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Claimed Possession



5 Moons- I absolutely loved it, and highly recommend it!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#Interview with Dan Jolley, author of Gray Widow's Web! @_DanJolley

Please help me welcome Dan Jolley, author of Gray Widow's Web to Full Moon Bites! Read on below for more information about his novel and for more stops and activities on the blog tour. :)

Hi! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Dan Jolley: Gladly! Demographic stuff first: I’m from a small town in northwest Georgia, I may or may not be in denial about having entered middle age, I’m married to the single most perfect woman on the planet, and I have five cats of varying degrees of uselessness.

I started writing professionally when I was 19 and still in college; in fact, one summer when I was faced with the choice of paying either rent or fall quarter tuition, but not being able to do both, I landed a job writing a couple of issues of an Aliens mini-series for Dark Horse Comics that really saved my bacon. I wrote nothing but comic books for about the first five years, but then branched out into licensed-property novels, which eventually led to my first original novel trilogy, a YA sci-fi/espionage story called Alex Unlimited.

Along the way I also got into writing for video games, and wound up providing dialogue for a couple of pretty well-known Transformers titles—War for Cybertron and its sequel, Fall of Cybertron. I’m also responsible for very large chunks of the stories in the games Prototype 2 and Dying Light.

I’ve got two original novel series going at the moment: the Gray Widow trilogy, as you already know, and a Middle Grade Urban Fantasy series called Five Elements, the second book of which hits stores at the end of this month.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Dan Jolley: Well, I’m lucky enough to have turned my hobby into my full-time vocation, so basically, when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. Since I’ve got irons in the fires of multiple media, what I’m supposed to be doing is watching all the TV shows, and seeing all the movies, and reading all the books, and playing all the video games (at least, according to my manager). There being only so many hours in the day, though, I’ve mainly been trying to stay abreast of the really good TV out there. That way my wife and I can crash out on the couch and binge-watch stuff like GLOW on Netflix, and it still counts as work. More or less.

Do you write an outline before starting a book or just write?

Dan Jolley: I’m a relentless outliner. If you’re writing for an outfit that’s going to pay you, such as Marvel or DC or Activision, you HAVE to write an outline first. They’re not going to say, “Okay, here’s your contract for however much money. Now go and surprise us!” They want to see what you’re planning, and they want to be able to make suggestions. Even if that weren’t the case, though, I never start writing a story if I don’t know how it ends first. I know there are successful “pantsers” out there who just sit and let the words come to them, and I wish them all the best, but that’s completely alien to me.

Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?

Dan Jolley: There are several. My brother is eleven years older than I am, and I had a good bit of hero-worship going as I grew up, so whatever he was reading, I wanted to read. That led me to discover the works of both Larry Niven and H.P. Lovecraft. My parents turned me on to Louis L’Amour (I know, not much like Niven or Lovecraft), and then later on I found Dean Koontz myself. As far as prose goes, I’d say Koontz has probably had the biggest influence on me. If you’re talking about comic books, I cannot overstate the impact that James O’Barr’s THE CROW made on me when I was first starting out professionally.

How do you market your book(s)?

Dan Jolley: I was born without the gene for self-promotion, so probably the most accurate answer is “insufficiently.” But I do try to keep up with my Twitter and Facebook accounts, and I’ve enlisted the aid of a brilliant friend of mine, Andrea Judy. Andi helps me out with getting a good, solid series of tweets lined up every week. She’s kind of invaluable.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Dan Jolley: I wrote the first draft of what would eventually become Gray Widow’s Walk in 1996. I was living in Athens, Georgia, managing a small business that sold study guides to University of Georgia students, and I wrote it on Saturdays over the course of about a year. It was a very different beast back then, and the protagonist was a guy named Matt Sinclair. I finished it, showed it to some agents, and was told uniformly, “What is this, a guy in a mask? No one wants superhero stuff!” (This was, of course, before superhero movies started making all the money in the world.) So I shelved the book and forgot about it.

