Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Five Moves of Doom - An Interview

I'm so happy to welcome A. J. Devlin back to Cozy Up With Kathy today. A. J. writes the "Hammerhead" Jed Mystery series. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM is the third book in the series and will be released September 15, 2022. Be sure to check out my review which will go live on Sunday, September 18, 2022.

KATHY: In FIVE MOVES OF DOOM "Hammerhead" Jed gets involved with the Mixed Martial Arts community. Do you enjoy watching mixed martial arts? 

AJ: I do! I appreciate the different styles of combat for sure, especially when you have competitors who have different strengths and weaknesses, such as striking and takedowns. And as a wrestling fan I certainly enjoy the importance of grappling to the sport.

KATHY: Years ago I studied Tukong Moosul. Have you ever studied martial arts?

AJ: Tukong Moosul! That’s awesome. I saw a showcase years ago when I traveled to South Korea. I’m particularly intrigued by fighting styles or systems like that or Israeli Krav Maga that not only blend various styles but also reflect a country’s culture and heritage.

Yes, I have some experience in martial arts. I spent my teenage years freestyle wrestling in high school and summer camps as well as trying my hand at Judo. And when I was in university I studied Aikido.

KATHY: Jed also gets involved with yoga in his third outing? I have always wanted to do goat yoga, but haven't, although I did take some classes sans goats. Do you practice yoga?

AJ: Jed does encounter yoga enthusiasts during his investigation in FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. I got into hybrid yoga a few years back — mainly DDP Yoga, which was created by professional wrestling legend and WWE Hall Of Famer Diamond Dallas Page. Not to knock the spiritual side of the discipline, but it wasn’t really for me, which is why I appreciated the emphasis on the building of functional strength in DDP Yoga. But the discovery of hybrid yoga opened a doorway to other kinds I wasn’t even aware of, including goat yoga, which, I think, is really something else. It was definitely fun to mine for humour as Jed tends to have a way of being drawn into environments that are quirky and offbeat while working his cases.

KATHY: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

AJ: Yes, for sure. After having Jed go up against some tough guy heavies in his debut in COBRA CLUTCH, and then having to switch gears to an antagonist who was less physically imposing and more cerebral in ROLLING THUNDER, I thought it would be interesting if he encountered forces that had both qualities. I also really wanted to take Jed — as a pro-wrestler PI who is used to being the biggest and toughest guy in the room — and strip that away, forcing him to rely more on his wits and mental toughness this time around.

KATHY: Are you able to share any future plans for "Hammerhead" Jed Ounstead?
AJ: I certainly have more adventures in mind for the character, but with a trilogy of stories under my belt it also feels like a good time to explore other ideas I have like a spin-off story or a standalone novel.

KATHY: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?

AJ: Before FIVE MOVES OF DOOM I would have categorized myself as a strict plotter. But the challenges of pivoting to an all virtual promotion for ROLLING THUNDER and writing the latest book amidst other pandemic challenges definitely changed the routine I was used to. But it ended up being a great experience and I think having to make some adjustments on the fly in some ways brought the best out of me. I think it was also very helpful that many of the characters had become familiar over the past few years as opposed to crafting an all new set of dramatis personae.

KATHY: Authors are required to do a lot of their own marketing, especially for a new release. What's your favorite part of marketing your work? What do you dislike about marketing?

AJ: I do love the hustle! I think my favourite part of marketing my work is getting to do so again with returning characters, especially ones who were well received or readers seemed to enjoy. I believe for an ongoing crime series that the central mystery in each book — which is of course essential — serves as the vehicle for the narrative, but the best part is always catching up with the protagonist, as it's kind of like spending time with an old friend.

I don’t know if there’s a downside to marketing for me other than the fact that getting the opportunity to discuss my latest work reminds me of why I enjoy writing the likes of “Hammerhead” Jed and company, so as anxious as I may be to return to the page for the next adventure, some of that has to be put on hold in order to try and get the word out.

KATHY: Will you share any other upcoming books?

AJ: Yes, I’m looking forward to perhaps taking Jed away a bit from fringe sports and focusing more on the unique subcultures I feel with his pro-wrestling background and PI experience he is uniquely suited for in future novels. I also am very excited for Jed to get caught up in a mystery that requires him to travel from his home base of Vancouver, and am working on an idea that heavily features his cousin and sidekick Declan's past in his homeland of Ireland.

Thank you Kathy for having me back for another fun Q&A on COZY UP WITH KATHY!


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