It's raining books!! Well, book tours, anyway. Okay, no rain either, but The Drunken Penguin and I are excited to be a part of the Possess Kickoff Tour with J.A. Howell! The Penguin actually sobered up for this one...but he fell off the bandwagon, hijacked a spaceship from the Men in Black, and took of into space again, so sadly, no appearance again. We're going to have fun anyway, though! Author J.A. Howell has graced us with lots of info and even an interview! So let's get on with this stop on the Possess Kickoff Tour!!
Book 1: Possess
Stumbling off the bus in Midtown, Harley Martin thought she found an escape from her old life.
She soon realizes it was anything but that.
Low on cash and options, she manages to find herself a cheap but surprisingly nice apartment. The catch? The last tenant, Brody Walsh, killed himself.
Or did he?
As disturbing dreams and hauntings start to occur, Harley realizes there may be much more behind the previous tenant’s death than a simple suicide. She finds her life further entangled with his when she learns that her new boss, Nolan, was also his best friend. Could this handsome but evasive pub owner have something to do with Brody’s death?
Trying to piece together the events surrounding Brody’s death proves to be a daunting task, but Harley can’t give up. Brody won’t let her. He is still in the apartment with her, trapped in limbo until she finds his killer.
But he’s not waiting for revenge.
Word Count: 84,634
Okay, can I just start by saying this cover is badass? Seriously, everyone says "Don't judge a book by its cover" but let's face it, we do. If it looks boring and drab, it blends into the crowds and we pass it over. This cover, however, stands out and grabs your attention. It demands to be read, or at the very least for you to give it a chance. My compliments to both the author and the artist for this exquisite cover.
Book 2: The Untimely Death of Brody Walsh
Brody Walsh’s life is left in disarray when his girlfriend is found brutally raped and murdered. But it completely shatters when his best friend, Nolan is arrested for the crime.
Even as the media is portraying him as a monster, Brody knows Nolan isn’t capable of murder.
That leaves the question: Who is?
Once the trial begins, Brody discovers just how little he knew about his girlfriend, spurring him to dig into her past for possible answers. And as Aggie, his long time confidant and childhood crush, stands by his side through all of this, he finds his own past resurfacing when his feelings for her reignite. But as the media and the prosecutors close in on Nolan, ready to convict him for a crime he didn’t commit, Brody will be forced to make a choice.
A choice that will lead to his untimely death.
Word Count: 31,000
Again, I just have to compliment the cover art. Both books just scream intrigue, and I am completely impressed! All the minute details down to the eye color that is both strange and draws you in makes you question whether or not you could afford to pass on this book, even if it's not your typical genre. Very well done!
Now, for the interview and a bit about the author!!
DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person!
Howell: I’m a crazy 28 years old Italian girl, married, and my favorite color is green. Random fact about me: I’m sometimes a bit of a thrill seeker. When I was a baby, not even able to walk I went down two flights of stairs in my walker. Didn’t flip once and while my mother was screaming in horror I was apparently giggling at the bottom of the stairs. I feel this explains a lot about me.
DSP: That is AWESOME. Well, it's nice to meet you, daredevil! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?
Howell: I love a good ghost story so I decided I wanted to write a book about a girl that moves into a haunted apartment. Things just sort of developed from there.
DSP: Ghost stories are always wonderful. So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc
Howell: I am lucky enough that we have an extra bedroom in the house that I painted lime green and converted to my home office/craft room (I sometimes get crafty and make things aside from books), so generally I go in there, put on some music to match the mood/feel of what I’m writing and drink lots of tea.
DSP: How awesome! I converted my spare room to an office too, but my cats decided to take it over and I got moved to the living room. Okay tell us, who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with.
Howell: Hands down, I love Brody. Though I love all my characters, Brody sort of surprised me and became my favorite. I only meant for him to just be the ghost in Possess but he sort of became a bit more than that. Hence, he got his own novella, and is hanging around as a ghost in book three.
As far as the one I had the most trouble with, Harley. It’s obvious in the beginning of the story that something very bad happened to her, but I also didn’t want her focus to be on that so I had to edit out quite a bit. I wanted her to be strong despite those things and focus on the present and attempting to build her new life in Midtown.
DSP: Very cool. Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?
Howell: I make a general outline, but even that shifts a lot as I dig into writing. I also make a generalized bio of the main characters. I also had to plan out what was and wasn’t possible as far as my ghost goes. As far as any other prep work, I tend to do a lot of research as I write. For example, researching injuries and healing time was a big thing in Possess.
DSP: That makes a lot of sense. Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?
Howell: Oh yeah. The next book, Book three, Possess My Heart, is going to follow Aggie, directly after the events in Possess. Her friends send her off to Scotland in hopes of getting back the old, happy Aggie that was around before things with Brody resurfaced. As to what happens in Scotland, well you will just have to wait and see. I can’t tell you about the books after that just yet but there will definitely be more to this Saga.
DSP: Excellent news! Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser?
Howell: I will be putting out the sequel to my first book, Mistaken, sometime soon as well (it’s finished but I need to dig into editing). It’s called Deliver and also has roots in Midtown but is not a paranormal story. It’s more in the thriller/suspense genre and has some angry drug cartel members looking for revenge.
