I will be giving away 1 hardcover and 1 kindle e-book of JQR by Joey Rodriguez!!! Just fill out the entry form below to be entered to win.
The giveaway will run from Tuesday, April 7, 2020 – Thursday, April 30, 2020. I’ll notify the winners via email, so be sure to include your email when you enter!
Author Bio:Joey Rodriguez lives in New York City with his beautiful, supportive wife*, Lauren, and their Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Joon. Join Joey and Lauren each month for Pupcorn And A Movie, a podcast where he tries to convince her to watch the scariest movies of all time! *she suggested I include this very important note.
After their home is destroyed by an atomic blast, an android and his best pup set out to find his human parents and piece together the remnants of a nation-wide invasion. Lost in their own backyard, our heroes must battle unknown forces both foreign and domestic, using the skills, and wit, of their favorite Saturday matinee heroes. Spills, chills, and thrills leap from the page in the explosive saga of “JQR”, an adventure sure to tickle even the bravest of readers!
Hardcover Synopsis: An old enemy has returned. Dormant for only two decades, the rising sun stormed the beaches and the wide avenues to avenge their defeat. Just a boy and his dog; he a nearly obsolete model, her a pure breed. Left to fend for themselves during the invasion, JoJo, as his family affectionately called him, must wrestle with his metal construction, his childish memories, and the fact that he will never become human. His father’s own experiences in the Last Great War, painful and victorious, have bred fear, doubt, and distrust in them all.
But the world has been far from kind, the survivors hoarding their resources, firing blindly into the atomic remains of what they had proudly cultivated. Lost now in a world he thought he knew, his family’s shadows fading quickly, there is much to learn about the hierarchy of man and where a small android and his loyal best friend fit in.
Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…
- What is your name and do you write under a pen name?
Joey Rodriguez (no pen name).
- Where do you call home?
New York City
- Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation?
By day, I work as a Fund Development and Communications Director for an international non-profit.
- Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
I prefer hardcover books, but if I have to travel, an e-book is much easier to take along!
- Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
Absolutely! I think we all have this habit. The cover is what draws you in and forces you to turn it over to read the synopsis. I think more importantly, if the back cover provides enough to spark adventure, then it is easier to take a chance!
- What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
- What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. His research is always very interesting and he manages to weave two seemingly unrelated stories into a thrilling conclusion.
- What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
1453 by Roger Crowley in paperback.
Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.
- What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?
My new novel is called JQR and it is about an android and his dog searching for his human parents after an atomic bomb destroys his home.
- Is the above book part of a series?
JQR is a standalone novel.
- How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
I designed the cover myself. In the hardcover version, if you open the dust jacket fully, it reveals the pincer-like hand of the main character. I wanted the cover to invoke the pulpy, dime-store novels of the 50s and 60s that promised spills, chills, and thrills.
- Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
I actually created a Spotify playlist of music that influenced the writing and the events of the story itself: http://bit.ly/JQRSpotify
- How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
The title of the novel is a hint to the main character’s background and the habit we have of naming our electronics with acronyms or unit numbers.
- In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
The lead character is JoJo, an android programmed with the memories of a little boy. He is precocious and adventurous, influenced highly by his father and the music, television, and cinema of the 50s and 60s. His companion is his dog, Pickles, who acts as a burden of responsibility and a vessel to rest his emotions and fears.
- What is your character’s greatest strengths?
His wit and quick thinking!
- And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?
Because his programming limits him to the mind of a child, he is naïve in the many ways in which the world can be cruel. He trusts implicitly in many adults and uses the wisdom of the movies to guide his decisions. He has not yet learned how to compartmentalize and analyze his surroundings to better survive.
- What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
His sincerity and his willingness to step-up. It’s a natural trait inherited from his parents that slowly boils to the surface as he realizes what the world has become without him.
- Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
I hope the readers like JoJo! He guides the reader through the entire novel and his coming-of-age and adventurous streak will help to define the rules of the world that he lives in.
- What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
I have always been interested in the Atomic Age and the exciting twists and turns that design, fashion, music, and movies took since the end of World War II, and I really wanted to explore what a semi-post-apocalyptic world would look like if the mid-1960s suddenly became the entry point for a new order. I had been looking for a way to write a sort of road trip-like story about a boy and his dog, and I thought using a robot and his dog could be a great way to explore artificial intelligence and how memories can be interpreted as well as explore the bonds between humans and animals, and humans and semi-inanimate objects. I am also a big fan of Westerns and Japanese cinema from the 50s and 60s, and to be able to use that as a backdrop was really exciting.
Let’s talk now about your writing process.
