Monday, August 27, 2012

Mother and middle-school son team up to write The Death Chronicles

Read on get to know the mother-and-son writing team that created Don't Fear the Reaper - book one of the Death Chronicles!

Hi folks, my name is J.E. Taylor – JET for short – and my son is William F. Houle – Billy for short. We figured a little Q&A was on tap for today and I chose some of the more interesting questions I’ve been asked in the past for this blog post. But before I continue, let me tell you a little about my son.

Billy’s a middle-school student with an amazing imagination. When he approached me with the idea for a trilogy about the son of Death, I couldn’t resist the incredible story line Billy created, and agreed to work with him to craft his idea into words.

Thus, Don’t Fear the Reaper was born.

Have you ever had an idea for a story that scared you after you began writing it?

Yes. The fourth book in my FBI series gave me nightmares when I wrote it and when I edited it; I had to deal with those demons again.

For Billy the answer is no – not yet. But then again, he hasn’t really taken a walk in the dark with a character just yet.  I know he wants to write more on the edge, but I told him he needs a little more life experiences to understand how a true psycho acts. So for now, he’s focused on The Death Chronicles and crafting the next in the trilogy.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

I’ll never tell. :)

Seriously, no, although there are some of our idiosyncrasies built into one or two of our characters that surface from time to time, like my fear of needles, or my favorite colors or even what Billy’s girlfriend’s hair smells like.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

I write first, but usually the story dictates the research - and I have to stop and do a little digging before I go on. We did have to do some research for Don’t Fear the Reaper – like the current correct form of performing CPR. It isn’t three pumps, breathe and repeat like it used to be a long time ago. We also did some research on Death lore. Google’s one of the best inventions, but you have to know what resources are real and what’s just spam to fill up space.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

Enjoy the ride and remember it is just fiction and not necessarily a reflection of our beliefs.

It’s a walk into the darkest corners of my imagination where my nightmares fester until something living and breathing escapes onto the screen of my laptop.

Are you a plotter? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

I’m not a plotter. I don’t put together outlines or summaries or anything like that. I get an idea and let it go wherever it wants. Yes, I have had a story take on a life of its own and when it does that, I’m sometimes surprised at what comes out. It’s an exciting and sometimes scary journey but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I usually have either a beginning or ending in mind and go from there.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

Stephen King - master of the macabre – his writing and brilliance in telling a story is what influenced me the most.

Billy’s favorite is Rick Riordan and I believe those books spawned the beginnings of The Death Chronicles.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a colossal klutz. A walking disaster.

I’ve had so many broken bones that I’ve lost count and I wish I had some cool stories to go along with the situations like a skiing accident (I don’t ski) or got tackled in football (never played) or my parachute malfunctioned (never jumped out of a perfectly good plane).

But no, I’ve got lame stories like I did a cartwheel and landed on my ankle, breaking my leg, or I swiveled on a radiator at school and fell off, breaking my arm, or I got my heel caught in a sewer grate in Chicago and sprained both my knee and ankle in one fell swoop.

Oh yeah, I’m a klutz.

Billy has a purple belt in Jukido, so he does not share in my klutziness.

Thanks for hanging with us for a bit. And please check out Don’t Fear the Reaper, the first book in The Death Chronicles series:

The day Nick Ramsay’s eighth-grade teacher drops dead in his classroom, Nick sees his first reaper. When another cloaked figure appears at his grandmother’s bedside, Nick issues an order for the vile creature to leave her alone.

This simple act of defiance creates a domino effect that brings Fate and Death to Nick’s door and reveals his true lineage, throwing his world into chaos. To make matters worse, a group of rogue reapers declares war on humanity and Nick is the only one who can stop them.

3 comments:

  1. I love that you wrote a book with your son (and what a great idea for a book!) Off to Amazon to check it out. Great profile!

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  2. Thank you Betsy. I really have to say, as much fun as the rest of my backlist was to write - this one beat all because it was time spent with my son.

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  3. That's so cool. And, you're inspiring the next generation of writers your family. Tough to beat that!

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