Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guest Author - Joe Nassise (Interview & Giveaway)

My guest today is author Joe Nassise, a regular at the Genreality blog, that he shares with genre writers Carrie Vaughn, Candice Havens, Bob Mayer, Sasha White and Rosemary Clement-Moore. I interviewed Joe about about his varied projects including his innovative Hellstalker series, the most recent Rogue Angel novel, The Spirit Banner, and his forthcoming urban fantasy series, The Hunt Chronicles. Joe also has some interesting new projects in the works, but you'll have to read the interview to find  out more.

I've read the first three installments of the serialized HELLstalkers, and if you love thrillers, this is your ticket. I've had a sneak peek at Eyes to See from The Hunt Chronicles and ooh boy , it's going to be good.

Please welcome Joe and feel free to ask questions and leave comments. Joe will be by to chat as time permits. Joe has generously offered a copy of Rogue Angel: The Spirit Banner as a giveaway. If you haven't tried the series here is a terrific opportunity.

SFG: Joe you have so many things on the go right now. Let’s start with your Hellstalkers digital project. Tell us how you got involved and what the project and story is about?

About a year ago I’d been in touch with Blackbetty Mobilemedia, a small screen publisher in Austria who was interested in the digital rights for my Templar Chronicles series. We started a dialogue and I put them in touch with my German publisher, Droemer-Knaur. As that process of licensing those rights moved along, I stayed in touch with director of development at Blackbetty and one day we started talking about the possibility of writing a series specifically for the mobile market. Our discussion led to a formal proposal and agreement to release HELLstalkers.

A major plot element in the story is the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. In reality, the Collider is designed to shoot protons at just shy of the speed of light directly into each other. The resulting impact can show us what the conditions of the universe might have been like just moments after the Big Bang, so there is a lot we can learn from the experiment. However, like most scientific advancements, there is some controversy surrounding the Collider, everything from the belief that it might form a black hole and devour the Earth itself to the religious rights protest against trying to simulate the moment of Creation.

The combination of controversy and cool science was just too much for my writing partner, Jon , and me to ignore. Our story revolves around an accident that occurs when the Collider is switched on and what happens in the aftermath.

SFG: How many instalments of the series do you have planned and will there eventually be a print version for us old-fashioned types?

We’ve actually scripted out the plotlines for several books and really hope we’ll get the opportunity to take it that far. A lot depends on the response to book one, The Cerberus Protocol, and whether or not the fan support has been enough to allow us to continue from there.
 We don’t currently have a publisher for a print version of the books, but our agent will shopping the proposal around in the near future and we’d love to see it happen.

SFG: You co-authored The Cerebus Protocol with Jon Merz. How does that collaborative process work and can you tell us something about Jon?

Jon’s a great writer and a fabulous friend. We met several years ago when we were both just starting out; he with his Lawson Vampire series (recently revived by St. Martin’s) and I with my Templar Chronicles series. We’ve been wanting to work on something together for a few years now, ever since a mixed martial arts series we’d put together in conjunction with the International Fight League had to be cancelled what that organization went belly up. When the chance to write a series for the mobile market came up, I knew that Jon was just the guy to partner with on it.

I’ve found it very easy to work in collaboration with Jon. We have the same basic writing style and the same cinematic approach to storytelling, so the actual writing meshes rather well and our day-to-day process is a simple one. I’ll write a chapter and send it to Jon. He’ll edit it, add what he sees fit and then write the next one. I’ll edit those, write the next, and so on. This way our individual writing voices blend together into a new one that is the sum total of both our talents.

SFG: Last month you had The Spirit Banner, your first (I believe) Rogue Angel novel hit the shelves. I’ve always been curious about how writing a shared world novel is accomplished. What guidelines does the publisher give you? Can you give us an overview of the story? Are you allowed to tell us what the other titles are?

I love working on the Rogue Angel series and I hope to continue doing so for some time to come. Yes, The Spirit Banner is my first Rogue Angel novel, but there are three more coming down the pipeline. My second, working title Yin and Yang, will be out later this year, and I’ll have two others in 2011. Working titles are The Black Tor and Ghosts of the Confederacy.

