Thursday, September 12, 2013

Q+A with D.B. Jackson (Thieves' Quarry)

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author D.B. Jackson!  D.B. is the author of the Thieftaker Chronicles (Thieftaker, A Spell of Vengeance, Thieves' Quarry).

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first book when I was six years old.  Seriously.  It wasn’t very good, and I illustrated it myself, which made it worse. But that was my first fiction, and I suppose I’ve wanted to write stories ever since.  But I began writing professionally after finishing my Ph.D. in the spring of 1993.  I had several months before I was going to start applying for university teaching jobs, which were to be listed in the fall.  My wife said to me, “Since the day I met you, you’ve talking about writing a novel.  You have the summer -- why not try writing and see if you love it as much as you think you will?” I did, and when I was offered a contract with Tor, I chose to pursue a writing career and leave academia.  I’ve been writing ever since.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Actually, I first encountered fantasy when I was eleven years old and attended a sleepaway camp.  The camp drama counselor was putting on an abridged production of The Hobbit, and I auditioned for it, not because I knew anything about the play, but because I didn’t have much else to do for that session.  I got the part of Bilbo, and fell in love with the story.

When I got home, I read the book, and loved that, too.  A few years later I read Lord of the Rings.  Then Ursula K. LeGuin’s EarthSea trilogy.  Then Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books.  And by this time I was pretty much hooked on fantasy.  I read Dune as well, and found that I liked science fiction nearly as much. But it was reading that got me hooked.  And when I started getting serious about writing, late in high school, speculative fiction was the stuff I wanted to write, just as it was the stuff I wanted to read.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

Well, I can certainly tell you what powers I wouldn’t want:  I wouldn’t want to be able to discern the future -- I don’t want to know what life is going to bring; I much prefer to be surprised along the way.  And I wouldn’t want to be able to read people’s thoughts -- I just think that it would be a matter of too much information, if you know what I mean.

I think the power I would want most would be the ability to shape-shift, particularly if I could retain at least some level of awareness and personal identity in any form.  I would love to know what it is like to be a hawk, a wolf, a hummingbird, an elk, etc.  I could go on listing creatures I’d like to be, but you get the idea.  I think having that ability would be not only handy, but also very cool.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

  Thieves’ Quarry, the second book in my Thieftaker Chronicles (the first book, Thieftaker, came out last year, also from Tor books), is a stand-alone murder mystery set in pre-Revolutionary Boston.  My lead character, Ethan Kaille is a thieftaker, which is sort of the 18th century equivalent of a private detective; he recovers stolen items for a fee. He’s also a conjurer.  In this book, which takes place on the eve of the British occupation of Boston in September/October 1768, he is hired by representatives of the Crown to investigate a magical attack on a British naval vessel that kills every man on board.  And in the course of his investigation, he has to grapple with the deepening political struggles between loyalists and the Sons of Liberty; he has to thwart several thieves who are all racing to recover a cache of smuggled pearls; and he has to overcome a conjuring power the likes of which he has never faced before.

It’s really a fun book -- a ton of stuff is going on, and Ethan is caught in the middle of all of it. And I also believe it’s the best book I’ve written to date, in terms of plotting, pacing, character.  It just all came together so well with this novel.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

  I would probably want Mark Wahlberg to play Ethan.  To my mind, he is the actor who looks the part, and whose acting best meshes with how I see the role.  In the role of Sephira Pryce, Ethan’s rival in thieftaking, who is cruel, ruthless, shrewd, beautiful, and sexy as hell, I would probably want Olivia Wilde.  She’s not only a fine actress, but she also has the look I’d want -- alluring, but also strong.  And in the role of Ethan’s love interest, Kannice Lester, I would cast  Emma Stone, whose work I love, and who has a softer, somewhat more accessible look -- again, perfect for the role.

Thieves' Quarry (Thieftaker #2) by D.B. Jackson.

Ethan Kaille isn’t the likeliest hero. A former sailor with a troubled past, Ethan is a thieftaker, using conjuring skills to hunt down those who steal from the good citizens of Boston. And while chasing down miscreants in 1768 makes his life a perilous one, the simmering political tensions between loyalists like himself and rabble-rousing revolutionaries like Samuel Adams and others of his ilk are perhaps even more dangerous to his health.

When one hundred sailors of King George III's Royal Navy are mysteriously killed on a ship in Boston Harbor, Ethan is thrust into dire peril. For he—and not Boston’s premier thieftaker, Sephira Pryce—is asked to find the truth behind their deaths. City Sheriff Edmund Greenleaf suspects conjuring was used in the dastardly crime, and even Pryce knows that Ethan is better equipped to contend with matters of what most of Boston considers dark arts. But even Ethan is daunted by magic powerful enough to fell so many in a single stroke. When he starts to investigate, he realizes that the mass murderer will stop at nothing to evade capture. And making his task more difficult is the British fleet's occupation of the city after the colonials' violent protests after the seizure of John Hancock's ship. Kaille will need all his own magic, street smarts, and a bit of luck to keep this Boston massacre from giving the hotheads of Colonial Boston an excuse for inciting a riot—or worse.

Release Date:  July 2, 2013

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Don't miss our review of Thieves' Quarry posted earlier this week.  Thieves' Quarry is an intriguing mix of historical fiction, magic realism, and urban fantasy you'll want to check out.

Thank you D.B. for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about D.B. Jackson and his books, please visit his website.

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