Shadow’s Lure– a “mean, bloody” series with a human streak

Today we welcome author Jon Sprunk.

Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

 Hello, and thank you for having me. I live in central Pennsylvania, which is where I grew up. I’ve been married for eight glorious years, and we have a two-year-old son. No pets. I drink a lot of diet soda, probably too much, but never acquired the taste for coffee.

 I have a B.A. in English from Lock Haven University. I think it helped, if only because it exposed me to so many writers that I might have otherwise ignored, especially the classics. Like Shakespeare. I absolutely detested his stuff in high school, but I had some good professors in college who made his plays come alive. As far as the nuts and bolts of writing technique, college didn’t help much. I believe that my best writing teachers were other writers. Tolstoy, Melville, Lovecraft, Howard, Heinlein. Those are my instructors.

 Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?  

Well, my second book, Shadow’s Lure, comes out this June in the U.S. (and a bit later in other countries). It’s the sequel to Shadow’s Son. It continues the story of Caim, a former (maybe) assassin with just enough magical talent to get himself into trouble. In Shadow’s Lure, he’s going back to his homeland to confront the ghosts of his past, and he discovers that some things are better left unfound.

 What inspired you to write this story?

 My primary inspiration is my wife, Jenny. She reads all my stuff before anyone else, and I treasure her insight.

 For these particular books, I wanted to write a mean, bloody tale with a no-nonsense character at the helm. I suppose that comes from a lifetime spent reading sword and sorcery.

How would you best describe your books?

 No-holds-barred, in-your-face, fast and furious. My characters live in a violent world, and that violence touches them all. No one is safe. At the same time, I hope my novels are very human.

 What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

 Fantasy for both. I read some science fiction, but haven’t really tried my hand at it. When I go outside the genre, I usually reach for a classic. My favorite is Anna Karenina.

 What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?

 That’s what I’m doing, and what I’ve always done. It took me a long time to finally become a published novelist, but I can honestly say I did it my way, writing exactly what I wanted.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

 Pretty young. I was always a daydreamer, always concocting stories to myself. Later, I discovered that others enjoyed reading what I’d written, and that feeling of accomplishment hooked me.

 What do you most like about writing? Least like?

 I like the freedom to daydream. I love the process of creating something new.

 I’m not a big fan of waiting. The business side of writing is a lot of waiting.

 Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

 I belong to some writing organizations. Pennwriters is a nice (growing) regional group with friendly people. And the SFWA, which I joined a couple years ago. I frequent a few sci-fi/fantasy websites to see what people are talking about within the genre.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

 I often listen to heavy metal when I write. It zeroes me into whatever I’m working on. When I’m really into the “zone,” the pages fly by. And a lot of heavy metal has fantasy and literary themes, which maybe plays on my subconscious.

 Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?

I used to, years ago, but not anymore. It’s tough when you’re writing novels because other writers often don’t have the time to read an entire book and provide valuable feedback, at least not in the timeframe that I’d need the critique.

 Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books did you write before selling one?

 Shadow’s Son, my first published novel, was the fourth book I’d written. I started my very first novel in high school and finished it about five years later. That was my apprencticeship. I took a break for writing books, focusing on short stories because I’d heard that was the way to get published. But they didn’t sell much either. About eight years ago I got serious about it again. I wrote two novels (and a few half-finished books). Then I had the idea about an assassin who gets caught up in a dirty deal, and Shadow’s Son was born.

 How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

 I sent an email to the editor, praising a book he’d worked on, and asked if he wanted to see my manuscript. He said yes, and things moved pretty fast from there. The Call was actually an email offering a contract. Later that day, or maybe the next, he called me to discuss the book. That entire week was the third-best week of my life.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

 My favorite thing about Shadow’s Lure was the opportunity it afforded me to expand my fictional world. The first book was rather restrained (if you call lots of murder and knife fights and a plot to overthrow the government restrained), but in the sequel I really opened up the throttle and let it rip. It feels like a “fuller” book.

 Typing ‘THE END’ was pretty special.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

 I’m working on the third book of the trilogy, which will be titled Shadow’s Master, and should be out in stores next summer. After that, I’ve got a whole new series planned.

 I’ll be a guest at a few conventions this year. The dates and places can be found on my website (www.jonsprunk.com). Next year I’m thinking about a return to DragonCon in Atlanta, or maybe one of the big cons out West.

What would you like to tell readers?

 Thank you. Writing is a two-way street. It’s not much fun if no one is on the receiving end. You folks are the best.

One Comment

  1. Hi Jon,
    Fabulous interview. Congratulations on you new release. Really nice cover. Wishing you many, many sales.

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