…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
J. Fally is the author of Bone Rider my latest Crush Alert. If you haven’t read this book yet, hop to it because you are MISSING OUT! I fell in love with this incredible, fast paced action adventure love story from the first line: “The fuckers were going to kill him”. Ha! How could I not?
From start to finish this author wowed me, so obviously I had to track her down to find out more. Just who the hell is this woman who is taking the m/m world by storm? Let’s find out…
Shelley: Firstly, Joe, Congratulations! This is your debut novel and it is a freaking doozy. How on Earth did you come up with such an original idea for an m/m book? I know you didn’t really see a Cowboy, an alien and a hit man walk into a bar …right?
Ha! I’m trying really hard right now to trace back where this madness started and I’m having a difficult time doing so, because this bastard evolved so much and so often. I think the core of it, the bit that started it all, was some kind of half-baked idea about the son of a high-level politician running from his dad and being chased by his former bodyguard. Something like that. There was no alien yet, that bit came later, when I went on a brief Witchblade and The Darkness kick (the original Top Cow comic book versions). I loved the visuals of the armors, the way they could change and retract, and that, I believe, was probably when McClane was born. Kolya is the result of a Jason Statham movie binge. I blame Terminator: Salvation for Riley. God knows where the hell I picked up Andrej, I think he came pre-attached to Misha. And, well. So it went.
Shelley: And so it did, with a bang! I have to ask, just how many times have you watched Die Hard? Be honest. :D And what about the idea of throwing the Russian mob into the mix?
Uhm. You should probably ask Misha that. I have no idea how he ended up part of the Russian mob. That was all him. Apparently, some things develop subconsciously. I know them; I don’t know why. They’re not even all relevant. Like, I know Riley had a dog named Tick when he was a kid and that he still thinks Tick was the best dog that ever lived. I know Andrej likes blue cocktails just because they’re blue. Some things are just part of the characters and I can’t tell you how I get there.
And the Die Hard movies… *clears throat* Once. Well, in the case of the first and the fourth movie, twice. I missed the fifth one when it came out and haven’t had the time yet to watch it. But Die Hard is iconic, it’s part of my personal movie canon, filed under “classics” (sorry, Bruce, I know you’re not old, you’re still hot).
Shelley: How long have you had this idea and what has it taken to get to the point of publication? How many hoops did you jump or was it an instant ‘Yes, we’ll have it, sign here’?
I honestly can’t tell you how long I’ve had this idea. I’m constantly running stories through my mind. Some have potential, some don’t. Those with potential tend to be recurring. I chew on them for a while, they change, grow, develop a plot, characters gain faces and personality, and at some point I’ll sit down and write a rough (like, very rough) outline. And then I’ll start writing. It’s similar with research. I realize I want to know more about a specific topic, because for some reason it caught my interest, so I start reading up on it. The more I learn, the more it gets incorporated into a story, which requires more research. So the research feeds the writing and the writing the research.
All in all, it took about four years to get from concept to finished manuscript. I’m a slow writer and a nit-picker, I self-edit and rewrite a lot. Thankfully, I have a very patient sister who proofreads my stuff as often as it takes before I hand it over to strangers. Seriously. I think she went over Bone Rider, like, twenty times minimum. She gives honest and extremely constructive feedback and that is worth so damn much.
Dreamspinner Press was the second publisher I approached, and the first one specializing in m/m literature. It was my personal favorite and an instant fit. :)
Shelley: Tell me about your research.
For Bone Rider, it was everything from military tactics and equipment (i.e., How many people are in a fire team? How fast do Black Hawk helicopters go?) to geography (How well explored are the Carlsbad Caverns? What’s the terrain like? Could there be other underground cave systems in the area, hypothetically speaking?). It’s fun.
Shelley: Your writing style with so many points of view is not something that always works well for readers, but you pulled it off brilliantly; giving each character a clear and unique voice which more than endeared ALL of them to us. Is this how you were always going to write it?
Probably. :) As a reader, I appreciate stories that give me more than one point of view yet maintain a healthy balance. (One of my biggest ARGH WTF moments was a book that didn’t switch POV until the final two chapters and then it didn’t even MAKE ANY SENSE from a narrative standpoint… I’m still not quite over that.) I went through a phase in my writing where I changed POVs every other paragraph. It was a mess, but at least it was a consistent mess. *g* I still love exploring characters. I love the way the same situation will look completely different when viewed through another protagonist’s eyes. Everybody has their own subjective reality.
