Russell Blake is by now a familiar name to many of our readers, but in the event you’re unfamiliar with him, let’s just say that if there’s a title for the hardest working indie author alive, he would be a candidate. With a staggering eighteen novels released since his debut effort, Fatal Exchange, in June, 2011, his output is unmatched, as is his diversity. He just introduced his latest international action/adventure series, JET, launching the first and second books, JET and JET II – Betrayal, Oct. 5. Please join me in welcoming him to the blog to talk about this unusual series.
Q: Tell us a little about JET, your latest.
Russell: JET is the story of a twenty-eight year old ex-Mossad operative who faked her own death to get out of the game, but whose past has come back to haunt her. It’s a wild, action-packed ride, unlike anything else I’ve written, featuring an incredible female protagonist who is, plainly speaking, and ass-kicker. Imagine a female Jack Bauer crossed with James Bond, appearing in Kill Bill, and you’ve sort of got the picture.
Q: So what’s the elevator pitch?
RB: Kill Bill meets Bourne. An over-the-top, larger-than-life female hero who is taking names and kicking butt.
Q: And two books at the same time? Are these short novellas? Or real, full-length novels?
RB: Full-length novels. I actually wrote them at around 100K words, and then edited them down some. But these aren’t small books masquerading as novels. They’re full meals, not snacks.
Q: Tell us about the heroine.
RB: She was at one time the world’s deadliest operative, working for the Mossad in an elite special operations squad. But things changed for her, and she had to get out. She has a difficult past, a turbulent childhood and adolescence, and she’s conflicted and angry at a number of levels – entirely justifiably, no doubt. She left the team and tried to create a normal life for herself, but that’s not the kind of life you can just walk away from, and her enemies have tracked her down, intent on retribution, which drags her back into an existence she’d hoped to bury forever.
Q: You said to me that this is non-stop action. How is that any different than your other novels?
RB: By the third page you should be on the edge of your seat, gasping, and it only accelerates from there. This is a new style of book for me – one where I’m trying to defy all preconceptions about what an action thriller can be, in terms of pacing as well as use of language. My editor actually described it as a polar opposite – the fastest-paced action story he’d ever seen crossed with a sensibility that is almost literary fiction. Whatever it is, I liked the way it worked. Early reviews are glowing, and I am optimistic that readers will respond favorably.
Q: Two full-length novels at once? Are you insane? Why?
RB: I wanted to give readers more of JET right up front, and not make them wait three to six months for the second installment. So I held off on releasing JET until JET II – Betrayal was in the can, because when I find a character, as a reader, I enjoy, I immediately want to read more once I finish the first book, and I HATE that it takes so long to get to it. So this is a kind of experiment.
Q: How is JET different than your other female protagonist novels – Fatal Exchange and Silver Justice?
RB: I think Tess, from Fatal Exchange, is more of your every-woman, with no special training or skills. Silver Cassidy, from Silver Justice, is also more reality-based. She’s three dimensional, and you can sort of easily picture her sitting next to you on the bus or at a coffee shop. Jet is a completely different creature. I wanted a character that was sort of bullet-proof and invisible. I wanted a hero where you could kind of suspend disbelief and root for her, and be, “Hell yeah, she can, because she’s JET!!!” It’s escapism, but of a very odd and I hope compelling sort.
Q: I’m almost afraid to ask. Any plans for JET III?
RB: Absolutely. Figure on an early November launch. And if all goes well, a fourth book in the series by Christmas.
Q: That’s an amazing writing output. What’s your secret?
RB: When I get into the groove, I’m like a man possessed, and I grind away at it every day, all day, for 12 to 15 hours. Put in those kinds of hours and you can have very high sustained output. That’s my secret. A lot of writing hours and a point to prove.
Thanks for coming by, Russell. Never a dull moment chatting with you. I love the covers, and I have a feeling that readers will love the books.
Russell Blake is the author of Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, the Zero Sum trilogy, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, the Assassin series (Night of the Assassin, King of Swords, Return of the Assassin, Revenge of the Assassin), The Voynich Cypher, Silver Justice, JET, JET II – Betrayal, as well as the non-fiction tomes An Angel With Fur and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time. His thoughts, such as they are, can be found at his blog, http://RussellBlake.com