INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
by Jeff Gunhus
I’m excited to be taking part in my first Book Tour! All the tour stops are listed in my previous blog post, so make sure you visit each and every one of them. Today the tour stops here. I’m interviewing Jeff Gunhus, author of Night Chill, and posting my 5-BD (the Books Direct equivalent of stars) review. Please enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback copy of the book.
Please note that the Kindle Edition of Night Chill is currently ON SALE for only $0.99 (save $4.00).
Jack Tremont moves his family to the quiet mountains of Western Maryland hoping to leave behind a troubled past and restart his life. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a nightmare when his daughter Sarah is targeted by Nate Huckley, a mysterious and horrifying stranger driven by a dark power that will stop at nothing to possess Sarah.
When Sarah goes missing, suspicion falls on Jack and he must uncover the secrets of the small mountain town of Prescott City and face the evil secret hidden there. As he digs further, he learns the conspiracy reaches more deeply than he could have imagined. Finally, he will have to face the question, “What is a father willing to do to save his child?” The answer? “Anything. Anything at all.”
By Lynda Dickson
After a traumatic experience in California, Jack Tremont moves to Prescott City with his wife, Lauren, and daughters, Becky and Sarah. Their seemingly idyllic lifestyle is shattered after a chilling late-night encounter with the strange Nate Huckley at a rest stop during a violent storm.
We meet a series of unusual characters, including Max and Kristi Dahl and their children Julie and Jesse (Jack’s friends), Albert James (the town drunk), Jim Butcher (the barman at Piper’s), the Boss (whose identity we don’t learn until later), Sheriff Hugh Janney, Felicia Rodriquez and Cathy Moran (who are both suffering from a strange disease), Scott Moran (a psychiatrist and Cathy’s father), Dr Stanley Mansfield (a doctor who works with Lauren), and the mysterious Joe Lonetree. There is a strange conspiracy going on in Prescott City, but who’s involved and who are the innocent bystanders?
Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus is a chill a minute. It is written in a style reminiscent of Dan Brown, with each short chapter being told from a different character’s perspective and ending on a cliff-hanger. This is a sure-fire recipe to keep the reader turning the pages.
The story is full of red-herrings and heart-stopping moments. You never know what’s real and what isn’t, or when someone is in actual danger. This leaves the reader on the edge of their seat throughout the book.
This book contains something for everyone: horror, supernatural themes, ancient civilizations, medical mysteries, ghosts, and family drama. Despite a few editing errors, this book is very well written and I highly recommend it.
Interview With the Author
Hi Jeff, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book Night Chill.
Which writers have influenced you the most? My first loves were fantasy books, including Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings, Frank Herbert‘s Dune series and C. S. Lewis‘ Narnia series. While I was in college, I discovered Stephen King and Dean Koontz and devoured their books. My writing ranges from fantasy and darker supernatural thrillers because of these interests.
I can certainly see the influence King and Koontz have had on your work. What age group do you recommend your book for? Adults.
What sparked the idea for this book? Just like my main character, Jack Tremont, I had just moved from California to Maryland and my wife was pregnant with my first child. I started thinking about what my role was to protect my son and what I would do to protect him. From the first time I held him, I knew there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do. This theme permeates many of the character arcs in Night Chill. Also, I went spelunking for the first time while I was writing this, so the underground scenes draw from that experience.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel? The idea comes first for me and then I play around with different types of people who would be interesting in the situation I’ve imagined. It’s a fine part of the process to think through how the story changes depending on the characters involved. I like Jack, though, and think he was the right person to share this adventure.
What was the hardest part to write in this book? Working with multiple antagonists and giving them depth was a challenge. I’m attracted to villains who you can understand or even sympathize with because you appreciate how their world-view or situation caused them to do bad things. For example, when we discover a character is doing evil things because they believe it’s the only way to save their own child, we don’t agree with what they’ve done, but we understand where they are coming from. We might even wonder if we would do the same thing if we were in their shoes. Trying to accomplish this with no less than four antagonists was hard.
How to you hope this book affects its readers? First and foremost, I hope people are entertained. Night Chill is a fun read with action and some good scares in it. I do tackle some issues that are important to me: medical ethics, whether the ends justifies the means, and the ultimate importance of family. I hope my thoughts on these issues resonate with my readers.
How long did it take you to write this book? About a year.
What is your writing routine? With five kids and a national business to run, it’s a challenge. I typically carve out from 5:30am-7:30am as it’s the only quiet time in the house. I try to write every day, but I typically get in six days a week. I write with ear buds in and movie soundtracks cranking. Usually, I’m in my office with my two yellow labs on my feet, but I like to find cool places to set up. For example, I spent this morning sitting on a bench on a dock in historic Annapolis.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer? Utilize self-publishing technology to control your own destiny and go find your own audience. However, take responsibility to make certain you are putting out a great, well-edited, professional product. Work on craft by joining writer’s groups and attending conferences. Read Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s the Bible.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? With five kids aged between 2 and 12, I spend most of my time chasing my little ones. I enjoy fishing, kayaking, skiing in the winters, and playing tennis. I’m reading Patrick Rothfuss right now and he’s amazing.
What does your family think of your writing? My Jack Templar books are huge hits with the kids because all their friends have read them. Night Chill scares my wife because it’s very unlike my personality.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood. I grew up overseas in Greece, Cyprus, and Saudi Arabia from ages 5 to 12. Without TV, I grew up an avid reader. That stuck and soon I was writing my own stuff. Sharing my books with amazing readers has been exciting and a lot of fun.
Did you enjoy school? I loved school. I did Honors everything and enjoyed a wide range of subjects. I went to college at the University of California at Santa Barbara, so just getting to class was an accomplishment.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I won a state-wide honor for my first “book” when I was 12. The Amulet has a place of honor on my bookshelf.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing? Definitely, in both specific and general ways. In the specific, the history and the overseas locations in the Jack Templar books are places I have lived or visited. The scenes in Night Chill where the kids are terrorized was just remembering what it was like to have an overactive imagination when I was eight!
What was your favorite book as a child? The Lord of the Rings.
Who were your favorite authors as a child? Tolkien, Herbert, Lewis, Twain, Willard Price, and Enid Blyton.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? Social media provides outstanding connection with readers. The Jack Templar books have been fun because I get a lot of kids sending me emails or posting on Facebook with their comments and with pictures of artwork or school projects that were inspired by the book. Those are the best.
What can we look forward to from you in the future? I’m working on Book #3 of the Jack Templar series and I’m outlining a historical novel about vampires in New England, based on a true story.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today, Jeff. I hope you enjoy the rest of your blog tour.
About the Author
Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Middle Grade/YA series The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. The book is a Book Of The Year Finalist for Foreword Reviews and a Finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Book #2, Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy was released April 2013. Night Chill is his first book for adults. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland by trying to constantly keep up with his kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.
Please enter the giveaway for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback copy of the book.