04-18-2012 08:25 AM
Q&A with JT Ellison
A Deeper Darkness
Debbie - First of all I want to remind you all that JT will be our guest in June when the forum features this novel for the month, so this will just be a short how do you do right now, I’ll ask for all the skeletons later J
So without further ado JT welcome to the General Fiction forum
Tell us a little about the new novel.
J.T. - A DEEPER DARKNESS is the first in the Samantha Owens series. It’s different from my earlier Taylor Jackson books – it’s set in Washington, D.C. for the most part, and is more of a suburban thriller. Samantha, the head medical examiner for the state of Tennessee, is asked to perform a second autopsy on her ex-boyfriend, Edward Donovan, and during the course of the investigation, comes to realize Eddie was murdered, not carjacked as the police thought. The closer Sam gets to the truth, the less safe she becomes. And she’s fighting an inward war, trying to recover from the loss of her family, so she’s up against it on all fronts.
Sam has been in your previous novels as she is the best friend of Taylor Jackson who is the protagonist in that series. So tell us what made you tell Sam’s story (which is great by the way)
Thank you! Sam has always functioned as Taylor’s conscience in the previous novels. Her role kept growing and growing until I realized I wanted to try her as a point of view character (see Where All the Dead Lie, TJ #7.) Her voice came easily to me, and I thought it would be cool to give her her own book. And then of course, things went to hell in Nashville, with the biblical flood of 2010, and that experience needed a book as well. So Sam has lost her family in the Nashville floods. In this novel, she is very human, very accessible, completely damaged and broken, exactly Taylor’s opposite. It was cool to write a different kind of hero – one that’s not striding around with her hand on her gun, but at times whimpering in the corner, afraid to face the world. Sam is every woman. She is much more me than Taylor.
What happens to Taylor now?
She and Baldwin are taking a nice long vacation. Honestly, I’m happy for her to have a little break. She’s been through so much the past few years, she earned some time off. I do want to return to her story sometime – I have a few ideas of what might be happening in her world. God willing and the creeks don’t rise, I’ll be able to go back to her soon.
Now a bit on the personal side. Tell us about being a Presidential Appointee
It was an absolute hoot. I was 21, just out of college, and working in the Executive Office of the President for the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. There was something absolutely magical about going to the White House each day, knowing I belonged there. I wrote Congressional white papers and did advance work, but mainly I was a Confidential Assistant, which meant I was the dogsbody. I had a major takeaway from that experience – I make a damn fine pot of Earl Gray tea. In all seriousness, I was honored to be an appointee, and crushed when we lost the election and I had to turn in my badge and move along. It was a wonderful, enriching, life-changing experience, especially because in order to keep my job, I had to do graduate school at George Washington University instead of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and I met my husband the first night of classes at GW. Everything happens for a reason, right?
What would be your dream vacation?
Oooh, that’s a hard one. I have so many countries on my bucket list, so many experiences I’m anxious to have. Tibet, maybe, to sit zazen with the monks, or riding The Orient Express. Or Banff, on the train through the Rockies… My husband and I love to travel, try for an overseas trip every couple of years. We’ve done Italy and Scotland recently – and then the research made its way into my books. But for me, a real vacation involved isolation: hubby, rum drinks and soft sand, no Internet, no phone, no note-taking, no deadline, and a stack of books a mile high.
I’m sure the fans would love to meet you in person. Do you have any B&N scheduled events or signings?
I have a pretty aggressive schedule, with several local signings in the Nashville area, plus Heart of Dixie, Southern Kentucky Bookfest, Book Expo America, Thrillerfest and RWA. My events page has it all… and I hope to see y’all on the road!
JT, thank you so much for answering a few questions and we all look forward to June when we really get to dig into the new novel.
Thank you, Debbie! I’m looking forward to it!
Good Luck and we’ll see you soon.
I reviewed A Deeper Darkness earlier you can see it here