Lisa: Welcome to author Jess Thomas and the tour for her latest novel, Memory of Me. We’re so pleased to have you joining us today, Jess. Let’s start things off by having you tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Jess: My main character, Darius/Paden is fashioned after me. I have trigeminal neuralgia which is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve that carries sensations from your face to your brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face — such as from brushing your teeth or putting on makeup — may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain.
I’m very sensitive, so family and the man I love is everything to me. It also shows my love of animals and the arts.
Lisa: What’s your favorite scene in Memory of Me, and what makes it a fave?
Jess: My favorite scene in Memory of Me, I’d have to say, is in Chapter Eleven ~ No One Ever Wins. Although it was a heavy chapter, it had more visual images that appealed to me.
Lisa: Would you care to share an excerpt from the scene with us?
The Excerpt: Finnal let out another cry as his fingers clutched tighter to Siena. It was a losing battle, it didn’t matter who was around him that loved him he ripped our bond and mark in two and left it to dry up and wither away like so much dust in the wind. The darkness was winning, and with each scream, a little more light was seeping away. The times we laughed and loved were disappearing like the stars on our ceiling.
“No, it’s going,” Finnal cried, rocking back and forth. Like a virus, the darkness was growing. What we had created on our ceiling was slowly fading to the point that it was just a ceiling once more. Space didn’t move across it, stars didn’t twinkle in the middle of the night, nor did the sounds of thunderstorms pound distantly across it when I was upset.
“No, please no,” Finnal cried. His fingers reached out to our ceiling. “Don’t go, please don’t go,” he screamed, watching the painted ceiling disappear. It didn’t matter how loud he cried, it disappeared in front of him like broken pieces of glass falling away one piece at a time.
“I didn’t know it was Issy. I thought it was Darius, I’d never do that to him, I love him.”
When the last bit of magic left our room, Finnal started rocking. He hadn’t realized how empty their room was without the little touches I’d added. The large vase of flowers that always bloomed with stunning radiance wilted and fell over. Their dying petals fell to the tabletop and drifted off to the ornate carpet. The large painting I’d painted of our landscape bled down and dripped to the floor, leaving nothing but a white canvas. The color of the red flowers dripped off, bleeding onto the floor in a mixture of magic and paint. All the joys and the pains disappeared with everything that showed I was once here, drifted away until there was nothing but silence and the sounds of cries.
Lisa: If you could spend some real-life time with one of the characters in the book, who would you choose and why?
Jess: Trend, because he was fashioned after a dear friend of the family who passed away last year. He taught me how to draw and paint and was always there for me.
Lisa: On the flipside, which character would you probably least get along with? Why?
Jess: Hippson, he thinks what he is doing is for a higher purpose but in the process he is hurting others, such as keeping Trend invisible and not letting him see his little brother or his mate.
Lisa: Let’s take off your author cap and put on your reader cap for a moment: what do you look for in a book, what sort of protagonists do you love, and do you have a favorite genre?
Jess: I love a book that lets you understand the characters and become part of their world.
I like a hero who is strong, and protects the one he loves. I love gay romance, fantasy, romance and science fiction.
Lisa: What books and authors would you say influenced you to become a writer yourself?
Jess: The author that inspired me at a young age was Alexander Dumas. More recently in the gay romance genre, Charlie Richards, M.A Church and Amber Kell. Their stories are rich with details and their characters seem to come to life for me.
Writing was something I always wanted to do. When the medicine caused me to be too shaky to draw and paint I started to write. I’m starting to draw again, although my new love is writing and the fine arts is a big part of the Chronicles of Darius.
Lisa: What are your least and most favorite things about being an author?
Jess: Oh that’s easy, the thing I dislike the most is editing because I want to move on to the next story. I love coming up with new worlds, characters and animals. I want my stories to be part love stories and part fantasy/space opera. I like the fact that I can really go into detail about my characters so others can understand them and how they react.
Lisa: What’s the best piece of writing/author advice you’ve ever received that you’d pass on to someone just getting started in the business?