The series itself revolves around Annja Creed, a female archaeologist / adventurer / television host who works for Chasing History’s Monsters. Annja also happens to the bearer of Joan of Arc’s mystical sword, which gets her into all sorts of interesting situations.

In The Spirit Banner, Annja is hired to prove the accuracy of a map and journal that allegedly shows the location of the long-lost tomb of Mongol warlord, Genghis Khan. Of course, Annja and her friends aren’t the only ones looking for the tomb...

The publisher, Gold Eagle, works hard to maintain a sense of continuity between the books, but also requires that each of them stand entirely on their own. This way, should a reader come to them for the first time deep into the series they don’t have to go all the way back to book one in order to enjoy them; they can be read in any order.

As for guidelines, we received a short write up on each of the major characters and an overall sense of what Gold Eagle wants out of each book when we started out, but that’s pretty much it. Plotlines are run past the series editor and approved before we start writing, so that they don’t end up with several of writing about the same thing – i.e. more than one book set in the Arctic or more than one storyline featuring the Mayan underworld, that kind of thing.

SFG: You have a supernatural thriller trilogy called the Templar Chronicles that is very popular in Germany (German readers I understand are also huge urban fantasy fans). Can you tell us the story behind that and are there plans for a complete English release of the trilogy?

The Templar Chronicles revolve around the idea that the Templar Order has been resurrected as a modern combat arm of the Vatican, charged with defending mankind against supernatural threats and enemies. The lead character is Knight Commander Cade Williams, a man who has been scarred both physically and emotionally from an encounter with a supernatural entity known as the Adversary. That encounter also led to the death of his wife, Gabrielle, and gave Cade several unique powers of his own, including psychometry (the ability to read emotional residues from an object through touch) and a talent for traveling the Beyond, a kind of cross between purgatory and the land of the dead.

Cade leads the Echo Team, a special ops unit that is called in when things go from bad to worse, and each book in the trilogy features a stand-alone adventure while also furthering the overall story arc of the series.

The first book, Heretic, was originally published in English by Pocket Books. Before it was released, however, my editor left to handle non-fiction at a different publisher and the series was effectively orphaned before it ever got off the ground. Without an internal champion to help push and promote internally, it quietly fizzled, despite great recommendations from Clive Barker and Peter Straub, a comic book adaptation, a film option, and a hardcover book club sale. Go figure, right? Thankfully, I sold German language rights to Droemer Knaur, who did a terrific job releasing Heretic under the title Der Ketzer, which hit the German bestseller list two weeks after release. DK picked up the rights to the next two novels and I’ve been writing originals for them ever since.

I’d love to see an English language release for the entire trilogy, but we’ve (my agent and I) have had some difficulty selling a series that started at a different house, despite that fact that rights have all reverted back to me. A collector’s edition was planned for each volume, but that speciality press publisher just went belly up so those plans had to be scrapped. I’m currently pursuing other options so we’re not dead in the water yet.

SFG: You’ve also launched a new urban fantasy series called the Hunt Chronicles. You’ve said the first book, Eyes to See (Der Schattenseher) is already out in Germany and that the series will be published by Tor here in 2011. Please give us a sneak preview.

Eyes to See features Jeremiah Hunt, a man driven to extremes to find out what happened to his daughter, Elizabeth, who disappeared from his home five years before the events of the novel. A strange ritual robs him of his everyday sight, but grants him the ability to see the ghosts that surround us all. He develops a unique partnership with two of them, ghosts he calls Whisper and Scream, and as the novel opens he is called upon by a friend in the Boston Police Department to help make sense of a particularly odd murder scene.

Eyes to See is the best thing I’ve written to date, in my view, and I’m very excited to see how the urban fantasy audience responds to it. Jeremiah isn’t the most likable character, but he’s someone that I think we all can identify with, for we all done something we regret and wish we could take back at one time or another in our lives. His desperate love for his daughter is his one redeeming trait and it is that love which allows him to slowly come back from the brink, at least to some extent.

SFG: What other projects are you working on that you can share with us?

As I write this, I’m waiting on word from a publisher for a zombie steampunk novel set in an alternate World War One, which has been great fun to put together. I like to think of it as a cross between The Blue Max, The Dirty Dozen, and Dawn of the Dead, if that gives you any sense of it. Zombies, biplanes, and weird science – talk about fun!

