With Carrie today is Dr. J.L Delozier who has the afternoon off and instead of resting, she was talking to us.
J.L. Delozier submitted her first story, handwritten in pencil on lined school paper, to Asimov’s magazine while still in junior high school. Several years later, she took a creative writing elective at Penn State University and was hooked. Thriller writer, physician, and cookie addict, we were so glad that she didn’t rest and spent some time with us.
How cool is she?
Dr. Delozier’s first thriller, Type & Cross, debuted in April, 2016 and was nominated for a “Best First Novel” award by the International Thriller Writers
Type & Cross, is about a virus that starts in China and kills half the world’s population.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll find out that Dr. Delozier has the writing chops and the medical knowledge to write that book. She worked for the federal government about disaster preparedness and now she’s working at a Pennsylvania hospital dealing with Covid-19 and trying to lift the spirits of both her patients and the staff.
Listen, and you’ll realize that you might want to move to Pennsylvania and have her be your doctor, too.
I learned a lot about who I was when I wrote this book. I’m not talking about who people think I am, but the actual me.
That’s because I did this book all by myself. I never do things all by myself especially not books. I write them. I have a team at publishing houses who tweak and market and create covers.
Not this time. This time I didn’t even show the story to anyone else. Not my agent. Not an editor. It was all me on my own.
And I learned that this is scary because there is nobody else to take responsibility if things go wrong.
And I learned I liked that.
What Inspired Me To Write It?
I wanted to step outside my own walls and do something that felt scary and vulnerable. This book felt scary and vulnerable. Why? Well, here is why.
Bad Guys Built on Real People
You know how sometimes people seem to be super nice and friendly and lovely. But then you see the mask drop? All of a sudden something shifts in their eyes and you think, “Holy crud muffins. This person could be a serial killer!”
There is a person in my town like that.
Actually, there are a couple of people in my town like that. When their mask drops and you see their true self, it makes you gasp.
The bad guys in this story are some of those people significantly tweaked and mashed-up together to create characters that are real, vibrant, and creepy.
Wanting to Mix Genres
When I wrote THE PLACES WE HIDE, I wanted to have some of the standard conventions of romance and thrillers, but give it that first-person-raw feel.
Wanting to Write Good Women Based On Real People
I also based a lot of the women in my story on women like me and my friends – quirky, struggling, real, persistent.
I wanted Rosie and her friends to feel like the moms you actually meet in coastal Maine.
I like love. I like it when people find each other. What can I say?
I wanted to write a story like that.
I can’t help myself. If I’m not writing literary fiction, I tend to write about alien invasions and pixie apocalypses. I wanted to challenge myself to write a realistic story with truly high stakes.
What I Learned
I love writing kids books, but this was so much fun. And it was also really fun to step outside of traditional publishing, which I also love, and do it all myself. It helps me understand what my clients and author-friends who choose self-publishing go through. There’s so much responsibility and control that happens. It’s really a great adventure.
I learned that self-publishing is hard, but freeing. You don’t have to listen to other people helping you make your story better. You don’t have the safety net of the publisher. It’s just you out there – raw and vulnerable.
I learned that self-publishing is addictive. My aunt Athalie died this November. She was really glamorous and lived in California (We were in N.H.) and she was married to a celebrity dentist and then an Oscar-winning art director. She was an artist and believed in reincarnation. All of this was a very big deal to three-year-old Carrie.
She stared at me once as I was doing laps around our living room buck naked and announced loudly, “Carrie is an exhibitionist. Look at all that energy just flow right out of her. Wow.”
Nobody in my family has ever thought I was an exhibitionist. I was (and am) the person who sits on floors instead of chairs so that I can watch everyone else. I hide behind the camera and take pictures of others. I am a writer, for Pete’s sake.
Here’s the thing: Athalie was right.
Self-publishing pushes me towards that exhibitionist side. By marketing everything myself, by having the book be just my voice and my story, I show more of who I am to the world. And I’m okay with that. It’s scary, but all the good things are.
It’s really scary sometimes to put your work out there, or to just be who you are – the real you – unpolished sometimes, dorky, self-righteous, befuddled, passionate, fangirly, angry, sad, anxious you.
But it’s so much easier than living a life of pretending and of lies.
Authenticity is brave and vulnerable, yes, but it’s also pretty damn empowering to just exhibit who the heck you truly are to the world and let the world deal with it.
I hope you’ll be an exhibitionist with me. Exhibit who you are. Be who you are.
THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.
But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor.
As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!
It’s writing tip Wednesday and I’m going to have some fast tips this week and next about making thrillers. Yes, you know those stories that make your heart pound with anxiety, where you aren’t sure what will happen next, where you are secretly saying, “Who comes up with this?”
Here are the pointers!
First, structure. Thrillers have pretty dynamic structures that escalate throughout the story. And there have been a million people who have written about this well and even created diagrams.
Seriously. The stakes have to be high for the hero to jump through all the hoops she has to jump through to make things right. Her stakes should be personal and high.
Make the clock tick
If you only have 23 hours to save your puppy, things are going to be even more charged up.
Do a Raymond Chandler
Raymond Chandler said, “When things slow down, bring in a man with a gun.”
It doesn’t have to be a gun. It doesn’t have to be a man. Just have something super exciting happen that’s somewhat shocking.
A wolf leaps into the room.
A robot hand breaks through the wall.
A woman screams.
Cardi B shows up at your character’s doorstep.
Big Foot serenades your character from outside the window.
Let the Bad Guy Make Sense (to himself)
When you are good, evil doesn’t make much sense, but that’s because we are seldom the villains in our own stories, right? The bad guy’s actions need to make sense to him. Plus, it will make your readers think, “Oh… I have a little sympathy going on. What’s that mean?”
Just like any major character, it makes sense to really understand who your villain is. It keeps him from being two-dimensional. Nobody wants a flat character.
I’m going to be hanging out at the Augusta Civic Center (Maine) on Saturday, Sept. 8 as part of a Maine Literacy event. It’s open to the public and cool. It’s from 10-2.
ENHANCED PAPERBACK RELEASE!
Carrie Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of Flying, presents another science fiction adventure of cheerleader-turned-alien-hunter Mana in Enhanced.
Seventeen-year-old Mana has found and rescued her mother, but her work isn’t done yet. Her mother may be out of alien hands, but she’s in a coma, unable to tell anyone what she knows.
Mana is ready to take action. The only problem? Nobody will let her. Lyle, her best friend and almost-boyfriend (for a minute there, anyway), seems to want nothing to do with hunting aliens, despite his love of Doctor Who. Bestie Seppie is so desperate to stay out of it, she’s actually leaving town. And her mom’s hot but arrogant alien-hunting partner, China, is ignoring Mana’s texts, cutting her out of the mission entirely.
They all know the alien threat won’t stay quiet for long. It’s up to Mana to fight her way back in.
“Witty dialogue and flawless action.”—VOYA
“YA readers, you’re in for a treat this week. Hilarious and action-packed, this novel is sure to be the perfect summer read.”—Bookish
“Funny and playful, with a diverse cast of characters and a bit of romance and adventure, Flying is the perfect light summer read.”—BookPage
Order Your Copy:
I made a video about copy editing my next book, co-written with Steve Wedel. It’s called IN THE WOODS and its scary self arrives in 2019. BUT HERE IS THE GOOFY VIDEO!
Our podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLEis still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.
The Final Time Stoppers Book
What is it? It’s the third TIME STOPPERS book!
Time Stopper Annie’s newfound home, the enchanted town Aurora, is in danger. The vicious Raiff will stop at nothing to steal the town’s magic, and Annie is the only one who can defeat him–even though it’s prophesied that she’ll “fall with evil.”
Alongside her loyal band of friends Eva, Bloom, SalGoud, and Jamie, who still isn’t quite sure whether he’s a troll or not, Annie journeys deep into the Raiff’s realm, the Badlands. The group will face everything from ruthless monsters to their own deepest fears. Can Annie find the courage to confront the Raiff and save everyone, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice?
What People are Saying About The Books:
“An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” – School Library Journal
“The characters show welcome kindness and poignant insecurity, and the text sprinkles in humor . . . and an abundance of magical creatures.” – Kirkus Reviews
“An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” –School Library Journal
For signed copies – email email@example.com for Sherman’s or email firstname.lastname@example.org let them know the titles in which you are interested. There’s sometimes a waiting list, but they are the best option. Plus, you’re supporting an adorable local bookstore run by some really wonderful humans. But here’s the Amazon link, too!
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!