Wednesday 27 March 2019

A Slice of Cake With... Jon Byrne

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with indie author Jon Byrne.

Jon is a native West Virginian, born and raised around Charleston. He spent seven years in Morgantown at West Virginia University, where he got degrees in History and Law. He lives near Charleston, along with his wife, K, and some critters.

Jon has always been a writer, in one form or another but didn’t start writing fiction with any kind of seriousness until about ten years ago.  He toyed around with a few short stories but didn’t really get into things until he discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). One of his projects involves zombies in the West Virginia hills, while another is the start of a trilogy set on a different world with very different looking people on it.

What kind of books do you write?

I write books about people (some of whom aren’t even human) who live in worlds that don’t really exist, but who readers can still connect to, nonetheless. I like to write about people who are put in situations that are hard to come to terms with, either because of the sheer oddity of them or because of what they ask of those people. I get to fill out those characters by building a world for them to walk around in.

Can you describe your writing why?

I’ve always liked playing with words. In my day job as a lawyer I’ve been writing for decades, but there’s obviously a lot of restrictions with that. I kept having ideas, things that I thought might make a good story, so I decided to try and tell a few. Once I got rolling I wasn’t able to stop. It’s so much fun to pull worlds from thin air and drop characters in the middle of them to see what happen. Things rarely go precisely as planned, so there’s an aspect to thinking on your feet that I like. When a reader likes what I’m doing, connects with the words I’ve churned out, that’s icing on the cake (so to speak).

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

I can’t say which one I enjoyed writing the most, but I’ll share a portion of Gods of the Empire that, upon rereading it when editing, I really liked. Our heroes are escaping from a group of religious fundamentalists:

Atz was crouched over the engine, but it didn’t want to fire. She cursed in some language Aton didn’t recognize.
“What’s wrong?” Aton asked as his feet hit the deck.
“She’s being stubborn,” Atz said.
“This is really bad timing.” Aton could hear loud, angry voices down the docks. “Is there some other way to get moving?”
“Untie the lines and push off with those.” Atz nodded toward a pair of long poles laying on the deck.
“So you do knots?” Aton asked Gelso. He was still holding the Scepter.
“We’ll see.” He secured the Scepter under a heavy tarp and went to the rope tethering Pathfinder to the dock.
Aton was getting out one of the poles when someone yelled, “give us back the Scepter!”
The head Militant was running toward the boat, looking like he might jump on. Aton swung the pole up and jammed it into the Militant’s gut, knocking him to the ground with a grunt.
There were two more behind him and Aton could hear the screaming voices of others. He swung the pole from side to side in a wide arc, slowing their approach.
“Are we untied?” he yelled to Gelso.
“Just a second,” Gelso said.
Behind him, Aton heard the motor rumble to life, sending shivers all through the deck. Another Militant appeared before him and, at the sound of the motor coming to life, he stepped onto the boat’s edge.
“We’re free!” Gelso called out.
Before the Militant could get his balance, Aton brought the pole around and slammed it into his shoulder. He wobbled on one foot for a moment before splashing into the freezing water. Another was about to try his luck when there was an enormous boom behind Aton. He turned.
Atz was standing at the railing of the pilot house, antique blunderbuss in her hands. A wisp of smoke swirled up from the barrel. “That’ll be enough, you repressed morons.”
Even though it would take minutes to reload, the sound so unsettled the rest of the Militants that they backed up on the docks.
“That’s better,” Atz said. “Wait five minutes then fish your buddy out of the drink. He’ll make it that long.” She disappeared into the pilot house, the motor revved, and the boat lurched away from the dock.
In five minutes, the dock and the Militants on it had disappeared into the night. Aton, finally, was able to breathe.

Tell us about your latest project

My latest release is a box set containing all three volumes of The Water Road trilogy – The Water Road, The Endless Hills, and The Bay of Sins. It’s a story about a world with a terrible secret. Once revealed, it unleashes a wave of violence that spirals out of control. The woman who started it all has to figure out how to contain it and not let her calls for justice turn into howls of revenge. I’ve been very pleased with the response – readers seem to like having the entire story in one convenient package.

Right now I’m working on the first book of a new trilogy. Gods of the Empire is set in a world with a single superpower that’s starting to come apart. One main character, Aton, is sent around the world by his mysterious employer in search of ancient artifacts. The other main character, Belwyn, widow of the heir apparent to the Empire who was killed in a bombing, is starting to ask uncomfortable questions. Big changes are afoot.

What is your favourite cake?

I’m a simple man - chocolate cake, chocolate icing. Having said that, the bûche de Noël my wife made for Christmas was really tasty - white cake, peanut butter filling, chocolate frosting & bark. Yum!

That sounds amazing, Jon! You can keep up to date with Jon's writing at his website, follow him on Facebook and tweet with him on Twitter.

Join me next week when I'll be having a slice of cake with Ellwyn Autumn. 

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. 

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