Interview by Reading Shy with Aly

ReadingLast month, Aly with Reading Shy with Aly interviewed me about ‘Prey of Desire.’ The interview posted on her blog today. I’ve included it below and you can access the full interview on her website,  available here.

Interview from Reading Shy with Aly

R.S. – First off, let’s get to know a little about you. What is one odd thing that not a lot of people know about you?

JC – I like writing in the food court at the mall. I guess that’s odd, isn’t it? I’d say 85% of Prey of Desire was written during lunch hours. I spread out my laptop on a table and pounded the keys while eating a Chick Fil A sandwich.

R.S. – What drew you to the Mystery-Suspense genre?

JC – I’ve been reading mystery novels ever since I picked up my first Encyclopedia Brown book in the third grade. And I never looked back. It’s my favorite genre — always has been. I think it’s the puzzle of a whodunit that sucks me in. I love unraveling the plot and looking for clues. I’m intrigued by motivation, especially motives for murder.

R.S. – How were you able to come up with the plot for Prey of Desire?

JC –I was in college at the time I wrote my first draft. The girl  who lived in the apartment across the hall had a doberman, and talked non-stop about her ex-boyfriend. She was clearly still madly in love with him. She really inspired the main character, Kimberly. Mallory was inspired by a red headed girl who was in several of my classes. She made a good living by getting rear-ended by expensive cars and had no internal filter. She always said what everyone else was thinking. In fact, I scaled the character of Mallory back a few degrees because the girl in real life was so unbelievable

R.S. – Did you find it difficult to write Prey of Desire?

JC -It wasn’t difficult to write, but I did struggle with the murderer’s identity. The original short story I wrote in college was very different. Most of the characters are the same, but someone else committed the murder. Then I rewrote the novel with another murderer in mind. Once I connected the mystery to the disappearance of two teenagers 25 years earlier, everything fell inline. The true murderer presented himself.

R.S. – Do you listen to music when you write? If so did you have a specific playlist you listened to while writing this novel?

JC –Absolutely. Prey of Desire is set during New Year’s Eve 1999, so I listened to a lot songs from that time period. I mention several in the book. There was a lot of fun music around that time.

R.S. – What can we expect from you in the future?

JC –I just got the edit red lines on my new murder mystery, “Hangman.” It’s about a woman who returns to her hometown to attend a childhood friend’s funeral. It will be released in February 2015.

“This book will make your head spin. I was constantly on the edge of my seat.” — Electively Paige

Prey of Desire coverPrey of Desire‘ is featured on ElectivelyPaige.com, a book review site. They wrote:

“*I received this book for review from the author, this in no way affects my thoughts as expressed in this review*

“I was so excited to read this book! I have been a big fan of Mr. Gatlin since, not very long ago actually, I read his amazing novella. So, when I found out he had another book out I jumped at the chance to read it! 

“A prologue opens this book and from the first page I was hooked. JC just has a way with words, let me tell you. This book will make your head spin. I was constantly on the edge of my seat. I could not put it down. You will have so many guesses as to how the book will end but you will not see the ending coming. I absolutely loved it. If you are a lover of fantastic action-packed thrillers that make you think, ones that really make your mind work over time, well this is the book for you. 

“I considered myself a fan of this author from the first few pages of The Designated Survivor but reading Prey of Desire cemented it. He has definitely gone on my auto-read list and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next! ” — Paige Boggs, ElectivelyPaige.com

To read the full review, click here.
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“The ending really took me by surprise” – Long & Short Reviews

Girl ReadingPrey of Desire was reviewed by the book review site Long & Short Reviews. They wrote:

Prey of Desire is a psychological thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Mysteries abound and there is a cast of characters who are each rather weird in their own way, so there are myriad suspects. I had the mystery all solved, several times, actually, but none of my solutions were the right one. I was totally fooled and the ending really took me by surprise.

Kim is a college student who broke up with her long-time boyfriend, but she wants him back. Even when her neighbor and friend, Mallory, sets her up on various blind dates, Kim resists. She keeps getting messages from Ross and she is sure they will get back together.

The tension builds on every page. People seem to be following Kim or staring at her. The descriptions are so real that I wouldn’t want to read this novel at night. It was definitely scary. Knowing that there had been other victims twenty-five years ago and knowing that the murderer was still striking in the same horrible way drives the story forward even though Kim herself has little knowledge of the past or the other victims.

The characters are well portrayed and they all seem very real, although many are not people that I would ever want to meet. Some are just wild, like Mallory, but some have serious problems. I was very glad that Kim has Zeus, a Doberman, although she certainly does have her hands filled trying to manage him.

The plot is filled with twists and turns, taking things in directions that I never expected. Mysterious phone calls, love notes, gifts, keep appearing and Kim thinks they are from Ross, but … who is actually sending these messages?

Readers of mystery thrillers are sure to be captured by this heart-stopping book. I just wouldn’t recommend reading it after dark.

To read the full review, click here.

Dean C. Moore calls Prey of Desire: “Fast paced, fun, with that extra shot of adrenaline”

Prey of Desire coverDean C. Moore reviewed ‘Prey of Desire’ on his blog at deancmoore.com. In the review, he writes:

“JC Gatlin reprises his role in Designated Survivor as a master of the psychological thriller in his latest offering, Prey of Desire. Once again he proves that when it comes to teen heroes, no one quite gets inside their heads better to understand the mental machinations that will lead them into increasingly hot water. Fast paced, fun, and with his usual black humor for that extra shot of adrenaline.”

To read the full review, click here.

