I want to welcome Ethan Jones to Books R Us. Ethan is the author of Arctic Wargame (A Justin Hall Novel) and two short stories being released today on Amazon. Thanks for stopping by.
Interview by Ethan Jones.
Can you tell me who or what was the inspiration for the book?
I wrote Arctic Wargame in 2008-2009. When I started, it was just before the global crisis, when the oil prices were skyrocketing. There was a lot of talk about discovering new resources, mainly in the Arctic, since that’s the last unexplored frontier. Newspapers were buzzing with plans of the Arctic powers to militarize the region and to claim these riches for themselves. I set up my story against this background, imagining a scenario when one of these Arctic powers would go beyond tough rhetoric and actually begin armed actions on the ground. What if an Arctic power decided to take some unilateral military action in that sensitive area of the world?
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I experience writer’s block time after time. It is usually when I am around the mid-point of the book. The beginning starts with passion and then the story kind of tanks. I try to think about what to write and take a break for a few days. Do some promotion or marketing or brainstorm about writing or revising another story. Usually this helps. But not all writer’s blocks are the same, so sometimes it just takes longer.
Can you tell me your experiences in finding a publisher for the book?
I shopped Arctic Wargame around in 2009 and 2010 to a few hundred agents and publishers over the course of 2009-2011. I received some great feedback. A few agents asked for a partial manuscript and two or three for a full. But no one was willing to make an offer or sign a contract. In the mean time, I kept writing.
I had not considered self-publishing because it seemed like a lot of work and I had truly hoped an agency or a publisher would pick up my works. Upon the suggestion of a good friend, I dusted off Arctic Wargame. I found three great beta readers, all published writers, and we took a new stab at my gibberish. Then I worked with two great editors and proofreaders, to create the best possible work. After formatting it professionally, it finally saw the light of publishing through Amazon.
How long did it take you to write the book and how long did it take to get the book released?
It took me about nine months to write the first draft, then perhaps another nine months to revise it.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
I like Justin Hall, the main character. He is a smart and tough man, brave and resourceful, yet caring and kind. As a Canadian, he is all into cooperation and teamwork. Justin has a difficult background. His mother died in a car accident, and Justin blames his father for her death. But he didn’t let that get in the way and has made a great career for himself, doing something he loves to do.
What are your current / future projects?
I’ve finished two short stories, Carved in Memory––which is a prequel to Arctic Wargame and explains an important aspect of Justin’s background–– and The Last Confession––about justice coming to a dying NY mobster during his last confession to his priest. They are released along with Arctic Wargame on Amazon on May 22.
I’m working on revising Tripoli’s Target, which is the second book in Justin Hall series. This time, Justin and his partner, Carrie O’Connor, return to North Africa to meet with one of the masterminds of a terrorist network. The man in question has promised them high-value intelligence, related to an assassination plot against the US President during her visit to a G-20 summit in Tripoli, Libya. The US Secret Service is informed about this plot, and they take all necessary measures to protect the President. However, new intelligence points at a large flaw in Justin’s and Carrie’s plan. They must now scramble to avoid the disaster. Tripoli’s Target will come out in fall 2012.
Fog of War, the third book in Justin Hall series, is my other project. Justin infiltrates Iran to help extract a defector, a nuclear scientist who can provide information on Iran’s uranium enrichment program and its plans to build a nuclear bomb. Easier said than done. The release of Fog of War is tentatively planned for spring 2013.
Do you have any tips for a young writer just starting out?
I learned as I wrote, so my advice is to begin writing and learn as you go.
Read a lot of books, so you can see what works and what doesn’t. Learn from other authors, how they create their story lines, their plots, their chapters.
Be patient and keep writing. Eventually, you’ll have something good.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you like the main character to be played by and why?
I haven’t really given that much thought to this question. It takes a lot of time for a book to be turned into a movie. Since Arctic Wargame is a Canadian spy thriller, it would be great if a Canadian author could play Justin. Ryan Gosling, for example. They are about the same age and body shape.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing? Where do you like to vacation? Can you tell us briefly about this?
I work out and go for walks with my dogs in the forest. I read and blog. I like landscaping and during the summers we work around the house.
I was blessed with a great trip to Belize a few years back and it was wonderful. My wife and my son visited the Great Barrier Reef, snorkeled with stingrays, turtles and sharks, and enjoyed the sun, the sea and the great beauties of this peaceful (and English-speaking :-) country. For Canadians, burdened by five months of snow, a break to the warm climate in the winter is a much-needed escape. I would love to go again to Belize.
Can you tell me where we can purchase your book?
Arctic Wargame is available here.
About the Book:
Canadian Intelligence Service Agent Justin Hall—combat-hardened in operations throughout Northern Africa—has been demoted after a botched mission in Libya.
When two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters, Justin volunteers for the reconnaissance mission, eager to return to the field. His team discovers a foreign weapons cache deep in the Arctic, but they are not aware that a spy has infiltrated the Department of National Defense.
The team begins to unravel a treasonous plan against Canada, but they fall under attack from one of their own. Disarmed and stripped of their survival gear, they are stranded in a remote location. Now the team must survive the deadly Arctic not only to save themselves, but their country.