Friday, December 14, 2012

Author Interview with Jeff Gunhus


The DMS was lucky enough to interview Jeff Gunhus, author of the middle grade novel Jack Templar Monster Hunter. Lizzy reviewed this exciting new story, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, Jeff!


What inspired you to write Jack Templar: Monster Hunter?
I'm the father of five with four boys and one girl. Even though we made books a big part of our family, my oldest son, Jack, was a reluctant reader. He was intelligent and quick, but just didn't take to reading like his younger brother (the other kids were 3 and under at the time.) So, I decided we would wake up an hour early for school and he would read out loud to me. The first week was tough, but after that, we both looked forward to the morning reading. After a Harry Potter and a Percy Jackson book, I felt his attention waning again, so I decided to create a story for him to read where he was the main character. Soon, Jack and my younger son, Will, (who wanted in on the action) were beta-reading chapters hours after I wrote them. The themes of Jack Templar were the same as conversations I have with all my kids. There is good and evil in the world, right and wrong, and the hardest and most important job we have to is be brave enough to stand up and be counted in the face of adversary. The monsters are just metaphors for all the challenges that kids (and adults!) face every day. The fight scenes are just way cooler.

How long did it take you to write Jack Templar: Monster Hunter?

It was about three months. Having your kids bang on you when you take a day or two off because they want to see what happens next is a great motivator. Rewriting and editing was another two months.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

I grew up overseas in Greece. Cyprus and Saudi Arabia where I went to British schools. My first series addictions were The Famous Five and The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton, followed by Willard Price's Adventure books and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. Then J.R.R Tolkein came along, followed by C.S. Lewis. Middle Earth and Narnia were amazing new worlds and I've been trying to get back there in some form or another in all my writing. Frank Herbert's Dune series blew me away.

Where did you come up with the characters Jack and Ren Lucre?

Jack is modeled after my son. Besides sharing the name, they have similar character traits. Smart, loyal and a great sense of humor. Also, I wanted to parallel the self-discovery that is such an integral part of the early teenage years. Jack's journey from average Joe to monster hunter at the center of a an ancient blood-feud seemed a good way to explore this. While my kids aren't finding out that everything they thought they knew about the world is wrong, I remember that it can sometimes feel that way when you're younger. The books are just an easy way to have those conversations with my kids. As for Ren Lucre, I'm always drawn to villains who appear at first glance to be one-dimensional but who surprise you in their complexity. In this first book, we catch only small allusions of Ren Lucre's backstory, but his hatred of Jack's bloodline (and all the Templars) will be revealed in books to come. While we never agree with his methods, I think we will understand the hate that consumes him and perhaps why he feels justified in his actions. The best villains make you catch yourself agreeing with their point of view before you remember the actions they are taking are unconscionable. Ren Lucre becomes that (and much more) in the books ahead.

If you could befriend a character from any of your books, who would you befriend? Why?

I like Eva a lot. I have one daughter and I wrote Eva thinking about how I hope she might turn out. Not necessarily as a one-armed monster hunter, but a strong, brave, critical thinker who, as a young woman, is willing to lead, even in a male-dominated world like that of the hunters. What I don't wish on my daughter is the burning hatred and sadness that drives Eva toward her goal of revenge for her family's death. Still, even though Eva is a complicated character with conflicting motivations, I love her actions-not-words mentality...and the fact that her actions are really fun to watch.

Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?

I'm a coffee shop guy. On a cold day, you can find me tucked away, ear buds in, typing away. I always listen to music when I write. All film scores of my favorite movies. When I really want the extra help, I'll line up tracks that match the tone of the scenes I'm writing. Many an action scene in my books have been written to the Gladiator soundtrack.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

Fortunately, right where I'm at. I love the area we're in, the easy access to so many great cities and outdoor activities and the amazing circle of friends we have. As far as a moving for a month or two, I'd love to return to Paris or Florence for an extended stay. I've been fortunate enough to stay for a while in both cities in a small, local villas that gave a fleeting sense of what it was like to be a local. Loved every minute of it. But my family would have to be with me and I think after a month we'd all vote to go home.

