I am thrilled to bring you my first author interview and what better way to kick it off than with the intelligent and hilarious Jake Devlin, author of the Devlin Series. First up, I bring you the interview then scroll down for links to buy Devlin’s deliciously hilarious books and to find out more about him. His new release, Devlin Sub Rosa, is available now on Amazon, links provided further down the page. Also, please stop by Jake’s page here, where you can purchase all of his books and if you’re from Florida, you can find out more about the launch Party and charity auction for Jake’s next book! There are REALLY cool things to bid on!
Interview with author Jake Devlin:
What inspired you to write your first book?
I just got fed up with the corruption, stupidity and partisan wrangling of the US Congress, and with the ignorance and stupidity of voter conversations I heard and overheard around the 2008 and 2010 elections. Then I wondered how that all might be fixed, but the best I could come up with was a nonpartisan dictator who would run the country using common sense and solid business practices. That started as a letter to the editor and then evolved (or devolved) into a long and incredibly boring essay.
But then I thought back to my playwrighting days, mixed in some assassination plots and related subplots, a second layer of fiction, some offbeat, complex characters with secrets to hide, some comic relief (actually, a LOT of that), some obligatory gratuitous erotica, and the novel developed … as the first of what will be four books in the series, the third of which just came out (November 2014).
How did you come up with book titles?
Let’s see. I changed the cover color and title of the first book after either 48 or 49 of them were sold. The original title was The Donne Deal, a play on the dictator’s name (Gordon Donne), but that didn’t sound too pizzazzy, so it became The Devlin Deception. Now, before you start thinking “What an ego trip, using his own name in the titles,” I must tell you that “Jake Devlin” is not only a pseudonym (my real first name is Bob; boring), but with the second layer of fiction, he is both the author and a main character.
I almost changed the name of the second novel as a result of a typo, from Devlin’s Defiance to Devlin’s Deviance, but after a month or so of semi-serious consideration, I stuck with Defiance. (Of course, some of my readers felt that Deviance would have been more appropriate, particularly if they read the online erotic portion. Lots of prudes and pseudo-prudes out there.)
Then, since the third book reveals most of the characters’ secrets, past and present, Devlin Sub Rosa just fit. I’m still sorting out the title for #4, but leaning toward either Devlin’s Dilemma or Devlin’s Demise? with the question mark in the title. Something alliterative again, f’sure.
Your books contain a huge knowledge of both politics and espionage – how long did it take to research everything?
As for the politics, that was just a lifetime of paying attention and digging a little deeper than most people do. On the espionage side, I can neither confirm nor deny how, where, when or with whom I did my research. (But I do need to constantly reassure the American CIA and British MI6 that my work is really, really, REALLY fiction. Okay, guys?)
Some of your characters have an interesting and hilarious way of talking. Was coming up with their dialogue a painstaking process?
Sometimes it was. Since I do much of my writing in a notebook on a public beach, and I would speak the dialogue out loud before putting pen to paper, I would get funny looks from strangers, while those who know me would just chuckle and paraphrase Reagan: “There he goes again.” I have to admit I had a huge amount of fun (and occasional frustration) with the Amish alternate epilogue in the first book und viz ze Cherman ecksent is ze sird vun.
Having read your books, I spent a lot of the time laughing. Do you find adding humor difficult? (I do!)
Actually, I have to restrain myself and leave a lot of humor out. If you can consciously bend the way you look at the world, as I do, you can always — ALWAYS — find something absurd, funny or downright hilarious in any situation (or insert it). But I often ask myself, “Do I really dare to put THAT in?” And most of the time (perhaps too much of the time, those selfsame prudes would say) my answer is “Oh, what the hell. Put it in.”
You use a lot of places in Bonita Springs, Florida, plus many other exotic locations around the world in your books. Have you traveled to all of those?
Only a very few. Google Earth is a wonderful tool. As for Bonita Springs, I’ve lived there for the last 20+ of my 68 years, so I was able to put some local color into the books, but changing the names (e.g., Sneaky Pete’s became Slinky Joe’s), but I got permission to use Fishbuster Charters and Master Bait & Tackle, so I did. (The latter was opening around the time I moved here from up north, and the letters to the editor about that name were hysterical … in both senses of the word.)
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Just one thing. I had a pretty cool assassination technique that I was saving to use in the fourth book (attaching a guy to a helium weather balloon and letting it fly), but just after Sub Rosa came out, a TV show (which shall remain nameless) used it. So I wish I’d put it in Sub Rosa first. Other than that, I’m okay with it as it is. (But I must say that the complexity/confusion in Chapter 108 is deliberate.)
Can we look forward to more Jake Devlin books?
Just the fourth one with him as a main character. But I’m toying with the idea of a spinoff series featuring the Mimosa Twins, and those will have to be written using the Jake Devlin pseudonym (since that’s the brand that’s getting built).
Finally, if you could give any piece of advice to a new writer – what would it be?
Just one piece? I guess before you put a single word down, develop a marketing plan, and start building a team to help you promote your work and build your brand. Oh, also get as comfortable as you can with public speaking. And social media. You’re most likely (99.99% probability) going to be self-published, so everything is on your shoulders. And keep your day job.
