I’m sure I’ve mentioned that my favorite part of my job is finding new authors. Don’t get me wrong, I love the old pros who have become friends since MM Good Book Reviews came into existence, but there is nothing like the raw energy from the writer who is seeing their debut novel listed on a publisher’s web site for the first time, to bless my jaded heart. Jeremy Pack is my latest acquisition and I brought my lead reviewer, Pixie alone for the ride. Actually, in this case, I’m not sure who is leading who. Not two hours after I sent Pixie Jeremy’s debut novel, The Heart of the Jungle, I caught Pixie pimping it on Facebook. Not to be outdone, I made contact with this wonderful young man and the rest, as they say is history. Jeremy and his partner Jason are really nice guys and I wished they lived closer.
Pixie lives in England and Jeremy lives on the West Coast of the US, but through the magic of technology, they were able to hook up and chat. Hope you enjoy getting to know Jeremy Pack a little better. Trust me; he’s going to be on the scene for a long time.
Friday morning in the MM Good Book Review Cyber Interview Room
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Hi Jeremy, seeing as I’m in England and you’re in America we need to synchronize our watches lol so we can interview in real time.
Jeremy Pack Indeed! You have but to snap your fingers. I’m at your beck and call, Pixie! XO
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Is you there? *peeks about*
Jeremy Pack A little slow on the uptake, but I’m present and accounted for. Mostly. XO
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Oh good. Let’s get the grilling, err I mean interview, under way. I will be making it up as I go along, because when I stalked you, er I mean, when I was doing background, I couldn’t find much about you. 😉
Jeremy Pack Wonderful. I’m an open book. (Be glad you can’t see me, though, after that midnight movie, I look like the wreck of the Hesperus.) Do I need to be here or somewhere else?
Jeremy Pack Brilliant. Don’t make this easy on me, now. Go for the jugular.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Okay, Jeremy tell us a bit about yourself and how you originally started writing.
Jeremy Pack I grew up in a small town in southeastern Idaho. More Mormons per-capita than in the heart of Zion. As far as I was aware, I was the only gay person in the whole world. I didn’t feel like I had a place in the universe, so I started creating my own. I have stacks of spiral notebooks with quirky little romances that I wrote to fulfill that need for intimate affection. Of course, these days, I don’t have a need to invent love to fill an empty place in my life, but I’ve been doing it so long it’s become a part of who I am. Even if I never have the opportunity to publish another book, I am sure I’ll still be writing my quirky little love stories for as long as I live.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews *g* Now there’s a bit of an interesting story as to how you rediscovered The Heart Of The Jungle isn’t there, involving cleaning the attic?
Jeremy Pack Yes. (That attic. Ugh.) Interestingly, I started writing The Heart of the Jungle about 10 years ago and abandoned it about 2/3 of the way through. I have a nasty habit of hitting the midway point, seeing something shiny, and becoming distracted. In any case, I discovered it and got chills because it was as if I had been whispering bits and pieces of what was to come in my own life to my former self. At the time I wrote it, I was struggling in a relationship with a man very much like I describe Michael Blake and dreaming (as I always had) about having children. Years later, I am a VERY proud daddy, and my Jason bears an absolutely UNCANNY resemblance to the one I invented in the book. Even the way Chris is undone at the first sight of his Jason mirrors the schoolboy befuddlement of the first time I laid eyes on mine. My heart still races. That’s why I chose to finish and polish it. Submitting it for publication, though, I owe that one to Jason. He made me do it.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews It sounds like your man, Jason, is very proud of you and what you have achieved and you sound very happy together. So I am going to be very nosy and ask how did you two meet and how old is your daughter Elise?
Jeremy Pack This is the jugular part… HAHA. Good job!
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Of course, you gave me free rein. *evil grin*
Jeremy Pack I mentioned a difficult former relationship earlier–after 14 years, and shortly after Ellie was born, we parted ways. He moved to Phoenix, and Ellie visits him for a couple of weeks every year. I met Jason online while I was there picking her up. I had to spend a couple of days before I could bring her home and was lonely for company. We had instant chemistry–and sushi. We got to know each other over text message for the next several months. Now, a little more than two years later, he’s become an irreplaceable part of both my life and Ellie’s. She worships him, and he is the greatest co-parent I could ever have imagined.
Jeremy Pack Ellie is six now. I adopted her at birth through a local agency that specializes in working with non-traditional families. She’s one of my life’s most beautiful and precious gifts. I imagined parenthood would be wonderful, but the reality is so much more. As Chris says, “It’s something as deep as your soul.”
