Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Release A Deeper Darkness and Q&A w/JT Ellison

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.

 My Review of A Deeper Darkness

A Deeper Darkness
JT Ellison
384 pages Pub Date April 17,  2012

Dr. Samantha Owens has lived the last two years of her life in a fog of tragedy, only surviving by focusing on her work as the Chief Medical Examiner for Nashville, but not really living since the waters of a cataclysmic flood stole her entire family from her. Sam gets a call from the mother of a former love Eddie Donovan, a love that is now also lost to tragedy but his mother is not convinced of the circumstances of his death and calls Sam to perform a second autopsy to be sure. Needing an excuse to escape from her self imposed prison for awhile Sam answers the call to help even though she hasn’t heard from Eddie since they broke up after his decision to join the service. When she arrives in DC she’s not welcomed by everyone, Eddie’s wife isn’t at all happy to be hosting a former girlfriend and the detective on his case sees her as a distraction at best and a hindrance at worst. This does not deter Sam as she goes about her business letting the dead tell their secrets and this death is no different it also has secrets to tell, secrets that are pointing in the direction of murder especially as further evidence comes to light and another murder is committed that has ties to Eddie and his time as an Army Ranger serving in Afghanistan. The more Sam digs the more questions arise and with the help of detective Darren Fletcher who’s come to welcome her help they start putting pieces together, but the answers are still just out of reach and the terrain is getting very hazardous as the body count is piling up. But being here a part of something bigger than her, Sam realizes that a partial healing is taking place and is realizing that the human heart is much more than mere valves and blood flow and much more resilient than she first thought. The question is will she survive this new threat long enough to find out what else her heart is telling her or will she become just another victim of a different kind of flood.
JT Ellison has once again gone above and beyond what I expect and done it beautifully. She’s taken fact and fiction and together she’s woven an intricate patterned drama filled mystery. She uses the very real Tennessee flood of 2010, some call it the thousand year flood where very real lives were lost and some of those exactly as was depicted here. She also brings light to life after combat for our homebound men and the real healing they must also go through. Her storyline is imaginative, it’s illusive, it’s brilliantly filled with twists and turns and kept me from closing the pages until I either found out what happened or fell asleep trying to. Her narrative is that of the profession shown, the cop-speak and doc-speak fluently mixed with the everyday dialogue of everyday people. Her characters are all so well defined that I knew them intimately by the end of the novel, some I came to care for and some I hoped to stand under a large falling tree. Is this a mystery, very definitely but it’s so much more, it’s a love story, past present and future, it’s a drama with an edge and it’s a story about one woman’s weakness, her strength and her will to live on.
If you’re lucky enough to have read JT’s Taylor Jackson series then you already know Sam, if this is your first foray into the vivid mind of Ms. Ellison you will learn all you need to know and yet at the end you might be itching to find out what else this talented author has written while you’ll also get to know Sam a little better as well.
JT it’s as always my immense pleasure to be an early reader for you and I look forward not only to your next story but the fact that you’ll be sharing yourself with my B& book club later on in the year.
Pre-order the novel here visit JT's website here

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