Monday, May 11, 2020

Rolling Thunder - An Interview

I'm happy to welcome A. J. Devlin back to Cozy Up With Kathy. A. J. pens the "Hammerhead" Jed Mystery series. ROLLING THUNDER is the second book in the series and will be released this Friday!

Kathy: ROLLING THUNDER features women's flat-track roller derby. I admit I've always been fascinated by the sport and if I was younger and in shape, I'd love to give it a try. Had you been interested in roller derby before this book?

AJD: It’s a heck of a sport! Roller derby had been on my radar long before I cooked up the “Hammerhead” Jed mystery-comedy series, and for some reason it stuck in my head. When I decided that the derby world might be a good setting for the sequel to COBRA CLUTCH, I went out and attended a lot of games, before lucking out and reconnecting with a high school classmate who was a star skater in Vancouver for years and was generous enough to read my manuscript and offer feedback.

Kathy: Why did you decide to feature roller derby in your second "Hammerhead" Jed Mystery?

AJD: I didn’t give it much thought at the time but after I had Jed return to the world of independent professional wrestling during his debut in COBRA CLUTCH, I started thinking about what kind of fringe sport or unique subculture he could be drawn into for book two. It worked out that in the first book there was a strong, empowered, supporting female character who had become disillusioned with the professional wrestling biz, and it seemed to make sense that she might leave that world behind but also replace her passion for pro wrestling with roller derby as there are a lot of similarities.

Kathy: Jed and Declan wind up in a very unusual club as part of the investigation. Do you care to share any of your research about such places?

AJD: They do indeed! And Declan literally has the time of his life during that visit. I first learned of such clubs during a ride along on the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver while doing research for COBRA CLUTCH. I never went into such an establishment myself, but let’s just say that chats with cops, Google searches, and one’s imagination can help make for some distinctive visuals!

Kathy: Declan has started a unique art collection. I must ask. Is it really a thing? How on earth did you discover it? Or come up with it, if it doesn't exist?

AJD: Oh, that is 100% legit and real. I came across it during my research for the unusual nightclub that “Hammerhead” Jed and Declan visit in the novel and such artistry seemed like a perfect fit for this book, especially since Declan is such a rascal and you know he’s the kind of guy who would become obsessed with it. I truly think it’s one of those things in life that you just can’t make up. I mean, there’s no way ever I would have ever conceived of it myself. However, if one reads ROLLING THUNDER, and were so inclined, there are in fact some videos online one could watch in order to see how such “special” art is made.

Kathy: I love Napoleon. Have you ever been to a dachshund race?

AJD: Sadly, no! But I try my best to keep an ear to the ground for all things quirky and offbeat in Vancouver, as I think doing so is intrinsic to the mystery-comedy series I’m trying to grow. As a result, I’m always on the lookout for all things local and unusual. Napoleon and his dachshund racing is totally an actual annual event — let’s just say that the most outrageous parts of the book are real life events that I did not make up!

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?
AJD: I’d say the main inspiration was that after having “Hammerhead” Jed go toe-to-toe with some physically imposing heavies in COBRA CLUTCH, I wanted to switch gears and come up with a different or perhaps more cerebral antagonist for ROLLING THUNDER. And, of course, the player names in women’s flat-track roller derby are incredible, I dare say more entertaining than professional wrestling monikers.

Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for "Hammerhead" Jed Ounstead?

AJD: Of course! I’m almost halfway through “Hammerhead” Jed’s third adventure and in the story he’s hired for a job that brings him into the world of local Mixed Martial Arts. Being an ex-pro-wrestler, Jed is very much defined by his physicality, so I thought it might be interesting to have him work a case where for the first time he might not be the toughest guy in the room. If you take away Jed’s ability to be (or at least for him to think he is) the “Big Dog,” then who is he without that advantage?

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
AJD: Always! At the moment I’m focused on finishing book 3 in the series and am very excited to get cracking on book 4. I do have some ideas for some shared universe prequels and spinoffs, but for now my priority is establishing “Hammerhead” Jed as a hard-headed sleuth who hopefully will be around for awhile!


Be sure to come back to the blog this Friday, May 15, 2020. Not only is it release day for ROLLING THUNDER, but I'll also be sharing my review.

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