Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Interview: J. R. Turner
My guest is J.R. Turner, action-adventure, sci-fi, and, soon-to-be young adult author.
MC: You mention in your bio that you were raised by an "eclectic assortment of musicians and artists" that helped shape your imagination and creativity. How have you used your childhood experiences in your writing?
JRT: In My Biker Bodyguard those experiences were more directly represented. The house I detail is actually based on the Victorian home my grandmother has owned my whole life. I spent many summers there and even lived there for a time.
Overall though, my childhood exposed me to all sorts of very interesting people that allowed me to get a wider scope of the world than many of my childhood friends, I believe. There are a lot of misconceptions about people from “the wrong side of the tracks” –even among those who live there. If anything, those experiences created in me a thirst for the unusual, the different, and piqued my curiosity to the point it can be a distraction, especially when surfing the internet for research purposes.
If you can imagine peeking down a long hallway and seeing a sparkling rainbow at the far end, I think that’s what my childhood did for me. It opened me up to the endless possibility of new discoveries.
MC: You write a series of books featuring Sara Stark. Sara is quite a character. How much of her is in Jenny Turner?
JRT: I would say that all my characters resemble me in some way, but Sara Stark is more of what I wish I could be: strong, noble, honorable, and insightful—not just to what makes her tick, but to what makes her enemies tick. It’s a joy to write her because I get to do all those things I wish I had, or could, through her. When I face confrontation I generally get very flustered and confused. I’m always surprised by bad behavior in others, whereas Sara keeps her cool and is able to get to the heart of the matter directly—well, sometimes. She has a weakness for Drake and at times, for Bruce (her adoptive father) as well.
MC: You write action/adventure, romance, and in Racing the Moon, you write about geneticist, Amanda McCourt who's in a race to find a cure for a werewolf virus. Quite a variety! Do you have a favorite genre, and if so, tell us why.
JRT: No, I don’t think I have a “favorite” genre—I do have a favorite type of story though, and that falls into many genres. Basically, I love the physicality of good vs. evil and true love. Those two elements, combined with good storytelling, get me every time. While I have enjoyed more ‘laid back’ styles, I tend to get bored quickly when characters spend too much of their time thinking instead of taking action. I like the immediacy of disasters and imminent threats, as well as the suspense of physical and emotional attraction between characters who are falling in love.
MC: What is the most important element you can give writers on crafting an action scene?
JRT: Use the surroundings. I think too often writer’s get focused on the physical execution of hand-to-hand or mortal combat. Whether it’s a car chase or a character kicking-butt, the setting is often neglected. As an example: you can raise the stakes in a car chase if you have a construction zone, a narrow bridge, one-way traffic, etc. Or, in the case of the characters battling each other—you can place them in a shopping mall, use an escalator, innocent bystanders, a food court with metal chairs and tables, or a sporting good store with baseball bats.
Up the ante on the scene and make it original by using the location or setting as a ‘character’ in of itself.
MC: Can you give us a preview of your next book or series?
JRT: I’m preparing to work on a Young Adult series. At the moment I’m vacillating between two different premises:
The Lockwood Legacies—which would be about five daughters who have special powers that ‘activate’ when they hit puberty, their gardening, guru momma, and an archeologist papa that has a penchant for bringing cursed items home for his girls.
I haven’t gotten a working title for the second premise yet, but it involves the natural destruction of life as we know it when a series of earthquakes launch global disasters that destroy all but a handful of humanity. The loss of so many lives all at once creates a paranormal ‘field’ of sorts that imparts special powers to the survivors who are young enough yet to inherit them. However, those powers are used for good or evil depending on the recipients, creating two factions who fight to gain control of the world.
MC: Wow! They sound fascinating! I can't wait to read one or both. And, finally…can you tell your readers and fans something funny about you that they may not know?
JRT: When I had my first child, my reaction was surprise and utter shock. The first thing I said? “Oh my gosh! It really is a baby!”
Thanks, Jenny. We'll look forward to hearing much more from J.R. Turner in the future.
J. R. Turner's website:
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