Today I’m welcoming some very special authors. These authors are taking part in both the 12 Days of Christmas: Indie Book Blowout and a special spin off competition to win a Kindle Fire or $200 of Amazon vouchers.
So, without further ado, let’s welcome JC Andrijeski, author of Rook: Allie’s War
“JC Andrijeski is a bestselling Amazon author who has published novels, novellas, serials and short stories, as well as nonfiction essays and articles. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and webzines, and a children’s story in the illustrated anthology Ogner Stump’s 1,000 Sorrows by Wonderella. She also published a graphic novel set in the world created in her Bridge series. Her nonfiction articles cover subjects from graffiti art, meditation, psychology, journalism and history, and have been published in online literary magazines as well as print venues such as NY Press newspaper and holistic health magazines.
Obtaining an MA in political science from the New School for Social Research (NSSR) in NYC, she did her graduate level studies in race and caste systems, slave and ex-slave systems, religion and its impacts on social systems, and other historical weirdnesses which fitted her surprisingly well for both fiction writing and being extremely annoying at parties. She moved from NYC to San Francisco in 1997, and otherwise has lived or spent considerable time in Albuquerque, Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver BC, Florida, San Diego, Prague, London, Berlin, Sydney and Swinoujscie, Poland. She currently lives in Sidhpur, India, a location she drew on a fair bit in writing the Allie’s War books.”
Where were you born?
Los Gatos, California
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Writer, and for a while, jockey.
Other than author, what jobs have you had?
Denny’s waitress, pub bartender, busgirl, hostess in a Chinese restaurant, deli sandwich maker, cleaned out horse stables, photo shop printer, secretary, business consultant, project manager, disease management coordinator, government special projects developer, sound engineer, meditation therapist and psychic (the last one was kind of a funny story, and a *very* short-lived career…as in one afternoon before I got fired).
About JC’s “Indie Book Blowout” book…
Twenty-eight-year-old San Francisco native, Allie Taylor, at least thought she was human. Against a gritty and original backdrop of a modern-day Earth populated by a second race of beings, Allie is forced to deal with the fact that she’s a member of an enslaved yet deeply powerful race, who believe her to be their most venerated leader, come to end the reign of humanity. With her guide, Revik, a mysterious and deadly seer who acts as her bodyguard and teacher, Allie is forced to come to grips with who she really is, or end up a slave like the rest of her kind…or worse, betray the very people she always thought of as her own.
How did you come to write this book?
Yikes, long story really. I think of the book more in terms of the entire Allie’s War series, really, meaning the longer arc of the world and Allie and Revik, the two main characters. I started messing around with these characters and elements of this story and world about, hmmm, 18 years ago now. Scary thought, when I put an actual number to it like that. I wrote about four different versions of their “story” and none of them felt right, so I ended up shelving it for a time and working on other things. In the meantime, I changed a lot as a person and wrote a lot, so I’m of the belief now that I just wasn’t ready to write their story until now. I’ve since had a longtime pro writer tell me that sometimes that happens, that a writer gets a story they don’t yet have the experience/skill to write, so they have to wait it out, until they’re at a point where they can tackle it successfully. When I finally was ready to write it, it was a pretty fast process for the first three books. But these characters have been irritating me for years! It also ended up weaving in a fair bit of my travel and study experience, including race studies in graduate school and a number of years spent studying meditation. The book is an alternate history, more or less, with a strong romantic component, but there is a lot in it (intentionally and not) that parallels our world, so a lot of it has been a way for me to chew through my own experiences of life and travel the changes I’ve seen happen in the world even in my lifetime.
What’s the opening paragraph?
“Put it down!” A voice yelled. “On the ground! Right now!”
(technically, it’s the first paragraph!)
JC said she would rather:
Sell a million copies of this book but never win an award than win a Nobel Prize for Literature but only sell 20,000 copies
Now for a bit of fun…
Don’t know if it was the most exciting, but I really enjoyed Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Describe your perfect weekend…
Swimming in a really beautiful ocean…like in Sydney maybe. Then going to an art museum in Paris, and walking through a Golden Gate Park in San Francisco for a picnic and Shakespeare in the park, then a play in the evening. I suppose I could simplify that and do all of that in San Francisco, which still feels like home to me in most ways, even though I haven’t lived there in more than 10 years now. Definitely doing it with someone I was crazy about would be a bonus.
