Monday, November 3, 2008
Welcome Debut Author Jason Leary!
I'm thrilled to welcome debut author, Jason Leary to my blog today! Jason and I met in a writer's group a couple of years ago! Listen up people...this man is going places! You know when you read a new author's work and you just think...wow, this is really something special. You know when you're reading something a cut above, right? Well, Jason is one of those "something special" kind of authors. His writing is rare, raw and delicious. You'll want to get your hands on anything this master whips up, but first, Jas is here to answer a few questions and then he'll tease us with just a sliver.
Oh and Jas...I'll be there at your big debut party! Wouldn't miss it for the world! And if any of you out there in cyber land are in the area, swing by! Jason will be signing and I'll be cheering him on and drinking a ton of wine!
Details ~ The Big Launch Party
Where: WineStyles, 3040 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Suite 150, Grand Prairie, TX 75052
When: November 21st from 5:30 to 8:00
(Is that it? Only a tad over two hours? Pick a bar, Jas! We're going out after!)
Alisha: Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood? Favorite memories?
Jason: I was born in Arlington, raised in Grand Prairie. My brother, James, and I were very close growing up, near inseparable. He’s a firefighter in Duncanville now. We’re all really proud of him. My strongest memories are being actively involved in a local theatre in Cedar Hill. The Theatre on the Hill. I really loved that theatre. I still do, even though it’s not there anymore. I performed in many of their plays, my dad did as well. It was great family time. We were all involved, my dad, my mom, my brother and me. I learned a lot of what I know about story structure, dialogue, and exposition from those days in the theatre. Well, there and of course Spielberg movies, like any self respecting child of the 80’s.
Alisha: Gotta love the 80's! Tell us about the hero and heroine in your latest release.
Jason: CIA agent John Rappaport is really unique when you look at the types of heroes that usually populate this genre. Most of the time, you have a young man – strong and resolute in his ideals, but John is much older. He’s in his mid-sixties by the time the book has begun, and he’s been in the military and then the CIA almost his entire life so he’s very much a company man. He’s preparing for retirement and suddenly he’s told that he not only has to try and stop a possible apocalypse, but that he may, in fact, be involved in bringing it about it. It give a lot of depth and reality to his character. He’s not some super hero. He is a former military man, and CIA agent, but one of us. He’s vulnerable and takes the news better than most of us would, I think. He also has a very dark secret in his past that comes to light through the translation of the text.
Alisha: Oooh, do tell! If you were granted three wishes by a genie, what would they be?
Jason: I only need one – Happiness.
Alisha: If you could go anywhere to tomorrow, where would you go?
Jason: Great timing for this questions – I could really use a vacation right now, but I’m sure all authors are feeling a little burned out by the time their book releases. I just took a cruise through the Mediterranean last year and fell in love with it, especially Barcelona, Athens, and Rome. I’ll never forget seeing La Sagrada Familia. It’s the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen, not to mention unique. But I think my favorite places in the world to visit are Stockholm, Sweden and London. I love the weather in Sweden and the gorgeous countryside. And London is filled with such rich history tied in with the modern world. It reminds a lot of Italy in that way. Venice is definitely one of the cities I need to experience before I die, though!
Alisha: Sigh...I've always wanted to travel to Europe. If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be?
Jason: I’d really enjoy meeting and talking to Shakespeare, Plato, Socrates, or some of the other great thinkers of the world. I’d love to talk to Marie Antoinette, and learn her thoughts on the French Revolution and everything that had happened. I always felt she was treated very unfairly by history. John Adams, I’ve always felt that if America was the dream of just one man – it was his. Out of all our founding fathers I think he was the most responsible. If Thomas Jefferson supplied the words of the Revolution, then John Adams supplied the passion. Today, I would savor the opportunity to talk to speak with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kim Harrison, Stan Lee, Greg Rucka, James Cameron – They’ve all accomplished and created so much in their lives. I’d love to hear their thoughts on the art of storytelling and character. In terms of just hanging out – Kevin Smith would be so much fun! He’s got to be one of the funniest guys in the world.
Alisha: Wouldn't Kevin Smith be a total trip? If you could choose six people to spend one week on a desert island, who would it be and why?
Jason: If I’m going to be stuck on a desert island, I think I’d rather it be by myself – so that there are more people available to find me! Just kidding – But I would probably want to be stuck with Jeff Probst (Host of Survivor) He annoys the hell out of me, but he must of have learned something after all those years of Survivor. The professor from Gilligan’s Island – because, let’s face it, who doesn’t need a coconut radio, am I right? Renee Olstead – Because her voice is so soulful and beautiful. A master ship builder – so he can build us a raft to get off! The President of the United States – Because I’m pretty sure it would be a priority to find him. And one woman in particular who always has a way of making everything better with just a smile.
Alisha: We all need a coconut radio! If you had one day to spoil yourself, what would you do?
Jason: It’s been so long since I’ve had a chance to spoil myself, I don’t think I would know where to begin…
Alisha: If you could change one incident in your life, what would it be and how would you change it?
Jason: I’ve made many mistakes in my life that I wish I could change. Too many to choose just one. It’s best not to dwell on a past you’ll never be able to change. I’d rather look forward and try to live the rest of my the best way I can.
Alisha: What’s the sexiest thing a woman has ever done for you or said to you or both?
Jason: I don’t know how to answer this without revealing too much… I think I’ll choose to protect the mostly innocent…
Want to win an Autographed copy of "Harbingers of the Apocalypse"? Here is your chance! Click the link below and go to Contests, fill out the form on Jason's web site and put your answer to the trivia question in the "Comments" portion.