I’m also trying a little experiment over at, where I’m trying to raise support to write an urban fantasy novel called The Mirror’s Road. The site allows anyone to create a project and ask for help funding it in return for giving the project backers an inside look into the creation process, effectively making them partners if you will, and providing unique rewards for their support and assistance.

The hook in this story is going to be the idea that all mirrors are connected. That behind the reflective glass lays a series of roads, a set of ephemeral ley lines if you will, that connect every mirror in the world with every other one. Those roads can be used to move from here to there. If you know the proper pathways, that is.

Of course, the roads are not always empty and strange creatures occupy the lost and lonely spaces in between. Travelers on the road are cautioned to move with care and not to linger any longer than necessary.

Our hero in this story is going to find out that the roads were built for a reason and that some people have more of a right to use them than others.

If you want to check it out for yourself, see what it’s all about and the cool prizes you can get by helping make the project a reality, you can do so at The Mirror's Road UF Project..

SFG: If you could have lunch and a conversation with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I think I’d like to have lunch with the apostle John, the writer of both the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation. As for why, John is supposed to be the only Gospel writer to actually have known Christ. I’d love to put a few questions to him...

SFG: Being the SciFiGuy, I need to ask – what is your favourite SFF movie and book?

My favourite SFF book is A Talent for War, by Jack McDevitt, followed very closely by Frank Herbert’s Dune. My favourite SFF movie is Aliens.

SFG: Tell us three things about yourself that nobody else knows (until now of course).
  1. Besides my four kids, I also have six dogs, three cats, and two guinea pigs.
  2. I love having written, I dislike the actual process of writing and struggle with it regularly.
  3. I’m afraid of heights but love rock climbing, both indoors (in the gym) and outdoors as well.

Thanks Joe for taking the time to chat with us!

And here are some helpful links to discover more about Joe and his many projects and series:

  1. One copy of Rogue Angel: The Spirit Banner to giveaway courtesy of Joe Nassise.
  2. Leave a comment or question for Joe or suggest what archaeological adventure you would like to see Annja Creed (Rogue Angel) embark on next.
  3. Open to residents of the US and Canada.
  4. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  5. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  6. Giveaway open until Midnight, March 1, 2010 EST.


  1. Joe,

    I haven't read any of your books yet but Rouge Angel sounds good. I'll have to put it on my TBR list.

    sgiden AT verizon DOT net

  2. Thanks Sandy! You can start with any of the books in the series, not just The Spirit Banner, as they are designed to be read in any order. Enjoy!

  3. I haven't had a chance to read your books yet either, but I agree with SandyG, Rogue Angel looks very good.


  4. Thanks Jasmyn. They're a cool mix of history, adventure and a touch of the fantastic. I really enjoyed them, which is how I decided I wanted to work on the line in the first place.

  5. This series sounds great can't wait to read it.


  6. I haven't read your book but it looks fantastic! I would love a chance to win it!


  7. This would be a new author for me, sounds good!

  8. Thanks for the kind welcome, everyone. Glad to see there is some interest in the Rogue Angel series. My HELLstalker writing partner, Jon Merz, is also on the RA team, along with writers such as Mel Odom, Jean Rabe, Victor Milan, and Michele Hauf.

  9. Hi Joe,

    You are a new author for me and your books look so good, especially the Templar and Hunt series. I am hoping you can find a home for the Templar series here in the States. It would be great to read. :)

    Adding to my reading list.

    Dawn R.

  10. Oh, I'd love to win this. I'd love to see Annja go after Atlantis


  11. Hi, Joe,

    First off, I have to say I love a man who loves animals! :)

    I'm a big fan of the "Rogue Angels" series, and it's cool you're writing some of the books now.

    I'm excited about the novel you're working on -- zombies and steampunk together works for me! :)

  12. In the words of my teenage kids - "Animals rock!" Wanted to say that I really appreciate the warm welcome for my efforts as well.

    Re: Atlantis - for some reason, I have this feeling in the back of my head that we can't do an Atlantis book with Annja. Editorial felt it was too obvious or overdone, something like that. I could be mistaken though, gonna have to check.

