Welcome to the Jay Posey Blog Tour with a current stop at The Troubled Scribe. I’ve been lucky enough to hop on board this thing and bombard Jay Posey with few questions regarding Three. Make sure to answer the question posted following the interview with Jay Posey for a chance to win one of two signed copies of Three. You can answer the question at My Shelf Confessions.
TS: What was the motivation behind writing Three?
JP: As a whole, Three started more as an exercise for myself to prove that I could actually finish a long-form work like a novel. I’d spent a few years off and on wrestling with my Epic Fantasy Trilogy and found I wasn’t really making the progress with it that I wanted to see. After some soul-searching, I realized the problem was me … I just wasn’t a good enough writer yet to accomplish the vision I had for that work. So I decided I’d pick an idea I “didn’t care as much about”, and just make it my goal to finish it.
I’d had the seed of the story for Three for a while, which really revolved around the relationship between Three and Wren. After I’d introduced Cass into the mix, she brought a crucial third angle to the story. Those three gave me the avenue I needed to be able to explore some ideas about surrogate fatherhood, and about love that didn’t come from romance, but rather from mutual respect and sacrifice.
Once I found the setting for the story, I ended up caring very much about the idea, which nearly derailed the whole project, because I started getting really concerned about getting it right instead of just getting it finished. And I wasn’t sure I could ever get it right.
Fortunately for me, I had a good friend reading the manuscript chapter by chapter, and he was very good about demanding I finish it. I punished him for it by writing him into the book (the character jCharles, owner of the bar The Samurai McGann, is an homage to him).
TS: I love the grunge and grittiness in the setting of Three; it makes the read feel extremely authentic and genuine. What are some things that are your favorites in your creation of this world?
JP: I hadn’t really thought about that before, but now that you’ve asked, it’s kind of a surprise to me that it’s the places that leap to mind. As far as locations go, three really stand out to me, each for different reasons. The first is the Strand. I’m not exactly sure why, but for me the Strand really captured the heaviness of that world. It’s a powerful monument to what used to be, and the overwhelming sense of awe and despair that it creates in the characters just felt right to me.
Chapel’s village is another one, for pretty much the exact opposite reason. It’s a living monument to the human spirit, and a reminder that whenever there’s a tragedy, there are always those who rise up and refuse to let catastrophe define them. And even though the people there live a hard life, it’s one that’s rewarding for them. I liked that community a lot.
And finally Greenstone, because it was a surprise to me. I had known for a long time that it was going to be a location we’d be visiting in the story, but it wasn’t until I got there in the writing that I discovered the kind of place it really was. It has the very best and the very worst of people, and it’s a place where those people have chosen to express themselves in vivid ways, against an incredibly bleak backdrop.
TS: What separates Three from other Post-apocalyptic novels that are currently out there?
JP: The advanced technology in the world is probably one atypical thing, but I’d guess the biggest difference is likely the focus on the characters instead of the world. I kind of half-jokingly refer to Three as a “post-post-apocalyptic” tale, because it’s much more about the people who inhabit the changed world than it is about how the world came to be that way. Even though the world is obviously ours, significantly changed, I really wanted to keep the story small and focused. Also, being a debut author, I was a little concerned about overwhelming people with world information when I wasn’t sure how interested anyone would actually be in it.
I think that’s probably something people are either going to love or hate about the book; readers who really want to know the hows and whys of a post-apocalyptic world aren’t going to find many answers in this one. I tried very hard to give everyone the information they needed to understand the story I wanted to tell, but I definitely left a lot of gaps.
I’m probably not supposed to admit someone might hate my book in an interview, am I? I ASSURE YOU IT IS EXCELLENT AND EVERYONE WILL FIND IT AMAZING.
TS: If you had a chance to grab a reader’s attention who might browse past Three, what would you tell them to try and convince them that Three is worth their money and time?
JP: I would tell them it was mentioned as one of the Troubled Scribe’s top reads of 2013, of course!
Also, I think I’d try to convince them that for all the craziness of the world, it’s still a very human story with a lot of emotional depth. I have a feeling that telling people it’s a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk Western thriller with zombies might not be particularly convincing.
TS: Can we expect more Legends of the Duskwalker novels and any hints of where you might take the series? So far, Three has been one of my top reads of 2013, so I’ll have you know I’m already anticipating a sequel announcement.
JP: I’m in the process of finishing up the second book right now in fact, and I have a framework laid out for a third one if people out there think they might like to read it. I’m not sure how much I can really say about where everything’s headed without spoiling things from either Book One or Book Two, but I will say that the series will follow some returning characters and will also introduce several new ones. The events of Book Two build on those from the first, and I hope to show some more of the world. And maybe even answer a few of the questions that weren’t explained in Three. Maybe.
TS: I always ask this but, what is your biggest surprise so far since Angry Robot picked up Three for publication?
JP: Probably the fact that I still don’t have a pool OR a private jet. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that getting published was basically the same thing as winning the lottery.
Actually, I think for me, it’s been how much work it still is to write. For a long time “getting published” was a milestone I was focused on, like it was going to be this magical barrier that once I finally broke through, everything would suddenly become so much easier, and I would feel so much smarter and more handsome and I’d get to lounge around in my oversized cardigan chewing an unlit pipe, being witty and literary while leisurely typing my next masterpiece with one hand because the other one would be busy swirling a glass of expensive scotch.
And it turns out that, you know, I’m actually still the same me, and writing is still a lot of work, and I still get plagued with the whole Oh No I’m a Total Hack and No One Will Ever Want to Read This kinds of moments. But the Robot Overlords have been extremely kind and generous in their care and feeding of me, and they assure me that once the assimilation is complete I won’t even have to worry about feeling emotions anymore. So I’m really looking forward to that.
TS: On a final note, as I mentioned before I found Three to be a spectacular read. The biggest factor that grabbed me in this book was the mystery behind the man that is Three. So my last question is: Did you debate with yourself how much to let the reader in on who this hero truly is, or was anonymity something you were shooting for all along?
JP: I always knew I would leave some of his history unrevealed, though I kind of let the character dictate a lot of it. In those moments when he reveals certain things, I tried to write what felt natural for each moment, and sometimes he said more than I was expecting, and sometimes less. I’m content with the balance that’s there, because I feel like you learn enough to know his true character, even if you don’t necessarily know his entire history.
I guess that felt more authentic to me, in the end. For all the people that we spend our time with, I’m not sure that we ever really find out everything there is to know about anyone. I expect that I’ll reveal more of Three’s history down the road, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some mysteries remain.
Each stop on this Blog Tour of Three by Jay Posey has a unique question. Be sure to enter your answers into the giveaway by dropping by My Shelf Confessions and enter your answers in the rafflecopter widget! You can answer as many or as few as you like as each answered question gets you an extra entry!
Question #7 – Who is the cover artist for Three?
Stops on the Jay Posey Blog Tour: