Monday, April 9, 2012

Author Spotlight: Interview with K.R. Jacobsen

1.  Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Omni, the first book in the Debate Team series, is a contemporary fantasy set in present day Southern California: A government agency so secretive it doesn't have a name collides with Ryan Sutter. With powers that defy reality, they must find those responsible for wreaking havoc on the city.
2.  How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I'm terrible at coming up with titles, but I was fortunate enough to have my muse strike. Both the title, Omni, and the series name, Debate Team, come straight from the book. In Omni, some of the characters have abilities or powers that defy the laws of possibility, and Omni refers to those with multiple powers. The series name, Debate Team, is an inside joke that is used to refer to a team of characters who operate for the unnamed government agency.
3.  Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Choosing your favorite character is like choosing your favorite child: how can you pick just one? Well, perhaps that's taking it a little far, but if pressed on the matter I'd choose Malone. He's gruff at times, but I enjoy his dark sense of humor. He also pushes Ryan to better himself, and isn't that what we all want from our friends and colleagues?
4.  How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?
My least favorite character is likely one or two that were taken out of the final draft! I do, however, have one in mind that is the least likable one, but to reveal names might spoil things (hey, it's another cop-out answer!).
5.  If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?
If I could change one thing, it'd require a DeLorean, a flux capacitor, and some plutonium! Quite simply, I would have published Omni sooner, but that would require traveling to the past to tell my then-self that the publishing world is being shaken up and it's time to change your thinking.
6.  Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
This is a story that's been kicking around inside my head for years. It started well over seven years ago with a single scene that'll appear in book two or three (I'm not sure which yet). After trying to figure out what everything was about and why people had abilities that defied the laws of science and reality, I sat down to write this story a couple of years ago. It's been a very organic experience and I'm excited to get the next books in the series out (book two is roughly 25% complete, while I have the outline for book three written).
7.  Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
While I'm proficient in a variety of small, useless skills, I'm also a less-than-terrible drummer. Every week a group of friends all convene at my house and we play music for a few hours (we play everything from David Bowie to Metallica to Social Distortion to Black Sabbath and so on). It had been a long-standing goal of ours from well over ten years ago to do this, but it only came together when we started playing Rock Band (yes, the video game) and I transitioned from plastic drums to real ones. At the time, we had roughly six guitarists between us, but no one capable of playing any other instrument (yes, I was one of those guitarists, but I was beyond terrible!). Playing drums is a lot of fun, a great workout, and a heck of a stress reliever, not to mention how rewarding an experience it is to play music with others.
8.  How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
The easiest way to chat me up is to visit my website at http://krjacobsen.com where you'll find a link at the top that says "Contact Me". I also have a twitter presence, along with Google Plus, and begrudgingly, a Facebook page. However, I use those in a sliding scale of infrequency and generally stick to posting on my blog once every few weeks or whenever something particular strikes me. I  invite everyone to visit my site and contact me.
9.  What can we expect from you in the future?
At the moment, I'm in the revision stage of my next book, an untitled dark fantasy that I hope to have available in the first part of 2012. Cover art for the book is in production, and as soon as I finish my revisions, it'll go to the editor. This book is closer to what I usually write about--sword and sorcery fantasy--but is a bit darker than other things I've written. I'm hoping to get the second book in that series out before the end of 2012, but that may be slightly ambitious.
As I mentioned before, I'm also at work on book two in the Debate Team series. I'm exploring a couple of changes with that series in terms of expanding perspective and story, but I'm really enjoying where it's taking me and think others will also enjoy getting to know some of the characters a little better. I'm hoping to have book two finished and available by spring of 2012, and am really hoping that book three will be available by winter 2012. It's a lot of work, but I'm up for a challenge!
10.  Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
The publishing world is a whole new beast now compared to six months ago, let alone a year ago or two or so on. Six months from now, it could be entirely different all over again. The best advice one could give is to do your homework. Six months ago I was still convinced that getting a traditional publishing contract was the way to go, but now I clearly don't think that. There's a lot of opportunity in the current market thanks to the rise of ebooks, and now is the time to dive in.
11.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for the opportunity to reach a few folks about my books and what's happening in my world. Writing is one of the absolute, unconditional true loves in my life and is something I've been doing for more than half of it. I invite everyone to visit my website and feel free to contact me about anything at all: http://krjacobsen.com
12.  And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
“What the hell…” Ryan navigated the shelves and stopped short twenty feet of the door. The lights hit the glass at just the right angle to be blinding, but as the occasional person walked in front of the vehicle and dimmed the glare, he thought it looked like the police. But why would the police be gathering around a library, especially when it wasn’t even open yet for the day? Certainly no one had called to complain about the internet crowd. They may have irritated him, but they generally kept to themselves outside and didn’t cause problems.
Ryan turned and went into the back and found a couple of his coworkers looking out of the window in the break room. Emergency vehicles zipped by with lights flashing but no sirens.
They stared outside and Ryan broke the silence.
“What’s going on out there? There’s a bunch of cops right outside the front door, and one even parked there.”
Neither of them turned to regard him, but Cassie Cox spoke quietly.
“I… I think some of the police have their weapons drawn.”
“That’s not standard issue for patrol, either.” Thomas took a drink of his coffee without looking down at it and continued to look outside. He held the mug in both hands like a sacred object. “That one’s carrying an AR-15. Definitely not standard issue for patrol.” He took another sip, his gaze intense as he stared out of the window.
Ryan looked from one to the other then looked out again. A couple of police cars stopped and officers emerged from either side carrying shotguns and assault rifles. The pairs went different directions, and it looked like one was headed for the front of the library before they passed out of sight of the window.
“Do you think there’s something going on at city hall?” Ryan put his nose up to the glass and turned his face to look to the side, past the park to city hall, but he couldn’t see anything through the sea of vehicles and bodies, and the flashing lights.
“Something big, whatever it is. Those guys don’t suit up like that to get a sleeping bum to leave the park.”
Ryan looked at Thomas, calm and matter-of-fact with his coffee, and then noticed that Cassie was shaking just slightly. Her eyes darted as she looked out of the window and she hugged herself tightly.
Ryan, about to make sure she was okay, instead turned when he heard unrecognized voices coming from somewhere outside the break room. Cassie and Thomas seemed intent on watching the window so Ryan went to the door and looked out. Cops, several of them, were walking through the back offices in that irritating way that cops seemed to have when they thought they belonged somewhere they didn’t. They were talking on their radios at the same time and he couldn’t pick out their conversations. However, they appeared to be making their way toward the break room.
One of the cops shoved past Ryan to get into the room. Ryan fell back a step and bumped into a wall, and he withheld his protest when he saw some sort of submachine gun in the officer’s hand. Thomas’s words ran through his head.
Another of the cops walked into the room and went to the window, a submachine gun hanging on a hook at his side. The officer that shoved past Ryan looked up at the library employees. “We’re taking over this building. Get your coworkers and bring them to the back where we’ll give you more instructions.”
That shook Cassie awake. “What’s going on? Why do you need the library?”

* * *
Thank you K.R. for taking part in my Author Spotlight interview! I hope your writing continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future.
*****
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at
jejoescienne@yahoo.com

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