Saturday, September 7, 2013

An Interview with MUCKROSS FOLLY'S J.L. Austgen

Evelyn Morgan returns in J.L. Austgen’s latest thriller, Muckross Folly!
Reeling from the destruction of her team at the hands of her deputy, FBI agent Evelyn Morgan vows revenge against her nemesis, the assassin that planned the operation, Omar Ben Iblis. The trail leads to an old friend, well-connected and well-placed in Washington’s political establishment. When he refuses to help, Morgan must scramble to find the pieces to the puzzle. While investigating, she discovers a vicious new menace, more cunning and deadly than anyone she has ever faced. Trained and mentored by Ben Iblis, this new threat has already struck her family, and if Morgan doesn’t act quickly, she’ll be the talented protégé’s next victim.

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Hi J.L.  Welcome the Read Your Writes Book Reviews.  So tell me, who is J.L. Austgen?
I’m a husband, father, and author. I live in Colorado Springs with my wife and two growing boys. We enjoy hiking, camping, and reading.
MUCKROSS FOLLY is the second book in the Evelyn Morgan Novel series.  Are the books standalones or do they need to be read in order?
Both Muckross Folly and Keyser Run stand alone, but as Muckross Folly continues Morgan's story, I would recommend reading them in order. There are a number of events which occur in Keyser Run that directly impact the characters as they continue into Muckross Folly.
Tell me about MUCKROSS FOLLY.
It's a thrill ride! I wanted to continue Morgan's story, but at a different pace than Keyser Run. The goal was to create a novel which the reader could not put down. Muckross Folly begins shortly after the concluding events of Keyser Run, pitting Morgan against her nemesis, Omar Ben Iblis. What she doesn't know, though, is Ben Iblis has taken on a new student, and she may be more deadly and cunning than Morgan.
Tell me…Who is Evelyn Morgan?
Evelyn Morgan is a strong, intelligent woman with a troubled past.
If it’s not too much of a plot spoiler, tell me about Evelyn’s relationship with her father.
I think the best word to describe it would be 'complicated.' Based on their history, I can't blame her for the hatred and anger she feels towards him. The challenge in writing the relationship was also discovering Morgan's deeper feelings towards the man. I can't say she loves him, because I'm not sure that's the term, but certainly she feels she should love him.
I’m going to assume that since you like to read series yourself, that you envisioned KEYSER RUN to be the start of your Evelyn Morgan Novel series.  How many books do you plan on having in the series?
When I created Evelyn Morgan, I envisioned a trilogy for the beginning of the series. I'm currently working on the third novel in the trilogy, and I have plans for several more books in the series after the third book is published.
What’s your writing style like?  Do you start with the characters, the plot, or just see what happens?
When envisioning this series, I created Evelyn, then outlined a plot for her to interact in. Many of the details of the story are not set in stone when I begin writing, though. The characters often determine the course of the story.
You’ve said that as an author, you love to listen to your characters and that you love the influence they have on scenes.  Especially, when the outcome isn’t what was initially in your head.  Am I to assume from that that Evelyn wrote the book herself and just left you shaking your head?
I think it's fair to say Morgan threw me a number of interesting surprises as her character grew and evolved. In some ways she did write the novels.
What’s something about MUCKROSS FOLLY which surprised even you?
There is a scene, towards the end of the novel, when Morgan confronts her father about all of the illicit activities he's masterminded. I rewrote that scene five or six times, each time with a different ending. It wasn't until Morgan got angry, when I let her get truly angry, that the true, correct ending was put down on paper. The depth of her emotion in that scene surprised me.
How do you come up with the titles for your books?
One of the editors for Keyser Run suggested I modify that title to 'Little Devil's Staircase' in order to appeal to more readers. For some reason, I did not think it fitting. I like to show some type of action in the titles, but I also feel the title needs to ground the novel. In the case of Muckross Folly, the title grounds the novel in one of the final scenes in Killarney, Ireland, along Muckross Road and near Muckross Lake.
Are you currently working on anything at the moment?  What can we next expect from you?
I'm putting the finishing touches on a short story scheduled to be published in July. It's not yet titled, but the story provides additional details on Morgan's life and history before she became an FBI agent. I have also started the long road to completing the third book in the series. It is scheduled for publication in late 2014.
J.L. thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me.  
Thank you so much for hosting me, Kim, and for introducing Evelyn Morgan to your readers.  It was wonderful spending time with you and your readers!
J.L. Austgen grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Brebeuf Jesuit High School where his love for writing fiction took root. After graduating, he moved to Colorado to attend college and study creative writing. An information technology engineer, Mr. Austgen created Evelyn Morgan out of a need for a creative outlet.
He spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and spending time with his family. Married, with two children, Mr. Austgen currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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