Friday, March 9, 2012

Author Q & A with JC Andrijeski & a Giveaway!

Happy Friday my Muses!

Boy do I have a treat for everyone! This post will not only include my first Author Q & A with author JC Andrijeski, who's book Rook: Allie's War #1 I reviewed a couple of weeks ago (you can check out my review for Rook HERE), but also my first Giveaway! Thanks to JC, you will have the chance to win Rook: Allie's War, the first book in her highly talked about, genre bending The Bridge series. I will be posting the rules to the Giveaway at the end of this Q & A.

Before moving on to the good stuff, here is a little background info on JC and her book, Rook: Allie's War #1.


JC Andrijeski is a bestselling author who has published novels, novellas, serials, graphic novels and short stories, as well as nonfiction essays and articles. Her short fiction runs from humorous to apocalyptic, and her nonfiction articles cover subjects from graffiti art, meditation, psychology, journalism, politics and history. Her short works have been published in numerous anthologies, online literary, art and fiction magazines as well as print venues such as NY Press newspaper and holistic health magazines. JC currently lives and writes full time in India, at the foot of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, a location she drew on a fair bit in writing the Allie's War books. Please visit JC Andrijeski's website at: or her blog at

Rook: Allie's War, Book 1

“You are the Bridge…”

Twenty-eight-year-old San Francisco native, Allie Taylor, knew she had issues…but she at least thought she was human. In her version of modern day Earth, a second race of human-like beings called seers were discovered in Asia in the early 1900s. Since then, they have fought in two world wars and live alongside humans as second-class citizens. So when Allie meets her first, real, flesh-and-blood seer, she's not exactly thrilled when he tells her that she's a seer like him. Not only that, but according to him, all the other seers believe she's going to end the world.

Worse, no matter what she does, everything that happens after that only seems to prove him right.

Author Q & A With JC Adrijeski

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was one of those weirdos that was pretty much born this way, I’m afraid. I was pretty much telling stories to whoever would listen from day one, and once I figured out how to write them down, I was doing that. I used to have these really old cassette tapes of stories I would record when I figured out how to use my parents’ tape recorder. Some of them were pretty bizarre, and surprisingly involved, considering how young I was.

2. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Well, I’m a morning writer. When I had a day job, that meant getting up a few hours before work, and writing until it was time to leave the house. I also write at night…where I tend to not write as much is those 2pm – 7pm hours for some reason. Now that I’m working full time as a writer, my normal schedule is to get up, write, then go shopping or meet friends in the afternoon (or sometimes go work on more “publishing” type things), then come home, eat dinner, and then usually write for a few more hours before bed, along with all the internet stuff and blogging and so forth.

3. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know if this is true of all writers, but I liken writing to meditation in a way. I go into a real “no-brain” space when I’m writing, especially a first draft. I’ve done a lot of meditation and that’s the closest space I can compare it to. If I get jerked out of that, by an error or a phone call or a knock on my door or whatever, it’s almost jarring. So if I get stuck on writing, I’m more likely to go meditate for a bit or go for a walk than I am to, say, do something mental like writing exercises, etc. I actually find most writing exercises pretty boring, unless I can somehow tie them directly to a story or characters I care about.

4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Kind of what I said above…I honestly have no idea most of the time…a lot of it comes to me sort of subconsciously. In terms of inspirations of various kinds, or starting points, I’ve gotten a fair bit off reading nonfiction actually, and even some from dreams. The Allie’s War series actually started with a character I started playing around with in my head (what eventually became Revik), and the thought that I’d like to try writing a romance. But usually I start with one or two elements and then just start writing…the result at times surprises me. That being said, for novels, I usually have a pretty clear image or concept of the ending before I start. I find it a lot easier to write a novel if I know where I’m going…but again, most of that comes to me sort of in the form of images and whatnot, it’s not exactly the same as a conscious “mental” space. It’s closer to daydreaming.

5. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Ha, funny you should ask, given where I’m living now! But moving to India was only partly about research, a lot of it was just for a personal adventure of sorts. I’ve done some traveling to check out locations though, definitely, like I said above. I scoped out Stanley Park in Vancouver for example, to find Allie and Revik a good hiding place in Rook. I also took my first cruise ever from Vancouver to Alaska on that same trip, partly just to go, but partly because I wanted to place them on a ship and I figured I’d better experience one for myself. I still haven’t made it to China, which I’d like to do for this series too. I’ve also written about places I know, like San Francisco and New York, which are both places I’ve lived, etc. I love that part of writing though, it’s a lot of fun.

6. What does your family think of your writing and name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

You know, it’s funny, I was really reluctant to give them any of my books at first, especially the Allie’s War books, since there’s a fair bit of sex in them (especially after book 1). My sister surprised the heck out of me, first of all by reading them, and second of all by really liking them. I just had no idea that anyone in my family would respond that way. And my sister is one of those people who’s incapable of pretending to like something she doesn’t like (which is actually something I love about her, but can be aggravating, lol). I mean, she would be polite and all, but I would know immediately if she hated it…she just has no poker face whatsoever. Now my mom’s read a lot of my stuff too, and she seems to really like it as well. I thought maybe she was humoring me at first, but she’s said a number of things in the past six months or so that made me think she was being sincere. I mean, I’m close to my family, but I guess I always figured that was a part of me they didn’t really “get,” so that really surprised the heck out of me.

My writing friends, definitely. I think it’s critical for writers to surround themselves with like-minded souls, as we’re an odd breed, writers. But I am also incredibly lucky to have a fantastic network of non-writing friends as well.

7. How did you come up with the title?

With Rook? It’s funny, I had it in my head to do one-word titles for these books. It was pretty clear it would be a series from the get-go, as the arc in my head was long and complicated, pretty much from the get-go, lol. The Allie’s War part of it I actually worked out with an editor I was pitching the series to. He wanted her name in the series title somewhere, thinking it would pull people more into the character and the story, so we threw ideas around and came up with that one. The house ended up passing on it for a number of reasons (difficult genre fit being the main one, as far as I can tell), but I ended up keeping that idea for the title.

8. Who designed the cover art?

Actually I did, which is always a little embarrassing to admit. That’s kind of a long story, too. I actually hired someone initially, an artist friend of mine, and she did a fantastic job on the artwork, really beautiful stuff. But unfortunately, it was simply too abstract in terms of marketing these books. No one could tell what the books were about, so it definitely impacted sales. After testing those for about 4-5 months, I decided to try my hand at it, incorporating more people in the covers and branding it more specifically as urban fantasy/ paranormal romance. So far, those covers seem to be doing okay with readers…at least as far as I’ve been told.

9. What was the hardest part of writing Rook: Allie’s War?

Well, the first book was a real bear. I didn’t have a lot of experience writing novels back then, so I ended up writing four or five different versions all the way to the end. The characters evolved over that time, and the world did too (it was originally more of a portal fantasy, where Allie fell into this other world filled with both seers and humans). When I set things on Earth and made it an alternate history, a LOT of things suddenly clicked. It made sense from that point that Revik’s war experience would be the world wars of earth, and that the caste system set up would have more of an Earth-like slant. The books after that first book were a cakewalk compared to that one, lol…but each has had its own challenges, of course. I think those first three or four novels that most writers write aren't ever really meant to be publicly consumed. I just happened to do those with the same characters and story.

10. Did you learn anything from writing Rook: Allie’s War and what was it?

I learned a ton, actually…how to write a novel, for one, or how it works for me, anyway. I also learned I really enjoy martial arts, as a part of researching Revik’s character. I learned a fair bit about World War I and II that I hadn’t known prior to that, too…and a lot about guns, lol. I’ve done a lot of research on more obscure topics too, such as the layout of electrical substations, the house of the Vice President, different areas in London, etc.

