03 July, 2014

#Interview with JB Von Preysing, #Author of The Long Winter

JB Von Preysing (1984- ) was born in Rockville Centre, NY, the middle child of five. He moved at the age of six to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and by the time he graduated high school, his family had bounced between New York, Virginia and Florida. He went to the University of South Florida for a theater degree, but realized it wasn't the path he needed to take. Since 2006, he's lived in Chicago, Portland, Brooklyn, Tampa, and the countrysides of Virginia and Georgia as he developed his skills in the art of storytelling.

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How did your life as a writer begin? 
You could say it started at a young age. I always had a very vivid imagination when I was younger. I would sit in the back of my parents' car, drawing space battles with aliens in the foggy windows while we waited for my dad's train into New York City. I still have six notebooks of ridiculously outlandish tales that I wrote when I was six or seven. In college, I started writing screenplays for film and stage, as well as a few short stories, but never really attempted to write a novel until "The Long Winter."

What makes you feel inspired to write? 

A good day. A beautiful woman. A good day spent with a beautiful woman. An adventure-filled evening with friends. Inspiration can come out you from any number of ways; you just have to hope you have a pen on you when it does.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 

I was living in Chicago at the time. The year I lived there, it snowed for six months. I spent the majority of that time period drinking with friends or watching old movies like "The Third Man" or "The Big Sleep." One day in March, we had a "heat wave", and I woke up to 60 degree weather. I only lived about a half mile from my job at a vintage clothing store, so I took the opportunity to walk to work with no coat on. I worked for six hours that day, and it rained, sleeted, hailed, and finally snowed. There was about three inches on the ground by the time we closed. Both me and my boss were unprepared for the weather, so we both borrowed coats from the store. I took a black peacoat from the racks and trudged my way through the whipping wind and snow. As I crossed Addison and Halsted, I got a visual idea in my mind of a man in a fedora briskly walking through a winter storm on his way to God knows where. From that moment came Jim Lloyd, private detective.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of writer? 

I outline to start, but I don't hold myself to it. Sometimes a character can surprise you, and takes the narrative in a different direction. I always let the characters dictate the actions. Forcing it rarely works, in my experience.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why? 

It's difficult to pick out one. My first pick would be the final scene, but I don't want to dish out spoilers. I'd say my next favorite scene would be Jim Lloyd's first encounter with Justice McCray. The Justice has one of my favorite monologues comparing private detectives like Lloyd to ticks. It gives a glimpse into the heart of high society politics, and it also shows just how much of a wise crack Lloyd can be.

What is your usual writing routine? 

I like to write at night, for the most part; less distractions. The rest of the process depends on what I'm writing. Sometimes I'll have music on in the background, if I have a particular song or style of music in mind for the scene. Mostly, I'll just have a drink and a smoke near me while I hammer away on my keyboard.

Who is the one author that you would like to meet someday and why? 

All of my writing idols are dead, unfortunately: Hunter S. Thompson, Robert Jordan, Douglas Adams, to name a few. I would like to meet George R.R. Martin just ask him if he actually has a game plan for his novels, or if he will continue to string his readers along for as long as HBO wants to keep the show on the air. They're still waiting for winter and dragons.

What would be the dream cast for your book if it was to be turned into a movie? 

I've thought about this quite a bit actually. The book started off as a screenplay, and it is my intent to make it into a film in the future. I'll just include the top five characters I would definitely hope for: 
- Jim Lloyd: Chris Pine
- Charlie Schneider: Travis Fimmel
- Justice McCray: Christopher Walken
- Jean Scarborough: Alison Brie or Jennifer Lawrence 
- Sergeant O'Hara: Nick Offerman

What do you have in store next for your readers? 

Either the prequel to "The Long Winter", which would feature Charlie Schneider and Freddy Adams, or a sequel involving Jim Lloyd. There are other ideas for stories fermenting in my brain right now, but none are very far along in development, at present.

During the winter of 1950, private detective Jim Lloyd finds himself deep in the hole in Capitol City. Money is tight, he's behind on his bills, and his last job won't be paying out. He thinks he finally caught a break when a seemingly simple job falls into his lap. All he has to do is find an old friend of his, a gimpy musician named Freddy Adams, and he'll be rewarded handsomely. Unfortunately for Jim, he's not the only one looking for his old pal Freddy. 

Lloyd tracks Freddy down and tails him to a train station. That's where things go sideways. A shootout erupts at the station, and a few days later, Freddy turns up dead in the river, riddled with bullets. Jim finds himself neck deep in high society politics, but against his better judgement, he starts poking around about Freddy's murder. 

Lloyd knows he's out of his depth, and yet, even as he attempts to track down a violent killer during one of the worst snow storms in Capitol City history, he can't stop himself from trying to figure out the answer to one very simple question: Who killed Freddy Adams, and why?

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