Monday, March 12, 2012

Interview: Probability Angels by Joseph Devon

Title: Probability Angels
Author: Joseph Devon
Source: Blog Tour
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Matthew knows that he died twenty years ago. He has, after all, been bouncing around New York city ever since, causing mischief and having fun as a supernatural being. But recently some problems have been cropping up: not only is he hallucinating things in garbage cans, but his mentor doesn’t think he’s working up to his full potential, his best friend can’t offer any solace but drunken confusion, and his wife is dying in Central Park.
See, the past twenty years haven’t meant a thing because now it’s time for Matthew to make his second choice and become a tester of humanity.
And that’s all before the zombies show up.
Come explore the world of Matthew and Epp and see what a samurai from Feudal Japan has to do with the course of modern physics, what a two-thousand year old Roman slave has to do with the summit of Mount Everest, and what a dead man from Brooklyn has to do with the fate of the world.

 1.  What scene, topic, or section was the most intense (or visual) for you to write?

There are a fair number of deaths in the book, an immortal civil war breaks out halfway through (I guess technically these would be second-deaths). So a lot of those deaths were difficult to write. There are some ruthlessly savage bad guys and a lot of good characters getting caught in a bloody crossfire. And I’m using the word “good” there in both senses of the word. Obviously nobody likes to see a good guy die, but as an author when you have a rich character that you’ve attached to, a good character to write, it’s painful to write their death, if only because of all the work you put into them.

2.  In the event that your novel became a screenplay, who would you like to see included in the casting?

One of the main characters, Epp, was flat-out modeled after the actor Lance Reddick. More specifically he was modeled after Lance’s role in The Wire of Cedric Daniels. I’m not saying they’re the same person, but the initial mannerisms and air about Epp was drawn heavily from that actor in that role. The more I got into Epp the more he became his own character but I’d love to see Lance Reddick tackle Epp. Then again I wonder if that would be too on the nose? I also think James Gandolfini could do a great job with one of the antagonists, Hector. He’s due for another good role.

3. If you could meet anyone or see anything (characters, locations, events, abilities, creatures, etc) from your novel, who or what would you choose?

So the premise of my book is that there are a number of humans who died under special circumstances and were offered the chance to stay on earth as immortals and “push” humans so that humans achieve their full potential. It’s a complex world and the relationship between the testers and humans is very rich. The work of pushing takes a lot out of a tester; in fact, they have to revisit their own death during a push. Afterwards they need to rest. These rests can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few decades. And, for various reasons, the places that successful testers go to rest are mountaintops. The summit of Mount Everest gets visited a lot in the book, it’s kind of a sacred place for testers and it is covered with resting testers who have done their part to push humanity forward. I always loved the scenes set up there and it would be an amazing place to see, not just because it’s the summit of Everest but because of what it means to my characters.

4.  Do you have any upcoming projects? When can readers expect them?

Probability Angels is the first book of a trilogy. The second book, Persistent Illusions, will be going on tour in a few months. The third book is unwritten right now but I’m doing research and brainstorming and I’ll be writing it as soon as possible.

5.  What do you love the most about being an author?

I love when everything clicks in a scene and I know that I’ll be inside my reader’s head. I love when people contact me after reading one of my books and lets me know that I did more than just entertain them (though I hope to do that as well) but that I also moved them or shook them up or touched them in some deeper way. You know? I try and make my books special, something that will stick with you for awhile. When I know that the work I put in is paying off, that’s a good feeling. Oh! And if someone hates me for something bad that happens to a character. That’s always nice too, you know your characters are loved then. Hehe.

6.  Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what artists? If not, do you have other muses?

I listen to music constantly while I write. My brain needs the distraction in order to focus. It’s weird, it’s like I need to see my story from an angle before I can really get to it. The list of artists is all over the place. I listen to Chopin, AC/DC, Shakira, The Drifters, Hank Williams, Girl Talk. But, again, it’s usually just to shake my head up so I can get into the scene. A lot of times I’ll be inside of my story and trying to track all the characters at a given moment and I’ll turn down my music so I can concentrate. Sometimes I need it and sometimes I don’t.

7.  Is there anything that helps you write or is unique about your writing process?

Probably the weirdest thing I do while writing is my Rubiks Cube. My nephew got one for Christmas a few years ago, he was six, and he asked me to solve it for him. So I figured out how to do that and then I bought my own and now I compulsively scramble and solve a Rubiks Cube when I sit back in my chair and need to think about something. I’m actually on my second Rubiks Cube now because the first one fell apart in my hands from overuse.

8. Which, if any, character do you feel has the most of your characteristics (behavioral or otherwise)? 

That’s a tough question. My characters all have some characteristics that I find admirable: courage, heart, integrity, empathy, cunning, etc. I’d like to think that those are all my characteristics but in truth I’m probably closest to Matthew. Matthew is the newcomer to the world of immortals and the reader learns along with him all about the testers and their links to humanity. And poor Matthew is constantly struggling to keep up because there’s so much to learn. But he’s kind and helpful and he does a remarkable job of keeping his head about him despite his situation. There’s a lot of debate amongst readers about whether Matthew is one of the heroes or if he is just the tour guide. I happen to see him as one of the heroes. He may not be as powerful as the people he hangs around with, but his general open nature and determination not to get rattled does alter the course of the story in a lot of ways. I think I’m most like him. Nothing special but damned if that’s going to stop me from joining the party.

9.  What works have you released? What are they about?

I have three books out currently and a collection of short stories. The short story collection, titled 15 Stories, is widely varied. I hit every genre from romance to suspense to humor. My first book, The Letter, was published almost a decade ago. It’s a coming of age story, as most first novels are, about a group of friends on a road trip across America. Then there’s this current series with Probability Angels, which is being toured now, and then book two Persistent Illusions, which will be touring in a few weeks.

10.  What or who inspires you to write?

Simply put? Great art inspires me to write. Anything with a story, be it a painting of a classic Roman scene or a song with coherent lyrics (actually a good beat can sometimes be enough of a story). When I come across art that really hits me it never fails to get me excited about creating, about maybe bringing something into this world that will reach out and grab other people the way my favorite artists grab me. That’s really always my goal, to bring more of the kind of art I love into the world. I figure if I love it so much then other people must too. So revisiting my favorite books or museums or finding a new album that moves me, that inspires me.

11.  What is one thing your readers should know about you?

I don’t know how to dress myself. I mean, I know how to operate buttons and zippers, but I’m pretty incompetent about picking out outfits. I shop at places where everything looks the same and wear jeans a lot so I don’t have to think about it.

Where To Find Joseph Devon:


Laurie said...

Loved what said about Matthew that he may not be as powerful but it won't keep him from joining the party. I think we all have to strive to do our best in given situations. :)

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