Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Interview with K.F. Jones Day 1

Welcome to Novel PASTimes K.F. Jones. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist and former history teacher. I taught students with learning disabilities the thrill of discovery through history. I was diagnosed with dyslexia at 11. It’s a wonder I can read, much less write a novel. I was born in Louisiana but I live in North Carolina.
 
I’m a certified diver and boat captain. I have sailed and been diving in the same waters of the Caribbean I write about.

K.F. Jones is giving away a copy of his debut novel, Due Unto: Denmark Vesey's Story. To enter the drawing for the novel, answer the following question:

What was the most lethal disease of the 18th century?

Tell us a little about what you write.
 
I write about questions that puzzle me. For example, in Due Unto, why did Denmark Vesey risk everything for people he didn’t know?  In my new book, One Drop, how did prejudice begin and why does it persist? In my third book, Chicken Scratch, I explore why learning disabilities are both bad and good, as well as the role technology plays in a dyslexic’s compensation for his/her disability and society’s dependence on the same technologies for both good and evil.
 
Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?
 
With a 2014 debut, I came late to the writing game. It’s too early to tell if I will ever be a full-time writer. Though judging by statistics it seems unlikely, let’s just say the jury is still out. Though I would prefer to pursue fiction full-time, your readers, among others, will decide that. Either way, I will continue to write. I will complete the stories I have in mind now, and hopefully, many more.
 
For now, as for many years, I am a writer (business and technical) and a teacher (a corporate software trainer).
 
The biggest obstacle to my fictional world, fiction writing, is the time I have to spend away from it, earning a living in the corporate world. I carve out blocks of time as often as possible.
 
What historical time periods interest you the most and how have you immersed yourself in a particular time period?
 
This is a great question. In truth, my interests are all over the map. If forced to choose a time period I can only narrow it down to anything post-medieval. Part of the reason for that answer has to do with the second part of your question: immersion. American history is more accessible to an American and therefore lends itself well to immersion. In addition to reading non-fiction about and fiction of a particular time period, I like to travel to the locales I am writing about.
 
 
Introduce us briefly to the main characters in your debut book.
 
Denmark Vesey is an African brought to the Americas as a young slave. Though he is fortunate to become the property of a (largely) benevolent French widow, Madam Chevalier, who educates and cares for him, he is forced to endure separation from his family and true love, Koi, during his isolation on Madam’s (uncharted) atoll.
 
Denmark’s mother, Abra, and his sister, Sade, are enslaved on a neighboring island to Madam’s. Abra and Sade are subjected to a life that is the norm among the Caribbean sugar plantation culture. Selena, a Jamaican with shaman status, becomes their protector against, Moses, the slave driver. But, Selena cannot protect Abra from Master Thomas, the plantation owner and fiancĂ© of Madam Chevalier’s daughter.
 
Adam Wolff, a Jewish businessman, a smuggler with West Indian roots but an international reach during the American Revolution, is Koi’s owner. Not unlike Madam Chevalier, his attitude toward slavery is more progressive than his contemporaries. But his primary motivation is profit.
 
Captain Joseph Vesey is a slaver who acquires Denmark and takes him to Charleston, S.C. Captain Vesey, amid his slaving career, was a privateer during the American Revolution. He later trades on his social contacts and marriages to money to climb the social ladder.
 
In the absence of many trustworthy men in Denmark’s life he is dependent on the worldview of women: Koi, Madam Chevalier, Millie (Madam’s servant), and others.
 
What are you working on now?

I am working on the re-write of One Drop and fleshing out Chicken Scratch.
 
Find out more about K.F. Jones' books online:
 
Website: www.kfjones.com
 

Remember, K.F. Jones is giving away a copy of his debut novel, Due Unto: Denmark Vesey's Story. To enter the drawing for the novel, answer the following question:

What was the most lethal disease of the 18th century?

1 comment:

traveler said...

The most lethal disease of the 18th century was smallpox. This novel sounds fascinating and captivating. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com