Today, I´d like to welcome Urban Fantasy author Trent Jamieson whose brand new Urban Fantasy series “Death Works” started with “Death Most Definite” (released August 5th 2010). His series caught my eye because of their refreshingly different take on death and his awesome guest post over at Dark Faerie Tales. Also, his book is set in Autralia, a country I´ve always dreamt of seeing one day.
So please welcome Trent!
Can you describe “Death most Definite” in your own words?
It’s a story about Death and love. Fast paced, funny and dark. Steven de Selby is part of a company called Mortmax Industries that works for death. He’s a Pomp, short for Psychopomp, tasked with the job of sending the dead to the other side. But when someone starts killing Pomps, Steve needs to grow up, face his responsibilities, and find out who is killing his friends and family, all the while falling deeply in love with a ghost by the name of Lissa.
“The Corporate Side of Death” seems to be the premise of your book. How did you come up that idea?
The way companies operate fascinates me, particularly from the perspective of someone on the lower rungs. Picturing Death operating that way seemed interesting to me, and something that might be fun to write about – and it was.
Is anything beside your Australian setting special about your books? Anything that a normal reader would find surprising?
I’d like to think Steve’s a bit different from your normal hero. He’s a guy just doing the best he can. The Underworld is different, too, well, I think it is. For one there’s a great Moreton Bay Fig Tree at its heart, the size of a city.
Do you have more books planned in this series? If so, can you share a liitle teaser about them?
Yes, there’s two more that I have written. Managing Death (out Dec 2010) and the Business of Death (April 2011). In them Steve really has to grow up, and more of Death’s dark secrets are revealed.
In a guest post on Dark Faerie Tales, you spoke very lovingly of Brisbane. Is your book a little bit of a homage to your city?
Yes, I’m so pleased to be able to write about Brisbane. I think it’s a great city, and one that keeps getting better – not that it’s without its problems, but if you didn’t have those, you’d have much less drama.
Did you do a lot of research for your book?
Quite a bit, but mainly spending time in the locations I was writing about, and looking through books on Death and traditions relating to death.
Can you name the key ingredients of your books in short words?
Darkness, Romance, and humour.
In September, I´ll focus mostly on male authors. Urban Fantasy however is a genre dominated mostly by woman. Are guys too cool to write it? Why did you chose to write Urban Fantasy? Or was it more coincidence?
Not at all! Maybe not cool enough. I think it’s taken us longer to find it, also as a genre Urban Fantasy perhaps took a little longer to become popular in Australia. I don’t know if I chose to write Urban Fantasy, but the story certainly chose me and I loved writing it – and I’d say that’s the same for most people who write. If the story isn’t grabbing you, it doesn’t matter what the genre is.
Would you say that your mood has an influence on your writing?
Yes. But I have a pretty steady mood. Which sounds glib, but I’m a pretty calm person, though if you dig a little deeper I can be a bit of a worrier. If I’m in a bad mood, or really stressed it’s hard to write, though, sometimes the writing can be a bit of an escape.
How far ahead are you plotting your books?
With this series about a book ahead, though the first three books wrap things up nicely, and work well on their own. I’m in the middle of edits for book three.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Music, books, TV shows or real life?
All over the place. All of those things you’ve mentioned. Books though are my central influence. Nothing inspires me more to write than a beautifully written story or a poem. Good prose is energizing to read!
A question that I am always curious about (but could be kind of personal) is: are your characters based on people you really know or maybe even a little bit about yourself or are they all purely fictional?
It’s only a personal question if I name names :). Yes there’s bits of friends and family and me in there, but they’re all mixed up, and of course there are things that are totally made up – that’s the fun bit about writing, you get to make things up.
How did you chose the names of the characters in your book?
Do they have a special meaning?
They have to sound right. And some are nods to Death mythology and other stories, but I don’t want to give any of that away it’s part of the fun of the book.
What do you like most about being an author?
Getting to write about weird things, other worlds, and interesting characters.
And what annoys you?
Not having enough time to do it! And my ridiculously short attention span.
Did you ever have a writer´s block? If so, what did you do to deal with it?
Occasionally. I take a bit of time off, and try not to worry about it too much. Guilt, stress, anxiety are the major causes of writer’s block for me. Managing those is incredibly important. The last thing I want is for my writing to make me miserable.
Tell us something about your favourites:
This changes all the time, what a tough question! Here’s a few. Fritz Leiber, Neal Gaiman, Hope Mirrlees, Michael Swanwick, Marianne de Pierres, Cormac McCarthy, China Miéville, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Margo Lanagan, Jeff Vandermeer, Peter M. Ball, Angela Slatter and Kate Griffin. Glad you said, authors!
favourite paranormal creature?
Vampires. Old school, scary vampires.
favourite all time hero/heroine?
Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser (I count Fritz Leiber’s two great heroes as one) or Coraline or Dorothy Gale. But like the author question this changes.
favourite all time villain?
Darth Vader or the Joker or Heathcliff (I know, he’s more of an anti-hero)
Which one do you prefer, book or e-reader?
Book. Though there’s something terribly seductive about fitting your entire library into an e-reader, only it just wouldn’t smell like a library – give it time, I guess.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (who I didn’t mention in my favourites, so you get an extra!)
Was being an author something you´ve always wanted or did it just happen?
I always reckon that being an author isn’t about wanting, it’s about doing, and then being patient, and learning and not giving up. I’ve been writing since I was five, just took a long time to get to publication.
I figure, if it’s something that you want then start doing, and even if it doesn’t lead to publication or great success you’re still going to have fun doing it, and you’ll have entertained yourself with lots of stories along the way.
Is there any question you´ve always wanted to be asked? And if so, what would be the answer?
That’s a pretty good one. I’m always happy to be asked for my id when I go to the pub (though that doesn’t happen very often these days). But, seriously, I've been very lucky with the questions people have asked. If I get to talk about my favourite authors, about the people that helped me, and inspired me on my way (including, and especially, my wife, Diana) and about the city that I adore, I feel pretty lucky. Writing's mainly about sitting in a room typing down stuff you've dreamed up, it's not all that exciting, but great books, wonderful cities and amazing people, that's pretty cool. Without `em I doubt I'd have a book out now!
A question that is inspired by another interview I did with an author: If you would be Superman, what would be your kryptonite?
Chocolate (oh, the battles we have had, and yet I can never defeat it.) (Amen to that. :) )
Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott. It’s a great supernatural mystery story about obsession, absolutely wonderful stuff – and creepy, too!
And now to the giveaway:
You can win a SIGNED copy of the Australian edition of “Death Most Definite”, so that you “can experience the weird Australian spelling”. :) (I´m a little bit jealous, I would also love to get my hands on that! But my US copy will do as well!)
The giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL (thanks Trent!) and ends September 7th!
All you have to do is leave a comment or question for Trent, follow my blog and fill out the form!