Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop of Jay Posey's blog tour for Three, his amazing post-apocalyptic novel about a bounty hunter with a weakness for small children in trouble. I'm so excited to have Jay visiting us to discuss zombie hunting, science fiction and much more.
As part of the tour, Jay and Angry Robot are giving away two autographed copies of Three, but it's not one of those "follow us on XYZ social media" entries. Each stop will have a different question about Jay's book and an excerpt where the answer can be found. Find the answer, submit it through the Rafflecopter over at the great and wonderful Tabitha's post at My Shelf Confessions and visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win. The tour and contest last through midnight on August 12. The WFTM question can be found after the interview.
Welcome to Working for the Mandroid, Jay! For those of our readers unfamiliar with the Legends of the Duskwalker series, how would you describe Three in two sentences or less?
JP: Hi, and thanks so much for inviting me to stop by! Three is the story of a lone gunslinger in a post-apocalyptic world who takes on the role of protector to a dying woman and her young son, as they attempt to reach the boy’s father in a distant sanctuary.
With dystopian/post-apocalyptic books being so popular right now, what sets your world apart?
JP: I think the combination of the high-tech nature of the world paired with the level of devastation in it is probably on the unusual side. There’s a lot of embedded technology in the world that continues to function, so there’s a cyberpunk element to the novel. And in addition to the usual lack of resources and general lawlessness of the world, there’s also the Weir, which are essentially cybernetically reanimated creatures that come out at night. People typically have to live in walled cities, and travel is fairly restricted, so I think that adds a certain level of claustrophobia to the world as well.
What elements of science fiction appealed to you that you were inspired to write in this genre?
JP: Science fiction has always been a place where authors were free to expand on wild and crazy “what if” kinds of scenarios, which is of course very appealing. But it’s also traditionally been a place where it was safe to explore human nature and the implications of a lot of those crazy “what if”s. So for me, I think I was drawn to it because I knew I could create a world that brought together a lot of different elements, but still have space to focus on character and relationships.
How did your background in writing and designing videogames affect the way you approached writing Three?
JP: Writing for games really trained me to look at storytelling in an almost fractal kind of way. I think it’s pretty common for new writers to start out with the whole Three Act Structure talk, and there’s a lot of value in starting there. But at least in the writing world, there’s also this thing called the Act Two Problem, which is kind of like the Long Dark Night of the Soul for stories. A very talented writer friend of mine, Jeremy Bernstein, once commented that if out of your “Three Act Structure” theory, one of your Acts has a crisis named after it, the concept might need some refining.
There are lots of ideas out there about different ways to consider story structure, but when it comes to actual practice, games are great at forcing you to think in a Russian-stacking-doll way. So for example, you might have a campaign that’s a 12-hour story arc, made up of three 4-hour act arcs, each with 1-hour mission arcs, each with 15-minute gameplay loop arcs, and so on. I think that really helped me break the idea of a novel down from one giant entity into more manageable chunks. It’s not like that’s really unique to video games, that’s just probably the place I personally got the most actual practice.
The other thing for me was that working in games has helped me become comfortable with the idea of a reader not necessarily picturing something exactly the way I do. Working in games, you’re surrounded by so many amazingly talented and creative people, and many times I’ve found that when I’ve written a description of something and handed it off, a visual artist will come back with something totally different from what I was picturing, and so much better. So rather than trying to spend my time in the novel describing exactly what I was picturing, I tried to create certain impressions and then left some room for readers to fill in the gaps the way they wanted to.
What inspired you to create your gun-slinger character Three? Are any elements of his personality - or the personalities of your other characters - pulled from people you know in real life?
JP: Three really sort of sprang to mind as a fully formed character, but I’m sure he’s a combination of a lot of different people. Because of my work on the Ghost Recon franchise especially, I’ve had the honor and privilege to interact with a number of veterans who have absolutely no quit in them whatsoever, and I suspect that some of Three’s grit, determination, and also genuine humanity can be traced back to those guys. But then I imagine he’s also a mix of other archetypes out there; the lone gunslinger and the warrior monk especially.
jCharles, the owner of the Samurai McGann establishment, is an homage to a good buddy of mine who read the manuscript as I finished each chapter. He was really good about demanding I finish chapters for him to read, so I punished him by putting him in the book.
