Hi Cyrus! Welcome to the blog.
Well, hi there yourself. Thanks for having me.
Tell us about your newest book!
Lies and Paine is the fourth book in my award-winning series The NADIA Project, and it’s actually a companion piece. It’s a prequel that starts at the most critical point in Jenna Paine’s life, and ends precisely at the point which starts Becoming NADIA.
It deals with what happens when you immerse someone in a sea of lies from their youth, and the disturbing consequences that result.
Jenna Paine is a very special character. I was fascinated by her story as soon as she appeared in Becoming Nadia. How did she go from a character in someone else’s story to a character with her own book?
Now that is a great question. Jenna just didn’t get much coverage in Becoming NADIA, mainly because she spent almost all of that book with a leg in a cast. That was an awful shame because she’s such a BA, and I wanted to show a little more of what she could do. But the story just never went in that direction (except maybe a little toward the very end).
Unalive was needed to carry on Nadia Velasquez’ story anyway, which provided a prime opportunity to uncover more of Jenna as a person and as an agent for The Pinnacle. But, as you know, sometimes the character steps forward and throws their own wrinkles in, and Jenna was certainly on board with that. Anyone who knows her would agree that she loves a good surprise, especially when she’s the one giving it.
By the time Critical Mass was over, Jenna had become an awesome, tragic anti-hero. We got to see all the places inside where she was broken, but we never got the chance to see how she got that way. Here she was, a good person working for some very bad people.
So one night, I was wondering what my next project was going to be, and she snuck up in my brain and informed me there was more to be told in her story. Now, who am I to refuse one of my favorite characters, who had also become a fan favorite? After all, she has more fans than anyone in the series, except maybe Bunny Kalinsky.
Your books feature intricate conspiracies and shady dealings. Do you start with an outline or do you discover the secrets behind the scenes as you write?
Both. I started with a detailed outline for the first story, and when I finished it, I had this huge loose end starting me in the face. It took two more books just to bring it all to a close, and all I had to do was keep the characters consistent. So basically, all the real convoluted stuff was born in the first book, and all I had to do from there was keep up with Bunny’s snarky mouth, Nadia and Jon’s relationship, and of course all the wrinkles Jenna threw at us as we went along. A lot of those just kind of jumped up and bit me in the course of writing the story.
What’s a typical day of writing for you?
I wish I could say “typical” in a way that would lead someone to believe there’s any consistency to my routine. I somehow have to find time to write in between being a husband of one, a father of four, a musician and a full-time repairman for corporate jets.
Do you have any upcoming writing projects you can share?
Sure. My current work in progress is called Tempus Fugitive, a kind of Dexter meets Doctor Who.
Simon Crocker is a disgraced former Marine, recruited by a group of sponsors who send him through time to become an instrument of justice against history’s most notorious serial killers, before they commit their first murders. Can he rid the past of its monsters without becoming one himself?
Who else should we be reading right now?
Funny you should ask. I’m afraid I don’t keep up on “the latest and the greatest” new authors. I just find things I like and read those. Currently, David Weber is on the top of my favorite author list. Robert Heinlein is a forever favorite, as are Andre Norton, Sean McMullen, Frank Peretti, Keith Laumer, and Nancy Kress. Oh, and add Louis L’Amour to the list. His vivid descriptions are like reading a Frederick Remington painting.
Thank you so much for joining us on the Freelance and Fiction blog!
Thanks again for putting up with me!
From now until March 1st, you can get a free copy of Lies and Paine from MuseItUp Publishing. Keep up with Cyrus Keith on Facebook, his blog, and at MuseItUp Publishing for other upcoming specials!
Disclosure and all that: I've been critique buddies with Cyrus Keith and I used to work as a junior editor at MuseItUp Publishing.