Interview with Jordan Castillo Price
Please help me give a warm welcome to author Jordan Castillo Price :insert clapping smiley here people!: Her PsyCop series is a top favorite of mine and I know of many others as well. We are currently hosting a giveaway for the PsyCop book of your choice. Please signup for the giveaway – below or on the giveaway page.
Regina: Welcome Jordan! We’re very excited to have you here with us at Badass Book Reviews to talk about your series – PsyCop. This is one of my very favorite series. Every element fits perfectly together to create a funny, sexy, and interesting read. One of the elements to this series is Vic’s inner monologue. He is constantly analyzing and worrying over scenes in his life, conversations and his love life. I find this very easy to relate to, as the reader I got to know Vic. Vic’s flaws and mishaps, make him seem like – -well, me! Despite the strong world building and storylines, I would describe the books in PsyCop to be character driven. Would you agree?
Jordan: I’m so glad you can relate to Victor Bayne. I think there are plenty of us in the world who tend to stew over “what just happened” and have a hard time trying to get a bead on the cause and effect, let alone what kind of meaning we should attach to it. A lot of people probably think like Vic, at least in some situations.
Recently I was asked if PsyCop was more of a paranormal series or a cop series, and I decided it was really neither. I think of it as a character-driven series. The paranormal elements exist to provide interesting elements for the characters’ personalities, and the crime elements are the backdrop in which the personalities function. But it really is all about the characters.
Regina: That is exactly why I love this series so much. Or at least one of the many reasons. It truly is character driven. I do love the paranormal elements too though. But each book leaves me wanting more and more of Vic, Jacob, Lisa … and when I discuss these books with my friends, it is the characters we are talking about.
What genre would you put PsyCop in? Who would you recommend these books to?
Jordan: Urban Fantasy would probably be the closest fit. I don’t think PsyCop is technically a romance, since it’s really not about whether Victor and Jacob will get together. Once they work out that they’re both keen on having a relationship, it’s never in question, and I think the “will they/won’t they” dynamic is really the crux of a romance.
That’s not to say romance readers wouldn’t enjoy it. The love relationship is always an important thread, and how Victor and Jacob negotiate each others’ talents and faults might be interesting to a romance reader.
Mystery readers might enjoy it, or they might not. The cases Vic solves are really there to showcase his talent and decision-making skills, rather than to stump a reader and encourage them to piece together “whodunnit.” So someone looking for a hardcore paranormal mystery might not feel satisfied.
The easiest (and probably least specific) answer is that if a reader likes Vic’s voice, they’ll probably like the series. For that reason, I keep the first half of book 1, Among the Living, available for free on the PsyCop website. That way readers can just read for a while and decide if it’s for them. Here’s a link to the first half: http://psycop.com/stories/ATLexcerpt.html
You know I have to ask, because fans of this series are dying to know – when can we expect to see the next installment in this series?
Jordan: My hope is to have PsyCop 7 available by the end of 2012.
Regina: You have just made sooo many PsyCop fans happy. That is fantastic news.
Will that be the last to the PsyCop series?
Jordan: No, I also plan to have a PsyCop 8, and possibly some shorts.
Regina: Some more great news! I like the shorts and in-betweens you have on your website. Particularly the ones from Jacob’s point of view.
One of the things I liked so much about this series is how you write characters. Your characters are introduced and gradually fleshed out throughout the story. There is no info dumping about a character and since we are learning about the character from Vic’s perspective, we only know a little at first about them but further on in the story we know more. I guess what I am getting at is that the process of getting to know characters is very much like real life and the characters (except for their abilities) act as real world people do. Was this intentional or do your stories naturally write like this?
Jordan: I’m a pretty intentional writer, and definitely my method of hinting at things for a while before I reveal them is deliberate. I don’t care for info-dumps myself. I think they take the joy out of reading. So I’m careful to spread out the backstory and keep a few surprises in reserve.
I guess my approach is about reader-author trust. If a character starts acting weird, then there’s a reason. And I’ll tell the reader that reason at the time in which they’ll most enjoy hearing about it. Trusting the reader to trust me.
Regina: Deliberate is a great word for how I think of the set-up in your books. When I did a re-read of the first several books, I picked up on so many clues (particularly about Lisa’s comments and behavior) that later came to fruition as the story progressed.
The setting for PsyCop is almost like a character in the story. You describe Chicago so accurately and the streets, the scenery play into what is happening. I live in the metro area and work in Chicago so I am a huge fan of any book or movie located here. But I often feel like writers miss something about the city or mis-describes locations. You never make this mistake. I believe you used to live in Chicago, did you set the series in Chicago because of your familiarity with the series or were there other reasons?
Jordan: Definitely living there for twelve years played a huge factor. My last boss in Chicago used to be good friends with the cops in his precinct, so they were always dropping by his business whenever they needed something from him, or even just to shoot the breeze. I’ve always thought of them as being from “Vic’s precinct.”
Logically, for a community to support a program as big, costly and dangerous as the PsyCop program, it would need to have deep pockets and a large population. New York, L.A.or Chicago. So the city I lived in was the obvious choice.
Chicago also has a diverse texture to it. There are crappy neighborhoods and ritzy neighborhoods and cold, skyscraper-y neighborhoods. There are big crowds and also big concrete wastelands of nothing. There’s always a perfect location for the scene I need to set.
Regina: I think you capture the city well, the diversity and the texture. Great description for Chicago.
What drives Jacob? He seems to have a strong moral compass in terms of his own morality – anything to solve a case (even if that means breaking procedural rules or threatening suspects) and put the criminal away.
Jordan: I think you pinpointed Jacob’s driving force in your question—it is his moral compass. He can’t stand to see people being hurt. But there’s probably a lot of ego involved too. Whereas Vic doesn’t think it’s his place to solve everyone else’s problems, Jacob is so sure of his own authority that he tends to step in where other people would step away.
It’s also due to his massive ego that he sees rules more as general guidelines.
Regina: Ha! I like that, his massive ego.
Do you have any writing rituals? What is the process you use to write a book or a scene?
Jordan: Interesting question! I tried to create some writing rituals for myself once, like lighting a candle or spraying a scent, so that on days where I didn’t feel inspired I could do my ritual as kind of a running start to get into writing.
But ultimately it was just too fussy.
I sit and I write because I want to tell the stories. I’m very much dreading dying with hundreds of untold stories in my head someday just because there wasn’t time to write them all down. Being aware of my motivation encourages me to do it, even if I feel worn-out or stuck.
And of course feeling stuck is another whole thing. Sometimes stuck-ness is just feeling lazy, but sometimes it indicates a story that you aren’t connecting with because there’s something wrong with it, and what you really need is to brainstorm about it rather than trying to add to the finished wordcount.
Regina: If you could cast your novel for a cable series – I can see this as a great serial tv show – who would play some of the characters in this series?
Jordan: I’d prefer to see it as a TV show rather than a movie too, because there would be more time for the interpersonal relationships to unfold on screen in a series. Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies would be a good Vic, since he’s very tall and he conveys “reticent” very well. He also has great, dry comic timing. Whoever played Vic would need to say a lot with their eyes. Vic doesn’t actually speak aloud very often for a main character.
I’ve always thought of Jacob as the late Kevin Smith, who played Ares in Xena Warrior Princess. He could be threatening and sexy at the same time, and he always came off as incredibly smart and calculating even though he was all pumped up, and occasionally vulnerable.
Michelle Rodriguez from Lost has always been Lisa for me, and although she’s now known as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation, I’ve always wanted Amy Poehler to play Carolyn in the style in which she anchored Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.
Regina: Oh Kevin Smith is perfect for Jacob!
What do you read for fun?
Jordan: I’m a big SF, horror and thriller fan. Stephen King is my absolute favorite, and it seems to me he keeps getting better and better. I also love Kage Baker, Scott Westerfeld and Nancy Kress.
Thanks so much for your questions—they touched on a lot of issues I’ve been pondering lately.
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Click here for the Official PsyCop site. Click here for Jordan’s website. Click here for Jordan’s web store.
You can check our reviews to Jordan’s Pyscop books: Among the Living, Criss Cross, Body & Soul, and Secrets. We will be reviewing Camp Hell and GhosTV in the next few weeks. Thanks for joining us and don’t forget to signup for our giveaway of the PsyCop book of your choice below or here!
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