Jess: I never actually sought any advice from anyone about writing, I just needed a creative outlet and writing seemed like the best way to achieve that. I write in what is called ‘stream of consciousness’ and let the story and characters evolve on their own.
A piece of advice for a new writer is to keep a notebook handy to write down ideas for characters, places, thoughts, events, etc. Eventually your story will evolve.
Lisa: Have you ever written a line, paragraph, or passage, and thought, “Darn, that’s pretty amazing, even if I do say so myself”? What was it?
Jess: Lol, well funny you should ask that. That actually happened to me in this book. I was writing about Darius being in the fourth and it just seemed to flow very easily. Here is an example of one of my favorite passages from that chapter.
Various forms took shape around me as though they were painted from the fog. They were illuminated only for a flicker of time, lost in their own memories that to the living, was only a heartbeat of panic but to them seemed eternal.
Lisa: What’s the one genre/sub-genre you haven’t written yet, but would love to? What’s kept you from it so far?
Jess: A mystery story in the gay romance style. I have the bones of a story but haven’t had the time to complete it. Darius is currently taking up my time.
Lisa: Let’s talk tropes: do you have a few favorites that you enjoy both writing and reading? If so, what are they and what makes them your faves?
Jess: Well, actually I do something most writers don’t do. I want the reader to visualize what the character is doing so often I use my tag lines for descriptive purposes. Occasionally in my books I have characters say “up we go,” when helping them up from the ground or up some stairs, etc. It’s something my mom used to say to me so it’s one of my favorite tropes. It’s a little bit of my mom in my stories.
Lisa: If you could choose one of your books to be adapted for the silver screen, which would you choose? Why do you think it would translate well to film?
Jess: I would love to see the sixth book, Dark Vengeance, in The Chronicles of Darius series made into a movie. That book is very dark and dramatic with a plot twist for the characters. I believe it is the most important book in the series apart from the first one because it establishes important plot points that come into play in just about every succeeding book. It also introduces very important and strong characters to the main story that play an important role in Darius’s life.
I believe it would translate well into a motion picture because of the depth of the characters and the dramatic overtones of the story. I tried to paint as rich scenes as I could where it would be easy for the reader to imagine the settings as close as possible to what I intended.
Lisa: What’s the one book you’ve read in your lifetime that you wish you’d written? Why did this particular book leave such a lasting impact on you?
Jess: Oh, I REALLY wish I would have written The Three Musketeers. I very much enjoy The Count of Monte Cristo as well, but The Three Musketeers is my very favorite book. I love how they were willing to right what was wrong and being there for each other. The detail of that book was so that I got to know their personalities very well. I love the camaraderie of the group and the potential for my imagination to run wild with all sorts of possibilities in the dynamics of that group of friends.
Lisa: If I were to interview Darius, what would he say about you?
Jess: Lol, I don’t know if I’d want to know, but I think they would tell you that I love the arts and animals. They could also say that I have a very small family and that I’d love to be a part of theirs. Since I live with a considerable amount of chronic pain, I’m sure they would tell you that they are constantly getting hurt and are in pain, but with a large family there to help get them through it. I’m sure Darius would say, “Jess, how about a little less stress and torment and a lot more love and sex with my mate. Please!”
Lisa: Let’s pretend you’re taking a road trip, and you can choose any three of your characters to go with you. First, who would you want on the ride-along, and why them?
Jess: Oh that’s easy. I would take Trend, Larkspur, and Darius ride along with me. Those are three of the artsyist (?) of my characters so we could hit all the art museums along the way.
Lisa: Second, who would be most likely to:
*Have to hit every rest stop bathroom
Jess: Me, I have a bladder the size of a peanut.
*Whine about how long it’s taking to get where you’re going
Jess: Darius. He tends to be impatient and gets bored easy. In a car he couldn’t move around much and would always want to be there in an instant.
*Break wind with the windows rolled up
Jess: Trend, and he would think it was funny. He has a very wry sense of humor.
*Flip incessantly through songs on their music app
Jess: Larkspur definitely. She has a bit of trouble making up her mind sometimes and she would most definitely flip through songs and do it madly.
