The South Carolina Book Festival is this weekend! It runs from May 18-20th this year, with a great lineup of authors–mostly Southern authors with a handful of around-the-country authors for good measure.
One of our visiting authors is AJ Scudiere, author of GOD’S EYE, VENGEANCE, RESONANCE, and the newest thriller, PHOENIX. Both VENGEANCE and RESONANCE are Indie Excellence Book Award Winners and available in audiomovie format. (Check out AJ’s book page HERE.) AJ writes
AJ has lived in Florida and Los Angeles among a handful of other places. Recent whims have brought the dark writer to Tennessee, where home is a deceptively normal looking neighborhood just outside Nashville. (Bio from AJ’s website HERE) A couple of questions and answers from AJ’s press kit (link HERE)
You are on the cutting edge of Audio Books, releasing not just words being read from the story you’ve written but an actual Audio Movie (www.AJsAudioMovies.com) with actors and sounds to accompany the book. Tell us a little about those.
AudioMovie credit goes almost entirely to Stefan Rudnicki and SkyBoat Road Productions. Stefan is a master at audiobooks and has so many awards. I remember talking to him and complaining about the number of audiobooks I’d listened to in which readers had barked like a dog or tried to imitate the sound of a shotgun being cocked. Stefan had been wanting to do an audiobook with multiple readers, but it takes an author who uses point of view the way that I do in order to make that kind of narrative. Ultimately, the AudioMovie format is the only unabridged version of full cast reading with soundtrack and score. Stefan did such an amazing job making the background subtle, but really adding to the texture of the story. It’s like being in a movie theater with your eyes closed: you hear everything!
Has being a female affected your career as a thriller writer? How so?
At this point, I don’t know that it does affect things. But initially, I was shocked by how many agents called me and were surprised to find out I was female.
You’re a scientist. Is the science behind your novels true?
Obviously, what I write is fiction, but I do my research very carefully. I hate when writers get details wrong – anyone who knows the material better than the author can have the story shake loose on them when they see something they know isn’t true or doesn’t work. For Resonance, I read tons of articles and applied everything I know from my masters degree in physiology. So, yes, the science there is real. Much of what happens at the beginning of the book that starts the polar reversal is actually happening in the world around us right now. And a lot of people predict that the earth’s magnetic poles will trade places soon, given the speed at which they are moving.
For Vengeance, I did much the same. Only this time I spent my time working with my black-belt friends and out at the gun range. I worked up to where I can shoot pretty accurately two handed. I’m sure if I practiced with Lee’s dedication, it would be more than possible to do what he does. As for the crimes Lee and Sin commit, I have to admit my family got a bit tired of me breaking into our house. So, everything there is plausible. I don’t recommend it! But it can be done.
What makes a good thriller in your opinion? Any favorite authors you follow?A good Thriller has to have that can’t-put-it-down quality. You have to believe that if you turn the page you’ll get an answer to a burning question or a serious stand-off will be resolved. The best thriller writers do this by not dragging out the scenes, but by answering your questions. Only – as the reader starts to feel relief that the question has been answered – he realizes that he can’t put the book down because there’s another question, or something else has happened.
Thrillers also follow the laws of other books. 1] The writing itself should be high quality. The turn of phrase should be easy to read and well crafted. 2] The plot should be solid: no gaping holes, no unmotivated actions that drive the plot forward. 3] And if you’re really good, your work can be read on multiple levels – it can be a breezy beach read that you enjoy, or you can take it into a literature class and dissect it, looking at the deeper questions the book raises.
I have a few authors that I love, but few hold up over time. I hate recycled plots, and books (or even movies) that bring back beloved characters only because they are beloved. They need a good story behind them! Some favorites are: Nabokov, Tim O’Brien, and Orson Scott Card.
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