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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interview and Review - Jumper by Jeff LaFerney

Welcome to my blog Jeff.  Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself and your book Jumper.

Q. Tell us about your latest worktitle, genre, etc. and why you wrote it?

A.  My latest work is Jumper, which is a time-travel action/adventure. It’s not really science fiction, but the main character can travel in time and teleport. Three angels who are manipulating events in the Middle East assign my jumper the task of protecting a girl who possesses the Staff of Moses—a staff that the King of Jordan will do anything to possess. The book has action, adventure, romance, humor, angel vs. demon battles, mystery, and an interesting portrayal of time travel and time in general. I wrote it because I wanted to appeal to different people other than just the mystery/suspense readers that have read my other three books.

Q.   What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?
A.   I like stories that move quickly, have interesting dialogue and characters, and aren’t predictable. I think Jumper has all those elements, so it’s fun to read.

Q.  What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
A.   I do my initial research and I figure out the main conflict and details about the main characters, but I kind of let the story take me where it leads me while I’m writing. I revise as I write. I keep a timeline and character descriptions handy, and I keep track of vital information in each scene to help my find things more easily as I make changes. Unlike lots of writers, though, I read and reread and make changes, corrections, and improvements as I go along. When I’m done, my story is generally in good shape. Then I revise and edit like crazy, including seeking the help of lots of awesome beta readers.

Q.   What kind of research was involved in writing your book?
A.    I had to learn about time travel, which included the theory of relativity. I wanted my time travel to follow scientific rules, which was ridiculous because I wrote fiction and there is no such thing as time travel, but I still learned as much as I could. I also had to learn a lot about the Staff of Moses and several Middle Eastern governments. Along the way, I researched a lot of geographical locations and learned about grizzly bears (a character in the book), cage fighting, angels and demons, news reporting, weapons, and much more.

Q.   How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
A.   Oh, lots. I time travel, teleport, perform miracles, communicate with angels, and play with grizzly bears among other things. Actually, the characters’ sarcastic humor is exactly how I want to talk, but I’m too nice to do it.

Q.   How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
A.   I don’t often have balance. When I’m writing, I’m spending too much time on it, and when I’m marketing, I’m spending too much time on that too. I have a full-time job, but there are a lot of things that I used to do (coaching, playing sports, driving my kids around, attending my kids’ games) that I don’t have to do anymore, so actually my writing career is just replacing other things I used to do.

Q.   Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
A.   I like how Harlan Coben always has twists that I don’t seem to figure out. I like Robert B. Parker’s characterization and dialogue. I like James Patterson’s pace and action. I love how John Irving weaves a story together. Lately, I’m in awe of Eliott McKay’s writing. She is a fairly unknown indie author, but she is gifted.

Q.   Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
A.   I coached for years, and though I was very successful, I didn’t have much interest in being a varsity coach. Well, as my son entered his senior year of high school, he wanted to change schools. I allowed him to do it, but the varsity coach didn’t take the transfer well, and I was fired. On top of that, I was passed by for many other coaching vacancies, including a couple of varsity jobs I’d finally decided to pursue. The very last time I was rejected, I started writing. I no longer coach, yet I’ve found something I enjoy just as much.

Q.  What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
A.  I have a mystery series that I’d like to continue. I already have the beginning written for the next book, but I haven’t done the research to finish it. It’ll happen in the future. My next book will be the second time-travel story. That one I’m much closer to writing. I have a navy-seal friend who wants to work with me on a story too. Also, I have a character who is a “midget” attorney who I find to be a fascinating person. I’m thinking of doing a story about him in the first person.

Q.  Could you share some of your marketing strategies?  Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?
A.  I am very gracious, and I thank everyone who helps me. I couldn’t sell books without other people, and I make sure they know how much I appreciate them. I don’t know how much that helps me sell books, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. One thing I do that most indie authors don’t do enough of is I go out into public and sell copies of my books. There are many, many different ways to do it, and I’m open to all of them. I’m doing all right selling books on-line and in stores, but I sell many more books personally.

Q.  What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
A.  Learn rules of grammar and punctuation and use sources to also help. This is the best on-line source I’ve found:

Revise, revise, revise; edit, edit, edit; revise and edit some more.

