Monday, September 19, 2011

Feature: Jeffrey Wilson, author of The Traiteur's Ring

Happy Monday everyone!  My latest victim...I mean, special guest is Jeffrey Wilson, author of The Traiteur's Ring.  Jeff is another super talented writer that JournalStone has sent my way.  This guy has done just about everything.  Naval officer, actor, firefighter, paramedic, surgeon, writer...  I know what you ladies are thinking, but sorry, he's happily married!

If you'd like to check out my review of The Traiteur's Ring, you can find that HERE.

Now, let's see what fun things we can learn about Mr. Wilson. 

Author Interview

Jeffrey Wilson

GL:  Step 1:  Introduce yourself to the readersJ

Jeff:  Well, I’m Jeff Wilson. I live in South Florida with my wife, Wendy,  and three kids ages 11, 4, and 3. I’ve done of lot of things in my life, and I think I draw from all of those things when I write. The Traiteur’s Ring is my first published novel, released September 9th, and it has been really fun to hear what people think in the reviews—including my Mom’s favorite review… know who you are.

GL:  Hint – That’s me! J

GL:  Step 2:  Tell us about The Traiteur’s RingJ

JW:  The Traiteur’s Ring is a cross genre novel. I know that sounds trite these days, but there really is no better way to describe it. It has elements of a ghost story, military action, a touch of romance, character stories, all kind of wrapped up in this supernatural/horror premise. The main character, Ben Morvant, is a US Navy SEAL with a troubled past. He was raised in the Louisiana bayou by his grandmother who was a Traiteur—a Cajun spiritual healer. He is haunted by memories of things that happened in his childhood and by his grandmother’s death, but he has escaped all this to find a home with his fellow SEALs in Viper Team. Or at least he thought so until a strange encounter while on deployment in Africa takes him down a road where he is forced to confront his past and come to terms with strange powers he has found. He needs those powers and the guidance from the ghosts he meets along the way, because his team has also discovered a powerful evil that must be stopped.

GL:  Where did this story originate?  What was your inspiration?

JW:  (Laughs) I usually get asked that question more in the form of “where in the hell did that come from?” All of my writing contains elements of my life experiences, but I imagine that’s true for every writer. When you get asked the question about a supernatural story it becomes a bit more complicated, I guess. I always loved those powerful, character driven supernatural stories growing up and have been drawn to that kind of writing. Obviously, my experiences in the Navy where I had the great privilege of deploying with the SEAL teams gave me the inspiration for the characters in this story. I hope I did them justice. They are the most impressive group of people I have ever had the honor of working with. Plus, I sure would hate to have them pissed off at me.

GL:  What did your mother think about your book? J (How about those racy scenes? Ha!)

JW:  (Laughs) I should have seen that coming after you and I exchanged emails. My Mom really liked this book (right Mom?), though she hasn’t liked all of my stuff. I have a more classic horror book coming out next year which she just couldn’t finish. She tells me that she liked this book because of the characters, the hero element, the good versus evil. You’d have to ask her if maybe that’s just what you have to say to your son. She keeps insisting she doesn’t really see this as a horror book, which is good I guess because I was going for a broader, more cross genre story.

I know you want to hear what she thought of the sex scene—but I won’t be baited! Suffice it to say you are her favorite reviewer for a reason. By the way, Mom ADMITS she’s a prude.

She’s a tough sell and I’m flattered that she keeps encouraging her friends to read it. I doubt she’ll be doing that with my next one (laughs again).

GL:  Do you believe in spiritual magic (anything like the power Ben possesses)?

JW:  I believe there are a lot of things in the world that we don’t understand or even know about. There are a lot of myths and legends out there, things like Voodoo and Cajun magic, that we find in many different cultures spread across the world. And they have a lot of similarities.  These stories came from somewhere. I’m not so arrogant as to convince myself that I know enough to dismiss these things.

GL:  Do you have a sensitive side like Mr. Morvant?

JW:  NO….. absolutely not! Well, maybe a little….. Please don’t tell the guys!

GL:  When did you first seriously consider yourself a writer?

JW:  That’s a tough one, actually. I’m not sure I YET consider myself a “serious” writer—that sounds so grown up! I’ve written my entire life, I think. As a kid I used to write scripts for my own episodes of Star Trek. I think that started when I was about ten. I published a short story in some little scholastic magazine, I can’t even remember the name of it, when I was about 14. I remember the story—It was about a guy escaping from prison and he goes through all of these struggles, but finally makes it and is really free. In the end you find out he was shot and killed in the first few minutes of his escape and the whole rest took place in his head, but in death he finds freedom. I guess I always was a little macabre….Jeez, my Mom must have worried about me. Anyway, I’ve always written. I never thought I could write a full length novel until a few years ago, but it turns out there are things about book length work that actually is easier.

GL:  I think you are a serious writer!  Believe it! J

GL: Are you planning to stick with the horror genre?

