In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Jeffrey Cook
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Jeffrey! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
I am the semi-rare geek-jock hybrid. My fandoms and author-inspirations include Star Wars AND Sports, comic books AND authentic mythology.
That is quite the variety of fandoms. It rivals my own!
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
I got an early start as a storyteller. As early as four, my Dad and I were passing the time on long road trips with him telling me choose-your-own-adventure type stories where I got to contribute. By six,I was telling my own stories, and declaring to my mother that I wanted to be a professional author when I grew up. I wrote some short stories, poetry, and some work in the role-playing game industry, but didn’t get started on novels until being laid off from a job in the insurance industry a few years ago. After failing to find another regular job, a friend talked me into trying Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). After over a decade in a job that didn’t allow much creativity, that year, the words came easily, and I ended up writing 315,000 words in November. Those words would become the base of the Dawn of Steam series of epistolary steampunk novels.
Even then, it was still not real until I joined with Katherine Perkins, asking her to come on board as my editor (and eventual co-author on numerous other projects.) She provided the key component to getting solid, complete work to publishable quality.
A lot of the highlights have come as a result of interactions with fans at live events, such as the two people who had to make sure I knew I was their new favorite author (and finding out Katherine was tied with Terry Pratchett as someone else’s — also awesome!), or the teen who had to give me a hug, thanking me for writing a particular character because “There’s finally someone in a book who’s like me.”
Worst part is the necessity of a lot of the other marketing. I’m not especially adept at social media, but I’m learning out of necessity.
Oh, those are wonderful fan interaction stories. As a reader, I love meeting my favorite authors although I often get tongue-tied and become strangely mute meeting them!
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
My latest release is the finale of my Fair Folk series, co-written by the aforementioned Katherine Perkins. All’s Fair is book 4 of our YA series, focused on a Seattle girl with ADHD who, thanks to the intervention of her half-menehune best friend and a disabled pixie with a service crow, discovers that she’s part-sidhe (Celtic fair folk), and, indeed, is required to go on a rescue mission into the Faerie realm. The series starts with Foul is Fair.
What inspired me to write it was my own start in heavy reading. When I was little, I got into Thor comics, starting with Thor #279. I quickly learned that the comics were based on real-world mythology (very loosely), and quickly jumped from those to mythology textbooks, learning everything I could process about Norse mythology.
I wanted to have some of the potential for that kind of experience with my own writing as I ventured into YA. The books, while an urban fantasy, have a lot of real mythology, art history, and general research behind them. It has been said about the series a number of times in reviews and feedback that someone read them, and then went scrambling to google to learn more about menehune, or musical trivia, or Richard Dadd paintings, etc.
In the fourth book, the conclusion, most of the scenarios have been set up, the characters have some experience and seasoning, and now they’re thrown into a situation way above their pay grade, as the ancient enemies of the Celtic Gods have been unleashed, with the Gods nowhere to be found, and we’re able to answer all the questions set up through the rest of the series.
The books have reviewed really well so far, including drawing a favorable comparison to both Harry Potter and Percy Jackson (as well as to The Once and Future King) from Kirkus reviews. Anyone who really enjoys fairy tales, mythology, quick reads, or books by a couple of research nerds would probably enjoy the series.
This DEFINITELY sounds like a series I need to check out. I quick reads and fairy tales. By the way, I was looking through your books and discovered I actually own two of your novels, First Light and Gods of the Sun.(I have not read them yet!)
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I’m a very eclectic reader. I love fantasy and sci-fi the most, but also really enjoy mysteries and really good historical fiction.
The books I’ve likely recommended the most:
Frankenstein: My all-time favorite book, bar none.
Shogun: Clavell’s epic historical fiction set in 1600s Japan.
Soul Music: My introduction to Pratchett by someone who knows me way too well. Humor, fantasy, satire, music, and Blues Brothers jokes.
I love Frankenstein. Read it in college. I really should reread it. I reread Dracula a few years ago (with cliff notes) after reading a horrible sequel written by one of Stoker’s relatives. I should try tackling Frankenstein again.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
My current book obsession is a support piece for a role-playing game. The Unredacted Dracula, an accessory item for the Dracula Dossier adventure. A friend is running it, and handed out two copies of the book. The game’s creators took the original novel, adapted it for their own spies vs. vampires story, and added notes and ‘unredactions,’ keeping the tone of the original letters and voice. I can’t imagine the time it took, but it’s really well done, and I’m enjoying the chances to occasionally re-read Dracula, an obviously great book in its own right.
I feel like you just read my mind. *laughs*
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
Aside from buying them, what’s something people who enjoy your books can do?
- Want to read books by various authors, but don’t have much money? Go to your local library and request that they carry said books. That helps authors out /a lot/. And we really are okay with people getting our books at the library.
- Read a good book lately? Go to Amazon, Goodreads, etc., and leave a review! Reviews are the absolute key to visibility, and getting other people to buy those books, or at least see them.
- Recommend books you’ve enjoyed to friends and family. Word of mouth is the best advertising, and people are way more likely to buy a book based on recommendations from someone they trust than a stranger at a show, or because they see it on Amazon.
Excellent, excellent points, Jeffrey. I always warns someone who asks me for a book recommendation that the list could be endless.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
With thanks to Leslie Feinberg, author of Stone Butch Blues:
The most important thing you can be is — someone you can live with.
Good luck in all your future endeavours, Jeffrey, and please come back to Second Run Reviews and let us know what you are up to.
Synopsis: Lots of girls play Fairy Princess when they’re little. Megan O’Reilly had no idea the real thing was like playing chess, guitar, and hockey all at once. Megan had known for a long time that she wasn’t an entirely typical girl. But living with ADHD—and her mother’s obsessions—was a very different thing from finding out she wasn’t entirely human. Somewhere out there, in a completely different world, her father needs help. There’s a conflict, revolving around Faerie seasonal rituals, that could have consequences for humanity—and if Megan’s getting the terminology straight, it sounds like her family aren’t even supposed to be the good guys. As she’s further and further swept up in trying to save her father, Megan may be getting too good at not being human.
Synopsis: Late December is a magical time of year. Magical enough for the forces of the Fomoire to truly begin their conquest. Many people travel and consider new things during a gap year before college. Megan of the Unseelie, all of 18 now, is spending hers hurrying between realms and trying to figure how to stop the Fomoire from running rampant over all worlds when the Winter Solstice arrives. Now Megan must rally her friends and allies one more time in a last, desperate mission. Especially because some on both sides say all those worlds are doomed.