Lisa: If you could sit down to dinner with any author, past or present, who would you choose, and why? What are some things you’d want to chat about?
Jess: I think it would be interesting to have a conversation with Edgar Allen Poe. I would want to know what his inspirations were for his most famous works and why he was such a lonely man.
Lisa: If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three things you’d absolutely have to have?
Jess: Drinking water and food, a supply of paper and pencils for writing, and MacGyver to get me off, (the island).
Lisa: If you had to choose between becoming a superhero or supervillain, which would you choose and why?
Jess: I have to be a superhero. Who wouldn’t want to be?
Lisa: What would your superpower be?
Jess: It would be to be able to do anything I see on TV. Dance like Ginger Rogers, paint like Da Vinci, and do martial arts like Jackie Chan. If I can see it on the tube, I want to be able to do it.
Lisa: If James Corden invited you to Carpool Karaoke, what song(s) would you sing with him?
Jess: Happy by Pharrell Williams.
Lisa: If you could be any animal in the world, what would you choose? Why?
Jess: A black panther or just a cat in general. I love cats, I have two.
Lisa: If you could travel back in time, with all your years of experience and wisdom intact, what advice would you give to your teenage self?
Jess: To be proud of yourself and what you do. You’re lucky to have what you got and lucky to have the parents you have. Don’t, under any circumstances, let the bullies win. They are just insecure idiots who like to make others feel small. You will achieve a great deal and you should be proud of what you accomplish.
Lisa: If you were to sit down and write your autobiography today, what would the title be?
Jess: Shadows and Light: an Artist’s life
Lisa: Star Trek, Star Wars, both or neither? Explain.
Jess: Both! I’m a sci-fi nerd. Battlestar Galactica too TOS.
Lisa: If you could be any fictional character in the history of literature, who would you like to be and why?
Jess: Dr. Dolittle because I could talk to the animals.
Lisa: It’s the zombie apocalypse. It’s up to you and 5 other uninfected humans to save what’s left of humanity. Which fictional characters would you want on your team, and why?
Jess: Again, McGyver, Darth Vader, Mr. Spock, Dr. Strange, and Thor. Why would I pick this group of men? Well, McGyver because he can get you out of anything, Darth Vader because he could use the force and his light saber, Mr. Spock because I need logic (I have none). Dr. Strange because he’s the most powerful sorcerer in the world, and Thor because I need eye candy and he has a mighty hammer.
Lisa: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Jess, it’s been great spending some time with you!
About the Book
Book Title: Memory of Me (The Chronicles of Darius: Book Twelve)
Author: Jess Thomas
Buy Link: AMAZON
Cover Artist: Jess Thomas
Release Date: November 8th 2017
Genre: Gay Romance
Length: 101,506 words/353 Kindle pages
Blurb: Darius thought he could make it through anything, he was strong and had an inner strength that could pull him through the various trials of his life. However, his strength is going to be put to the ultimate test. Will he be able to cope when he realizes the weapon of destruction could actually be the one thing he lives for? Sometimes the greatest love is the greatest pain.
For the first time, everyone understands the prophecy told so long ago that Darius would be the end of the everything. The loss of white energy would destroy not only him but those he loved and the places he protected.
An ominous journey to beyond the here and now with two of the greatest powers of the universe is the only way to begin to right what has gone so sorely wrong.
Join Darius in his latest and most important adventure. The fate of so many not only depends on righting so many wrongs, but on understanding and forgiveness.
Memory of Me will thrill and excite you with its heart-rending story.
About the Author
Jess Thomas was born in the mid-west and she has a natural love for nature and animals. A gentle creature born to loving parents who believed in seeing the world for all its beauty, she learned the imperfections in life were something to be treasured and seen as a learning experience. An artist from an early age, she went to art school where she got a degree in drawing and painting, photography, and in Art Education. In 2009, she laid down her paintbrush and she picked up writing and channeling her creative energy in a fresh direction. A new writer, she pours sensitivity and her love of the world she has created into her emotions and the characters who live there.
Social Media Link: Facebook Author Page
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