Guest Author: JN Duncan

JN DuncanToday I am excited to welcome author JN Duncan, the author of Deadworld. In just a couple of weeks, the second novel in his new series, The Vengeful Dead will hit shelves – October 4th to be precise.

Jackie Rutledge just cannot put her past to rest. Her Bureau partner is dead, but not gone. And her sanity is becoming as fragile as her career. Worst of all, a wrenching journey into Deadworld has given her unwanted new abilities – and exhuming memories she hoped to keep buried. Now a merciless force capable of possessing humans is on a killing spree, destroying the guilty and innocent alike. It isn’t long before Jackie is a prime suspect, struggling to stay two steps ahead of her savvy new partner, and her undead P.I. and paramour, Nick. But to clear her name, she’ll have to take on her greatest challenge yet: confronting an inner darkness as inescapable as the one she hunts – and capable of annihilating more than her soul.

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Deadworld to a lucky reader.
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The kind folk at Literary Escapism have given me the opportunity to post on the blog today in relation to the second book in my Deadworld series, The Vengeful Dead, which is coming out October 4th from Kensington. As my topic was open ended, other than being related to writing and/or my book, I’ve decided to comment on one of the issues that most series authors face, and one I had not given any thought to before I actually began to get reader feedback on my debut. That issue is the difference in time an author gets between writing a book and reader feedback.

Deadworld came out in April of this year (if you have yet to read it, I’m giving away five copies of both Deadworld and The Vengeful Dead on Goodreads this month). The Vengeful Dead is out on October 1st, and the third installment, The Vengeful Dead, will be out next April. This is a reasonably short time span for three books to come out, a fact I’m glad for because, I think it helps boost reader awareness of the author. However, publishing does not actually work on that kind of time schedule. I sold Deadworld in September of 2008. I finished The Vengeful Dead in September of 2009, and The Lingering Dead this past August. As you can see, things are spread out a lot more than the release dates might suggest. The biggest drawback is that reader feedback has zero influence on book two, and very little on book three.

Some authors will likely say that you can’t let readers influence what you write. Write the story you want to write and let the chips fall where they may. There is wisdom in this, but I also feel that there is a relationship between readers and authors which is a bit different when it comes to series. In a series, the relationship is an ongoing one. It grows and develops along with the characters. Sometimes expectations are met, other times not. When I began to get feedback from readers on Deadworld, one of the more common issues brought up was the fact that Nick, the hero in the story, does not get much backstory. He is an Old West Sheriff turned vampire who has been pursuing another vampire for over a century, and it just kind of sits in the background. You get a sense for it, but there is little detail, and a number of readers wanted more detail. Unfortunately, I couldn’t accommodate this because the second book was done long before. The most I could do was get a bit more of that background into the third book, but I may frustrate some readers who were hoping to hear more of Nick’s backstory in the second.

JNDuncan-Vengeful DeadThis is a frustrating element for me as an author. If the bulk of my readership desired to read more of some element presented within my story, I would love to incorporate this to the extent that I can while keeping true to the vision I had of the story. I find it fun to discuss my stories, whether the opinions are good or bad, with readers, and would love to incorporate common thoughts/threads presented from readers, but they have to understand that what authors can and do decide to do, is likely two books or more down the road from when it was brought to their attention. Ideally, authors would relate to the readers on a book for a time frame before writing the next, but publishing does not work that way, and nor should it honestly. It would spread things out far too much and give readers the worst possible option: less stories to read.

So, I do what I can. Nick’s backstory will come out more. I plan to write up and post on my site a couple of chapters dealing with his original encounter with the villain, which is ancient history by the time Deadworld begins. Not everyone will have access to that of course, but it’s something I can do meet reader expectations/desires. Authors do try to keep readers in mind when they write, even though this sometimes means trying to write exactly the opposite of what we think you’d expect or want, just to confound and mess with you. It makes things more interesting that way.

And I’ll leave you with the following. I’m sure you’ve picked up many series where you really hoped some element got picked up on and developed or a character got killed off, or you hoped a relationship would go in one direction and it did not. How do you feel about fan interaction with the author on a series of books? Would you like to know that reader feedback can have an effect on future series content?

I love questions and feedback, so if you’d like to contact me directly, please feel free to do so. There’s a feedback form on my blog at: www.jnduncan.wordpress.com or you can leave a direct email at: www.jimnduncan.gmail.com. Also, feel free to check out more info on my Deadworld series at my author site: www.jnduncan.com. Thank you for reading/participating in the blog!
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Meet JN Duncan!

J.N. Duncan began writing at the age of fourteen at the encouragement of his grandmother, who was a published mystery writer. Now a published author himself, he is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers. He lives in Ohio with his family. Learn more at jnduncan.com.

JNDuncan-DeadworldContact Info
Website: www.jnduncan.com.
Blog: www.jnduncan.wordpress.com
Social Media: Twitter

Want to purchase JN Duncan’s novels?
Deadworld at Amazon | Book Depository
The Vengeful Dead at Amazon | Book Depository
The Lingering Dead (2012)
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Contest Time!

Thank you JN Duncan for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!

Contest Time! JN Duncan is giving away a copy of Deadworld to a lucky reader. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: How do you feel about fan interaction with the author on a series of books? Would you like to know that reader feedback can have an effect on future series content? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.

Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.

The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until September 20th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have.

I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

10 Comments

  1. I think that it’s great when authors take reader feedback into account when writting a series. I’ve actually stopped reading one mystery series because the author was ignoring reader input. Lots of readers were complaining about an ongoing unresolved love triangle that had spanned many books.

  2. In this day and age readers can interact so much more with authors than I think is healthy. I’m not a writer, never will be and I deeply respect the talent and resolve it takes to write a book. And I love escaping into the world that *they* created. Not me.

    I think that I would stop reading a series if I felt that the author has lost control of his/her creation by giving into reader pressure to stop creating and to start conforming. I know that authors are subjected to waaaay more harassment and pressure by readers with the extension of social media and they can feel like the whole world is against them. But they are the creators and masters of the literary world they’ve created and they can’t give into readers to give up that control. If I wanted things to be a certain way, than I should write my own book.

    The authors have the right to create whatever they want, how they want it, when they want it. It’s not up to me as the reader/consumer to tell them how, when, where, why. Instead of harassment, as a reader, I demonstrate how I feel about the direction an author is going by *not buying* the next book or future books. That’s it. They don’t need my input into how to write the book. Just validation that I enjoyed it, and I want another.

  3. Erin, it’s a difficult line, I think, between taking in reader feedback and maintaining one’s own creative vision for a series. Some things I would be amenable to, such as what I mentioned, about people wanting to know more about the backstory of a particular character, but other things not so much. I have my own thoughts on where and how the story and characters are going, and some reader feedback would likely run against that, and even though I greatly appreciate what readers have to say and how they feel about my story, some things I just won’t change or do.

    On a side note, I noticed I said in the post that the third installment was titled The Vengeful Dead, which might be confusing, since that’s book two. The third book in my series is actually titled, The Lingering Dead, which is indeed coming out next April.

  4. I would like to give input about how I felt about the book but I don’t feel as if the author should redo the books to try to make everyone happy. I know that LKH had an issue where “fans” were telling her to layoff the sex so much and (I am seriously paraphrasing here) she said that she was writing the books the way she wanted to write them, if they didn’t like it to stop buying them. I think authors should welcome input from fans but when you go so far as to demand things for the author’s books I think you are going too far.

    I also must say that I loved Deadworld and I am looking forward to the next in the series. I really enjoyed your characters.

  5. Glad to hear you enjoyed the characters so much, Breia! Always like to hear that. And don’t forget to put in for a free copy of The Vengeful Dead over on Goodreads. That runs until the end of this month.

  6. i would like to think that authors listen to the fans.. maybe in regards to a character in an upcoming book or something similar..i wouldnt want to tell an author how to do their job, but like laurell k hamilton mentioned, i did stop reading her due to that..

  7. if the contest it’s international please count me in. And for your question:
    i would like to think that authors take reader feedback into account when writting. maybe the author finds something interesting that it helps to his history to be more interesting and captivating for the readers

  8. Thanks for this great blog! I love interacting with authors online, even if it’s just reading their blogs and website, and I think it’s great that J.N. Duncan actually listens to his readers without compromising the overall storyline. Generally, though, I trust that my authors know what they’re doing and where they’re taking the characters so I try to have faith and enjoy their books.

  9. This is a very controversial question to ask of readers and authors alike. Personally I think that although the authors may listen to input from readers that they shouldn’t really change the way they have already planned their books just to accommodate them. It could completely mess up the storyline, and no matter what you do anyways you can’t make everyone happy. The reason that authors become successful in the first place and known around the world is by writing THEIR ideas to start with, if they were to go with other people’s input, something that doesn’t come from their minds, it wouldn’t be the same. Authors should take pride in their work however, and keep it as their own and not someone else’s. As for fan interaction with authors, that’s good, I would think that it would bolster the author’s desire to write even more because they have such dedicated fans, although sometimes it can become too much.

  10. I think writer/fan interaction is great as long as the author is not pushed to change things. Adding more of a character because fans love him/her is great. Knowing the author listens to things fans as a whole have to say is also great. But, if the author changes too much because of the fans it’s no longer the author’s story/book/voice, is it? So in that case the reader needs to just find another set of books to read.

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