Interview with Jordan Castillo Price Author of the PsyCop Series

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

Regina: Thanks for the link!  Your site has alot of fun stuff on it. 

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.

Regina: Jordan, thank you for joining us today! Your answers are so informative and it is clear you took time to be with us.  Thank you!

Readers who want to be alerted to my new releases can sign up here for my newsletter. They can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and LiveJournal.
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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Comments 25

  • First of all, lemme just say that I became a quick, hardcore addict of Psycop series & Jordan Castillo Price from the first half hour of reading Among The Living. I work at a Half Price Books in Houston, Tx, and A fellow sold the books to my store one day. The covers intrigued me from the get-go (I LOVE self published fiction) & I’m always on the look out for an interesting, unique series to read). Needless to say, I was so very very very glad that I went with my instinct on this. Everyone who has commented here has already pointed out how amazing this series is, so I won’t repeat what we already know – namely, that everything Miss Price writes is golden – & instead, I’ll focus on my weird reading/casting habits. When i read a story, I see it as a movie in my head, cuz I happen to be pretty damn visual (Like Vic), so i automatically internally cast the story. Looks like I’m not the only one! By the way, I love that everyone thought of Jacob as either Kevin Tod Smith or Joe Manganiello, and Lisa as Michelle Rodriguez, including the author herself! Great twisted minds think alike, eh? Without further ado, the cast, as I see it:
    Victor: Sam Jaeger (Joel from Parenthood…I know, not exactly prime choice for Vic, but that’s where my mind goes. Sue me.)
    Jacob: Joe Manganiello (Kevin Tod Smith)
    Lisa: Michelle Rodriguez
    Crash: Matt Keeslar (the way he appears as the bisexual drummer in the Gregg Araki film Splendor)
    Carolyn: Victoria Pratt (Cyane from Xena/Shalimar from Mutant X)
    Ziegler: Ben Martin (He’s a gay BearPorn actor…I know, I know, I’m a shameful specimen. Teehee)
    Warrick: Vince Mcmahon (WWE)

    Well, I’ve sufficiently geeked myself out for the day. Be well, and KEEP ON WRITING, Mistress Price. Your hungry little fanboys & fangirls are anxiously waiting…

  • I agree, Lee Pace is perfect for Vic. He’s got that brooding, expressive-eyed look required to portray Vic down pat. Kevin Smith would have made a great Jacob, too. I always liked him in Xena even when he was being a giant prick. I could also see Joe Manganiello as Jacob. Michelle Rodriguez…spot on as Lisa. I think Dominic Monaghan would be a good match for Crash. He’s got the snarky, sarcastic wit to pull off Crash excellently. I’ve been seeing Julie Benz as Carolyn for a while now. I loved her in Buffy/Angel, and she’s got the chops to portray Carolyn with style.

    And can I say WOOHOO!! about a new PsyCop book at the end of the year with more to come? I think I shall…WOOHOO!!!

  • Late to the game, but I loved this interview! Though now that I have these perfect pictures in my head of how the characters look, I can’t help but wonder who you would see as Crash? I have a mental picture of a 30 year old David Bowie, but I may be WAY off base 🙂

  • Great interview! It’s nice to see someone else point out how well you do the setting of Chicago!

    • Hi Val! I’m writing a new series set in Madison. It’ll be interesting to see if I can convey its quirky liberal charm.

      • Madison would be a great setting. I have a weird attraction to books set in Wisconsin, I think it is such an interesting geographic setting and then add in the people — perfect. Madison is a perfect little haven. I jokingly say that it is my fantasy to live there. 🙂 So … I am looking forward to anything you explore in Madison!

        • When I lived in Chicago I heard “Madison is really cool” in my social circles a lot. Now I’m here…mostly I’m baffled by how safe it is. The news doesn’t lead off with four or five murders every night, you know?

          • Definitely. I live in an area similar to Madison – liberal, open, diverse and quirky but it borders high crime areas. Very sad stuff and sometimes scary stuff. Plus I ride the w/e green line in and out of the city to and from work. So I am constantly aware of the crime. I love Wisconsin, particularly rural and northern Wisconsin but then I am a small town girl born and raised. But despite it all, I am not ready to give the city up. Definitely some day though.

  • I think most of us are hoping for as many books as you are willing to write us on this series, Jordan. I own every last one of them so please don’t sign me up for the giveaway. Someone else should win! I’ll just say that this series keeps getting better and better. GhosTV was my favorite of them all. I’m also a huge fan of the shorts. I really enjoyed seeing who would play the characters today. I think your book covers on this series are fantastic, and I already had great images for Vic. Still, Lee Pace is a nice idea. LOL! Okay, I’ll just go back to my writing now, and wait patiently for the next Psycop book to come out. Woot! XOXO, Jordan!

    • I’m definitely at a different place in my writing than I was when I started the series six years ago. Among the Living was only the fourth or fifth story I ever sold, and the stories before that were all shorts or audio scripts. I approach my writing a lot differently now–with the deliberation I mentioned in the interview. I think I’ve veered more toward having all my decisions happen for multiple reasons now, whereas I probably wrote a lot of stuff early on just ’cos it sounded cool. I’m glad to hear it feels like an improvement to you! Great to see you here 😀 xoxo

  • Great interview. I never read any of the books but I definitely will now!

  • What a great interview Jordan! I’m so excited that you’ve got another book coming out this year. It makes me want to squeeeeee like crazy, but I’m at work, and people would look at me weird if I did. Nope, nothing wrong with that, but still…. libraries should be quiet places!

    Gosh, I never thought about Ares as Jacob… now I’m going to have to rewatch some Xena just because of that. And some of the other shows, cause clearly, I don’t watch enough TV to know who they all are and now I have to know. I’m in agreement, a Psycop TV show would be much better than a movie. I’ve always been a bigger TV fan anyway. There’s more to love and you can love it longer. So, it’s a perfect fit for Vic and Jacob.

    I’m secretly hoping there are more than just 8 books… but even if there aren’t, I’ve got them in print and ebook, and I know I’ll be rereading them over and over and over again until I die. So, major thanks for writing such a great series!

    • If you squee right after school lets out, the dull roar of the children should cover you!

      I’m pretty conscious of not wanting to jump the shark, which is why I doubt PsyCop would sprawl into a series of 20 like lots of popular cash-cow series fiction. Victor Bayne changes significantly in each book, whereas with most long series, it’s just the same character dropped into marginally different situations over and over. Vic has a definite arc. But I hope it will be perceived as a satisfying one.

      Thanks so much for popping by and commenting!!

  • I really enjoyed this interview. I have not read these books yet, nor had I heard of them before I joined Goodreads and this blog. I’ll be checking these books out.

  • Great interview Regina! You’ve been encouraging me to read these for ages and I feel like I need to finally give in 🙂
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  • Awesome interview you two! Love Vic and Jacob to bits. I love the world you created Jordan. It’s gritty and fun, compelling and interesting.

    • Thank you so much! “Compelling” is one of my favorite words…especially for when characters diverge from readers’ expectations. It’s fine to dislike them, as long as they’re compelling!

  • Holy smokes, you found a picture of Lee Pace where he looks JUST like Vic! Hooray! Thanks again for having me, Regina. If anyone has any more questions, I’d love to answer them. Leave them here and I’ll check back.
    xoxo