About ten years later, I pulled it out and dusted it off and re-wrote it, but again, there were no takers. So I shelved it again.

The third time, I took a good long look at it, and realized why it wasn’t working: the protagonist needed to be female. So I re-wrote it again, a good bit more extensively, and it immediately got snatched up by Seventh Star Press. So now I finally get to tell the rest of the story that that long-simmering manuscript started 21 years ago.

I know authors get asked this a lot but do you have any advice that you would give to aspiring writers?

Dan Jolley: Probably the most valuable piece of advice I can give is this: DO NOT START EDITING YOUR WORK UNTIL YOU’VE FINISHED WRITING IT. Write the whole thing. If it’s a short story, a song, a poem, a novel, whatever. Write it until it’s done. THEN go back and start tinkering with it. I’d say at least half of the people who want to write but never succeed get stuck in this endless, self-defeating feedback loop. They’re like, “Okay, the first chapter’s done! Ooh, but I can make that first line better.” And they change the first line. “Wait, that changes the rest of the first page. I better go back and fix that.” And suddenly the first line’s wrong again. “Oh crap, I better polish that first line.” And it goes on and on and on like that. The truth is, FIRST DRAFTS ARE TERRIBLE. That’s okay. They’re supposed to be. But you can fix a terrible first draft. You can’t fix a blank page. Give yourself permission to write a terrible first draft, get to the end of it, and then you’re off to the races.

When did you realize that you would like to write and publish a book?

Dan Jolley: Around the time I learned to read, I think. Seriously, as soon as it clicked in my head that there were people whose job it was to sit around and make up stories? I thought, “Oh yeah, that’s for me.” I’ve never really wavered from that.

Can you tell us, in your own words not the book description, a little about your book?

Dan Jolley: The Gray Widow Trilogy, the second book of which just came out a couple of months ago, is an Urban Sci-Fi story about a young woman in modern-day Atlanta named Janey Sinclair, who’s trying to survive in the face of a secret alien invasion. When Janey was a teenager, she developed the ability to teleport from one patch of darkness to another, and a big part of the story is about her trying to
figure out how that happened, and to reconcile her life with this inexplicable ability. Janey eventually finds out that she’s part of something much, much larger: a plot involving some extraterrestrials who sort of see humans as raw material. Aliens and superhuman abilities aside, though, it’s about Janey working to overcome a series of traumas in her personal life, take control of the path of her own destiny, and ultimately heal herself. The first book is called Gray Widow’s Walk, the one that just came out is Gray Widow’s Web, and the final book, Gray Widow’s War, will be out in May of 2018.

This is the first time in my entire career that I’ve been able to write with absolutely no restrictions. No consideration for age of the reader, no barriers on language or violence or sex, no ideas off-limits. I’ve basically just cut loose. Consequently, it’s the work that I’m happiest with and proudest of to date (and I have to print out edited versions for my mother to read).

Where can we purchase this book?

Dan Jolley: It’s available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and can be ordered directly from Seventh Star Press. Plus if you see me at a sci-fi/fantasy/comics convention, I’ll have some copies for sale there as well.

Can we expect more novels from you in 2017?

Dan Jolley: As I mentioned earlier, Book 2 of the Five Elements series—The Shadow City—comes out at the end of this month.

How much of you or people you know do you think make it into the characters in your novel(s)?

Dan Jolley: I was just joking about this with some friends of mine a couple of weeks ago. I made the comment that I think every writer ultimately just writes about him- or herself. Even when the character is not in the least bit like the writer, there is some aspect of the writer in the character somewhere. One of my friends said, “Oh, so you’re Janey Sinclair?” And another friend said, “I had you pegged more as her mild-mannered love interest.” I laughed and shrugged and said, “That’s what I’m saying! I’m both of them!”

What is the easiest part of writing in your opinion?

