Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Author Interview - Jeff Gunhus


Author Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.


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What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Anywhere all five of my kids are together and my wife and I are together watching them interact, astonished they all belong to us. If that happens on the beach in Santa Barbara, even better.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My father was in import/export so I grew up overseas in Greece, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia from age 5-12. There were no TV shows in English and we had minimal access to videotapes. Reading was the was we entered new world and had great adventures.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Discipline. It's both the hardest and the easiest thing. Easy because you control it and it's just a matter of getting your backside in the chair and putting in the time. Hard because there are a million distractions at any given second and it's always easy to rationalize why the writing will be better later. In my experience, later never happens. Writer's write. That's it. That's the secret.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? My eleven-year old son was a reluctant reader and I wasn't just what to do with that since reading had come naturally to me. I decided a fast-paced book about a monster hunter with his same name might get him excited. I was right. He loved it and now has read nearly every Rick Riordian book there is and has moved on to Tolkien and Jack London.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? Balancing the fighting scenes (and some of the darkness) with my intention that the book be accessible and appropriate for younger readers. I asked my 3rd grader to evaluate whether his friends would be scared or grossed out by the book. He said, "Are you kidding? We just read the Tell-Tale Heard by Edgar Allen Poe and it was WAY grosser." As the series continues, I intend to deal with more challenging issues. I think J.K. Rowling did a great job of that with the Harry Potter books. Not a bad model to emulate.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? There is thematic thread that will run through the series as well as a message in each book. In Jack Templar Monster Hunter, I wanted to deal with the moral obligation we have to protect others, even when we are afraid. Thematically, the series will investigate the nature of bias and compassion. The idea that we can't place people into groups and think we know everything about them. Even monsters can be moral creatures in the Jack Templar world. Jack's ability to see that may prove to be his more important trait.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? My kids show up as names throughout the book (and in book two), but their characters are much different. Things that happen to them make it into the books though. When they saw a bullying incident at school, I wrote the Dirk the school bully scene that afternoon.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Great villains are vital. And they can't be one-dimensional. I really like Ren Lucre, the main villain in Jack Templar. We only found out a little about him in this first book, but I know his whole story and why he is the way he is. It's not that I want people to root for him, but I think people will here his story in the future and realize it's more complicated than just, "he's the bad guy."

Have you started another book yet? I finished the first draft of Book Two, Jack Templar and The Monster Hunter Academy, just a few days ago. My process is to put it in a desk drawer for a week before I read it. I actually love the first rewrite so that week it tough for me. I'm very happy with how it's turning out.


What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? Read Stephen King's book, On Writing. Just do that, get your backside in the chair every day without fail, and you'll do great.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? Even if no one would ever read a word I wrote, I'd still write because I love the process so much. Having said that, it's a true joy and I am so appreciative of readers who have supported Jack Templar Monster Hunter. I have great readers and I look forward to exploring the world of Jack Templar Monster Hunter with you for many books to come.



Jack Templar: Monster Hunter

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack's fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it's great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend "T-Rex" from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he's the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he's destined to be in the family business. Second, that there's a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits...until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren't enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the "One?" Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.

Kirkus Reviews

"Gunhus brings young readers a monster-filled romp to read at their own risk. In the first few pages, Jack, the storyteller and main character, warns readers not to read about these real-world monsters that would seem to only exist in fiction. The tone is set--sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek and likable; rooting for Jack is easy...Gunhus masterfully introduces fully realized characters with whom readers can connect almost instantly. The pacing is quick but not rushed, and events seamlessly progress, complete with action, cliff-hangers and surprise reveals. "

Amazon Reviews

Watch out Percy Jackson here comes Jack Templar
Move over Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, there's a new kid in town - Jack Templar, and he will take you on a wonderful adventure of good vs evil, with friends and enemies at every turn. The twists and turns keep the reader on a roller coaster of entertainment in the way of JK Rowling and Rick Riordan. ~ Penny Brein

Fast paced adventure through and through
Written for middle school aged students, this book is action-packed from the beginning and will hold the attention of young readers. Not only that, as an adult reader, it was hard to put down, so parents will enjoy it as an easy read. ~ bluejellybean

Kids will love it!
Not only will kids love it, adults will too! I don't want to give the plot away but this is a book worth reading. This book is creatively written drawing in the reader to be a participant in the story. There is lots of action with enough blood and guts to be interesting without being gross. Girls will like it too with the strong female role models and the hint of romance. Even though this is a children's book, I couldn't put it down. I will definitely be adding this to my classroom library. I am looking forward to reading the book in this series and sharing it with my students. Awesome book! ~ pixiep


Purchase


Book Trailer




WARNING

Yeah, you read it right. I’m a monster hunter. Back before I actually became one, I would have thought that sounded totally awesome. And don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways it is. But most of the time, I’m either running for my life or hiding in the shadows, praying the monster chasing me doesn’t pick up my scent. And I’m almost always scared to death. In a few pages, I think you’ll see why.
     But there are a few things I need to warn you about before I tell you my story.
     First, this isn’t a cartoon. These are bloodthirsty creatures who will stop at nothing to kill. They are scary. Very scary. Second, the only way to stop them is to kill them first…and that gets gross and messy. Third, this is all real.
     You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I can almost see you smirking as you read this. But this isn’t a joke. Monsters are real and the story I’m about to tell you really happened. If you’d rather walk through life believing that monsters are only found in books or on the movie screen, then you should shut this book right now and go do something else.
     I give you these warnings because the story I’m about to tell you isn’t for everyone. Not everyone can handle it. The blood. The gore. The monsters.
     This life was thrust onto me. I had no choice but to take up a sword and fight. But you can still walk away and pretend this dark world doesn’t exist. Or you can walk through the door that I’m about to open and find out the truth about the world around you.
     But I warn you (and this is a big warning), if you read this book, if you learn about the monsters that roam among us and the hunters who fight them, if you decide to learn the truth, then you will become fair game for the monsters to chase.
     Make sure you understand what I’m saying.
     If you read this book, you will be part of this world and the monsters will come after you too. You will start to see things that no other humans can see. The shadows will move when you walk near them. The creatures of the night will seek you out, testing the doors and windows of your house, looking for a way in.
     And, at some point, they will find you, just like they found me, and you will be forced to defend yourself.
     So, think carefully before you turn the page, because once you do, there’s no turning back.
     Ever.
     Once a monster hunter, always a monster hunter.
     See you on the other side.
     If you’re brave enough.


Tour Schedule






Book Blast $50 Giveaway
Ends 2/15/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

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Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

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My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

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My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
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My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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