Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Surefire Way Blog Tour - J.T. Block

Today I'd like to welcome author J.T. Block as she stops by my blog to promote her new release, A Sure Fire Way. There were technical difficulties with being able to get this post up during the tour dates, but up it goes nevertheless! Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out A Surefire Way.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. I started out with “whodunit” plays for my friends and I to act out in my grandmother’s basement. Then I wrote short stories for my classmates where they were the main characters. In college, I majored in graphic design  (a lot of jobs in that field) but minored in writing to continue learning the craft. For fun, I wrote short stories in my spare time until twelve years ago a friend suggested I try writing a full-length novel. I wrote two novels and then finally found my voice with A Surefire Way.
What was your inspiration for A Surefire Way?
I’ve always been a fan of superhero, romance, action/adventure, and sci-fi stories—so I found a way to mix all my favorite elements together in A Surefire Way. I wondered how it would work if a few people gifted with supernatural abilities formed a crime-fighting organization, how would this work within the confines of our government? This question was knocking around in my head when a scene popped in my mind of a woman chasing a man along the rafters of a warehouse. I had no idea who they were or why she was chasing him, so I began writing it and let the story form itself.

What is your MC’s personality like?
Surefire is strong, direct, focused, intelligent, and athletic. She has a good sense of humor, enjoys grabbing a beer with friends, and hates the dating scene. She is an average late twenty something trying to find her place in the world, who happens to have a sure shot ability. Deep down, she struggles with uncertainty in her ability and a lack of confidence, especially living in the shadow of her successful twin sister. She wants to succeed in her career as an UltraAgent although she is doing it for the wrong reasons—to please her father, not herself. Surefire’s journey is to find the courage to do what is right for her even if it means not getting what she thought she wanted in the first place.

Do you like writing your characters into trouble or out of it?
I like doing both. It is fun to torture my characters and see what I can reasonably throw at them and have it not be too unbelievable for them to overcome. Of course, once I throw everything but the kitchen sink in their way, it becomes a puzzle trying to figure out how they will escape the situation. I love it when I can reach back into the beginning of the story or into a character’s background and use some small kernel that had been planted in the story to help them out of a jam. For me, there has to be a good reason for them to get into trouble and a believable reason for them to get out of it, which is a great challenge. I love it!

Do you do a lot of research and plotting or do you just start writing?
For A Surefire Way, I just started writing to get the story down on paper. The first draft was essentially a very long outline of where I thought the story should go. However, during my second revision, I started filling in the details and researched Aztec mythology, ballgame, language, and civilization. I mapped out areas in DC and Baltimore, and I went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where several scenes take place to make sure I knew the layout. I even downloaded a floor plan for the condominium high-rise in which Surefire is living with her sister. There were many small details that I double-checked such as gun types and law enforcement practices and airline flight times. I tried to be as thorough as possible. Though I’m sure someone a lot smarter will find something that I missed. ;)

Do you have any writing rituals?
No rituals, I just need quiet and coffee. Remember that scene in The Shining where Jack is trying to work and he gets upset at his wife for disturbing him? I can be a bit high-strung like that when I’m writing an intense scene, except I’m not working in a haunted hotel or losing my mind–yet.

Can you share a favorite sentence or scene from your novel?
Upon hearing that a former ballplayer’s head is inside the rubber ball they are about to use for the Aztec ballgame, my hero Raven quips, “It’s always good to get a head in the game.”

What are a few of your favorite books?
It is hard to narrow it down to a few books but here are my top ones (all very different styles) and why I chose them:
A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood—Stark, relevant, post-apocalyptic, and her descriptions read like poetry
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton—Taught me how to “stay gold” and was the first book to make me cry at the end
The Stand by Stephen King—Diverse characters engaged in an epic journey and final battle kept me hooked to the end
Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton—Strong female heroine, unique world building, and a page-turning action adventure
Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice—She invented a new history for vampires with an eye for detail in character and setting

What’s the last book you read and what did you think of it?
I just read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and the story and writing was top notch. He has a direct writing style that isn’t overly descriptive yet he conveyed the feelings of the characters and the setting so well that I felt as if I were there. Both main women were strong in different ways in a world where their liberties were slowly being stripped from them. It made me angry, cry, and yell out with joy. I learned about Afghanistan and the beauty of their country and people. Plus, in the end, it was a romance and offered a message of hope.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
I want to be a female version of Indiana Jones. I would love to have his adventures, hunting for lost treasure in exotic lands and being tough enough to fight off the bad guys to save the artifacts from falling into the wrong hands.

If you could have any supernatural power, which would you choose?
I want the ability to travel through time and space. I’d love to travel back in time and experience important events in history to see how they really went down. And then I’d travel through space so I wouldn’t have to wait in airport security lines anymore. :P

 Find out more about JT through the links below, and be sure to grab A Surefire Way!


  1. Thank you for interviewing me for your blog. You asked great questions that really made me think. Best of luck with your book! It sounds fantastic and I love the cover.

    1. You're welcome, only wish I could have gotten it up in time, but better late than never! A Surefire Way sounds great as well :)