Dan Jolley: I always know how a story is going to end before I start writing it, as I mentioned earlier, and for me, getting near the end of a story is liking nearing my destination on a long road trip. I get excited about finally reaching that end point, and I literally start typing faster, just banging away madly at the keyboard, because I’m so happy to finally get there. I don’t know if that’s the easiest part, but it’s the part I most enjoy.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Dan Jolley: I’m pretty terrible at self-promotion, and it’s like pulling teeth to get me to do new blog posts, but I LOVE interacting with readers. So if you feel like reaching out to me on Twitter (@_DanJolley) or Facebook (dan.jolley1), please don’t hesitate.

Random Quickies!

Pepsi or coke?

Dan Jolley: I’m from Georgia, so if I didn’t say Coke, they’d revoke my Southerner status.

Favorite kind of chocolate? 

Dan Jolley: Anything from France or Belgium. American chocolate is vastly, vastly inferior. Sorry, Hershey.

Cats or dogs? 

Dan Jolley: Love ‘em both, but more cats than dogs.

Do you read more than you write? 

Dan Jolley: Sadly, these days, no.

Right now in your line of site, how many books can you see?

Dan Jolley: I’m sitting here in my office, which isn’t quite completely lined with bookshelves, but comes close. So… let’s see… I don’t know. 400? 450?

Do you own a laptop or desktop computer?

Dan Jolley: I’m writing this on an iMac, but I also have an iPad Pro which has basically taken the place of the MacBook that died on me last year. I didn’t think the iPad would work, but once I got used to it—and that included getting a Bluetooth keyboard case—I found that there was very, very little I needed it to do that it wouldn’t. Plus the battery life puts laptops to shame.

Book Synopsis for Gray Widow's Web:  JANEY SINCLAIR never knew how or why she gained her ability to teleport. She never wanted it, and for years tried her best to ignore it. But when horrible violence shattered her world, she vowed to use her mysterious talent to protect the citizens of Atlanta, in an effort to prevent anyone else from suffering the kind of agony she had. Wearing a suit of stolen military body armor, Janey became known to the public as the GRAY WIDOW.
But now the extraterrestrial source of her “Augmentation” is about to reveal itself, in an event that will profoundly impact Janey’s life and the lives of those closest to her—
TIM KAPOOR, who barely survived the assault of twisted, bloodthirsty shapeshifter Simon Grove and still struggles to pull himself together, both physically and mentally.
NATHAN PITTMAN, the teenager who got shot trying to imitate Janey’s vigilante tactics, and has since become obsessed with the Gray Widow.
SHA’DAE WILKERSON, Janey’s neighbor and newfound best friend, whose instant chemistry with Janey may have roots that neither of them fully understand.
And Janey’s going to need all the help she can get, because one of the other Augments has her sights set on the Gray Widow. The terrifying abomination known as APHRODITE LUPO is more powerful and lethal than anyone or anything Janey has ever faced. And Aphrodite is determined to recruit Janey to her twisted cause…or take her off the field for good.
Unrelenting ghosts of the past clash with the vicious threats of the future. Janey’s destiny bursts from the shadows into the light in GRAY WIDOW’S WEB, leaving the course of humanity itself forever changed. 

About the author:  Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he soon branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games. His twenty-six-year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and is the author of the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy novel series Five Elements. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats.
Learn more about Dan by visiting his website,, and follow him on Twitter @_DanJolley
Author Links:

Twitter:  @_DanJolley

 Tour Schedule and Activities
7/19/17            Jordan Hirsch   Review
7/19/17            I Smell Sheep  Top Ten's List
7/20/17            SpecMusicMuse Author's Interview
7/21/17            Sapphyria's Book Reviews  Top Ten's List
7/22/17    Review
7/22/17            The Seventh Star Blog   Author's Interview
7/22/17            StoreyBook Reviews   Guest Post
7/23/17            Sheila's Guests and Reviews  Guest Post
7/24/17            Infamous Scribbler   Author's Interview
7/25/17            Beauty in Ruins   Guest Post
7/26/17            Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Mystery and More!   Author Interview
7/26/17            Jeni's Bookshelf, Reviews, Swag, and More!  Review



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