Following on from my review of American Crow, I finally tracked down the author Jack Lacey who allowed me the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the book and the lead character, Sibelius Blake.
Tell me a bit about your background,
did you always have ambitions to be a novelist?
- I've always loved storytelling as a kid, especially at school and used to make up spontaneous stories on the spot for everyone. I wrote poems and songs as a teenager, then later became a journalist, so words have always been important as well as using my imagination to convey them.
Why did you decide to self-publish American Crow?
- As for publishing American Crow (my fourth novel) independently I decided I wanted to put something out there which hadn't been chopped and changed by editors and publishers responding to changing trends. I have taken the traditional path before and in some ways it can be exceedingly beneficial, so at the end of the day its what works for each writer. The major plus is MOMENTUM, being an independent. You can get a book out there relatively quickly after writing it, where as the waiting time is usually over a year with an industry published novel from point of sale...
And how have figures been thus far?
- Sales figures have been pleasantly surprising, but as its the first in a series I've decided to keep the price low to build up my readership so I'm not making a mint just yet! I think self publishing through Amazon KDP is excellent for new writers, the benefits outweigh the negatives, and if you start making strides publishers and agents will circle if you want to team up with one, so I think its a win win situation personally. My advice is crack on and go indie, don't waste years touting it around to agents as you can lose a lot of time doing that, as well as lose your creative mojo through all the changes they usually ask you to implement.
Who is Blake built around? Would it be wrong to state you are
influenced by the works of Lee Child?
- The Blake character developed naturally over years through the various books I wrote. He's the best of the main protagonists from those novels. I wanted to create a character with a pinch of originality. I hope I've achieved that. I've always loved that roguish anti-hero. He's not based on Jack Reacher at all in my mind, as much as I like Lee Child! I draw the comparison for marketing purposes to give the novel a genre peg especially as its a new series, but the two characters are very very different. The lonesome hero, noble vigilante is as old as the hills...
What other influences have you absorbed?
- As for influences I was greatly influenced by Ian Flemming, John Fowles's The Magus and Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins, also, I was brought up on mythological tales and the workds of Brother's Grimm and personally love the allegorical, layered tale which is why there is a pinch of cliche with the characters and a soulful underbelly.
Why set the book in America?
- I decided to set the book in America because I had a past life there. My research encompasses my own personal journey as well as my creative one. I like the cultural contrast too of Blake in this setting. I hope it gives the story another layer...
You impart an environmental agenda into the novel? Your bio states
a vested interest in nature. Can you elaborate on that for me?
- The environmental aspect is precious to me too, and I've always felt strongly that I wanted to write an engaging thriller which had a transformative journey in it as well as carrying a poignant theme. I used to write about the environment before I was a health journalist so its important to me that a story goes beyond 'guns and girls'. I think we can inspire and inform with fiction as much as we can with non fiction sometimes.
It's very brave to kill off a main protagonist (in this case two)
in front of Blake, what was the creative decision behind that?
- I killed off the love interest to make finding the girl a lot more satisfying experience! I also like to surprise and move the reader. Personally, I hated having to do bump off Nancy Stringer!
What are your intentions for the future? Blake's future remained
open at the book's conclusion?
- Blake will be returning soon - the bones of the new plot are grinding into place, and it will be another fast-paced road trip, part-set in the U.S, with some interludes in Europe. I'm very excited about this next story and the particular environmental theme I've chosen, as it is very apt at the moment! (though I can't give anything a way currently...)
- A paperback will be out in 2014 of American Crow all being well, and I plan to do a book tour to publicize this further as well as do talks about my own spiritual journey surrounding the Missing Series which is crazier than Blake's!