J Gunnar is one of those writers who inspire the rest of us. But, I have to say, beyond her obvious talent, lies a kind lady, always willing to lend a hand even when she possibly, doesn’t have a moment to spare. Check out her new book, it will have two parts, and is well worth the read!
evening, Saturday, 24 August 1940
the village of Patchbourne, England
Something soft and annoying whooshed past his face. Faust brushed at it, but it was already gone and he was too fragging sleepy to care. He dropped his arm to the bed.
There was no bed.
There wasn’t anything. His arm was dangling out in space. So was the rest of him. Faust snapped his eyes open. A strong wind pummeled him, tumbled him head over turkey. The ground was a long way down. He was falling and it was real, not some stupid nightmare.
Panic leapt like a predator through his veins. He twisted, fighting against gravity. An icicle of light from the distant ground stabbed at his eyes, swept past him, and several red
flashes popped in quick succession. A rumbling vibrated the air, something
sounding like an artillery round exploded nearby, and sharp chemical smoke
scoured his nostrils.
Tight cords wrapped about his body, between his legs, jerking him upright and throwing him higher, dangling him across the light-slashed night sky. The rumbling intensified. His head snapped back. Above him, a parachute canopy blazed white in the spotlight from
below. Beyond it loomed a huge dark beast, moving past in impossible slow
motion. It towered over him. The parachute danced closer, second by drawn-out
second; then it bowed, canted, and slid away, laying Faust on his back as it
hauled him aside.
He gripped the harness shroud
lines, chest and belly flinching. It was the bomber, the one he’d been riding
in. The belly hatch framed Erhard’s laughing face, lit from below by a
spotlight. With one hand, Erhard clutched the rubber coaming, cupping the other
about his mouth. He yelled something—something short—which was overwhelmed by
the racket and growing distance.
Maybe the plane was having mechanical
problems—but they and the mechanics had tuned the Heinkel’s twin engines all
afternoon. No one else was bailing out.
Yay! Not only did J Gunnar share the above excerpt, but we got to ask her a few questions!
Tell us a little about yourself.
When did you start writing?
Those first stuttering attempts date back to elementary school, and my first full-length novel was completed in sixth grade. By publishing standards it’s utter drivel, but it’s my favorite childhood memory.
Is there a message you want readers to get from your current novel?
The devil in any given situation isn’t always the person or group you think it is.
Deal with the Devil is about a German Army officer during World War II, Major Faust, who’s in a no-win situation. He’s a prisoner of the English in August 1940, the Battle of Britain. British Military Intelligence believe he’s a spy and they’re determined to break him.
Faust is equally determined to escape, but every time he gets away, a woman is raped and murdered, meaning he’s the hot suspect. If he remains in English custody, he’s likely to be executed. If he tries to escape, he’s risking someone else’s life, and if he succeeds in returning to Germany, he faces an investigation from the Gestapo and also possibly execution. And it doesn’t help that he fell in love with his interrogator’s granddaughter at first sight.
His only option is to catch the murderer himself. In the process, he learns who the real devil is, and that his only road to escape isn’t the one he thought it was.
How much of your book is realistic?
A lot of it. I worked hard on the World War II European history, the rationing, the lifestyle, the technology, the plan for the German invasion that never happened and the intended British Army defense. Amazon and eBay searches turned up old guidebooks with maps of Oxford, England, histories of the various Oxford University colleges, discussions of interrogation techniques and battle plans and even how to fly a Spitfire. Deal with the Devil is as real as I could make it.
Are there any new authors you are excited about?
Of course! There’s this amazing novel coming out soon from Astraea Press entitled The Keepers, written by a new author named Monique O’Connor James . . . oh, imagine that! It’s YOU! (BLUSH)
How long did it take you to write this book?
From first idea to acceptance letter was six years, with four of those devoted to actual writing. The idea was a year in incubation, two years in a partial rough draft, six months in panic, another eighteen months in completion, six months in stasis, and six more months in polishing and submitting. I discuss this in a little more depth on the Astraea Press blog, for anyone interested.
What is your current WIP about?
One of my favorite characters from Deal is Dr. Harris, the acerbic, sarcastic, lonely country doctor who stitches Faust’s injuries over and over again. (Any resemblance to Bones McCoy from Star Trek is of course purely coincidental.) Harris started bugging me for his own book, keeping me awake at nights with the tale of how the woman he loved married another man. I wrote that one for Matrimonial Mayhem, the anthology of wedding stories being released by Astraea Press to benefit the areas in Alabama that were ravaged by the tornadoes. I assumed that would satisfy him.
But no, Harris continues to bug me. So my current project is Landing Flight, set in 1941 and telling the tale of two lonely people who learn to fly, and land, together.
What was your reaction when you were first contracted?
It’s still not real to me. I’m still floating along on this little author-shaped cloud, waiting for reality to kick in, and it’s not happening. A friend of mine, the redoubtable Chris Stout, commented on Facebook that he’s about to receive his third royalty check and it’s still not real to him, either, so I’m just gonna keep floating for a while.
If you could have dinner with any of your characters, who would it be and why?
They’re all interesting to me. But for dinner, I’d love to sit down with Cedric Stoner, the British Army interrogator who’s trying to break Faust. Stoner is a retired Oxford University don whose years at Magdalen College coincided with the Inklings, the writing group that included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and he also served with the British Army in the First World War.
I just know Stoner would have some amazing and fascinating tales to tell. Besides, he’s always a gentleman and he enjoys spending time and conversing with women, so even if he won’t tell stories, it would be a fun evening.
Hope you enjoyed our talk with J. Gunnar, you can reach her at her links below. Thanks for stopping by!!!
Astraea Press buy link
Monique O’Connor James