  13. I've heard about the collider and the black hole stuff (I'm somewhat of a science nerd myself lol) it sounds immensely interesting, though I don't own a blackberry, so I wish you luck on finding a publisher! =)

    the material focusing on Genghis Khan really grabbed my attention\
    it's great that these books are standalones too, makes it easier to jump into the series =)

    thanks for the interview and please sign me up for the giveaway!



  14. I have always been interested in archeology and would love to read your books.

  15. Hi,

    You're a new author to me too (which is why I visit blogs) and Rogue Angel sounds like a series that will really appeal to me. Maybe one could take place in Mayan or Aztecan tombs. Haven't heard of any monsters affiliated with either group but both were pretty monstrous in real life(Quetzecuatl?)but it is fiction.

  16. I'm glad that your books are not meant to be read in any particular order. Sometimes it is frustrating to follow a set sequence.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Hello to Frank, Anne, and ninefly!

    Gloria - Garin and Roux are some of my favorite characters from the series and I can tell you that each of them has a fair sized role in the next two RA books I'm doing.

  19. I haven't tried your Rogue Angel series yet but the premise sounds wonderful. Being someone who is fascinated by religion, archaeology and history, I definitely plan to give them a try! They sound right up my alley.
    Also love the mirror-roads concept. Sounds like something you could really do a lot with.
    Please enter me in your book giveaway, thanks!

  20. Hi Joe!

    I havent read any of your books but the premise of your novel sounds like the kind of book I would love to read. I would love to win a copy. I'd love to see Annja go after Excalibur.


  21. wow this sounds like a great story. i am adding it to my wishlist so I don't forget to buy it lol.
    I'll post about this contest on my sidebar on my blog

  22. Rogue Angel: The Spirit Banner and your character Annja Creed, sound like the start of an interesting series. I'm going to have to check it out, since I love archaeology and adventure in a book. Throw in a television host who has Joan of Arc's sword, and the story sounds even more intriguing.


    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    I have never read anything by Joe before and I was wondering what his inspiration for this series was?

  24. Thanks for all the suggestions and support, gang.

    Justpeachy36 - The Rogue Angel series was actually the brain child of Randall Toy, an exec at Harlequin. He turned the basic idea over to two editors, Feroze Mohammed and Nicole Brebner, who fleshed out the series along with writer Mel Odom. I came on board well into the series - The Spirit Banner is the 22nd Rogue Angel title.

  25. I actually already own the book and it's high on my TBR pile. I do have a quewtion though. After a long series of stand alone adventures is there eventual plans to shake up the series down the road? Like I know other Gold Eagle books follow a "done in one" formula but stuff like the Destroyer and Outlanders had a continuity. Basically will there be any pivital books soon that tell Garin or Braden's story or like the volume that hinted at Annja's possible relationship to Garin

  26. I REALLY want to win this!
    Thankyou!! :D:D:D


  27. How about Pompeii? =)

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Hi, Joe.

    What is your opinion on book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  30. 00scotty - I wish I could say more about Garin and Roux's backstory and how those will play out in the series. Unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to do so. Sorry.

    Bookover0226 - I'm not sure what to think about book trailers. I haven't seen one yet, including those that are produced professionally, that make me want to go out and buy a book, so personally they don't have much impact. I do like the general concept, though. I'd be interested to see if there are any media groups out there doing studies of their effectiveness.


    Hi Joe,

    I'm new to your books, but The Templar Chronicles sound intriguing. I'll have to look for them.

    I also tweeted here:

  32. I'm so glad I found a new author to read! Can't wait to start...

  33. I really don't have a suggestion since I haven't read the books yet, but they're now on my tbr list!


    posted about this on my blog

  34. Thanks for hosting a great giveaway! I'm probably no good at suggesting new digs as I haven't picked up the series (yet!) but I've always been fascinated by the Mayan ruins. Thanks!

    heather y

  35. Wow Joe, You write some awesome thrillers. I have not read any of your books but would love to. I like thrillers with romance etc.
    Thanks for the great giveway. Pls enter my name for the giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  36. I have to admit, I was really disappointed with The Cerberus Protocol. I found that the book had too many flaws. The worst ones I found were that Memphis was made to command a team of elite special forces soldiers. The next one was how easily he recruited them. This book has scared me away from buying any of your books in the future to be honest, even though most of your other books are generally rated favorably.

    You can see the full review at:


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