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Aaahhh. That’s so sweet. I love finding out how people fall in love and you are so lucky to have such a beautiful daughter and she looks a touch mischievous. I bet she keeps you both on your toes. *sigh* so back to books. The Heart of the Jungle is your first solo story, but you did release a co-authored book with your mom, Cindy Aitchinson, about ten years ago didn’t you?
Jeremy Pack I did. It’s a quirky little supernatural story. (Not m/m) Mother and son bonding more than a serious go at writing. I think we loved the time spent together coming up with it at this coffee shop called “Jitters”, more than the actual attempt at writing a book. It’s self-published and the joy on my mom’s face at holding the book in her hand the first time is a treasured memory. She’s, without a doubt, the most incredible woman I’ve ever known. I owe all of who I am, as a man, to her example.
Jeremy Pack By the way: Mischievous is an understatement regarding Ellie. It’s a good thing she’s cute, because she’s got my mouth. God save us.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews It sounds like you and your mom have a wonderful relationship. Your mom must be so proud of your new book. For those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, explain a bit about The Heart of the Jungle.
Jeremy Pack I like to describe The Heart of the Jungle as my diabolical side at work. It’s a mystery primarily, the kind that peels away in layers like an onion the further you go along. The caper at its core is complex, which was a fun mental challenge–particularly revealing it in bits to allow readers the fun of trying to guess at the untangling threads. (I love that kind of story, myself.) There’s a romance between the two main characters which I tried to portray realistically, so readers will likely find it to be more subtle than the standards of the M/M genre. I think Dreamspinner took a chance on this one, because it’s quite different from many of the M/M romances I’ve read. Understandably, this could be off-putting to some readers.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews I have to say I loved it, it was very true to life with the relationship and the mystery, suspense, and thriller part was extremely well-written. What made you take a chance with submitting this one? As how you said, it is different from the majority of M/M, at the moment.
Jeremy Pack First: Thank you so much for those kind words. Gosh, I still feel like I’m dreaming when someone tells me they liked my work…
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews You’d better get used to it. *g*
Jeremy Pack Actually, Jason is to blame for the submission. I have a decided lack of self-confidence and he swore to me if I didn’t send it in, he was going to do it for me. I tried to explain that I didn’t think it would be accepted because it is unconventional, but that was just me having a bad case of the chickenshits.
Jeremy Pack Oops. I probably should keep this clean. Sorry about the naughty word.
*pop in*Portia de Moncur I ain’t cleaning up shit. 😉 *pop out*
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews *pout*
Jeremy Pack I’ll be more careful. LOL. I’ve got terminal potty mouth.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Lol. You haven’t heard anything, when the boss gets going the air turns blue. *g*
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Jeremy, I saw on your website that you posted a little explanation about not following the convention of what people have come to expect from the M/M genre, can I ask why you felt the need to explain?
Jeremy Pack I have to tell you, I have agonized over the sex in the book for months. I wrote a blog post about it so that readers who look for erotic content don’t walk away disappointed. I don’t know if I will ever be able to write really explicit love scenes. It’s one of those contradictions about me that makes me a bit quirky. Doesn’t mean I don’t love to read them when my fellow authors write them, though. *Wink*
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Yeah, I can totally get on board with that. Lol. So, I noticed that you have another book in the works; To Touch the Stars is that going to be a mystery as well?
Jeremy Pack My worst nightmare is a disappointed reader. I recognize the value of both time and emotional investment in a story–you have expectations about where the journey might take you when you crack open a book and I’ve been let down more than once in my years of reading. I don’t ever want to do that to someone else.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews I think most readers will enjoy your book quite well, it’s heavy on the story and light on the sex but it is a fantastic story… *face palm* I’m gushing again aren’t I ~rolls eyes~
Jeremy Pack To Touch the Stars isn’t a mystery actually. It’s certainly got its share of suspense and action, but it’s an historical romance. It was my dream project–a book I didn’t think I had it in me to write. I will very rarely say anything approaching boastful, but I personally feel like it’s the best writing I’ve ever done. I poured my soul into that text, and even if it never sees the light of day, I am proud of the message it delivers.
Jeremy Pack And I’m blushing and grinning like a loon. I adore you!
Jeremy Pack Now that it’s done, though, I’m deep into plotting my next one. It will be a mystery and it’s going to be a doozy. Diabolical Jeremy has learned a thing or two. *Rubs hands together*… So much fun!
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Well, I hope it gets accepted soon so I can read it… err, so we all can read it, I mean. *grins innocently* And I adore your writing. OOoohhh another mystery gimme, gimme, gimme, err what I meant to say was, stop plotting start writing.
Jeremy Pack I write very quickly and have an aggressive schedule set for myself. I hope to always have another submission ready when a book releases so that something is always in the pipeline.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Good. I won’t have to put your name on my ‘authors to hunt’ list. *bwahahahah* Okay, Jeremy as a new comer to the genre what would you advise someone who is currently thinking of submitting their work?