JW:  All of my work so far has had some element of the supernatural or the macabre, but I’m not sure I knew I wrote in the horror genre until I became a member of the horror writer’s association. I don’t write about vampires or werewolves or anything, at least not yet. I could see myself writing in lots of different genres, I think. (Laughs) well, maybe not. I tried a couple of times to write straight up action thriller stuff, but this little voice in my head always pops up and asks “yeah, but what if he was actually dead and didn’t know it?” or “Wouldn’t it be neat if the guy helping him turned out to be a ghost?” We’ll see, I guess. My other two finished works still have a place in the horror genre and the book I’m working on now most certainly has those elements.

GL:  I know you have a couple more books coming out with JournalStone.  Could you tell us a little about what you’re working on now?

JW:  My book The Donors comes out from JournalStone next summer so I’m sure I’ll be wiping my eyes over edits before long. It’s a cross between a medical thriller and a horror story with elements of both.  One of the two main characters is six years old and writing from that point of view was a real challenge. Fade to Black is the story of a man trapped between two realities and pulled by the ghosts of his dead friends to the one that frightens him the most. He has to make some tough choices in order to save the life he wants with his wife and baby girl.

I’m a little superstitious about talking much about unfinished work. All I can tell you about the book I’m working on now is it involves a 10 year old with a terrifying gift, a father with a troubled past, some ghosts, a sailboat, and a summer cruise you would never want to take. There’s also a mallet, but I’ve said too much already.

GL:  I have a six-year-old!  I can imagine…  I’m REALLY looking forward to all of these!!  Scared, already, but looking forward to them… J

GL:  A little birdie told me that your writing talent runs in the family.  Can you tell us about your son’s recent achievement?

JW:  Thanks for asking, because I have never been prouder in my life. Connor is my 11 year old and believe it or not he just signed a publishing contract for his first book The Giant Pencil. It is a children’s picture book and is scheduled for release in October of 2012. Connor is such an amazing and creative kid, but when he told me two years ago he wanted to write a book “like you do”, I never really thought he would do it. I told him if he came up with his own story and wrote it out himself I would help him edit it and try to get it in front of a publisher. He came back a couple of months later with page after page of story, hand written in pencil, and it was so imaginative and had such a great, positive message. Connor has learned a ton, not the least of which is that getting published is a slow road. By the way, I’m not the least bit bitter that his contract is actually a little better than mine. Any one that’s interested can follow his progress on my website, and he will have his own marketing website up after the first of the year. It has been so fun to watch him do a phone conference for a line by line edit and have meetings with illustrators.

By the way, my brother, Randy, is a writer also. He has had a couple of shorts published and recently sent a short story to a horror and fantasy anthology. It’s a really great story and he is very talented so we have our fingers crossed. He’s smarter than me, though—he just doesn’t let Mom read his stuff.

GL:  Ha!  Send them both my way for any reviews or interviews or anything I can do to help out!  And don’t tell your brother I’m a prude—cause I’m not! J

GL:  You have worn a LOT of hats!  What has been your absolute favorite job so far?

JW:  It’s always the next one I’m going to do! Actually, I have loved everything I have ever done-- each for different reasons. I’m certainly proud of my service to my country. If I had to pick a favorite, though, it would be my job as a husband and father. That job I never stop loving. (And I’m not just saying that instead of buying flowers…..). I am the president emeritus of the “married up” club, so when you know you have something you don’t deserve, you work your ass off to keep it, right?

GL:  Awww…  There’s that sensitive side!  I knew it!!

GL:  Where is the most interesting place you have traveled?

JW:  I’ve been all over the Middle East, to parts of Africa, seen most of Europe, visited the majority of the Caribbean and the West Indies, and cruised around the southern tip of South America. Most of my travel has been work related and so for me there is really no place like home. Wendy and I like to travel still, of course, but I find the children’s play room upstairs to have most of what I’m looking for these days.

GL:  What is the most disgusting food you have ever eaten?

JW:  I guess I’m the right person to ask that question. I’ve eaten live bugs and raw fish (not sushi—like pulled a fish out of the water and ate it raw fish) and plenty of stuff overseas that I have no idea what it actually was.

GL:  Ewww

GL:  What do you enjoy in your free time?  How do you unwind?

JW:  With a couple of day jobs and 3 kids at home, there is not a ton of free time these days. I still love to swim for fitness, I fly a little when I get a chance, I read of course. For real relaxation, there’s not much like a day out on the Gulf of Mexico, though. We have a boat and love to pull up on a beach you can’t easily get to by land. The kids play on the beach and we just soak up some sun and salt air.

GL: If all the books in the world were destroyed but each person could keep ONE book, what would you choose?

JW:  Well, The Giant Pencil of course. I have to support my boy!

GL:  What are you asking for from Santa this year?

JW:  Of course I would love an interview by Brian Kilmeade on Fox and Friends about The Traiteur’s Ring but let’s wait and see how the next couple of months go……

GL:  You never know!!

Thanks so much for dropping by Jeff!!  We'll have to take a Florida vacation soon and soak up some sun with you guys :-)!!

Jeff's Website: 

Check out an except of The Traiteur's Ring:

Buy the book:

Jeff will be the guest author on JournalStone's Blog Talk Radio show, JournalJabber Tuesday, September 20th.  Tune in at 8PM CST to see what else we can squeeze out of him.  I know you're all wanting to know if he shops at Walmart!!!