He'll choose one person at random from all the correct answers and that person will win an autographed copy of "Harbingers of the Apocalypse". The winner will be notified by email.
The deadline for entering is November 30, 2008. Only one entry per Email address.
According to the Ancient Mayan calendar, on what date will the world come to an end?
Excerpt from Harbingers of the Apocalypse
John sat at a table near the back of the clean room in stunned disbelief. His digesting food churned in his stomach.
The end of the world, John thought. It can’t be.
At first he was sure Zewail must have been exaggerating to emphasize the importance of this operation, but when he pressed him on it, Zewail verified that he was talking about the literal end of the world. Despite his best efforts, John’s mind just couldn’t accept it; the whole idea was preposterous.
It’s the thing of fairy tales, like something you’d see at the movies. It’s the kind of thing those cheap dime store horror novels make a killing off of. It’s not the kind of thing the government of the United States of America spends millions of dollars on trying to investigate and prevent. It’s just not.
Zewail saw the look of resignation in John’s eyes and sat next to him. As he spoke he used soft, even tones, trying to put the American as much at ease as was possible given the subject matter. “I know it’s a shocking bit of information. I felt the same as you when I realized the truth. You now know something that just thirty or forty people in the world know, but I want you to understand. You were assigned here to try and stop the apocalypse. The United States still thinks there’s hope.” Zewail took a slow, deliberate sip of his coffee before continuing, “As do I.”
“What happened? What did you find?” Zewail heard the manufactured steadiness in John’s voice. He had a lot of respect for the man. He knew John had seen many things in his life. He had enjoyed a distinguished career, and now he was being entrusted with what was, without a doubt, the most important mission in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Also it helped that so far he had taken the news much better than anyone had before.
Zewail chose his words with great care, trying not to add to the overwhelming burden already on John’s shoulders. “A little over three months ago, we made a discovery within this very cave. It wasn’t much, just twenty or so Egyptian burial jars each filled with rolled up pieces of delicate parchment containing ancient writing. Each of the jars was decorated exquisitely. Each a beautiful piece in its own right, but that’s not what caught our attention. What caught our attention was the writing. It was a language that had died out long ago.”
“Ancient Egyptian, right? Hieroglyphics?” John hazarded a guess.
Zewail shook his head slowly from side to side. “No. Ancient Hebrew.”
“Hebrew?” John asked. Zewail could tell he was very confused. “I didn’t think the ancient Egyptians spoke Hebrew.”
“They didn’t,” Zewail answered. “The Jewish slaves did, but the Egyptians did not. But what concerned us most was when we did the carbon dating on the parchment we discovered it’s not even from the right time period. We’re not talking about Modern Hebrew here. We’re talking about the original form of the language that was derived from a Phoenician script, rather than the modern version, which evolved from writing known as Proto-Hebrew or Early Aramaic. It is a language that’s been effectively dead for more than five centuries, but according to our carbon dating, the parchment is just one hundred to a hundred and fifty years old. To have hundred-year-old parchment, containing writing of a language that hasn’t been used for more than five hundred years, and buried in a room that has been undisturbed for five thousand years, is not just surprising, it’s impossible.”
Zewail paused a moment allowing this new information to sink in. “Nobody speaks this language anymore. Our computer translators are even having problems with it. They’re averaging just three words a second—that’s about a quarter as fast as it should be going. This language is obsolete.”
John was beginning to lose his patience with the man. “I get the point. What was written on the scrolls?”
“At first it appeared to be nothing important,” Zewail continued. “Burial rites, ancient incantations, but those were just the first few pieces of parchment we translated. After that, as we got deeper into the documents, we made some chilling discoveries. Some of the parchments contained texts from literature. There was some Shakespeare, some Plato, Socrates, there was even some Mark Twain, but nothing could have compared to what we found next.”
“What?” The hairs on John’s arms rose.
“A book titled, roughly translated, ‘The End of All Things.’ At first we didn’t think much of it. We thought maybe it was just another obscure work that none of us had ever heard of, but as we translated further we discovered that this was something very different. It was just a smaller portion of another larger book.”
“What book?” John asked, although he already knew the answer.
“The Bible. Written in the same perfect Hebrew the original pages of the Old Testament were written in.”
“So, basically this is just another Book of Revelations.”
“No.” Zewail was obviously frustrated that John wasn’t getting it. “No, it’s not. Revelations is full of symbolism. It is a parable. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not meant to be taken literally. Everything in it is symbolic of something else. It is possibly the most cryptic work of literature ever created, but this new book isn’t like that. It’s very straightforward, and it’s very detailed. It names the people, places, and dates that will figure into the world’s destruction. No more symbolism. No more guessing as to what it means.” Zewail paused, taking a moment to calm himself. “As soon as we realized what it was, we asked the United States for help, and they sent you.”
“Who are the people named in the text?” John asked.
“Well, it speaks of many historical figures.” Zewail spoke slowly, allowing John’s reeling mind an opportunity to catch up. “The Pharaoh Ahmose I and Moses, Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler, but then there are others... People who are living in this age and have no idea the part they will play in the destruction of the world.”
“Well, I can contact my people in Washington. If nothing else at least we can keep an eye the ones living in our time period,” John reasoned.
Zewail nodded. He was amazed at how John seemed to take the information in stride and was already prepared to work.
“I just don’t understand what it is you’re hoping I’ll be able to do,” John stated, frustrated and disappointed by his own uncertainty.
“Actually, we were hoping you could tell us.” Zewail spoke cautiously. “You see, you are one of the people named in the text."
I have serious chills! Wow! Thanks for visiting my blog, Jas! Congrats on your debut novel and thanks for being such a wonderful friend!