Describe a more realistic weekend…
Lately, my weekends consist of writing, an occasional wander down to the market to scrounge for dinner, some time on the porch with the dog and cat, hanging out with my neighbors, doing some publishing work and editing. Just like the rest of the week, really…I’m kind of a seven day a week person these days. I live in India now, at the foot of the Himalayas in a little town called Sidhpur in Himachal Pradesh. Now that I’m here and writing full time, my days sort of blur together at times.
You’re having a dinner party and you can invite one writer, one musician, one monarch, one villain and one president. Who do you invite and why?
Neil Gaiman, Johnny Rotten, Cleopatra, Rasputin and FDR.
Neil Gaiman is funny as hell and a smart guy. I got to see him speak a number of times at Worldcon a few years ago, and he’s extremely entertaining, and has that gift of diplomacy which would probably be needed with the others around the table.
Johnny Rotten would probably be a mistake to invite, but I would be curious to see what he’s like in real life…I was a huge fan of his music (especially PIL, even more than the Sex Pistols) when I was younger, so I think it’s sort of a nostalgic curiosity on my part.
Cleopatra would be interesting…and I have a lot of questions about the Alexandria fire and the pyramids. There’d be that whole language barrier thing, of course, and the fact that she’s really dead, but I’d still rather talk to her than to any of the living monarchs. Rasputin just seems like a freak, and I have a feeling he would burst into interesting soliloquies and mumbles periodically, and we could ask him to tell us our fortunes and maybe burn him at the stake at the end of the evening for heresy.
FDR just seemed like a nice guy, and I figure JFK (who would be my second choice) would just be hitting on Cleopatra and the waitresses anyway and trying to score drugs, so he’d be more likely to start a brawl of some kind with Johnny Rotten…too dicey with Cleopatra there, she’d probably knife the both of them, and then Neil and I would have to deal with the body and the messy cover stories. It would all just be too much work, especially with the Rasputin burning and all. I’d rather get a nice creme brule and a cappuccino and listen to FDR and Cleopatra argue politics.
You get to spend the afternoon with my six cats – heaven or hell? Explain!
Probably hell – they constantly step on the keyboard (or every cat I’ve ever had does) and make it pretty difficult to get much writing done. They are cute though, so maybe a mixture of heaven and hell?
Share one blog that you love to read…
Fill in the blanks – how did JC finish these openers?
He took her trembling body in his manly arms…
…and threw up all over her front, apologizing profusely afterwards that it was simply the way of his people.
He tipped his hat and turned away. After a few steps he stopped.
…stared up at the starless sky, and began to hum loudly to the tune of the 1812 Overture. I was still watching him, bewildered, when he burst into tears, and ran down the street before I could ask him what was the matter.
In the darkness, I heard the sound of…
…potato chips being crunched energetically by more than one mouth. That would have been enough to unnerve me right there, but then the mouth closest to me let go with a high-pitched giggle that reminded me of documentaries I’d seen of hyenas arguing over a kill.
Word association – how did JC respond to these word prompts?
Bestseller… lucky bastard
Ambition… sense of humor
Now you get to ask me a question…
What’s the most significant thing you’d like to do (and think you can realistically expect to do) before you die? Meaning what would be the thing that would mean something to you?
I know it’s a bit of a cop out to pick something I’ve already done but providing a loving home to our six rescue cats would probably be my significant thing (apart from marrying my husband of course!). They all came from pretty difficult starts and in some cases suffered abuse so to see them so happy and trusting now is probably about as rewarding as it gets.
Thank you so much to JC for answering the questions. To find out more about JC and her writing, you can stop by her website or blog, follow her on Facebook or find her on Twitter. Want to buy a copy of Rook: Allie’s War? Get it on Amazon and then visit the Extra, Secret, Special Giveaway page to enter the Kindle Fire/$200 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.
Want to learn more about this author? Join us for a live chat at 9 p.m. EST, 14th December to chat with JC and other authors!