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Thursday 12 April 2018

ℚ♫ Empty Promises: Seamus McCree [5] - James M. Jackson

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Empty Promises (, Wolf's Echo Press, 254 pages), a Domestic Thriller, book five in the Seamus McCree series.

"Gripping action nicely juxtaposes personal scenes, courtroom appearances, legal confrontations, and investigative conundrums in a fast-paced plot that is absorbingly unpredictable, filled with twists, and nicely cemented by personal challenges on many sides, making for a detective thriller that genre readers will appreciate." ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"When it comes to thrillers, Jackson’s protagonist, Seamus McCree, is unforgettable. Empty Promises is a well-crafted addition to an excellent series." ~ Debra H. Goldstein, IPPY Award winning author of Maze in Blue

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

A very warm welcome to James M. Jackson; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music, so James M. Jackson has shared with us his music playlist for Empty Promises - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Empty Promises ?
"Writing novels is a way for me to explore an issue that interests me. I started Empty Promises with a vague idea I would base the mystery on the death of someone involved in the open pit mining industry and obliquely address the issues of pollution and mines going out of business, thereby sticking taxpayers with the clean-up.

After I finished the first draft, I discovered the real issue I was writing about was the consequences of a person making decisions and taking actions that go against his core principles. Of course, that’s a subplot contained within a fast-paced suspense."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I decided early on that the fewer things I needed to make up, the easier it would be to remember details between books and not accidentally create inconsistencies. I largely use actual settings, and for Empty Promises, I chose the area in which I live half the year, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The lakes, roads, beaver dams, and moose are all real.

Spectacular Autumn Sunrise at Lake of the Clouds  by Cole Chase Photography
I’ve shared several of my avocations with Seamus. We both played soccer (football to everyone except Americans). He played at the pro level; I was only a semi-pro. We both enjoy bird watching, and our preferred exercise, especially when we need to think, is running. These traits allow me to add specific and accurate details to the stories without the necessity of doing a ton of research."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Empty Promises - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"All book covers attempt to entice you to open to the first page and start reading. I hate those that con you into thinking it is a different kind of story than it is, don’t you?

This novel is darker than others in the series, and I wanted the cover to reflect that darkness. An abandoned shack plays a role in the story, and I thought it would be a good metaphor for the empty promises mining companies make, the empty promises much of rural America feels, the empty promises Seamus feels he has made.

To complement the feeling of abandonment, I changed the fonts to make them heavier and darker than my cover artist had used in the earlier books of the series.

The day I took the picture was overcast, heavy with gray clouds. The resulting cover was too much of a downer. So, I Photoshopped the picture, stressing the cabin a bit more and offsetting that by introducing blue into the sky to reflect the sense of hope at in the novel’s end."
Who would you recommend Empty Promises to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"The Seamus McCree series are mystery/suspense/domestic thrillers that are “north of cozy and south of noir.” The sex is left to your imagination, characters sometimes curse, and there is violence, but it is never gratuitous.

Readers who enjoy those kinds of books often mention that although they are very fond of my plot twists and page-turning suspense, it’s the characters that make them fans.

No other series has Seamus and his family. Seamus is a mensch, a guy who would rather use brains than brawn to solve problems but isn’t afraid to mix it up if he has to. His darts-playing mother remained silent for decades, but now speaks her mind. His love for his son, Paddy, is real, even if they periodically butt heads. His sometimes-curmudgeonly nature melts when his granddaughter, Megan, enters the picture. Oh, and he has a grand-dog and grand-cats. What isn’t to love?"
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"The Seamus McCree series roams between traditional amateur sleuth mystery to suspense to domestic (US-based) thriller. All the novels involve financial crimes either as a core element of a subplot.

I am an eclectic reader, mixing both fiction and nonfiction. Most of the fiction I read is mystery/suspense/thriller. However, I also enjoy fantasy and YA science fiction.

I am scoping out the possibility of writing a YA semi-dystopian novel set in the not too distant future, but so far, the only fantasy in the Seamus McCree series involves Megan building fairy houses and talking to her stuffed giraffe."
What is your writing process?
"I am a big-time pantser (writing by the seat of my pants).

As I begin writing, I have in mind an inciting incident and a vague sense how my series characters will be involved. I write the first draft over two or three months. By the time I finish the first draft, I’ve figured out what the story is really about. That first draft effectively becomes a 90,000-word outline.

My second and third drafts fill in the plot holes left from the first draft and eliminate or merge scenes and characters no longer needed. At that point, I ask my first reader to poke holes in my plot and characters. Based on that feedback I develop the draft that goes to my story editor. After reflecting her observations, I polish until I think it’s perfect and let my copy-editor bring me back to earth."
What is in store next?
"I’m working on the sixth Seamus McCree novel, titled False Bottom. It takes place shortly after Empty Promises.

Uncle Mike O’Malley, Seamus’s surrogate father, is gunned down. Seamus returns to his Boston roots to handle the retired Boston police captain’s estate. He discovers Uncle Mike left him more than just stocks and bonds to worry about. The secrets and intrigue put the entire McCree clan at risk."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Our pets have all passed on, and we are waiting until we finish some planned travels before getting new ones.

Our last dog, Morgan le Fay, has been reincarnated in the form of Seamus’s grand-dog, Atalanta (Atty for short), who appears in Empty Promises.

Since I am normally the photographer of the family, I’ve had to resort to a picture of Morgan and me taken in 2001 at our camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where Empty Promises takes place."
How beautiful. They do stay with us forever. Thank you for sharing Morgan with us.

Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking... and the hit man is on his way.

Empty Promises
Available NOW!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Jim Jackson said...

Thanks for introducing me to your readers today. I'm about to enjoy the play list you pulled together. Such a young Bobby Dylan, but then again, weren't we all once.

I'll stop by throughout the day to respond to comments or answer any questions.

BooksChatter said...

Hello Jim and thank you for popping by!
Those images of Bob Dylan really are a blast from the past :-)

Have a great tour,