Andrew C. Jaxson writes stories that scares, intrigue and (hopefully) move his readers. he works across genres, although his novels may be best described as Young Adult Contemporary Thrillers (phew!!). He’s worked a litany of jobs, from wedding DJ to teacher to youth worker and even a very brief and horrifying stint as a street salesman. He hates referring to himself in the third person, because it makes him sound pretentious. He lives with his wife and two sons, as well as a cat, although his cat seems to think it’s her house, and occasionally brings home snakes as gifts. He lives in Newcastle, Australia, but has very strong memories of his childhood in Bourke; particularly being traumatised by an evil rooster who was then eaten for dinner as revenge.
He loves the ability of words to get in someone’s head, and is inspired by the idea that he can write some words on a page and they can travel anywhere in the world, creating worlds in the brain of a reader half a planet away. Hopefully, his work will do that for you. He is not as dark and brooding as his headshot implies.
Here, now, are the questions that I asked and our dear author here, answered.
1 Your book, The Fire Unseen was a fantasy as well as mystery thriller. Do you yourself find these genres interesting?
For sure. I write what I’d enjoy reading, and I’ve always been into fantasy and supernatural thrillers, so this genre was always what I was going to end up writing.
2 The book had a strong female character and is going to be part of big things in next books, why a girl?
I wanted to create a strong female character because I think we need more of those! Ari’s certainly got her own issues to deal with, but she doesn’t back down, and I’ve modelled that after some really strong women in my life who have incredible strength and courage. Ari’s not a superhero – she gets scared and makes mistakes, but I think that makes her stronger. In many ways she’s a regular girl who just happens to be dealing with scary supernatural beings and a possible apocalypse.
3 The concept of fire in your book was quite fascinating, so a very likely question which you must be asked often. How you came up with such idea?
Getting the rules of the world right was hard and needed a lot of research. I’d come across a few articles on quantum entanglement and physics and stuff, and that sparked the basic mechanics of their power. I wanted a power that was a bit unique and different, but also limited in how it can be used – resonance was the answer. I came up with most of the power rules on a 13 hour cross-country drive, so that gave me a lot of time to think!
4 The Shadows gave me goose bumps from the prequel of the series. Can you talk about those creatures?
I can’t say too much about them just yet, but I do reveal what they are in The City Unseen! They’ve been around for a very long time, watching us, moulding our history… and they have a very good reason for what they’re doing. Every hint I drop comes together in some way later. You might not even notice I’ve dropped a clue until I draw it together in further books, but it’s all connected!
5 What were the parts where you enjoyed writing most?
I think the house fire was one of my favourites, as there was so much going on that I had to balance. When I was writing the last scene at the chapel, a storm came through and the room got really dark, which meant I ended up spooking myself a little. On a different note, the interactions between Josh and Ari were fun. I enjoy writing the lighter moments, and having a bit of banter between the characters.
6 Is this the only project you’re working on?
Right now the main thing I’m doing is working on finishing the series, but I do have a book on the backburner that’s about 25% done. It’s a different style, kind of John Green meets Steven King, if you can imagine that.
7 The prequel and another novella of this series were published in e-book form. Are you planning to put them in paperback as well?
I’m not sure yet. The prequel is available as a very thin paperback, but the short story is a bit too short to publish in print at the moment. I’m planning on doing a novella or short story in between each of the main numbered novels, that explores a different character or perspective on something happening between each novel, so maybe I’ll compile them all together at the end in paperback form.
8 You’re a self published author, how has been your journey so far?
It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of work! I’ve loved having input into the marketing of the series, and the design work has been fun to work on as well. The best part has been the interaction with readers and people who are loving the work. The nice thing about indie publishing is that there isn’t the same lead time between concept and release; in the traditional world a book might be in limbo for a year or two after it’s been written depending on the publisher’s schedule, so the series could be completely written by the time the first book is released. For me, having a shorter release schedule means I hear from readers about what they loved, and what characters they want to see more of, and I can adjust the story, improvise a bit to respond to what people are enjoying. It’s a bit like the difference between acting in a film to acting on a stage; in film it’s all locked down months before anyone sees it. On stage, you’re telling the same story, but you can tweak things a bit more to what the audience is responding to. The Unseen Series is all planned out, but the feedback from readers has been influential in what characters get more story time. I didn’t realise Hud was going to be so popular, for example, so I’ve given him more of a role than I initially planned.
9 You’ve been in numerous jobs, which one has been your favourite so far?
High school teaching, for sure. I love taking a group of students and seeing them learn and grow. It’s different every day, and I’m never bored!
10 A book or movie, what’s your favourite in this genre of horror?
I really liked Odd Thomas, which is kind of a horror/thriller. The character is really quirky and interesting, and the final chapter twist is devastatingly clever. On a completely different note, The Mummy (the Brendan Fraser one) is one of my favourite films of all time, because I love ancient Egypt, and it’s just a big, fun, over-the-top adventure. I’d love to write a supernatural action-adventure story like that one day.
So, that was author Andrew C. Jaxson who is working on The Unseen series and is releasing the second book in the series. Don’t forget to subscribe to his newsletter because he plays “generous author” there and mails his subscribers free novellas and short stories every now and then.