Shelley: You have a lot of respect for your characters, even the ones with the smallest part to play. Is this why there are no real winners or losers in Bone Rider? We all know that the typical action hero tropes determine that there should be. So, what was your motivation for this?
I believe it’s extremely rare for someone to think of themself as a villain. People have a personal history and reasons for what they do, they tend to justify their actions both to others and themselves. Stereo- and archetypes have their place and they work within their context, but it’s always more satisfying to see acknowledgement that behind every cliché there’s a person, a protagonist, someone who’s the center of their own universe just like the rest of us.
In a review somewhere, someone said something about having trouble with the body count, because after getting to know the pursuing soldiers, s/he couldn’t just accept it when a lot of them died. And I went: YES! That’s what I wanted you to feel! I want you to be uncomfortable with the soldiers dying, because a lot of action movies won’t make you think twice about the poor stooges getting wasted when they cross the hero’s path. And that’s supremely unfair and a major reason why I included so many POVs and why a good number of them were antagonists’ POVs.
Shelley: And that is exactly why your characterisation excelled for me. Bravo! Now what was the hardest part of writing this story? Did you hit any major stumbles, because honestly, you wrote your characters into some really tight corners that I couldn’t ever see them getting out of.
Oh god, don’t laugh, the thing that nearly broke me wasn’t any of the action sequences or the tight corners… it was the Riley and Misha reunion scene. I don’t know how often I tripped over that part. I must’ve rewritten it a dozen times. Or more often. I don’t even know. It’s all a PTSD-flavored blur. I almost scrapped the entire fucking book because of that bitch of a scene. I stopped writing for ten months or so and did something else while I chewed on how to approach the problem. It’s such a goddamn important scene and it didn’t feel right for a long time. I wanted to kick both of them in the balls. If McClane had balls, I’d have wanted to kick him, too. Fuckers, all three of them. *scowls*
Shelley: That was such a crucial moment; I swear to God I was begging you not to cock it up myself but I needn’t have worried. It was PERFECT!
Now a little off topic here, I was thinking about McClane today and he is just so freaking adorable and yes, sexy too and not because he has the ability to lick you from the INSIDE – no, not at all. *fans self* Yes, okay that’s probably it. But you make him feel human so give me a break. But this character raises the question that needs asking.
On a scale of 1 – 10 just how weird are you?
I’m perfectly normal, thank you very much. It’s my muses who’re nuts. ;)
Though, can you imagine how AWESOME sex with McClane must be? He’ll hit your buttons dead on EVERY DAMN TIME, because the better it feels for you, the better it’ll feel for him. Best motivator ever. *g* If he and Misha ever get competitive, Riley’s in for one hell of a ride.
Shelley: **Okay sorry folks this next question is a spoilery one so look away if you haven’t read Bone Rider yet.**
I’ll just whisper this one …How are Riley, Misha and McClane doing? We would love to know how they are adjusting to their new *coughs* arrangement. Any plans for a novella, or a short story, hell even a haiku featuring the three of them? Yes, I’m reaching here…
No plans for anything, but if you really want to know: at the moment, they’re all holed up in a motel in Gardiner, Montana, because McClane wanted to visit the Yellowstone National Park. Riley is freezing his ass off and blames McClane. McClane is not sorry. Sightseeing is awesome and he learned that bear claws are a delicious pastry as well as a scary threat-type thing. Plus, nobody expects an alien to play tourist. It’s a win-win situation, really.
Since McClane is being unreasonable and tends to whine a lot when forced to abandon his touristy pursuits, Riley lets him have his fun and tries to stay warm by stealing Misha’s gloves every chance he gets. Misha would love to let him have them, because the idea of Riley wearing his clothes? Even if it’s just gloves? Yeah. Definitely a major turn-on. Unfortunately, it really is freezing, so he compromises by sticking his cold hands under Riley’s shirt every chance he gets. As you can probably imagine, this leads to a lot of yelping, twitching, and plenty of sex.
Andrej and Kolya are sharing a room. Andrej is a little worried about Kolya, because Kolya is currently making a lot of phone calls to people in Russia and refuses to tell Andrej what that’s all about. In a little while, Andrej is going to be distracted by J.C., who managed to shake his tails and is on his way to Gardiner to find out what the ever-loving hell Andrej has gotten himself into this time.
Nick Young is down with the flu and unhappy because his goldfish died. Lee thinks he’s an idiot for getting a pet in the first place. She sent him a box of chicken soup in cans, but is primarily busy trying to squirm out of an enforced family Christmas dinner at her sister’s place.