Dean C. Moore is a thriller writer and author of “Blood Brothers: Escape to Creeporia,” “The Hundred Year Clones,” “The Renaissance 2.0” series, and many other novels. You can visit his Amazon page here.

Book Trailer for ‘Prey of Desire’

BooktrailerI spent about a week putting this together and a total investment of $212, but it’s now ready for the grand premiere: The PREY OF DESIRE book trailer!

The narrative follows the back cover description, and I really tried to give the potential reader a strong idea of the plot. That’s one of the things that always bugs me about other book trailers — after watching, I still have no idea what the story is about. I hope the text images are visually interesting, as there is no voice over. Like the book, you have to read the trailer.

The photos come from a royalty free graphics website and, let me tell you, I had to get creative to maintain continuity. I hope it works. I had some fun and took some liberties with Photoshop. (Be on the look out for the old man whose head turns in the restaurant.) The background music was the most expensive component of this trailer. Again, I purchased it from a royalty free website. I felt it set the appropriate suspenseful, slightly creepy and mysterious mood.

Overall, this was a lot of fun to create and provides solid marketing collateral to promote the book across social media platforms. It gives me something to show people at book fairs and conferences. And the next time someone asks me what the book is about, I can flip it up on my tablet and hand it to the inquisitive consumer.

Now… prepare to have your socks knocked off. :)

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Why do people ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?”

canstockphoto14000841Last summer, I attended a dinner and the keynote speaker was a very popular author. He was entertaining and motivational and, when he finished, opened the floor to questions. One would-be-author in the audience raised her hand and asked him, “Where do you get your ideas?” He seemed almost offended by her question and told the young woman that you never ask an author that question.

That response puzzled me and has brewed in the back of my mind ever since. I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked that question, albeit rarely from another author. But it made me wonder why people ask it. It’s just so open-ended and unanswerable that I often wonder, “Do they really expect an answer?”

I think yes, they do. And I think the answer that they often expect ties back to the author’s life.

You see, I believe non-writers — whether they’re readers or not — are often in awe of us who do. They can’t believe someone can come up with the plot twists and the witty dialog and all the drama that makes-up an entertaining suspense-thriller or murder mystery, much less any compelling piece of fiction. They have no understanding of the hours on top of hours we spend at our computers writing and editing and revising. They don’t know that we lose sleep, neglect our friends and family, burn through reams of paper. They never see us obsess over finding that perfect word. They only see the thrilling, enthralling roller-coaster ride of the end product. If we do our job right, we make writing look easy.

To them its sexy and extraordinary. And, I suspect they wonder if our personal lives are filled with all the murderous intrigue, sexual melodrama and duplicitous characters we write about. So, what they’re really asking is, “Is your life as exciting as your books?”

canstockphoto14386385Going forward, I’m going to answer: “Yes. And, no.” I think that’s about as succinct an answer I can come up with to a question that’s so open-ended it’s unanswerable. It’s also honest.

My ideas come from the world around me.

They originate from my friends’ lives and my family history, though they are exaggerated reflections of things I see, hear and remember. The characters in my books are never a perfect representation of any one friend — but some of their personality traits and quirks breathe life into those characters. Stories that my friends tell me sometimes find their way into my character’s history. Then there’s funny, sad, angry, emotional things they say that becomes dialog. Kimberly Bradford from Prey of Desire was inspired by a girl I dated in college, who owned a rotweiler and took care of her grandfather. However, the specifics of Kimberly’s relationship with her grandfather more closely echoed memories I have of my own grandparents. And Mallory, Kimberly’s best friend, was inspired by another girl I knew in college who made a living by rear-ending people in expensive cars. Mallory doesn’t do that, per se, but that’s where the spirit of her character came from.

My ideas come from reading books, watching TV and going to movies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, if I wrote that <<insert movie/book/TV episode here>> I would’ve changed the ending. Then BANG I have a new idea for an ending to a book. Sometimes a headline or news story just lends itself to become a great hook for a murder mystery. When I heard Fred Neil‘s “The Other Side of This Life” for the first time, I immediately thought of a road trip, which led to The Designated Survivor. In fact, the original idea for that book hit me while watching the Ellen Degeneres show. I had this idea for a comedian like Ellen leaving the airport and somehow having to take a trip with a crazy fan who has a body stuffed in the trunk of his car. Of course, the final story is quite different, but that’s where the idea came from.

My ideas come from just living. In fact, I’ve been watching the world around me for so long,  I’ve collected 15 college rule notebooks filled with scribbles describing plot ideas, and murderer motives, and character names. There’s 40 years of living in those notebooks, and I thumb through them from time to time. Now those bits and pieces go into an app on my tablet, but still….

I’m not nearly as interesting as the people I write about. My life is not nearly as mysterious and eventful as the plots in my books. But people are going to ask. And some day, when I’m the keynote speaker for a dinner at a writer’s convention, I’m going to say, “Hey, that’s okay. Ask away. I’ve got an answer.”

‘Prey of Desire’ now available on Amazon

Prey of Desire coverThey said the disappearance of two high school students over 25 years ago was mystery that couldn’t be solved. 
No one ever said it shouldn’t be. 

Following the abrupt end of a relationship, college student Kimberly Bradford finds comfort in the friendship with her over-the-top neighbor, Mallory. And, Mallory encourages her to get back out there. She would of course if it weren’t for the thrilling little love notes and gifts she’s been receiving .

Kim thinks they’re from her ex-fiancee, not realizing he’s been murdered. Worse, whoever is sending her all the extra attention is not only in her inner-circle, but has a connection to that unsolved murder some 25 years ago. That connection puts her life in danger, and exposes secrets better left buried around her closest friends and family.

Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com.