their rifles at a construction shed full of dynamite. The resulting explosion killed one boy and blinded the other. I had always wanted to tell that story of how the blind boy coped. Instead, in my novel, I have my protagonist not only survive the explosion but wake from a coma as a Prodigious Savant, with genius abilities and math, art, music, and memory. The other inspiration for the book was the true story of Jason Padgett who, after an injury suffered in a mugging, became an Acquired Savant with a genius level ability in mathematics. 

SJ: Your protagonist, Gavin isn’t exactly a likeable fellow.  Why should the reader empathize with him in this story?
     JJ: Gavin actually is a lovable, handsome scamp who, as his mental illness progresses, becomes quite unlovable. He is something like a combination of Holden Caulfield and Forrest Gump. But as readers of fiction we all know how stories end up, don't we? So hang in there and see if it all works out.
SJ: I noticed Prodigious Savant takes place in 1962. Is there a reason it wasn't placed in the present? 
     JJ: The life-changing event for my protagonist actually happened that year in Vermont, so I described that event and the setting as well as I could remember, considering I was nine at the time. I probably got most of it wrong and I’m sure I’ll hear about it from my siblings and my relatives who still live there.
SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?
     JJ: What I love the most is when I’m writing the middle section of a chapter and I get into a zone where my characters come alive, as if they were performing on a stage in front of me. When that happens, my pen can’t keep up with my brain. I write everything by hand, by the way.
     What I hate the most is the begging, cajoling, and bribing of family, friends, and strangers to first read my writing and then buy it. When I'm in the marketing phase I feel like an Amway sales associate at a home viewing party. The only way to cleanse my sins after that is to hole up in my office and write.
SJ: What writer inspired you most and how?
     JJ: It was, Patrick D. Smith, who lived near me in Merritt Island, Florida. He penned, A Land Remembered, one of the most important novels ever written on the history of Florida. By the second page, I was lost in the story and literally hated to put it down. It was fascinating how Smith structured his book to keep the story moving while holding the reader spellbound his beautiful exposition, narrative, and dialogue. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and it should have won.
SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
     JJ: It would be the standard writing advice you hear from most authors. Actually, two pieces of writing advice. One: Read, as much as you can, as fast as you can.  And two: Write as much as you can, as fast as you can, and don't worry if it's crap. Writing is like a video game, the more you practice, the better you get at it.
SJ: In closing, what is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation?
     JJ: Of course the book I mentioned earlier, A Land Remembered, but I also loved Truman Capote's, In Cold Blood. And about a thousand others.

SJ: You've picked two books. Can you tell us why they're your favorite.
     JJ: Both A Land Remembered and In Cold Blood use the Three Acts writing process that I used as templates for my writing, where the first act has a life-changing event on the protagonist(s), the second act involves escalating danger and conflict to the protagonist(s) and finally, the third act resolves this drama/conflict in a satisfying conclusion for the reader. That was the main reason, although the books also ask and answer a moral question that the reader can relate to.

Fantastic information. Thanks J.J. for joining us here. I'm sure everyone is intrigued with Prodigius Savant and we're looking forward to its release, tomorrow, October 11, 2014 at online bookstores everywhere. I know I am. Of course, we couldn't leave this blog without first giving you a taste of Prodigius Savant without an excerpt:
Steve sighted his rifle. “It went behind the shed,” he said, then fired twice, both shots hitting the window and shattering the panes. Black smoke poured out.
“It’s on fire,” Gavin said. “Why’d you do that? Somebody could be sleeping in there.”
“There’s nobody in there. If there were they would’ve woken up by now.”
Gavin lay on the ground, narrowed his eyes, and studied the shed. A second later it transformed into a massive ball of soil, concrete, and fire.
Steve never saw it disintegrate. One of the planks on the west side of the shed flew the hundred feet up the hill, decapitating him where he stood, his rifle still clutched in his hands. Gavin, because of his prone position, also didn’t see the explosion. The mound directly below him formed into a wave of dirt, propelling him backward down a steep embankment and slamming the left side of his head against a boulder blown out by the blast.

And the purchase links to buy Prodigious Savant by J.J. White are:

Amazon Kindle:

Thanks J.J. for visiting with us. Thank you all for stopping by. J.J. please return any time. It was fun.
Until next month...every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others.

S. J. Francis
 In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family."  Coming in 2015 from Black Opal Books.
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