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Friday 5 January 2018

ℚ Strong to the Bone: Caitlin Strong [9] - Jon Land

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up again with author to talk about Strong to the Bone (, Forge Books, 365 pages), a Thriller, book nine in the Caitlin Strong series.

"Land employs the very best elements of thriller and mystery to great effect in Strong to the Bone.

Brilliant but headstrong Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself both pitted against powerful enemies with a devastating weapon, and tracking leads to a killer her grandfather hunted in World War II.

With an ambitious, tight, and hyper-intense plot line that hurtles towards a satisfying conclusion, readers are going to be blown away by Caitlin Strong's latest adventure."
--Mark Greaney #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Strong to the Bone is another fine effort by Jon Land, who manages to mix character development with gripping, page-turning plots. This is his best novel yet." --Strand Magazine

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

Hello Jon, a very warm welcome back to BooksChatter!

In our previous two interviews you provided us with insights into fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, and yourself as a writer. On this occasion we would like to expand further on both topics ;-)

Caitlin is back in Strong To The Bone with a very personal case involving an old Nazi POW camp, a modern-day neo-Nazi gang and a deadly bio-weapon. Please tell us all about it

"Lots of moving pieces, that’s for sure! And the book strives to tell two different, inherently interconnected stories.

Structurally, an alliance between this neo-Nazi gang that, thanks to forging a thriving drug distribution network, has gone international and the corrupt head of a pharmaceutical company sparks a plot to spur massive global disruption and bring the alt-right to power on a global scale.

Emotionally, and this is where the book really pops, we learn that Caitlin was raped eighteen years ago while she was in college when her attacker strikes again."
Talking about Caitlin, in her wildest fantasies, where would she go but has not managed to get to yet? Where would she see herself in 10 years – what are her ambitions?
"At the risk of sounding boring, if Caitlin could be anywhere she’d be right where she is, in Texas. And in ten years she’ll be in the same place.

That may sound dull, but it goes to her mindset. For Caitlin, it’s not where she is, but who she’s with and what she’s doing. Lawmen, gunfighters like her, live in the moment and aren’t very good at decompressing. Every time Caitlin tries to take a break, circumstances conspire against her. But she’s true to her nature and that nature means she could be very happy never setting foot out of Texas again."

At Bookschatter we love our food and drink. It's your relaxed Friday night what would you reach for, and what would Caitlin choose?

"Wow, now that’s something I don’t get asked every day!

Neither Caitlin nor I are fancy and my guess is she likes a great steak as much as I do. Neither of us cooks, neither of us knows anything about wine, and both of us count as our biggest indulgences regular stops at Starbucks for a nice caffeine boost.

Neither one of us is much of a drinker either, and when we get carried away it’s because of the company of the people we’re around."
You biography says that you base your novels and scripts on your extensive travels.

If money, life and existing commitments were no object and the world was your oyster where in the world would you be right now and why?

"I kind of answered that question above. But if I could be anywhere I wanted to be, I’d be right where I am at this very moment: at home, typing these answers.

See, unlike a lot of writers, I love the process of writing. So you might say, and rightfully so, that I take journeys every day in my mind, in my imagination, and that holds a distinct advantage over the real thing for me, because actual traveling takes me out of my routine. And, man, am I ever a creature of my routine!"
You are very passionate about your profession and are very active in passing that on to the next generations, as well as sharing your knowledge and experiences with your fellow writers.
Research is a key topic and something that, I find, is enticing, easy to lose yourself into and which can actually set your imagination free.

How do you approach research, and have you ever found yourself pulled in a completely different direction to the one you originally were envisaging?

"First off, especially thriller writers need to be careful not to write their book around research into areas that may be fascinating for them, but not quite so for readers.

Being a good researcher means knowing where and how to find something and being a good writer means knowing, instinctively, just how much to incorporate into a certain section of the book.

I do some preliminary research before I start writing, but the vast bulk of my research is done on the fly. Since I don’t outline, I have no real idea of what I need to know when I start. So I look stuff up as I go. Google is the magic word for writers!"
As a man of many talents you also have extensive knowledge of martial arts.
How did you get started? Which type do you practice and how does this side of you influence your writing?