I will also be following The Possess Saga with another series that spins off of it and follows one of the characters you will meet in Possess My Heart. Aggie’s cousin, Grant Walker. His series will be diving deeper into the supernatural world hidden within Midtown.
DSP: Again, exciting stuff here! Who is your greatest inspiration to write? What person makes you believe in yourself, and how?
Howell: This is a tough one for me. I feel like a lot of people inspire me. Other authors as well as family, friends, and loved ones. I think one of my biggest inspirations came in middle school when my seventh grade teacher took a special interest in my writing. I didn’t think much of it at the time. In eighth grade I lucked out and had an equally awesome English teacher that when I told her I wanted to be an author she gave me a book on how to get published. I like to think these two had a big influence on me continuing to write and despite trying to do something else with my life, always returning to writing.
DSP: Wow, you picked it up at a pretty early age then! Kudos to you and your English teachers! Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?
Howell: I try not to compare myself to anyone else, but I’d like to be able to just write for a living and live a comfortable (not luxurious!) life. Admittedly though, I wouldn’t mind seeing one of my stories turned into a movie.
DSP: I love it when authors want to stand out. You have some great aspirations, and who could fault you for that? So what has been the biggest high since becoming a published author?
Howell: When I hear from readers that truly enjoyed the story I wrote or that it touched them in some way. That brings a big smile to my face every single time it happens.
DSP: That is truly awesome. Now, touching into the insanity just a bit, have you named the computer you use for writing?
Howell: Yes! I’m going to release my inner nerdiness and share this with you. I nicknamed my computer Navi, after Lain’s computer in Serial Experiments Lain. It’s an awesome Anime series, but one of those that you can’t really explain what it’s about aside from that it’s awesome.
DSP: A little insanity every now and then gets the creative juices flowing, and nerds are IN this season! Has becoming an author changed you, or the way you think about certain things? If so, how?
Howell: I am almost always thinking about something to do with my current work in progress and when I’m in my car I get the most ideas for things so I tend to play music in my car to make me think of the current characters and stories and I rather enjoy long drives alone because I tend to work out issues with my stories and characters then.
DSP: Oh, that's helpful! So on the flip side, what is your greatest fear about being an author?
Howell: Running out of ideas? Though that doesn’t seem to be in short supply right now. J
DSP: Haha, as is such the life of a writer. Which of the characters in your book do you feel is the most like yourself, and in what way?
Howell: If I had to pick, I’d say Aggie, if only for her mischievous smirks and the teasing she puts Harley and Nolan through in regards to their growing attraction for each other.
DSP: From the first word to the moment it became available for purchase, how long did it take you to write and publish this most recent novel?
Howell: Possess I started back in July of last year, so eight months. The Untimely Death of Brody Walsh, I wrote in December, but that one is much shorter.
And now, for something completely different…some slightly off-the-wall and possibly irrelevant questions just for fun that will help us get to know you a bit better!
DSP: Are you planning to bring sexy back?
Howell: Yes. All the sexy must be brought back!
DSP: If you could be any cartoon character for 24 hours, who would you pick and why?
Howell: How many ridges are there around a quarter?
DSP: What are your thoughts on string?
Howell: This thread seems relevant to my interests.
DSP: Boxers or briefs?
Howell: Both. Boxer briefs!
DSP: Thong, g-string/v-string, or other? If other, please explain.
Howell: Boy shorts. They show off the female badonkadonk very nicely.
DSP: Do you have any tattoos? If so, how many, what are they, and where are they on your body? (PG-13)
Howell: I have 11. Going from head to toe: The sign for scorpio on my neck, a raven on my shoulder, a dragonfly on my chest, mine & the hubby’s song along with a cartoon me on one arm and stars on the other side of that same arm, a fairy and Jai Guru Deva Om tattooed on the other arm, a tramp stamp with flowers and stars, a heart on my bum, a puffin on my ankle and more stars on the top of my foot.
DSP: Would the 8-year-old version of yourself kick your ass or praise you for what you’ve done with your life?
Howell: My eight year old self would probably think I’m pretty awesome and not be so worried about growing boobs anymore.
DSP: What is the last song you listened to?
Howell: Dropkick Murphys “State of Massachusetts”
Definitely a lot of fun with this interview. J.A. Howell has a lot of fun and it shows!
And now for a brief bio about the author:
J.A Howell is an office drone by day, and a writer by night. Her love of writing took off when she was eleven years old and decided to fill a composition notebook with stories to read to her friends. Many years (and notebooks) later, not much has changed. She still loves writing and sharing her works with others. When she isn’t writing, she can often be found trying her hand at whatever artistic pursuit strikes her fancy. J.A. Howell resides in Apopka, FL with her husband and their menagerie of animal children.
Awesome!! So by now, you're surely wondering where you can find out more information and where to buy the books. Good news, everybody! Read on for all the links for J.A. Howell and her books!
Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferHowlz
Series Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ThePossessSaga
Well, I think that just about wraps it up for our visit with author J.A. Howell. The Drunken Penguin and I wish you nothing but the best of luck with your books, my dear. It's been a true pleasure having you here today, and many thanks for letting us be a part of your phenomenal book tour!!