One more bit: I found one of Ernest Hemingway’s quotes helpful: “Write drunk, edit sober.” Since I don’t drink, I had to modify that some, but the basic idea works … at least for me.
A great interview there from Jake, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Now, onward we go to a look at the series!
Book 1: The Devlin Deception
When Jake Devlin, a mellow, laid-back beach bum, begins writing a controversial novel about Gordon Donne, a reclusive, iconoclastic billionaire who buys the United States and sets out to fix all of its problems on behalf of “We, The People,” he knows that Donne’s autocratic but well-thought-out and common-sense policies will rub corrupt politicians, lobbyists, businessmen, televangelists, speculators, union and mob bosses and hundreds of other greedy power players the wrong way … dangerously so.
But when Jake is confronted on the beach in Bonita Springs, Florida, about his background and motives for writing the book, little does he know that his relaxed lifestyle will inexorably be driven into confusion,chaos, paranoia (for good reasons) and a few unbelievably exotic interludes.
A black helicopter, assassination plots, death threats, betrayals, extortion, bribery, ditzy beach bunnies and scrumptious brownies complicate his life and embroil him in a complex web of intrigue with a beautiful woman who may or may not be haunted by a deep, dark and painful secret.
But is Jake carrying his own deep and possibly dark secret? Begin your journey through this absurdist blend of fiction and reality (and some obligatory gratuitous eroticism) and see for yourself.
Book 2: Devlin’s Defiance
This sequel begins about a week after “The Devlin Deception” ends, with many of the familiar characters (and several new ones) from that novel in multiple new adventures.More action, more erotica, less politics, and more fun than in “The Devlin Deception.”
Like that novel, much of the story in this one is set in and around Bonita Springs, Florida, but also in many, many MANY other exotic locales around the world.
The author continues to play with the boundaries between fiction, reality and more fiction (like that’s a surprise!).
We don’t want to say more here, since this book IS a spoiler for that one, and we strongly suggest that you read it before you start in on this one.
And Now for Devlin Sub Rosa, sequel and prequel to The Devlin Deception and Devlin’s Defiance
A sequel AND prequel to the first two novels in the series,with most of the characters who remain after the carnage of “Devlin’s Defiance.” (Oops. Was that a spoiler? Hmm. Not really — well, mostly not really.)
Like those novels, parts of the story in this one are set in and around Bonita Springs, and the author continues to play with the boundaries between fiction, reality and more fiction (again, not much of a surprise). But in this one, not only does he “push the envelope,” as the old saying goes, he gleefully leaps far beyond it.
And the reasons behind the author’s use of a pseudonym may be revealed, in spite of his objections. (Hint: The CIA and/or NSA may be interested in this … or perhaps not. After all, these novels ARE total fiction — well, mostly.)
About the Author
“Jake Devlin” is the pseudonym of a passively gregarious (and very wise) twenty-plus-year resident of the city of Bonita Springs, Florida, nestled between Naples and Ft. Myers on the beautiful blue-green Gulf of Mexico.
His 45-year background as an actor, playwright, director, television writer and producer, investor, trader, court reporter and in defense intelligence and security (he can’t discuss that any further) gives him a unique perspective on the world (no more nor less unique than anybody else’s, of course, but most assuredly different), and he brings that (along with his ongoing sense of amusement at it all) to his writing and to his life.
He enjoys challenging readers’ brains and tickling their funnybones, and he gleefully rides roughshod over literary clichés and conventions while gently seducing his readers into emotional roller-coaster rides, with mind-bending twists and turns, in all of his work (well, in most of it, to be accurate).
Happily retired and gloatingly distant from his earlier domiciles in northern climes, he sets his novels in and around the placid beaches of Bonita Springs, with hopes (on a MUCH smaller scale, of course; he doesn’t take himself too seriously) to do for Bonita what Randy Wayne White has done for Sanibel with his Doc Ford books: put it on the literary map.
As for influences, he points to White, Dorsey, Fitzhugh, Buffett, Clancy, Laffer, Pirandello, Rollins, Grisham, Eisler, Hicks, Cussler, Machiavelli, McElhatton, Brown, Baldacci, Borge and hundreds of other economists, authors, philosophers, traders and comedians, most of whose names he’s QH’d (Quarterheimered; forgotten). Oh, Ludlum, too. And whatsisname …ah, right. Shakespeare. And Pinter and the other … oh, Beckett. Seinfeld, too. And Friedman, Monty Python and the Smothers Brothers.
He ages mostly comfortably (other than that Quarterheimer’s thing) in Bonita Springs (at least when he’s on his meds; when he’s not, he writes).
(By the way, that parenthetical about his meds is just a joke; he only takes a multivitamin and an aspirin each day. But he does use self-defecating humor often; he just can’t resist it. And please don’t inquire further into his work in the intelligence/security fields. He knows seventeen ways to kill using just his earlobes.)
(Oops; that was a typo; it’s actually only seven ways.)
You can follow Jake Devlin on Twitter by clicking the icon below.