"I studied Aikido for over twenty years, until my instructor died. Haven’t really done much in the years since, but that doesn’t lessen the impact the art had my life and writing.

Aikido is very free form, very flowing and creative. Its effect on me has been so profound, not only because of the confidence becoming a 4th degree black belt brings with it, but also because Aikido is such a spiritual art that it helps put you in touch with your creative side it then helps to develop and instill."

In addition to being a novelist, you are also a screenwriter, which leads me to believe that film and tv must be another one of your keen interests.
Which are your top five all time favourites and why? (this could be a mixture of movies, tv shows, directors, screenwriters)

"Let’s do a couple of both, first television. I’m going to go with BREAKING BAD and GAME OF THRONES. Neither film nor television has ever witnessed better storytelling and character development than what that show gave us over seven seasons without a single, not even one, bad episode.

As for GAME OF THRONES, well watching it makes me feel like I’m eight years old again with my father at a movie like the original Jason and the Argonauts or one of the Sinbad movies. I think it’s the only one I watch without using the DVR and, like BREAKING BAD, the show never stops improving as we become even more vested with the characters.

As for movies, I’m going to go with two of my all-time favorites, JAWS and THE GODFATHER, for entirely different reasons.

JAWS because it’s a perfect film in terms of character, structure and pacing. And THE GODFATHER because I consider it the greatest film ever made. Right from the start, with the line “I believe in America” spoken off screen, we witness a total deconstruction of the family dynamic and redefinition of what it means to be a son, a man and a hero. 

The film is Shakespearean in that regard, and Michael evolves into a truly tragic character as he first fights for his nobility and then decides to redefine it on his own. More great shots, great lines and great performances than I’ve ever seen, and don’t even get me started on the brilliance of the first sequel. Notice we’re not talking about THE GODFATHER 3 here!"
At the beginning of this year you gave us The Rising, an X-Files-like mystery co-authored with Heather Graham, and in August you published Dark Light: Dawn, which you described as “a hybrid horror thriller which marks my first entry into the world of Stephen King.”

As a staunch Stephen King fan, I found this really intriguing... Then I read the tag line which immediately brought to mind The Stand: “a heart-pounding supernatural thriller about a deadly, global epidemic and the man who hold the power to either save the world or destroy it”

Please tell us more about Dark Light: Dawn. How did you get to write this story? Are you being drawn to the dark side, and are we going to get more?

"THE RISING is a continuing series as opposed to DARK LIGHT: DAWN which is a one-off I’ve kind of already pushed from my mind. It was a work-for-hire project so, as much as I love that book, it doesn’t feel like mine. Kind of like my bastard stepchild instead of my own blood.

But it was great trying my hand at horror and the supernatural because it’s a genre where you’re not limited by technical accuracy or the need to remain wholly credible. The book is infused with a manic energy that defines its epic ambition and the incredibly broad tapestry on which it’s drawn. I took more than my share of risks with this one, draping what is essentially a classic action thriller in overtones of horror and the occult.

The story’s ambition lies in the fact that it seeks not just to present another ultimate battle between good and evil, but also to define the very origins of good and evil as forces of nature. The devil doesn’t have horns and a tail in DARK LIGHT, but he’s around all the same. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Almighty shows up too. Just another day at the office for me!"
What’s next? Is your 2018 going to be as busy as your 2017?
"Even busier, if you can believe that!

I’ve taken over the MURDER, SHE WROTE series from the late Donald Bain so you’re actually talking to the new Jessica Fletcher and my first title in that branded series comes out in May, A DATE WITH MURDER.

I’m currently working on STRONG AS STEEL, the 10th in the Caitlin Strong series, and I also need to finish the second instalment of THE RISING series with Heather.

I’ve also got nonfiction projects, I’m always chasing film deals I never seem to catch, and a writer who doesn’t always entertain new possibilities and new opportunities is a writer who may not be in business long."
Many thanks and wishing you all the best with your latest releases!

Strong to the Bone
Available NOW!

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1 comment:

CMash said...

Such an in depth interview. Since I am hooked on this series, I found it quite interesting. WOW! he is taking over MURDER SHE WROTE...can't wait!