11. What is/are your current project(s) and can you share a little of your current work with us?

Allie’s War, Book Five is my current project (tentatively titled Knight). I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the rough draft, give or take.

I’ll try my best without spoilers…Allie and Revik are in New York, and the story starts with them robbing a bank. I won’t say why, but it was fun to write. They’re also dealing with biological weapons, more strange revelations about characters and the Chinese seers after them along with the mysterious Shadow character introduced in Book Four. It’s been tough to write because a lot of threads from previous books are really coming together.

12. What books have most influenced your life?

That’s always a tough one for me, frankly…I’ve read a ton of books I’ve loved and liked and that I’ve found inspiring in various ways. It’s really hard to say which have influenced me more than others. I loved Watership Down as a kid…it was definitely a novel that influenced me a lot in my formative years as a writer. The complex world building still blows my mind, and the archetypal nature of the story makes it really timeless. I was also influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, and even Rosemary Rogers to a degree, which are still some of the very few romance novels I’ve ever read. I love Cormac McCarthy, Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Joan Vinge and the Bronte sisters. I’m kind of all over the map in my reading tastes, honestly.

13. Are you reading any books now? If so, which one(s)?

I have to say, it’s getting harder and harder to find reading time, lol, but I’m pretty much always working on something. I recently finished The Apocalypse Gene by Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark, which is post-apocalyptic YA science fiction. Before that, I read Gamers by Thomas Carpenter, which is also YA science fiction. I’m about to start Two Graves by D.A. Graystone.

14. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Thomas Carpenter, whose book I mentioned above, is really good. I also like Zoe Saadia’s historical fiction. Michael Angel is also a really talented writer and so is Pavarti K. Tyler. SM Johnson is also fantastic. I also like Brenda Wallace, Coral Russell and Jonathan Gould.

15. Do you have any advice for other writers?

It’s clichĂ©, but just write. Write enough that you learn to trust your voice. Also, write for yourself as much as humanly possible…don’t listen to those critical voices in your head, they will never make you a better writer. The only other thing I’d say right now, given all the hype around indies, is to always put your writing before marketing, no matter what anyone tells you. Without good craft, you have no career. Without product, you have no career. You can only play the Amazon lists game for so long if your craft and product aren’t there.




Okay, my Muses! It's Giveaway time! The lucky winner(s) will receive Rook: Allie's War, Book 1 in ebook format! (available formats are: PDF, mobi kindle, epub).

The Giveaway is open worldwide!

Please read the following rules/instructions carefully. All responses must be left in MY comment section of this post. So even though I may be sending you over to JC's blog or Facebook page, I still need you to leave the following information in the comment section of this post. Before checking out the rules, here is some links you may need:

JC Andrijeski's Blog
JC Andrijeski's Twitter
JC Andrijeski's Facebook

My Blog (Duh! :)
My Twitter
My Facebook


1.. Must be a follower of BOTH my blog and JC Andrijeski's blog by joining through GFC (must leave GFC name/username in the comment section of this post so I can check you joined)

2. Must join/add/follow JC Andrijeski on her Facebook Page (bonus if you follow me as well but not necessary, and you must leave your Facebook name and/or link to your Facebook in the comment section of this post as well)

3. Must follow BOTH JC and me on Twitter (bonus points if you tweet about this giveaway. Leave your twitter handle/username in the comment section of this post.)

Must answer this question: What part of the Author Q & A did you find interesting?

5. Lastly, leave your name, email address, and what format you prefer the ebook in the comment section of this post.

Giveaway ends Friday, March 23 and the winner(s) will be chosen and contacted by Saturday, March 24th.

For any comments, questions, or concerns about this giveaway or Author Q & A, feel free to email me:

Good Luck!


  1. Hey Mia, thanks again so much for having me on here! :)

  2. Your blog is awesome! I'm returning the follow from Walking on Bookshelves. Thanks for the book trailer links!