What would be your weapon of choice in the zombie apocalypse? Why?
JP: That’s a tough one, given the variety of scenarios that might arise, but I think I’d have to go with the Daniel Defense DDM4ISR, which is an M4 Carbine chambered in 300 Blackout. I don’t know how gun-nerd I should go on you here, but the DDM4ISR has an integrated suppressor, which makes it extremely quiet. It uses 300 Blackout ammunition, which hits hard while still giving you a 30-round capacity and quick reloads. Its effective range is good for ideal zombie engagement (far away), but with a 16-inch barrel it’d also do alright at less-than-ideal zombie ranges. It comes with a nice rail system for various optics, lights, and other accessories, but you can also run it slick in case your fancy bits are no longer operational.
Honestly, I wouldn’t want to rely on any one weapon in that situation, but if I had to, that wouldn’t be a bad choice. (Also, since it’s a thought experiment, I figured I ought to pick one with a price tag I otherwise wouldn’t even be considering.)
What made Angry Robot the perfect publisher to bring the Legends of the Duskwalker series to the world?
JP: Well, Angry Robot’s submission policy says they are actively “looking for all types of sub-genre, so for example, hard SF, space opera, cyberpunk, military SF, alternate future history, future crime, time travel, and more. We have no problem if your book mashes together two or more of these genres; in fact, we practically insist upon it.” Three is a book that has been described as a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk Western with zombies, so the fact that Angry Robot is expressly interested in genre mashing made them an ideal choice.
In fact, after I’d finished the manuscript for Three and was trying to decide what to do with it, I saw Angry Robot’s description of what they were looking for, and I figured if they didn’t want it, probably no one would. I’m really glad they did.
After completing the Duskwalker series, are there any other genres or areas of science fiction you'd like to explore?
JP: Several, in fact. I have a more military sci-fi project I’d like to delve into at some point. Outside of sci-fi, I have a couple of more humorous concepts bouncing around that are probably in the realm of fantasy, as well as my Serious Epic Fantasy Trilogy that I hope to one day be good enough to write. And I also have a graphic novel project that I started but have let fall by the wayside. I’d love to pick that back up again at some point.
Thank you so much for stopping by Working for the Mandroid, Jay! Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers about Three and theLegends of the Duskwalker series?
JP: Thanks again for having me! Before I go, the thing I’d most like to call attention to is an organization I’m partnering with called Hope For The Warriors®.
The mission of Hope For The Warriors® is to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members, their families, and families of the fallen who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty. Hope For The Warriors® is dedicated to restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.
I’m donating 10% of my royalties to this amazing group of people. They’re an extremely well-run organization with a great track record for both financial transparency and efficiency, and they’re doing incredibly important work taking care of our nation’s warriors and their families. So whether folks buy my book or not, I really hope people will visit http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/ and consider supporting them in their mission.
Released July 30, 2013
The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.
But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantel of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.
Jay Posey is a narrative designer, author, and screenwriter. Currently employed as Senior Narrative Designer at Red Storm Entertainment, he’s spent about 8 years writing and designing for Tom Clancy’s award-winning Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six franchises. He started in the video game industry in 1998, and has been writing professionally for over a decade.
Enter to Win:
Each stop on this Blog Tour of Three by Jay Posey has a unique question. Be sure to enter your answers into the giveaway by dropping by My Shelf Confessions and enter your answers in the rafflecopter widget! You can answer as many or as few as you like as each answered question gets you an extra entry!
Here's the questions for my stop: Question #15:
What does the man give the woman and child in chapter 1?
And here is the excerpt to help you find the answer and get a little taste of the awesomeness of this book: