J. E. Cammon,
Where Shadows Lie
Welcome, J. E. Cammon, to The Happy Book Reviewer! I’m happy to talk to you today about your paranormal urban fantasy series,Where Shadows Lie.
In Where Shadows Lie: Bay City, the first book in the series, regular people and supernatural creatures live side by side in the eastern US seaport of Bay City. Okay, I have to ask, is this book going to give me nightmares (i.e. is it scary paranormal), or is the paranormal aspect of book more "this is how life is"?
Interesting! And your "monsters" (your main characters) are David, Jarvis, and Nick. I find it so interesting that Nick has a "gift" of bringing change wherever he goes. I've heard of characters who can fly, disappear, never die, etc... but this is an new power to me! How did you come up with this?
Can you give an example from the book of something that happens because of his gift/curse?
The "main character" role cycles in each book, with David as the lead in Where Shadows Lie: Bay City, his friend Nick as the lead in Where Shadows Lie: Hunting Grounds, and the third friend, Jarvis, as the lead in Where Shadows Lie: Steeler's Mill. Word on the street is that the series will continue to Book 8... will this character cycle continue as well?
Do you find it difficult to change the point-of-view like that? I mean, to suddenly stop seeing the world through Nick's eyes and starting to see through vampire Jarvis' eyes? Or is it actually easier, since you don't have to invent someone from scratch each time?
Watch out, Friends of J. E. Cammon! You could be the next monster he writes about!
So, what have you learned as the series has continued (other than how to mine your social contacts for writing fodder)?
If a high school class were reading your book some day, what themes would the teacher be wanting them to pick up on in Bay City?
Ooo, I like that. And do those themes carry through the series, or do they change book by book?
Cammon: I think yes, those themes carry forward throughout all the books. David, the shape shifter, deals with his nature a lot, because he believes what he is determines what he can be, to others in the world and to his own station. In his own storyline, he flip flops throughout the series before finally coming to a conclusion near the end. For Jarvis, he doesn’t get the same choice, as a vampire. He’s dead, and there’s no cure for that, so what is his existence worth, if not life? Nick undergoes some changes, too, but I don’t want to spoil everything…
Cammon: I came to the realization recently, actually, that the South is very intrinsic to my sense of self, as an author. I might not put the classic Southern themes in my stories, but the things I write about, and how I write about them, are absolutely influenced by what I’ve seen and experienced. I’ve decided not to shy away from it, either. The name Terminus shows up a lot in other stories and ideas I’ve had, which is an old name for Atlanta, which used to be the “zero mile marker” for train lines connecting the port in Savannah and the west. The idea that this place is, in some regards, the end, or the beginning, is one I go back to again and again.
Cammon: I read totally different genres, which I’m told is why my supernatural stories don’t sound like other stories of the genre. I think that’s a good thing, but I’m also not a millionaire, so maybe that’s worth looking into. I enjoy stories about people, and their circumstances, and their responses, character driven fiction. The Where Shadows Lie series came from a situation where people, rich, round people had supernatural circumstances, and what their responses might be. I didn’t focus a whole lot on the artifacts of magic and the trappings of dark Romanticism, but more the people using those artifacts and trapped within those dark themes.
Cammon: The Dragon Can’t Dance by Earl Lovelace. It is, by far, the most terrifyingly rich volume of prose I have ever experienced. It’s the only book I’ve ever read that made me think about putting down my pen, because I thought that I would never write as well.
Cammon: Actually, I’m leaving the doors open, on purpose. And I say doors because the stories that could come about, because of how the series ends, are very divergent. One is sort of a high urban fantasy, very metaphysical and otherworldly, and the other is very grounded, in a much more recognizable world, and the two stories won’t speak to each other the way the Where Shadows Lie books do (I mentioned the stories occur in similar time; each book actually makes reference to things that happen in other books). Regardless, I think it will depend a lot on reader interest.
Cammon: The next book I’m working on is the second of a Science Fiction series about humans living on a new interstellar frontier after escaping bondage on an Earth generations ago. Because of their enslavement, however, some humans are occasionally born with strange and amazing psychic powers, which is believed to be a devilish taint, a cursed mark. That same power, though, is one of the key reasons humanity was able to escape in the first place, so it makes for a complicated situation. The series is about a young member of this sub race, growing to manhood on the new frontier, searching for his place.
Okay, I won't press you more. Don't want to give anything away! Let me switch over to another literary topic-- setting! You're from Atlanta, Georgia. Do you expect to set a book there someday (or in a fictional town similar to Atlanta)?
Pretty much all writers also love reading. Do you read genres similar to the one you write in, or do you read totally different genres?
What book have you read that that you wish you had written?
I know what you mean exactly. I felt just so sad when I first read Knut Hamsun's novella Hunger knowing that I could never write something so beautiful. Still, I can't resist beautiful, rich fiction. I'm going to have to look up Earl Lovelace's book now.
Once the Where Shadows Lie series ends, will that end David, Nick, and Jarvis' stories, or might they make a cameo in other books?Or are you ready to be rid of them?
I think I am definitely ready to be rid of the pressure of having a story unfinished. To be out, trying to enjoy myself, feeling like there is work I could be doing. Until I finish it, it will be something hanging over my head. Thankfully, it’s something I enjoy, that I’m invested in. But until I get to that point, it will be incomplete, like a half-built bridge. It starts, and then just doesn’t finish.
You must be working on a next book though. Can't just finish a bridge and never start work on another! Can you give us a hint of what it is about?
Well, until that bridge is ready to unveil to the world, folks can find Where Shadows Lie: Bay City in e-book or print at: