Author: Jay Verney
ISBN: Kindle: 9780987377906
ISBN: Paperback: 9780987377913
Page count: 228
Genre: Crime Fiction: Mystery/Thriller
Price: Kindle: $2.99; Paperback: $12.99
Jay Verney is an Australian writer who has published two previous novels, Percussion (University of Queensland Press), A Mortality Tale (Allen & Unwin, 1st Edition; UQP, 2nd Edition), and a stack of other stuff including essays, articles, memoir, opinion pieces, newspaper columns, movie reviews, poetry, short stories, and theses.
A Mortality Tale was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel and Miles Franklin Literary Awards, and Percussion got some pretty good reviews, too. Spawned Secrets is her third novel, and the first to be published as both an ebook and a paperback.
Jay has a PhD (in genre and crime fiction), and a Master’s degree (memoir) in Creative Writing from Queensland University. In 2009, she received a Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Thesis for her PhD. La-di-da and yippeekiyay, or exclamations to that effect. Seriously though, she was quite chuffed to receive the award and has it framed on her wall of – yes, framed things – at home. Occasionally, she shows it to her cat, Dotty, intending to pull her into line and create a sense of awe. So far, however, Jay remains the servant and Dotty the boss. The universe is as it should be.
Tell us about your book:
Spawned Secrets is a mystery/thriller based around the Global Financial Crisis and its aftermath. It focuses on a particular group of fraudster stockbrokers as they attend a getaway weekend at a rainforest retreat. What they don’t know is that they’re being stalked by an avenging assassin who has his own reasons for delivering payback.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
The Global Financial Crisis is in full swing. Banks and businesses are closing. Homes are foreclosed. Bernie Madoff has been arrested. Jobs and savings are lost forever. People are angry, very, very angry.
A group of disgraced (and disgraceful) stockbrokers are enjoying a rainforest getaway weekend as a severe storm front approaches. And a deadly secret blows in from their past, carried by a mystery stalker, ‘Guy Friendly,’ determined to execute each and every one of them with surgical precision and the wrath of an avenging demon.
Their only protection comes in the form of Garfield Fletcher, former ship’s cook, jilted lover, and now, fake private eye, courtesy of his ever-so-slightly-shady cousin, Henry Pinkert. The ink on Garfield’s newly printed Certificate of Accreditation is barely dry when he finds himself up against the mystery killer who will inspire the most difficult choices Garfield has ever had to make.
In Spawned Secrets, award-winning author, Jay Verney’s third novel, all of these ingredients, and more, come together for a surprising climax and aftermath, as old friends reunite in the strangest of circumstances, and new friends face tragedy and betrayal.
How long did it take to write the book?
Around three to four months of daily chapter writing and revision, after a period of researching the subject and developing characters, setting, themes, and so on. Then, more revision and re-drafting to get to the final draft – a few more months.
What inspired you to write the book?
Like most people, I was shocked and then angry about the Global Financial Crisis – its impact on so many innocent people who lost their homes, their livelihoods, their jobs and life savings, and in some cases, their lives. It negatively affected so many people around the world and still the after-effects continue to rumble through many economies. I thought it would be a great topic for a crime novel with a twist – use the GFC and a representative group of dodgy stockbrokers to develop a tale of revenge – the great thing about fictional payback is that it can be therapeutically cathartic but no-one gets harmed. So the GFC was my starting point.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
My writing routine, once I’ve done some research and planning, is to write for however long it takes to reach a set word count or number of chapters. In the case of Spawned Secrets, I wanted to draft at least 1,000 words a day. Sometimes this equated to about a chapter, but often I would write two or even three chapters if I was having a really good day. I didn’t hold myself to a maximum, only the minimum of 1,000. Some days it was quite a challenge, but you just have to plough on regardless. I think it was Graham Greene who said he would write 300 to 350 words a day without fail, and noted that at the end of a year, there would be another novel completed. Sounds easy, but we all know it definitely isn’t.
I did a lot of research by reading newspapers and magazines, Googling extensively, listening to radio programs and watching TV documentaries about the GFC, and keeping up with general news reports as the crisis unfolded. I’ve been a reader of crime fiction for a long time, and my first published novel, A Mortality Tale, has been shelved in crime fiction, religious and spiritual works (a misreading of the title, methinks!), and contemporary fiction. So it was fortunate for me that I had some runs on the board with the crime genre, both as an author and reader.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
My aim is always to entertain, and secondarily to provoke some thought and consideration of the characters, themes and ideas presented and how the storyline is executed. I love to get feedback from readers to find out what they enjoyed and what they’d like to see more (or less) of in future novels. I’d like to build a readership based on give and take and mutual respect.
Where can we go to buy your book?
I’m new to the indie/self-publishing venture, so initially I’ve joined Amazon KDP Select for the Kindle ebook and CreateSpace for the paperback. I hope to go further with other outlets once I get some experience and feedback.
Both ebook and paperback are available from the same page on Amazon. Just Google: Spawned Secrets Jay Verney, or use this link: http://www.amazon.com/Spawned-Secrets-ebook/dp/B00AFR554E
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
I have a website called Transient Total Focus at http://www.jayverney.net where I write about this, that and the other, mostly as they relate to reading, writing and publishing, with a few other tidbits thrown in.
Also, I maintain two poetry blogs. These are:
Veranda Life at http://www.verandalife.com and
Zen Kettle at http://www.zenkettle.wordpress.com
Excerpt from book:
From Chapter 4:
‘We offer a full service protective detail, Ms Harding.’
Henry had a punter, and he was lathering it on. Full service? What did that mean? Did you get fries with it, and a Margarita? I stood near the kitchen door waiting for a cue to enter.
‘I’m the senior specialist, of course, and as CEO, I supervise all operations and assign the staff most appropriate to your needs. Following a full analysis of your situation, of course.’
‘There’s nothing complex about this, Mr Pinkert.’
‘You’d be surprised how many people say that, Ms Harding. But as a former Homicide detective with 30 years experience in one of the country’s most crime-ridden cities, I can assure you that nothing is ever as simple as it appears.’
Henry would be smiling benevolently as he spoke, trying to invoke a sense of trust and authority, a man who’s seen it all. Hmm.
‘One person, Mr Pinkert, that’s all I need. Male, big, strong, and he should look as though he knows what he’s doing. Do they wear uniforms, your people?’
If male, big, and strong weren’t cues, I don’t know cues. I walked into Edie’s living-room, now Henry’s conference room judging by the fat round table and its six heavy wooden chairs.
Ms Harding was a top shelf example of corporate panache. Shining blonde hair in undulating shoulder length curls, face perfectly made up, but a little pale – the chic, sunless look. Navy blue suit, crease-free, snug around the hips and breasts, but not blushingly so.
‘Ah, Fletcher,’ Henry said, staring at me staring at Ms Harding, urging me to be a professional something-or-other. Not a trawler cook. ‘Ms Sarah Harding, Mr Garfield Fletcher, security expert and expedition leader.’
Expedition leader? Ms Harding offered me her hand. She had a firm grip, but it was cool and eager to withdraw after an obligatory two seconds. Fair enough.
‘How tall are you, Mr Fletcher? Six? Six-one?’
Ms Harding wasn’t curious about what kind of expedition leader I might be. She looked me up and down.
‘Six-two,’ I replied. ‘Six-three in heels.’ I smiled what I thought of as one of my beguiling, Magnum, P.I. smiles. Ms Harding dismissed me and turned to Henry.
‘I’ll need him tomorrow morning at 8.00, 167 Eagle, 13th floor.’ She turned back to me. ‘See you then, Mr Fletcher.’
‘Ms Harding, the contract.’ Henry tried to regain control of things.
‘Bring it with you, Mr Fletcher. Our CFO will sign and issue a cheque to Pinkert’s Protection and Investigation Systems and Services. That’s the correct name isn’t it? Anyway, it’s neither here nor there. The whole thing’s cosmetic, as I explained earlier, Mr Pinkert.’ She paused. ‘We’re good for it, you know. Things are grim for some, but we have fat to burn. We run responsible investment and hedge funds.’
There was such a thing as a responsible hedge fund? You learn every day. Not that I had more than the faintest clue about hedge funds.
At the door, she turned back to us. ‘Don’t forget the uniform, Mr Fletcher. Appearances are everything in my business. And you may need a raincoat, judging by the sky. I guess we’ll just have to play some indoor games over the weekend.’
‘Pardon?’ Henry said.
‘Good morning, gentlemen.’ She was gone.