- What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I usually start with the cover image first! I try really hard to make each print version of my books a unique experience. I select the font, the look, the overall design to invoke old paperbacks, or literary classics. It helps set the mood for the entire work. Then, I usually do a bit of research on certain topics that I know I’m going to write about. Then I’ll do a rough outline in bullet form. I usually know how the story will unfold, how many chapters there will be, even before the actual meat of it comes together. I generally only write exactly what I want to say on the page. I know some people write, and write, and write, but I am more selective. What comes up on the page is usually my intended choice, and I rarely deviate except to make sure the character’s voices are unique or if my language is borrowing one or two many phrases or words that sound redundant.
- Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
Not particularly. Although finding time to write is always difficult! A majority of this book was written on the subway to and from work.
- Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
I am self-published, but do it through my own company Not Your Platypus.
- If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
As a graphic designer, I wanted a lot of control over the presentation of the book. A hardcover or paperback helps invokes a certain kind of pastime, and I just remember all these classic covers of books when I was a kid that made me want to pick up a particular work. This way, I could design everything and create the experience that I wanted the reader to have. I had wanted from the outset to be in charge, because I knew how the process worked and knew how to lay out a book, etc.
- What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?
I was always inspired by “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote because he found a way to turn a real event into something that read like fiction. I think finding a style or voice first is key when beginning your writing journey. I also read a lot of indie books to research what I did and didn’t like about the genre I was writing in. Trust your voice, because there are so many books out there that read the same exact way!
- Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.
You can follow me using the links below!
BELOW by Joey Rodriguez
WINNER of Best Horror: Occult novel in the 2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARDS.
HONORABLE MENTION in the 2018 SPR BOOK AWARDS
The lurking shadows feasted on the weak, infecting those who cared little to resist. Their possession drove them to madness, spewing the vitriol of the King. Iconography, scripture, prayer, these proved helpful, driving the demons back with that which they sought to deflect. There were those, though, who sought to raise the clawed hands of evil, to benefit their own pleasures, to steal power, to ensure everlasting life.
Unrelated victims, their numbers erratic, were left empty for others to find. A warning at first. Letters followed; instructions, ingredients. Soon, a trumpet call for the hidden to feast on the carrion, to rise to the mountains and perform the sacred ceremony. In the bowels, past the Gates, they would enter the sanctuary of the rotten mutt, sacrifice the Mistresses, and call upon a dark presence.
The feathered wings of their past had unfurled slowly; three children, running from responsibility, finding solace in justice and servitude, drowning in the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They too were called, the memories rotten but the sensation still fresh. Back to where it began, now; a truth they wished to ignore. Forced to descend into their own sins, they discovered the truth of their origin, a single moment shaping their whole lives, leading them all back into the familiar embrace of the Devil.
The Final Transmissions of a Doomed Astronaut by Joey Rodriguez
Seven crews had come before her, each one trusted with the same mission. A substance, a source, a beacon of light, growing somewhere in the universe. There were warnings, collateral damage on a massive scale, and the oppression and opposition that came with this new discovery. They had chosen her out of necessity from the dust that had settled after fear and anxiety had run high.
She had lost everything. She was a heathen, an unfit soul, plagued by visions and a violent conscience whose influence stretched beyond the limits of her mind. Now, out here in the void of space, she must fight to survive against the elements, her inexperience, and those who wish to protect the universe from her mission. She must push forward to fulfill her own sense of worth and to appease those that have sent her here to search for an unstable gift that may finally grant her freedom.
Termination Dust by Joey Rodriguez
The dust had fallen recently, a larger deposit than the prior season. A great indicator of how harsh the winter will be, tales were told that these early flakes were born from spirits who have been allowed to pass on without proper burial, those who ascribed to a life of greed, of thievery, of boiling pitch. The Civil War had ended over two decades’ prior, yet the country’s hunger for new land and new people failed to cease.
Ila had returned home, a native daughter of the North, just west of the border. It had been nearly a decade, but she sought refuge now to clear her mind of the fog-swept bay. The judgment from a pistol deep in the tundra, however, forced her to forsake all that she had chosen to forget about her past: the lessons of her elders, the teachings of the forest. Her loyal pack of eight were split in the haze of the attacking force, barreling upon the mountains, the plains, the rivers of her territory, spilling blood and siphoning the ground of its lucrative plasma.
Alone and without direction, each member of her pack that ventured out into the wilderness that early morning faced the rising tide of the spirits of the forest. Their inner yega, their instinctive souls, were bared to each other, their forms otherworldly. Her purpose, though only an outsider by her own consideration, in their eternal struggle would not reveal itself to her in a simple, feverous dream. For the evil of humans would soon rear its head, obstacles of heritage, of conservation, of belief, of kinship, and of war thrown from its claws, attempting to destroy her very existence.