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Monday 19 December 2016

ℚ Strong Cold Dead: Caitlin Strong [8] - Jon Land

As part of the Déjà vu Blogfest, today we are re-running our interview with author Jon Land which we ran back in October - enjoy!

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Strong Cold Dead (, Forge Books, 351 pages), a Thriller, book eight of Caitlin Strong series.

“A terrific book! The good, the bad, and the ugly woven into a tale that leaves the reader breathless. Great fun!” ―Sandra Brown, New York Times bestselling author

"Caitlin Strong is one of the strongest female characters ever to hit the page... Jon Land is the king of the intelligent thriller, continually pushing his own writing to new levels. Strong Cold Dead is no exception, with insightful characters, an innovative threat, and a multi-dimensional mystery that is a real pleasure to solve. This is another one for the discerning thriller-lover's top shelf." — New York Journal of Books

Synopsis | Teaser: KCR Preview | The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Hello Jon, and welcome back to BooksChatter!

Last year you spoke to us about Strong Light of Day, the seventh book in the Caitlin Strong series; Strong Cold Dead is the latest installment.

Can you introduce us to Caitlin Strong and tell us how she has been developing since the beginning of the series?

"Great question right out of the box? Caitlin’s a fifth generation Texas Ranger and, essentially, a modern day gunfighter. She has a tendency to be quick with her gun, staying true to the classic tradition of the Western hero.

Texas Rangers gathered at El Paso to stop the illegal Maher–Fitzsimmons fight, 1896.

But she has also an equally strong (no pun intended!) feminine side, as revealed by her becoming the surrogate mother for her reformed outlaw boy friend’s two teenage boys. All those characters are recurring in the series and they lend a crucial element to the emotional arc of the series."
What was the spark for this latest plot that features ISIS and what sounds like a very interesting toxin?
"Pure exploitation! [laughs] But, seriously, as a thriller writer I strive to make the villains of fact the villains of fiction as well. They are the best/worst bad guys out there today and none better than ISIS for Caitlin Strong to take on, and succeed where the world has failed.

As for the toxin, it has two, interconnected roles in the book. I knew when I started STRONG COLD DEAD what the toxin needed to do but I had know idea of its origins or what it was. It was my agent and editor, Natalia Aponte, who suggested what I ultimately came up with, and the fact that it’s a recurring part of nature with a strong Native American tradition was just perfect, since these takes place on a fictional Indian reservation."
Now I am really curious about that toxin... I have it narrowed down to three...

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?

"Another great question! Easier answered with the last book of the series, STRONG LIGHT OF DAY, when I learned beetles use their faeces as a weapon by flinging it at their assailants.

I am sure everyone will be as fascinated as we are here at BooksChatter... so here is a tortoise beetle with her offspring armed and ready to defend themselves! Yes, that is indeed poop at the end of each one!

STRONG COLD DEAD, like all my Caitlin Strong books, incorporates a historical thread, which ultimately becomes crucial to figuring out what’s going on in the present. The thread here involves John D. Rockefeller and I had no idea when I cast him as a villain in fiction that he was actually a really bad guy in fact too. But he was, to say the least, not a nice guy."

Can you share with us a favorite scene from Strong Cold Dead?

"All of them! [laughs] But the ones that are normally the most memorable for me are the ones where the characters get surprised themselves. And there’s one later on in the book where Caitlin and company are exploring a cave on the outskirts of the Indian reservation where they come upon a secret chamber and are attacked by giant bats when they emerge.

That scene is a big reveal that suggests the extent of what they’re facing and I got creeped-out just writing that scene where Caitlin battles the bats."
You have now published around 40 books! What is your favorite book written by you, and why?
"Hey, I’m always going to go with the most recent and that’s STRONG COLD DEAD!

Now that I’ve answered the question that way, let me try another, but I still can’t give you just one. 1988’s THE EIGHTH TRUMPET because it showcases my action writing as it level best. A WALK IN THE DARKNESS [2000], part of a series I did featuring Palestinian and Israeli cops who became a team, because it was my most ambitious and best realized effort ever. And I love PANDORA’S TEMPLE [2012] because I brought my original series hero, Blaine McCracken, back after a 15-year absence in a book that showcased the kind of action thriller that made me what I am."

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"No doubt about it: making a consistent living. I’ve had good years financially and some not-so-good years. And, because of the way the industry has changed, I write three books a year where for a long time I needed to write only one.

