Our special guest here at The Novel Approach today is none other than Dreamspinner Press author Jacob Z. Flores, who has been hopping around the internet recently to promote his newest novel, The Gifted One. Not only has Jacob agreed to answer a few questions about the book, but he’s also giving one lucky reader the chance to win his/her choice of either an eCopy or a signed print copy of the book. Read on and see how, at the end! :-D
Welcome back, Jacob! Bruce and I couldn’t be happier to have you here visiting today. But let’s talk about you, okay? Will you give readers a brief synopsis of The Gifted One?
First of all, thanks for having me back, Lisa. We had fun the last time, didn’t we? (**YEP!**) Tossing back drinks and flirting with hot guys. Good times. I say, we do that again after the interview. You up for it? (**YEP!!**) I know I am. Haha! :-D
And I’d be happy to give you a synopsis, although I can’t guarantee I’ll be brief. I like to take my time for most things I enjoy doing. The Gifted One is a paranormal romance about a man named Matt who falls in love with his guardian angel, Gabriel. Matt and Gabriel battle demons that want to kill Matt and the angels who want to keep Matt and Gabriel apart. There are some very tender moments between Matt and Gabriel, but there are also some tense, scary moments as well. What better way to get them in each other’s arms, right? Well, there are other ways, but the danger brings them together. Gabriel’s goal is to protect Matt, and in protecting his charge, the two fall in love. I think readers will be pleased to read a love story about such devotion. Plus, there’s some pretty hot scenes that will make reader glad they came.
Q. Angels and Demons are irrevocably intertwined and their mythology, the conflict of the pure and the corrupted, has long held a fascination for people, regardless of religious views. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
A. I totally based the story on me since I’m an angel/demon hybrid. My smile may seem innocent and pure, but the intentions behind it are usually far from wholesome. :-)
In all seriousness though, the idea actually came from a dream I had. No, not a sex dream, Lisa. Although I do have some good ones. This was actually a nightmare. I was in this dark room, and all I could see was a door. Something on the other side was trying to get in. I was trying to keep it out, and I was failing miserably. The door then caught fire and disappeared but before whatever was on the other side could reach me, this bright light turned on behind me. When I turned around to see who brought the light, I woke up. ::(Dear readers, please note that Jacob has never once caught me thinking about his sex dreams. Ha!)::
Naturally, I jotted that sucker down in my dream book. I asked myself questions like: where was I? What was on the other side of the door? Who brought the light?
My answers turned into The Gifted One.
Q. There are several variations of the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son legend, depending upon the country. Did you use any particular bit of folklore as a foundation for your version, or is yours entirely original?
A. Oh my God, there are tons of variations! I didn’t realize how many until I started researching. I felt like I was at a bar in my single days with how many seventh sons I went through! Haha! But to answer your question, despite the research, I went with what I already know—that seventh sons typically have healing hands and are considered blessed, or cursed, depending on how they live their lives. I wanted Matt to represent the best of the best, and I created him with that in mind. He’s been through a whole heck of a lot in his life, and I wanted to portray him as an individual who wouldn’t let his tragedies turn him down a dark road, no matter how hard the demons might try.
Q. Let’s talk about that gorgeous cover for a moment! It must be so difficult to be forced to look at pictures of gorgeous men all the time. :-D Did you have a lot of input in its design?
A. Lisa, words can’t explain how difficult it is. I’ve looked at so many pictures of hot men that I’m sure I’ve developed carpal tunnel. But, hey, I’m willing to suffer for my craft, so bring it on! Luckily, Reese Dante, who did my cover for Dreamspinner, found the perfect image to capture what I was looking for. I wanted the reader to see the two characters in a loving, protective embrace, and I wanted it to be super hot! Reese exceeded all my expectations. I was blown away by what she did. ::I agree, Jacob! It’s really stunning.::
Q. Do you do a lot of plotting and mapping when you get an idea for a book, or are you more of a pantser?
A. I’m pretty anal when it comes to my writing. Well, I guess I’m pretty anal about most things, but I do try to plot out my books. I like to see where the story is going to go, so I create a tentative outline. That way if things change, I can make adjustments to the outline as I go. The story doesn’t always work that way though. Sometimes, the characters have a life of their own, and they tell me where they want to go. When that happens, I go with the flow. I’m easy like that.