What monster or creature intrigues you the most?

The demons. In the world of Jack Templar, demons can possess the form of any living thing. Without giving away too much of what happens in future books, demons have a more complicated backstory than you might imagine. As the books go on, delineating between good and evil becomes harder. The demon Lord will present Jack with one his greatest challenges.

Where can we purchase your books?

Jack Templar Monster Hunter can be purchased through all online retailers in both paperback and ebook.

Amazon ☞ Barnes and Noble

Connect with this author:
Author Website  Facebook Twitter

Tour hashtag: #jacktemplar
Twitter Party: 
Friday, Dec. 21 6 pm - 8 pm EST

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28 comments:

  1. I just saw this book on another blog. It's definitely my kind of read.

    Hmm, a superpower to avoid a monster attack... Can I confuse them with my ability to recite the alphabet backwards? I'm determined to find a use for that skill. ;)

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    1. Kelly- It is a great book! I think you will love it! I love that you can recite the alphabet backwards. That could work to confuse them! ~L

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  2. I'm always up for a good adventure and I'm not a reluctant reader!

    I admire anyone who can write in a coffee shop.

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    1. Lee- This is an adventure you will enjoy! Writing in a coffee shop takes ninja like concentration skills! I agree with you- impressive. :) ~L

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  3. A busy guy for sure. I struggle with just two. I loved how this book was born and how he got his kids enthusiastic about reading. I have been reading to my two kids since they were toddlers and the love books.

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    1. Heidi- I loved hearing how this book was born, too. How cool to have someone write a book for you- his kids must have loved every minute of it! I think it is awesome that you read to your two kids all the time. :) ~L

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  4. Fantastic interview! And I love how you wrote the book to get your kids interested in reading.

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    1. Cherie- Thanks! I liked hearing why Jeff wrote the book, too! ~L

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  5. Super Skill??? I'm mlnd boggling, and the monster will become confused,like most of my friends and family.
    Happy Holidays.
    r.d1@myfairpoint.net

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    1. This Kid Reviews Books- Happy reading! :) ~L

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  7. Awww, I love that his kids motivated him to finish the book! Great interview! As far as my super skill - that would be my memorized collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh, yeah. Watch out, monsters - I gots moves. ;) Thank you for the giveaway!

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    1. Cheles- He did have awesome motivation to finish the book! How fabulous that you have Buffy's moves memorized. Yeah! Good luck in the giveaway. :) ~L

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  8. How amazing to be the star of a book - Jeff's son is one lucky boy.

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    1. Petty- Jeff's son is very lucky! :) ~L

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  9. my super power skill during a monster attacker would be that if they looked at me they'd have a hard time deciding if i am one of them or not :P

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    1. Liv- Ooohh- that IS a good one! Thanks for stopping by! ~L

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  10. GREAT author interview! Totally wanting to read this book now. Hopefully Santa (Mr. Turning the Pages) can add this to my presents this year!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

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    1. Kimberly- I hope Santa brings you this book this year! ~L

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    2. The ebook is free Dec. 20 and 21 so no excuse for not picking it up.

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    3. Thanks for sharing, Donna! What a treat! ~L

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  11. Hi Everyone--what a great group here at Fairday's! I'm pretty sure there are no monster infiltrators here. This book has been a labor of love so hearing such positive reactions to it (and people having fun with it too) is a great feeling. Thank you so much. Have a great holiday season!

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    1. Hi Jeff- Thanks so much for stopping by and talking to our readers. We know they love hearing from authors. So happy you were able to enjoy their enthusiam for Jack Templar Monster Hunter and your fascinating author interview. We have loved having you on our blog!
      ~Jess and Stephanie

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    2. Thanks again! You guys are great. I'm a new fan!

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  12. As usual, an excellent interview. How sweet that the main character is modeled after his son.

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    1. Donna- Thanks! I love that the MC is modeled after his son, too. How cool is that! ~L

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Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We love to hear your thoughts! Fairday's Blog is no longer accepting awards. We appreciate all the nominations that we have received and are honored to have been mentioned! Happy Reading!

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