Interview // Author Jeff Bond
Clearly, from your About Jeff page on your website, writing is in your blood. What was the driving force behind becoming a writer?
My experiences as a reader really spurred my interest in writing. My elementary school librarian told my parents I was going to read every book in the joint by the time I left — I just couldn’t get enough stories. As I got older, there were a few other points where I read something amazing and thought, “Wow, that’s why I love books.” One came in college, reading War and Peace, and years later, The Corrections. Very different books, but each portrayed characters whose thoughts were so dazzling close to my own that it cast fiction in a completely new, wonderful light. Of course, it’s a long slog becoming a writer and takes many, many hours in the mines, but brightnesses like these have helped.
What themes inspire you to develop your stories – current events or life stories, etc.?
I have a handful of themes I like my stories to touch on, either through character or setting. Ambition, parenting, corporate culture, what truly makes people happy — these are so broad, of course, that just about any story can get there. In terms of specific plots and premises, I keep a notebook in my pocket and jot down ideas constantly. A person I cross paths with, a news article, some interaction I have with a fellow parent — anything that makes me curious or passionate, either positively or negatively, is good fodder.
What was your most satisfying moment while writing Blackquest 40?
That’s tough. I think it’d probably be when I heard back from my first round of beta readers and saw the range of reactions people were having to my protagonist, Deb. Deb is a strong personality — like Turkish coffee strong. Many cheered wholeheartedly; some were annoyed; but everyone seemed compelled to keep reading and see how she fared. Crafting a character who strikes readers differently based on each reader’s unique life experiences is, to me, one of the most satisfying parts of writing.
While writing Blackquest 40 did it stay along your original designed path for the book or did it change while deep into writing?
I’m a big up-front plotter so my stories usually do stay with their designed path — and Blackquest 40 was no exception. A few plot wrinkles always force their way in, but by and large, this one stayed true to the original plan.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? Why this specific character?
I’d have to say, at this point, Deb. Her voice just kind of spilled onto the page for me. Deb was actually a minor character in a previous manuscript; I had an editor rave and rave over how interesting she was, which prompted me to work her into a story of her own. I will say, though, that I have a character coming soon — Durwood Oak Jones (more below) — who may give Deb a run for her money.
Can you tell us which of your books is your favorite and why?
The two books I have out, The Winner Maker and Blackquest 40, are quite different, and hard to compare. Winner is more character-driven and has something to say about ambition; whereas Blackquest — while it’s certainly peopled with living, breathing people — is more of a straight thrillride. So I’m going to cop out and say it just depends how I’m feeling on any given day.
If you only had one sentence to capture a new reader for your books, what would it be?
My books deliver heroes you care about in fresh, original plots that never let off the gas.
If you could only recommend one of your books to readers, which one would it be and why?
I’ll defer to my answer above — if you’re looking for domestic-centered action and characters to sink your teeth into, pick up The Winner Maker. If you’re after a high-octane thriller with a clever, snarky heroine, go for Blackquest 40.
What author has inspired you the most in your writing?
Even though I referenced Tolstoy and Franzen above, the writer who was probably most formative for me is Gillian Flynn. Where those books are inspirational to me, Gone Girl is the absolute model of what I’m trying to accomplish as a writer: rich, fantastic characters in a breakneck plot.
What one book do you recommend that every thriller genre lover read (not including your books)?
Well, that’s easy now: Gone Girl!
Of course, we have to know, what is in-store next – books, events, etc.?
After Blackquest 40, I’m starting a series of action-heavy stories called Third Chance Stories. They’re in the vein of Indiana Jones: big, fun, fast-paced; and centered around three very different, very unique heroes: Molly McGill (single mother, private investigator), Durwood Oak Jones (former marine, seeker of justice), and Quaid Rafferty (the smooth-talking, disgraced ex-governor of Massachusetts, think Fletch from the ’80s). I’ll be releasing four novels simultaneously to kick off this series in late winter — one per hero, then a longer story featuring all three. Before that, though, I’m doing some stuff with reader-driven content and real-time Twitter stories interwoven into current events — all through the lens of these three heroes. You can see what I’m up to at https://www.thirdchancestories.com/.
Deb’s first-person narrative is brisk, gleefully snarky, and filled with indelible metaphors… A clever, spirited tale with a brainy, nimble heroine at the helm.Kirkus Review
Bond weaves an entertaining story filled with deceit, robots, Russians, and tech entrepreneurs that all combine to give the reader a reason to flip pages furiously to find out what might happen next…BLACKQUEST 40 sparkles with imagination. Code flies from keyboards, setting off ingenious flying devices, hatching plots and subplots and, ultimately, giving heroes the chance to help the good guys win. This book is a delight, and one readers should download right away.IndieReader’s 5-star review
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Jeff Bond is a Kansas native and graduate of Yale University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters and belongs to the International Thriller Writers Association.
Thank you, Jeff, for chatting with us for our latest author interview and congratulations on your latest release!
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