Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Interview Casey Doran, author of Jericho's Razor

Please welcome Casey Doran to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Jericho's Razor is published on April 25th by Polis Books.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Casey a Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Casey:  Thanks for having me. Writing is something that I’ve always done. I began by scribbling stories in notebooks that usually went unfinished and unread by anyone - probably because even then nobody could read my handwriting. When I was fourteen I got my very first Smith Corona typewriter for my birthday. The feel of sitting down in front of it, feeding a fresh sheet of paper and hammering away was the most awesome thing I’d experienced. I still didn't really know what the hell I was doing, but I was hooked. My family was always very supportive of my writing, but I probably owe the focus that I eventually developed towards being a writer to various teachers that I had over the years.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Casey:  I’d say that I run the gamut. Everything that I write starts out plotted, outlined and organized. My board will be filled with 3x5 cards that lay out the exact direction the book is supposed to follow. The problem is I’ve never been very good with directions and once I start typing everything takes a sharp detour into ‘How The Heck Did We Get Here?’ I’ve come to look at outlines the same way I do Christmas Decorations - Nice things that serve their purpose for awhile but will eventually be taken down without really affecting anything. I used to get frustrated when I couldn't plan a story every step of the way but I’ve learned to just let the plot develop the way it wants.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Casey:  I think just trusting the process. I still have tendencies to be something of a control freak so when a book doesn't fall in line I tend to get frustrated. Then I’ll question everything I’ve done up to that point and want to change everything. When that happens I’ve learned that the best thing to do is just walk away for while and focus on something else. Inevitably the solution will present itself. Not having everything mapped out is still intimidating but it’s like the old adage about writing being like driving in fog - you can only see a few feet ahead of you, but you can make it to end that way.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Casey:  I try to take inspiration from everything. Books. People. Music. Experiences. If I see something on the news or if a certain situation happens that makes me think about something in a certain way. The list of writers who inspire me grows every day with almost every book I read, even the ones I don’t like. Inspiration is everywhere, it’s all a matter of how you use it. Pop culture also plays heavily into my inspiration since Jericho is a movie buff and likes to crack out random quotes throughout the book.

TQDescribe Jericho's Razor in 140 characters or less.

Casey:  A new twist on a familiar story with an ending you won't see coming. (Hopefully)

TQTell us something about Jericho's Razor that is not found in the book description.

Casey:  I think Jericho’s Razor covers many themes, but mainly it’s about people who are just trying to deal with the situation they’re in while struggling to come to terms with events that have affected their lives. Nobody is an ex-commando or a psychic or in any way really exceptional. I think the overall normalcy of the characters helps make them more relatable.

TQWhat inspired you to write Jericho's Razor? Your main character is a horror writer. How much do you draw on your own experience as a writer in crafting Jericho Sands?

Casey:  The inspiration for Jericho’s Razor began with a documentary I watched about cults late one night. I started to imagine what it would be like for a person to grow up in that kind of situation. Then I imagined the worst possible exodus that person could have and how it would affect the rest of their life. Jericho was raised in a heavily abusive and isolated environment. He never had to interact with society at large until he was a teenager and by then he was notorious. His decision to write horror novels, specifically a main character who he uses an avatar for his baggage, all stems from that. It certainly explains his position on authority figures and why he can be overly confrontational to almost self-destructive degrees.

I don’t really draw much from my own experience for Jericho since we’re both so different. He’s constant chaos and movement and stimulus. He can't write without a glass of Jack to one side, a burning cigarette to the other and something loud playing in the background. He’s the embodiment of Henry Chinaski saying that nobody who could write worth a damn could ever write in peace.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Jericho's Razor?

Casey:  Since I’m still pretty much a newbie, research is one of the areas I’m still working on. I did some background into cults and police procedure but mostly I just winged it and let the book be more character driven than fact driven. As a reader I tend to skim sections that seem bogged down with extraneous information, so I tried to follow Elmore Leonard’s advice and leave those parts out.

TQPlease tell us about Jericho's Razor's cover.

Casey:  The artist responsible for that amazing cover is Adrijus Tuscia. When I first saw the proof I literally leapt out of my chair. Readers will instantly recognize the scene from which Adrijus got the inspiration for the cover and I’m sure they’ll agree that he did a phenomenal job of capturing the essence and tone of the moment.

