Friday, January 3, 2014

Featured Author Interview - Jeffrey Perren

Featured Author
Jeffrey Perren

Jeffrey Perren is a novelist, educated in philosophy at UCLA and in physics at UC Irvine. He wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand.

Check out Jeffrey's two published novels, available on Amazon!

Death Is Overrated

Professor Thomas Payne didn't intend to wind up dead on his caving vacation to Wales, and in truth he wasn't the victim. But proving his identity to the police becomes tricky after they pull his passport off the body and conclude the deceased is Dr. Payne, no doubt.

Things go from bogus to baffling when a mysterious phone call at the crime scene leads to the arrest of the young scientist. His fate seems sealed when the victim's fingerprints match the professor's work visa and his employment records disappear altogether.

A tart-tongued American with no identity looks like a pretty good patsy to the detectives eager to close the case. Being accused of killing himself presents the brooding inventor with an interesting puzzle, but taking time to solve it from jail will threaten his deadline to file a patent worth millions.

Intervention by the smitten police captain's sculptress daughter frees Thomas to search for clues to prove his innocence before his invention goes up for grabs. So, it's off around the UK with Terri, one jump ahead of the authorities — and his estranged sociopathic father, a lapsed Quaker who may be the real killer. One slip and claustrophobia will be the least of his problems.

Thomas' journey soon becomes as much about healing his troubled past as recovering his present self. Along the way, he'll battle betrayals by his envious staff, romance the rebellious artist, and suffer harrowing misadventures at historic sites in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. 
Travel — even to find yourself — was never so perilous.

You can read our review for Death Is Overrated by clicking here!

Cossacks In Paris

Rebellious Breutier Armande, a rising young civil engineer in Paris, is drafted into Napoleon's Grande ArmeĆ© on the eve of the 1812 Russian campaign.

On a scouting mission in St. Petersburg he meets Kaarina, a Finnish mathematician and daughter of the counselor to Tsar Alexander. The pair soon fall in love. But Kaarina is betrothed to Agripin, a Cossack and a favorite of Tsar Alexander.

When she refuses him, Agripin kidnaps her, aided by Kaarina's envious twin sister, Kaisa. At a time of Europe's brief, uneasy truce, Breutier deserts Napoleon's army and the Tsar's employ to reclaim her. Dodging the vengeance of the world's most powerful rulers sends Breutier on a perilous quest to hunt down the era's most ruthless Cossack.

Interweaving the characters' personal dramas with the epochal events of the following two years forms the core of the story. Historically accurate, the novel climaxes at the moment when, for the first time in 400 years, foreign armies invaded France, leaving behind Cossacks in Paris.


Jeffrey Perren was kind enough to join us for an interview! We are excited to hear more about his fantastic novels, what inspires him to write, and any future projects! 

MBB: How long have you been writing, and what were your earliest inspirations? 

JP: I wrote my first short story at my first job in a barbershop at age 12. I've been at it one way and another ever since. Inspirations come in all forms but the early major ones were undoubtedly comic books and movies. I've always loved heroes.

MBB: What approach did you take to begin writing your first novel, Cossacks In Paris

JP: It helps to start with characters one finds interesting. In the case of "Cossacks In Paris" that was easy because he was a real person, a participant in the Battle of Paris in 1814. I found his actions extraordinary, as described in a news story published soon afterward. From there, I read a great deal about the period, practically none of which I knew already. Then, as the saying goes, a miracle occurred and a plot gradually developed around that character and those events. But, as a romantic writer, not a 'realist' in the modern sense, I wanted to do much more than relate interesting history. I wanted to show this character's struggles against powerful men in horrific circumstances, both conspiring to rob him of the opportunity to live and create as he wished. I saw many parallels to current events.

MBB: A fascinating story and characters. Your newest novel, Death Is Overrated, is a mystery set in romantic Wales. Please share with us a little about Death is Overrated

JP: "Death Is Overrated" had its genesis in an old film called DOA. The protagonist is poisoned and has 48 hours before dying to discover who gave him the fatal dose. I spun that idea into a scientist on a caving vacation who is accused – through mistaken identity – of killing himself. He has to prove he’s neither the victim nor the murderer. That, combined with my insatiable travel bug, led to the characters and plot of this romantic mystery.

MBB: Such a great story! Do your books require any special research or preparation to write? 

JP: Every single one does. It's an important part of the pleasure of writing one. That's obviously true for historical novels but it's equally true for all the rest. The characters are either scientists or some other creative profession that requires I dig into things I want to know more about. Also, they're usually in settings unfamiliar to me, at least in part. So, I do a lot of research to find out about those places, in order to describe them appropriately.

MBB: What do you like most about writing historical romance?

JP: I find the past infinitely interesting, the varieties of culture and people and the events they've endured, the glorious things they've created. At the same time, I'm a storyteller not an historian. I'm not interested in fictionalized history, in the sense of describing every detail just the way it happened. I prefer, to paraphrase Aristotle, to present things as they might be and ought to be. That naturally leads to a romantic view of things and, since love is an important part of that, a romance as part of the story. Besides, both are great hooks for drama. It provides stellar twin foundations for telling a compelling tale!

MBB: Do you have any advice for other writers who are just starting out?

JP: I’d say: try to lead an interesting life and be a careful observer as you go. I’ve had many adventures over the years and it has helped shape my mind and values. That can’t help but bleed into your writing!

It’s not enough to be a good writer. You must write something interesting, and to do that you have to make good selections of what to write and how. Any good novel is made up of dozens of such choices. 

MBB: Great advice! Thanks for sharing. What are your plans for future projects?

JP: I have a third novel in the final editing stages: "Clonmac’s Bridge". It’s a blend of history and mystery based on a real-life discovery. It should be published in a few months. 

“A maritime archaeologist raises a medieval monastery span from the mud of the River Shannon, sunken for 1200 years... and finds it perfectly preserved. What could account for this astounding longevity? And why are his colleagues, the Irish government, the media, and the Church conspiring to prevent him learning the secret? Griffin Clonmac will go through hell to find out.”

Next up, I have a 19th century medical drama of a young Irish woman who emigrates to America to become a physician, something very difficult to do at the time.

MBB: Both of these projects sound amazing! Finally, if you were stranded on a deserted island with all the published works of just one author, who would you choose? 

JP: The author of "How to Build a Great Boat Without Tools." Seriously, I doubt I could pick one, but if limited to one I'd have to say Alexander Dumas.

MBB: Ha! Great answer! Is there anything else you would like to add? 

JP: Yes. I’d like to say a very heartfelt thank you to anyone who has read and reviewed my work and to you for this interview. Also, an even larger Thank You to my wife, for being the divine woman she is and, yet, still choosing me.

That's very kind! Thank you, Jeffrey, for taking the time to visit Moonrise Book Blog, and for sharing with us your insight and experiences. We wish you the best in your future endeavors, and look forward to reading all your novels!

Contact Jeffrey Perren:

Interviewed by Stephanie


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