Q&A with Russell Blake
Q: How does JET II differ from JET?
RB: I think it's got more depth. Same pace, a ton of action, but it goes deeper, is more atmospheric and textural in the descriptions, and a hair grittier. And we learn more about Jet's character as the book develops.
Q: Where is this character going?
RB: I grew up on TV shows like Kung Fu, where David Carradine played a character who was searching for peace, always trying to glide through the world without friction, and yet was forced by circumstance into situations that turned deadly. I sort of have that same vision for Jet. A woman in search of her tranquil spot in the sun, who is constantly driven to revisit the ugly side of herself she tried to leave behind. It's not so much about the destination, as the process.
Q: You've been accused of writing these novels in too cartoonish a manner. How would you respond?
RB: The JET books aren't intended to be deep explorations of the human condition, and are intentionally overblown and bombastic. I'm not going for nuance here. I wanted to write a kick-ass female protagonist who took names and brought the hurt when she had to. This isn't Sophie's Choice. If you want more realism, go buy a Nicholas Sparks book and wait for everyone to die. This is a female Bond. A female Bourne. It's Kill Bill. It's La Femme Nikita. Deal with it.
Q: That's not a very sympathetic response.
RB: That's not a question.
Q: How do you envision the series developing from here?
RB: I wish I knew. I tend to just go with the flow, the ideas, and follow them wherever they lead. So far, Jet's journey is one of the most fascinating I've written. I'll stop when it stops being so. Until then, I stand in awe of her. If there's ever any reason to hope for big success it's so that you can see your book as a film. I'd give my eye teeth to see JET as a movie. Beyond that? I'll write her as long as I have a compulsion to do so. So far, so good.
Featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and The Times (UK), Russell Blake is the bestselling author of twenty-six books, including the thriller novels Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, Zero Sum, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, Blood of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher, Silver Justice, JET, JET II - Betrayal, JET III - Vengeance, JET IV - Reckoning, JET V - Legacy, JET VI - Justice, Upon A Pale Horse, BLACK, BLACK Is Back, BLACK Is The New Black, and BLACK To Reality.
Non-fiction include the international bestseller An Angel With Fur (animal biography) and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated), a parody of all things writing-related.
Blake co-authored an action/adventure novel, The Eye of Heaven, with legendary adventure author Clive Cussler, to be released by Penguin in September, 2014.
Blake lives in Mexico and enjoys his dogs, fishing, boating, tequila and writing, while battling world domination by clowns. His blog can be found at RussellBlake.com where he publishes his periodic thoughts, such as they are.
Q&A with Russell Blake
Q: JET has been a remarkably successful series. How many more books do you see with her?
RB: I originally envisioned it as a trilogy, but after finishing JET III, it was obvious to me that there would be at least one to two more. I really like her character, so I'm reluctant to see her story end. That's my long-winded way of saying I'll probably keep writing about her as long as readers want me to.
Q: How is JET III different than the first two books?
RB: I focused more on some of her non-traditional skills, like parkour. Plus I wanted to flesh out her emotional life a little, and give a sense of the person, not just the person involved in the action. I also tried to give her a sense of normalcy in her domestic situation, so she could bond with her loved ones and forge relationships and friendships. And of course, the ending. I wanted to keep readers on the edge of their seats, wanting to know what happens next - which is what JET IV resolves. I could have tied everything up in a neat package at the end of JET III,but it felt a little too pat, and the ultimate story will take at least another volume to conclude in anything approaching a satisfactory manner, for me, at least. And I felt the suspense and uncertainty it ends on creates a sort of intriguing set of questions for readers to speculate about.
Sort of how the Lizbeth Salander books demand reading all of them to discover how the story plays out.
Q: Some might think that the character of Jet is too over-blown, not realistic enough. What say you?
RB: I deliberately went overblown - unapologetically so. I wanted a protagonist the likes of a James Bond or a Lizbeth Salander - and let's face it, those are overblown characters. I think that as long as you're willing to go, "hell yeah she can do that...she's Jet!" you'll enjoy the books. Think Raiders of the Lost Ark - does anyone care if Indiana Jones is overblown? Not me. Goes with the territory. If you're looking for The English Patient, or Sophie's Choice, you'll be disappointed. I've written very realistic, gritty protags - Fatal Exchange's Tess, Geronimo Breach's Al, the Assassin series' Capt Cruz and El Rey, Silver Justice's Silver Cassidy...I didn't want to do a repeat, so I thought I'd go more over-the-top, kick-ass with Jet. I mean, just the name. Jet. Come on. She's got to be a bad-ass with a name like that.
Q: Let's go back to the parkour. Some of the scenes seem to have her defying the laws of physics.
RB: I provide some links at the back of the book to videos of some of the better parkour practitioners. I'd say anyone who thinks I'm exaggerating what these traceurs can do would be well-advised to watch those, in their entirety, and then we can talk.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.