Look, I’m not alone there. With few exceptions—really big New York Times bestsellers—it’s very difficult to carve out a comfortable living as a writer. It’s a business that requires constant redefinition and expansion, where staying stubbornly still means risking losing your relevance in the marketplace. The key is to balance the creative demands of the craft measured against financial or economic need. Those two things don’t always match up."
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
"Wow, you really ask great questions, one after another! Okay, most of my toughest criticism came when I was starting out. An editor I later wrote a ton of book reviews for told me to take a class in journalism. Because, pretty much, he didn’t think I knew what I was doing and he was probably right. But when you’re young, it hurts.

The best compliment? Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. I’m going to go with David Morrell’s thoughts on THE SEVEN SINS, a book that was my comeback in publishing after a few years writing screenplays. I got to know David when I joined International Thriller Writers and he was co-president. I asked him for a blurb and he generously agreed. And the rave he gave me about the book was made all the more relevant because he’s truly one of my idols. One of the finest thriller writers, and novelists period, of this generation."
"The Seven Sins" is a trendsetter. You'll be spellbound."--David Morrell, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Creepers"
Which do you think you have the most of: talent, intelligence, education, or persistence? How has it helped you in your life?
"All writers who’ve reached the level I have with the kind of longevity I’ve achieved has to have talent. And my talent lies primarily in being able to tell a great story. But I’m going to go with PERSISTENCE.

I feel like a boxer who’s still fighting in the late rounds, after getting knocked down a whole bunch of times. To extend the metaphor, I’ve had to change my fighting strategy more than one time in the midst of the match, as many writers do. And that kind of persistence has kept me relevant and successful enough, as I wait that big, breakout moment. The game changer, as I call it."
Do you have any special sayings or expressions?
"Lots of them. Mostly other people’s. Like Yogi Berra’s, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Doesn’t make sense until you really think about; then it pretty much sums up the state of the world, and the publishing business, today, doesn’t it?"
I think it does. For starters things are constantly changing exponentially, what is used today won't be there tomorrow. That certainly did not used to be the case in practically every aspect of life. Opportunities people had 30 years ago they will never have again.

Do you feel differently about yourself now from how you felt when you were younger? How? What do you think has stayed the same about you throughout life? What do you think has changed?

"That’s one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked and let me try to give you an answer that does it justice. I don’t think writers ever really grow up. We’re so dependent on our imaginations that we forever maintain the heart of a child.

Hey, we’re storytellers—we make stuff up for a living, just like kids do for fun. I think that’s why writers are so accessible and giving of themselves and their time. We’re lousy at politics because we don’t do the nefarious stuff well—we leave that to the villains we create!"
Well, I suppose that is where talent lies ;-)

We are eagerly awaiting the publication of The Rising, on 17 January 2017, your new collaboration with Heather Graham. Can you tell us a bit about it? Maybe share with us a sneaky short preview?

"THE RISING tells the tale of an all-American high school senior who learns he’s actually an alien and, along with his brilliant tutor, becomes the only thing that can save the planet from annihilation.

It’s one of those books thought of as a “crossover,” which to me means young adult characters in an adult story. Like Twilight or Hunger Games, I guess. It’s strange because neither Heather nor I had ever tried science fiction or younger heroes, but it came incredibly naturally for us. Here’s the link to the video book trailer"

Ah! I was not expecting that story line! I am now very intrigued.

What comes next?

"Funny you should ask! I’m currently working on Book #9 in the Caitlin Strong series, STRONG TO THE BONE. I’d like to say it’s going to be the best one so far, but STRONG COLD DEAD is going to be tough to beat!"
How did I know you were going to say that! :-D

It has been a real pleasure having you back with us, Jon. Thank you!

Strong Cold Dead
Available NOW!

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CMash said...

Great interview! I found it quite interesting since I read this book and could not put it down.

Jon Land said...

I love how you supplemented my answers to your great questions with such perfectly chosen and placed graphics. Very, very impressive!

BooksChatter said...

Hi Jon, thank you for stopping by and many apologies for the delays (... isn't life's rich tapestry wonderful?). Thank you and I have finally finished adding all of the images and links :-)
I get truly interested! If you tell me about the beetles I HAVE to find out about it!!! :-)

I hope you are having a great tour!


J Lenni Dorner said...

Cool interview. Glad you picked this as your reshare post. Over 40 books-- *whistles*

BooksChatter said...

Glad you enjoyed it!
Thank you for popping by 😃