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Connect with Jeff
Welcome Jeff! Can you tell us a bit about your newest novel The Darkest Path?
Sure thing! The Darkest Path is an adventure story set about 6 years into the second American Civil War, which was started by a group of political and religious fanatics called The Glorious Path. The book follows fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his brother James who were kidnapped and forced to serve the revolution at a young age.
As the book begins Callum has decided that the time has finally come for them to escape and begin their journey home. Problem is, that journey home means figuring out how to get from Southern Arizona all the way to upstate NY across a country torn apart by civil war. It also means dealing with the fact that their time with the Path has had very different effects on these two brothers.
You use to write plays before becoming an author, was it hard to switch from writing plays to writing books, or was it a fairly easy switch over? Would you say one was more challenging than the other for you personally?
The transition ended up being pretty smooth actually. A couple years out of grad school I was really starting to chafe under the restrictions of purely dialogue-based story telling. I wanted the freedom to go more internal with characters while also putting a greater focus on narrative. There was a transitional period where what that meant was me writing plays with extremely long monologues but I eventually found my way through it.
Which is harder? Well, I would say it’s turned out that fiction is a better fit for me than theater for a lot of reasons. There are a lot more restrictions with theater, restrictions arising from the form itself as well as restrictions born out of the seriously bad economic shape of the American theater. Eventually those restrictions were just too much to deal with.
If The Darkest Path was not a Young Adult novel, do you think it would change the story alot? Or would the story play out the same?
Hmm. I guess this kinda gets to the question of what a young adult novel is, huh? I think The Darkest Path is a young adult novel because it sees the story from the point-of-view of a teen character and in some way deals with the struggles of being a teen and growing up. If it were an adult novel I imagine the POV would shift to away from Cal entirely, and certainly from the internal story of growing up. So yeah, I guess I think The Darkest Path is a YA story down in its bones so if I wanted to change the audience for the book it would change the story pretty radically.
If Callum Roe from your newest novel The Darkest Path were to meet Stephen Quinn from your novel The Eleventh Plague, how do you think they would react to each other, do you think they would befriend one another?
It’s a funny idea. Just a couple a dudes sitting around comparing apocalypses. Actually I think they have a good bit in common and enough differences to be intriguing to one another. Cal is a bit more cynical and less sheltered than Stephen. A little more willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. But they both long for home and family and for some kind of stability.
Pretty sure they’d end up fighting over Jenny.
A group of agents from the Path are at your front door! You have a few minutes to grab some items, before you and your wife escape out the back, what do you grab?
Well we’ve got two cats and a dog so they’re at the top of the list. Of course that also means food and water and treats and chew toys and leashes and….ah hell, I think we’d be toast.
What are you currently working on, can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m working on a couple things at the moment. The first is my entry in the 39 Clues series, called Breakaway which comes out this January. I’m also working on completing the first draft of a new YA story. It’s tentatively titled Black River but I’m not saying too much else about it yet. Stay tuned though!
Thanks for being on the blog today Jeff!
Thanks for having me!
A civil war rages between the Glorious Path--a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier--and what's left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.