Mariya has taken to telling her daughters bedtime stories about their Uncle Misha. Anton has offered to train both girls. Mariya is very tempted to say yes. She is also tempted to have her soon-to-be ex-husband assassinated, because he might just be stupid enough to fight her for custody.
Shelley: Hahaha, I’m beaming now! Thank you, but I will never ever get enough of all of them. NEVER!
Now the question we all want to know: will we get more? I mean, this will be a series, right? This isn’t just a one off? Please tell me this isn’t a one off, because, oh God, I couldn’t bear it. Just tell me you have already completed book two and you’ve shipped JC and Andrej and we can have it for Christmas? *begging you with puppy dog eyes*
Sorry …you can answer the question now.
LOL! I’ll try, but it’s actually not so easy to answer this. I love my boys and I love McClane. I had a lot of fun writing Bone Rider. The thing is that my head is always filled with ideas and different characters and in order to make a story work, I have to kind of… go with the flow, if that makes sense. I’ve learned to tell when a character is ready to tell their story and, right now, it feels like Riley, Misha, McClane and company have had their fun and are moving into the background.
Shelley: *whimpers pathetically*
This doesn’t mean they’re gone and it doesn’t mean they won’t come out to play again, but they are definitely taking a break. That’s completely normal for my writing process. There’s a kind of rhythm to it, not unlike the tides, and there’s absolutely no forcing anything.
So, there probably won’t be a sequel presently.
Shelley: *Wipes tears* Sorry, just a moment while I pull myself together because you just RIPPED MY HEART OUT!
I’m sorry! I’d feel honored if you decided to give some of my other boys a chance though. If you’re interested, you’ll get to peek into another corner of my world soon-ish. Dreamspinner Press will release my short story Indigo Footsteps, Spatters of Red sometime next year. \o/
Shelley: Okay, okay …you are still writing and this is important. This is good. Tell me about your new boys and what comes after that? Any plans for another novel?
Heh. You enjoyed Bone Rider, so I think you’re going to like those two as well. Carter Cross and Josh Lessard are a new breed of soldier trying to prevent a gory apocalypse. (I’m not telling what kind of creature they’re up against, but I will admit I had some ungodly fun with that.) Every time they are called to arms, they leave the house knowing they might not return. (And they do love their house, bad as they are at interior decorating.) They’re used to cheating death, but this time the odds are stacked against them. It’ll take a miracle to get them out alive as the horror invades not only a major city but also their home. (In other words, I’m apparently completely incapable of writing romance without action. Even my domestic fluff ends in gunfire. I’m not sure I’m sorry.)
I might write a little more about Carter and Josh as I go, short stories mostly, because they’re still murmuring in my mind. In addition, I’m working on four novels – two are very rough drafts at this point and need major overhauls before I throw them to the wolves (terrible pun, this, ’cause they’re werewolf westerns), the one I’m currently focusing on is going to take the subject of elves and… uhm… do terrible things to it, probably. You might’ve noticed I tend to bastardize and mix genres a lot. So, elves, but not necessarily the way you’d expect. And the fourth project is still in the concept and planning stage and if I can pull it off, it’s gonna be awesome. That one’s going to play on Arthurian myth. So, basically, I’m still going strong. ;) I just need some time to make it good. Good stories are like good sex – you can’t rush ’em.
Shelley: Elves, werewolves, more soldiers and gun fights? YES! Bastardize all those genre’s Joe we don’t care, just keep dishing up the thrills and originality. Your work is very unique ‘like a breath of fresh air’ the reviewers are saying. How do you feel about the response and the growing hype from readers so far?
I’m over the moon and smiling a lot. It’s the absolutely coolest thing ever to know that other people are getting to know these characters and that so many of them have grown to love them as much as I do. *beams*
Shelley: Where can readers like me stalk you?
I’m sorry to say that you can’t, really. I have two jobs and an old horse and I do research and write, so I haven’t yet managed to find the time and energy to create a website or even a semi-regular online journal/blog/twitter/whatever. The plan is to pop up occasionally bearing gifts and then go back to radio silence while working on the next story.
If someone wants to contact me though, you can do so via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I might not reply immediately, but I do try to answer every mail I receive.
Shelley: Joe, Thank you so much for chatting with me, and I’m super excited about your upcoming releases and just thrilled to know that I have so much to look forward to. Good Luck with Bone Rider and may your muse conjure up a Bone Rider II and slap you around the head repeatedly until the bastards wear you down and you have to write it for us. *grins evilly*
Thank you too, Shelley. This was definitely entertaining! Though I’m not sure how I feel about that last wish of yours… I do not need my muses in cahoots with anybody, they’re bad enough on their own! :)