Be patient once your book is written. It doesn’t have to be published immediately. Publish something you are proud of. Ask people for help. Be wise with the money you invest, and if you don’t have a lot, learn how to do things for yourself.

Again, thanks Jeff for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you and your work. Good luck with your current and future publications.

For more information: 

About the book
After spending three years in prison and others completely alone, twenty-four-year-old Cole Flint discovers an amazing ability—he can time-travel and teleport. He’s a jumper. So what should the motorcycle-riding, cage-fighting tough guy do? He should protect an innocent eighteen-year-old girl who happens to be in possession of the Staff of Moses. Following the direction of a trio of angels who are determined to shake things up in the Middle East, Cole pairs up with Hannah Carpenter and her pet grizzly while he also tries to change his past and learn the mystery of his birth. Curiously, the King of Jordan knows all about Hannah, and he’s determined to gain possession of the staff. He’ll do anything to possess its power, but is it possible that he’s no more than a pawn, manipulated in time along with Cole and Hannah? Jumper is a mysterious roller coaster of action and a time-traveling adventure that will keep readers guessing right to the very last page.

About the author

Jeff LaFerney has been an English teacher for more than twenty-five years. He and Jennifer, his wife of twenty-six years, live in Davison, Michigan. Torey and Teryn are their two children. Loving the Rain, Skeleton Key, and Bulletproof are his three stand-alone suspense and mystery novels in the Clay and Tanner Thomas series. Jumper is the first book in his time-travelers series. Jeff also professionally edits books. He loves competing at sports, connecting to good books, and creating words that entertain others.


Jeff LaFerney has produced yet another exciting book. 'The Jumper' is a time travel adventure on a very different level than we would expect.  Time travel is not in the realm of machines but on a spiritual level.  A mission is assigned to Cole Flint by angles who exist on a different plane to humans.  Flint's family life was not good, his mother was affectionate but his father was not the greatest.  After his mother died when he was a teen he was always picked on and defending himself ended up on the wrong side of the law.   As a result Cole spent three years in jail. When he gets out of prison he learns that he has an amazing ability, he can teleport, 'jump' in time.  Flint is directed by a trio of angels in a fight against 'good over evil'.  He is charged with protecting Hannah Carpenter who gains possession of the Staff of Moses.  Hannah, Cole, a grizzly bear, a motorcycle, global conflict, relationships, drama and mystery add up to a whole lot of suspense throughout the book.
Time travel has been talked about, written about, and theorized about by many.  Jeff LaFerney has obviously researched the subject and composed his own twist on it.  Jeff's view of time travel is a 'slinky' that can stretch in and out of time and place.  His theory allows events in the past to be changed that alters the present in subtle ways.  These changes could be in the realm of reality.  The author has created likable and interesting characters.   The characters are cleverly developed, they appear normal in an everyday way, yet possess special powers.  Hannah is portrayed as an innocent teenager with a rebellious side to her a part the normal ' all American' family.  But as she becomes aware of her powers, she develops a more mature and responsible personality.  Whereas, Cole is depicted as the ‘underdog’ and 'bad guy' at the start of the story, he becomes the 'hero' and lovable character.  LaFerney cleverly adds small details to help the reader keep track of the events and characters during their time jumps.  The book is full of action, suspense, mystery, and even romance.
Fantasy novels are not my usual choice for reading. The premise of time travel seems too farfetched, yet there is that fascination of 'what if...'.  As I began to read 'Jumper', I thought perhaps I would just scan the story and do a quick 'like or 'dislike' review.  But as I read the first few pages, I was drawn into the plot and just kept turning those pages.  Special Forces, Guardians of political, military, and economic issues got my attention.  Jeff's knowledge and research of 'Time Travel' was evident from the start of the book. I even found myself ‘believing’ it could happen. LaFerney's ability to develop the characters and their relationships, particularly Cole and Hannah, helped me to overcome my resistance to the 'non- human' ones.  Hannah's 'pet' was a little too much for me but then the story is fantasy and it had its uses.  Overall, I found the book enjoyable and would recommend it as a page turning, light read.  I will definitely look into other books written by Jeff LaFerney.

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