Wednesday 19 June 2019

A Slice of Cake With... J. I. Rogers

J. I. Rogers is a green-eyed, ginger-haired, caffeine addict who is currently working on The Korpes File Series of science fiction novels. When not acting as a conduit for the voices in her head, she’s a poster child for Gen X and the Queen of most boondoggles that lead to eye-strain and tinnitus.

What kind of books do you write?

I enjoy penning gritty, humanoid interactions in a retrograde society sprinkled liberally with advanced technology, conflict, aliens, artificial intelligence, all set on a hostile world. 

Can you describe your writing why?

Do you mean aside from good music, a Muse with a cattle prod and an addiction to coffee, and an imagination that operates 24/7? I find story fodder everywhere.

I’m happiest when I’m creating. After thirty years of working in largely non-creative jobs to pay the bills and support my family, I’m finally able to pursue my art full time. I’m a professional artist by trade, but until 2012 I’d never taken my writing seriously. Instead, I’d spun my stories into the aether while playing old-school fantasy roleplaying games like AD&D, Traveller, and Shadowrun, and… I was content to do so. It was recreation.

What prompted the change? Real life things: I moved, I didn’t have the same social circle, but I still had the need to tell stories. 

In 2012 I worked with a small game design company, and I’d talked them into letting me do some worldbuilding for them – “every world needs depth.” That rekindled the gamer spark, but I had no outlet, so I dragged out a project I’d begun back in the 80s (illustrations and a plot for an animated movie – art school, film animation, and a long story for another time) and started developing it. My only goal was to create something I’d want to read. From there, The Korpes File Series began. My goal is still to create something I’d want to read. I’m glad that others seem to enjoy it as well.

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

“What really happened down there? I can’t believe that Davis would do this to you, or deliberately hurt James. I certainly don’t believe he’d try to kill himself.”

Nash considered a myriad of believable stories he could tell her. He sighed, a sad smile touched his lips. “No. I respect you too much to lie to you, and I like you too much to burden you with the truth. Let it go, Ashley. Unali no kor-aleh kes Tulum.”

“That’s lovely. Can you tell me what it means?”

“It’s the third precept from the Kai-Dahl. Loosely translated it means ‘those that live as shadows should fear the dark behind them.’”

The Korpes File – Book One in The Korpes File Series

Tell us about your latest project

As it happens, book two in this series was released on March 31st. The Korpes Agenda picks up six months after The Korpes File concludes. 

Nash Korpes, the lead protagonist, and his affable sidekick, Davis Trent, begin their new careers working for Harlo-Fyre, the leading light in technological development in the known world… Don’t yawn; nothing is as it seems. Old enemies, aliens, an AI, conspiracy, stolen children, love, betrayal, and a devious plot to ethnically cleanse a nation has yet to unfold. 

“Working for Harlo-Fyre had been their dream, and by taking the top prize at the last Symposium, they’d achieved it. It had been five months since their contracts were signed and they left the military, but Davis wondered now if his friend had made the transition. It hadn’t taken long for Nash to abandon his spectacular apartment in favor of the couches in the staff lounge. Davis was also aware of the poisonous sentiment circulating. Nash had made a lot of enemies in Harlo-Fyre’s research and development section, including it seemed, Doctor Owen Saunders, the head of the Department. It was the same situation Nash had lived with at KMR and D. We escaped, we’re free! Why are you settin’ yourself up again?” 

The Korpes Agenda – Book Two in The Korpes File Series.

What is your favourite cake?

Do I have to pick just one? ☹ Okay, I’ll pick one that has many things in it that I like.

Vanilla-Sour Cream Coffee Cake

If the cake is baked in a tube pan, spoon large, fresh strawberries into the centre when serving.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (get the good stuff – don’t skimp)
1 ¼ cups sour cream
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup Vanilla Powdered Sugar* or powdered sugar (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl or with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Blend in vanilla and sour cream until just smooth.
3. Gradually add dry ingredients and beat well until fluffy and light coloured. There should be no lumps or dry spots.
4. Combine brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place about one-third of the batter into a well-greased pan. Sprinkling with one-third of the nut mixture. Repeat, making three layers of batter and ending with a layer of nut mixture.
5. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 55 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean and top of the cake is not shiny. Let stand in pan about 15 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely on rack right side up. Serve on a cake plate, dusted with *Vanilla Powdered Sugar, if desired. 

This cake freezes well.

*Recipe for Vanilla Powdered Sugar
Place a piece of whole or split good-quality vanilla bean into 2 cups sifted powdered sugar in an airtight container. Let stand 4 days to 1 week until scented as desired.

Thanks for the cake recipe - sounds yummy! You can connect with J. L. Rogers on Facebook and on her website

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

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.