Today I'm lucky enough to speak to J.B Thomas, author of YA book Mammon.
J.B stopped by and discussed her debut novel Mammon and gave us an insight into her characters and her writing.
J.B. Thomas was born in Perth in 1971. Adopted at four weeks of age, she grew up in a beach side suburb with three brothers. After graduating with an Arts degree, she worked as a writer in public relations roles with government, educational and non-profit organisations. She was inspired to write The Ferryman Chronicles by speculating what life would be like if demons lived among ordinary (and not-so-ordinary) humans.
Lets see how the interview went......
Hi J.B, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! I’m thrilled to have the chance to talk to you and ask you about your debut novel Mammon. Congrats by the way, I know you must be very excited to have it out there soon and in the hands of readers.......
Hi Rachel! Glad to talk to you too! Yes, I am very excited about it all – especially as I started all this three years ago and it’s finally going out on sale!
I was lucky enough to read and review an advanced reader copy of Mammon already, but how would you describe it to reader first picking it up? What can they expect?
Mammon is a novel that has something for everyone – a fast pace, interesting characters, romance and cool weapons – not to mention a strange new breed of demons.
Your take on demons and the world they exist in is really unique—it’s not something I’ve seen before and I certainly enjoyed it. What made you go in this direction?
Humans and demons have always been linked in storytelling: possession being the often-used connection. But, consider this: human beings have the potential to be terribly cruel, even to their own kind. History shows us that! Would we not call Hitler a demon? Vlad the Impaler? Charles Manson? But on the other hand, we have the potential to love one another to spectacular proportions – and to redeem ourselves when we have fallen. I’d like to think that we are striving to be better.
Let’s look at your two main characters, Grace and Joe. Both twins are very different from each other, do you find it tough writing about two siblings and trying to get that difference and that family connection perfect or does it just flow?
It seems to flow. I had a general idea of their characters, and this grew into something more richly defined as time went on. There was bound to be conflict, and I knew a key reason for that would be the difference in their personalities. Grace is book-smart; Joe is street-smart. They complement one another but still clash due to the fact that they are both strong-willed.
Allow me to be completely honest here......there was one part, errr....person *cough* Ivan *cough* that drew my attention every time he featured in the book, are there any characters of yours in particular that have a special place in your heart? Maybe one that you connect with more?
Alright, this is going to sound strange – but I really like writing Mammon’s character! I like writing about the high demon because a) he has been around for a very long time, b) he has developed patience in his approach, and c) he is not irrationally evil – he only gets nasty when someone gets in his way. I’m not saying he’s a nice guy – but I like his complexity as a baddie. I also like writing Halphas. Dear me, what does that say about me?
Having said all this, I really liked developing Ivan’s character and history.
Mammon and the other demons feature quite heavily in the book, what was the importance of having them be such a dominant part?
From the start, I realised that the Ferryman and sarsareh needed to have a strong, ongoing enemy in this series. Demons are the core of the story, and having them present throughout the series is critical to the themes present in Mammon: choice, self-determination and good versus evil.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers out there hoping to follow in your footsteps and have a novel published?
Write about something you know and love. Persist – don’t let negative feedback deter you. In my case, I decided to take a writing class, which I did – and I felt it benefited my writing greatly (and helped me get the book published). Don’t try to mimic other authors’ writing styles – find your own voice. Obviously – read widely in the genre, but be discerning when you do so. Take note of what you think works really well (e.g. characterisation or conflict), but discard the rest.
How about you yourself? You’re bio tells that you’re usually found writing and reading---what kinds of books do you love to find yourself lost in?
I adore the Russian author, Leo Tolstoy. My favourite novel is one of his: Anna Karenina. Tolstoy understands humans so very well and creates characters that are just…alive. Part of my obsession with Russia came from reading that book. I like the Bartimaeus books – a trilogy about magicians that deserves to be noticed too! Right now, I’m juggling Fight Club by Chuck Palaniuk, The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin and the Idiot by Fyodor Doestoevsky.
6 Quick Questions:
1. Favourite colour? Red
2. Favourite ice cream flavour? Peanut butter-chocolate
3. Paperback or hardback? Hardback
4. Lucky number? I don’t have one.
5. Singing or dancing? Dancing.
Thanks again for stopping by and chatting with me for a bit. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of The Ferryman Chronicles and wish you all the luck with Mammon’s release and all future endeavours
Thank you, Rachel! All the best. JB
It was terrific talking to J.B and some of her answers certainly made me think.
Forget anything you ever heard about possession, exorcisms, salt circles and pentagrams. The modern demon is far more difficult to catch - and even harder to destroy.
After the savage, tragic deaths of their parents, Grace and Joe Callahan learn that they they are descendants of the sarsareh - an ancient order of mercenaries who hunt very special prey. Grace and Joe take their place in the Order, but are treated with hostility and fear by other recruits.
For the Callahan siblings have powers that fascinate and terrify.
Joe is a Ferryman, capable of opening dimensional rifts, while Grace's telepathic abilities surpass anything the Order has ever seen.
To complicate matters, Grace falls for her older, more experienced squad leader, Ivan. Meanwhile, the sarsareh elders have their own plans for Joe.
But none of that will matter if the powerful demon Mammon manages to convince Joe to open a gateway to his demon world and overrun Earth with his armies.
If he succeeds: game over
Mammon is in out now! Make sure to get yourself a copy.....