Q. What’s the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
A. Writer’s block! I hate when I become creatively constipated. It makes me a bit grumpy. When it strikes, I usually start reading, which tends to get my creative juices flowing. Then, I’m happy Jacob again. I’m the most content when I’m writing so no matter if it’s writing, editing, or revising, I’m typically pretty darn pleased. I just wish I could write even more than I do now, but that darn day job gets in the way. But since my family has grown accustomed to a roof and food, I’ve got to keep plugging away at both.
Q. This is a random question, but one that Rhys Ford made me ask recently (Yes, she challenged by big-girl-pantsiness. I accepted the challenge for the win. Go me!), so I’m going to ask you too. :-D If you were going to come up with the most romantic place in the world to have sex in public, where would it be?
A. Hmmm. Do you want a hypothetical answer or a true story? Haha! Let’s go with hypothetical. That would probably be safer. I think it would be at the Tabacon Spa in Costa Rica. They have a beautiful outdoor spa with luxurious hot springs and a volcano named Arenal rumbling in the background. On a starlit night, you can see the red glare of the lava against the night sky. It’s really quite beautiful. Sigh. I miss Costa Rica. We need to go back.
Q. What makes you laugh?
A. Silly things get me. I like oddball shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken. I know. I have a weird sense of humor, but I like comedy that is a little weird like me. But being with my family, friends, and loved ones can really get me going too. It doesn’t even have to be something that anyone else finds too terribly funny, but being around the people I truly care for makes me happy. When I’m happy, I laugh. I can’t help it. Maybe that’s one reason I’m always smiling.
Q. I know a lot of authors that write to music, have playlists that fit their plots, do you ever have certain songs in mind when sitting down to write a book?
A. I actually can’t write with music playing because then I’ll start singing. I love music so much that if a song’s on, I start belting it out like I’m auditioning for X-Factor or something. My family finds it terribly annoying. Probably because I sound so much like an angel while I sing. Haha!
Songs do inspire me though. The whole time I wrote The Gifted One the song “Send Me an Angel” by Real Life played through my head. I LOVE that song. Of course, now that I’ve talked about it, I can’t stop singing it. Sing it with me, Lisa! ::OMG! 80s flashback! Let’s all sing along!::
Q. What projects do you have lined up next?
A. A lot actually. Wilde City will be publishing Moral Authority a book I self-published in 2011. It’s gay fiction not gay romance. Think Orwell’s 1984. It’s a dystopian novel and takes place in America of 2050, where homosexuality is a sin and lifestyle legislation rules the land. It’s a darker book, but it’s one that I wrote when I was worried about the future of our country. The book is intended to be the first book of a series and will be coming out in May.
I also have the first book of my Provincetown Series slated for release in August/September of this year from Dreamspinner. The book is titled When Love Takes Over and like the title suggests, love takes two characters who don’t want to fall in love and brings them together. Zach, who is a struggling author suffering from a painful breakup, heads to Provincetown to escape the pain.
He’s a bit of a goof and doesn’t see himself for what he is, which is a pretty good guy, but he heads to the Cape to find himself and well, have a good time. What he finds is Van, a porn star, who loves doing porn. He loves it so much that he’s never happier than when he’s on all four with the camera rolling. Van has no time for love, but love has time for him. When Zach and Van meet, they’re destined to be together. They just have to figure that out for themselves.
Q. Would you care to share an excerpt from The Gifted One with us?
A. I’d love to! The scene I’m sharing is the first time Matt and Gabriel meet. Well, at least, the first time Matt can remember. ;)
The minute his head hit the street, Matt’s breath left his body and stars suddenly rocketed into his field of vision. The world spun around and made him dizzy.
Rain continued to fall around him, splashing his face and getting in his mouth and nose. Each splatter of rain felt more like a slap across the face. Never before had rainfall hurt so much. It reminded him of what he sometimes did to unresponsive patients at the hospital. Gentle smacks to rouse the patient to consciousness.
The sudden sound of a car peeling toward him grabbed his attention. Even though it hurt to move, he turned his head to the left and watched as a black truck barreled down the road toward him.
He needed to get to his feet and get out of the way, but when Matt sat up, the world spun around even faster and he almost lost consciousness. He had a concussion and that meant he was going nowhere without someone to help him up.
Now only a few feet away, the truck continued toward him. Matt knew this was it. His number was up, and it was time for him to meet his maker. He just hoped his death wouldn’t break his grandmother’s heart. She had suffered enough loss in her life already.
Matt braced himself for the impact, but instead of metal slamming into him and tires crushing his bones, a blur of movement darted toward him through the rain. Someone he couldn’t see through his hazy vision lifted him off the pavement, before sidestepping the oncoming vehicle.
A flash of something bright flew from the stranger’s hands and hit the rear tires of the truck. In response, the vehicle skidded and lost control. It spun to the left before lurching forward and careening into the intersection, where an eighteen-wheeler T-boned the truck. The resulting impact caused the truck to split in half with a deafening crunch of metal.
“Good God!” Matt exclaimed as his vision cleared enough to see drivers exiting their cars in an attempt to rescue the man in the truck. It wasn’t until his feet once again touched the ground that he realized he had still been safely cradled in his savior’s arms.
Matt looked up at the man who saved him. When he saw him for the first time, his breath left him for the second time that day.
The man was stunning. His eyes looked like chipped fragments from the heavens. The radiant blue filled Matt full of awe and made him want to soar like a bird on the uplifting currents emanating from the man’s stare. Rivulets of rain fell from his jet-black, short-cropped hair, which matched the stubble that spread across his face. It made him look brooding, serious, and intimidating.
Matt, however, wasn’t fooled. Hidden behind the strong, chiseled face, that most would find unapproachable, he sensed only kindness and compassion. A rough exterior existed, no doubt. His chest was expansive, framed by massive shoulders and muscular arms. Packaged inside a black leather jacket and dark blue denim, he looked tougher than diamond, but Matt instinctively knew he had nothing to fear from this man.
He had risked his life to save him, and Matt knew he would do it again, if necessary.
“How’s your head?” the man asked. His voice sounded like a symphony.
“It hurts,” he replied. Although he forgot the pain for a few moments, the throbbing returned with a vengeance. “Good thing I’m a nurse. I know what to do.”
“I have no doubt.” The man reached up and placed his sizeable hands on each side of Matt’s head. After a few moments, the pain ebbed to a dull ache before disappearing all together.
“The pain’s gone. What did you do?”
“I did nothing,” his savior said before turning to leave as the heavens abruptly shut off the rainstorm.
“Wait a minute. Come back here.”
“Excuse me, sir, but are you okay?”
Matt turned to face a police officer. “I’m fine,” he told the officer. “But I have to go.”
“I’m afraid I can’t allow that. You need to answer some questions. And see a paramedic.” The officer glanced back across the street, where the man’s partner dealt with the accident.
“Listen, Officer Belton,” he said, reading the name on his tag. “I have to go find the man who saved me and thank him.”
Officer Belton’s eyes narrowed in concern. “The man who saved you?”
Matt nodded in reply and turned around only to find his savior had disappeared as suddenly as the rain.
“There wasn’t anyone else here, sir. I was in my patrol car across the street. I saw you fall down and the truck headed toward you. I tried to make it here as fast as I could, but you jumped out of the way at the last second. There was nobody else.”
The serious look on Officer Belton’s face told Matt that the policeman believed he was telling the truth. The problem was that Matt knew it wasn’t.
How was it possible for him to be saved by a man no one else could see?
Q. Where can we find you on the internet?
You can find me at my blog at http://jacobzflores.com or become by visiting http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2, http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores, or http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5142501.Jacob_Z_Flores. I’m all over the place, so I love meeting new people. I hope everyone stops on by one of my social media outlets. I promise if you do, you’ll be glad you came.
Thanks very much for being here with us today, Jacob! As always, it was fun! :-)
And now here’s the contest information: Jacob will be giving away a copy of The Gifted One to one lucky fan! If you’re selected to win, you can choose to receive either an eCopy or a signed Print copy of the book!
All you have to do to win is leave a comment here (with email address) by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, April 29, 2013. The winner will be selected via Random.org and notified on Tuesday, April, 30th!