TQIn Jericho's Razor who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Casey:  Jericho is probably the easiest character to write since he’s the driving force behind the narrative and he and I have common ground. We both have some bad habits that we let get the better of us. We’re both probably a little too sarcastic for our own good at times. I’m not sure who the hardest character to write was, but the most fun ‘character’ to write is actually Doomsday. I had no idea he would be so popular but many of the reader reviews make a point to mention him. They’ll be happy to know that Jericho’s temperamental Boxer will have an even larger role in books to come.

TQWhich question about Jericho's Razor do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q - Is the ending the one that you first envisioned when beginning the book?
A - Not remotely!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Jericho's Razor.


“You didn't recognize him?”
“No. The missing head made recognition difficult.”

TQWhat's next?

Casey:  Book Two in the Jericho Sands series titled The Art of Murder will be released later this year. I feel it’s a much more complex and developed installment with higher stakes and bigger shock value. We’ll get to know the characters a little better while also saying goodbye to some of them. I’m currently finishing Book 3 in the series which will lead almost directly into Book 4.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Casey:  Thank You. The pleasure was all mine.

Jericho's Razor
Jericho Sands 1
Polis Books, April 25, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

Horror writer Jericho Sands has had a hell of a month. He's endured a bitter break up with his punk rocker girlfriend, learned that his lungs are blacker than a coal mine, and served time in county jail for throwing a United States Congressman in a dumpster. He's heartbroken, sleep deprived and suffering from a debilitating case of writer's block

Life is about to get much worse.

Somebody from Jericho's past has left a decapitated body on his doorstep. The similarity to methods used in his books, his lack of an alibi and his proximity to the victim all lead the detectives handling the case to quickly identify Jericho as the primary suspect.

But being framed for murder is the least of Jericho's problems, because this killer is only getting started. The mysterious executioner known as 'The River City Slasher' has made it clear that more innocent people will be killed before Jericho himself is the final victim. Unable to trust the cops, Jericho is forced to examine the darkest parts of his own psyche to catch a killer, save innocent lives, and free himself from his own guilt. When Jericho finally learns the identity of the killer terrorizing the city, it shocks him in ways he was unprepared for, causing him to doubt all he holds to be true, including his own judgment and motivations.

The first book in the Jericho Sands series, Jericho's Razor heralds the debut of a phenomenal new thriller writer in Casey Doran.


The Art of Murder
Jericho Sands 2
Polis Books, August 15, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

Jericho Sands has spent the past nine months in Mexico getting in bar fights with shark poachers, drinking tequila and listening to wolves howl outside the walls of the beachfront shack he’s been calling home. He’s living completely ‘off the grid’; no power, no phone, nothing but nagging questions about who he is and how far he allowed himself to fall for a woman who proved to be a serial killer hell-bent on revenge. He’s struggled with his decision to let Alyssa Jagger live. Was it because he realized that revenge does not equal justice? Or did he spare her life because deep down, in a dark place he doesn’t want to explore, he allowed himself to fall for her and could not bring himself to be her executioner.

Jericho’s self-imposed exile is ended when he learns about the murder of his best friend and father figure, Gus Tanner. Gunshots fired in a dark alley force Jericho back to the city he left behind and he soon discovers that a new killer is making himself known, a daring young painter who uses the blood of his victims as the medium for his works of art. The butcher who the media dubs ‘The DaVinci of Death’, leaves his handiwork on the front door of a new art gallery and demands that it be displayed, or else more macabre works will follow. Katrina Masters, the owner of the gallery and Jericho’s old flame, refuses to be blackmailed, enraging the killer who is determined to make the town appreciate his talents. Even if it kills them all.

While facing the fallout from everything he left behind, Jericho must also deal with a new police chief with a personal vendetta, detectives who prove incapable of stopping the killer, his resurrected feelings for Katrina Masters and his conflicted feelings for Alyssa Jagger. To find the killer, Jericho must continue going down roads he does not want travel. He must commit to choices that will forever determine who he truly is. And this time, there will be going back.

About Casey

Casey Doran is the author of the Jericho Sands series (Jericho’s Razor, The Art of Murder) published by Polis Books. When not writing he enjoys running, collecting vinyl albums and watching his favorite football team loose. A California native, he now lives in Illinois with his teenage daughter and a nine pound Jack Russell possessed by the devil. He invites you to follow him on Facebook and Twitter at @cpdoran.


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