Jeremy Pack So very kind of you, Pixie! It makes me so happy that you would look forward to something I’ve written. That’s about the highest honor a writer can be given.
Jeremy Pack M/M is a relatively young genre–it’s an incredibly exciting time to be joining the party. As a writer, it feels like there is a vast amount of uncharted frontier to explore. So far, my experience has been that the audience and the industry are incredibly supportive and open-minded. That’s something you won’t get with a big 6 publisher. Experiment. Don’t be afraid of taking a risk. (Of course I’m saying this selfishly as a reader, too. I LOVE authors that take me to places I’ve never been before.) I can’t wait to see how the genre grows and develops over time–particularly as the risk-takers are embraced by the wide open arms that are waiting to receive them.
Jeremy Pack My God, Pixie, it’s almost 11:00 where you’re at. I feel horrible for keeping you up so late!!
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Did you have anyone that you turned to for advice or support who was already established in the M/M genre?
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Would you like to continue tomorrow maybe a bit earlier? 😉
Jeremy Pack The first M/M novel I ever read was “Blind Items“ by Kate McMurray. When I finished it, I was so overcome; I dashed off a long, gushing letter to her. In hindsight, it felt a bit stalkery, but she was incredibly gracious about it. I’ve been a big fan ever since. She inspired me to hope that there might be a place for my work.
Jeremy Pack Dreamspinner Press maintains a community for authors where we can gather and network. That board has been an absolute godsend for me. The Dreamspinner family is the most amazing group of people I have ever had the good fortune to associate with. I’ve grown immensely from my time with them. Special thanks to Kate Sherwood who gave me fantastic advice early in the writing of To Touch the Stars. I owe my personal pride in that work to her counsel. She is brilliant!
Jeremy Pack And yes, please, sleep! I’m completely free this weekend.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Thank you, what time is it for you now? I can work out a time then that we can meet tomorrow 😉
Jeremy Pack It’s 3:00 in the afternoon here in Seattle.
Jeremy Pack I’m usually up by 5:30 or 6:00 am. Happy to connect with you anytime after I’ve had my first cup of coffee.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Wow. Really? Okay, so I will be on about 4pm which should be your 8am. 😉 I will have plenty of tea at hand, so I will be happy.
Jeremy Pack Wonderful. I’ll be at the keyboard. Sweet dreams to you, Pixie! Thank you again for absolutely everything. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Tell me tomorrow *grins cheekily* night or afternoon. *wink*
Jeremy Pack LOL–Goodnight!
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Helllooo are you there, Jeremy? Let me know if you are receiving me on the other side. wooo hooo *grin*
Jeremy Pack Hey, good morning! I hope you got some good sleep last night.
Jeremy Pack Guess it is evening for you, though…
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews I slept like a baby. 😉 And it’s late afternoon, so I will just ask a few more questions so it shouldn’t take too long.
Jeremy Pack I’m yours for as long as you’ll have me, Pixie. 😉
*pop in*Portia de Moncur *rolling eyes* Oh, God…chill with the kissing up…the little imp is already plotting world domination…next it will be the universe *off to get first cup of coffee**pop out*
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Ah, Honey, don’t make me offers like that. I just might keep you as my personal author. LOL. So you are with Dreamspinner Press. I have to ask because as a reader I really don’t know, but do they offer loads of support and walk you through the process and stuff and if they do explain it to us readers.
Jeremy Pack The team at Dreamspinner has been absolutely wonderful. Writing a book is only the first step in a long process before release. Each book goes through three rounds of edits and a couple of proof-reads, not to mention blurb writing, cover art, and marketing… The editors are excellent. They saved readers from a 12 hour car trip without a single stop to pee, a corpse abandoned in a closet, and a magically appearing cigarette in the hand of my favorite character. Every step of the way, Elizabeth (the Executive Director) and Lynn (the Editor in Chief) made themselves available to me. If I had a question, they responded to me nearly instantaneously. I NEVER expected that the production process would be so user-friendly. Aside from that, the author community is always buzzing and jam-packed with folks willing to offer advice and support.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews That’s wonderful, it’s nice to know our favorite authors are taken care of. So when you write do you have a certain process that you follow or is it just when it comes to you?
Jeremy Pack I generally write a couple of chapters if I have a new idea to see if the story has legs. If it does, I’ll write an outline and character biographies. I do a lot of research, too–both experiential kinds of research (like learning to fly a plane) as well as lots and lots of reading. I like to develop a good working knowledge of a subject, even if I don’t include all of the little details. I write in a very linear way. Beginning to end, and whenever I can spare a moment. There’s a lovely Zen garden at my workplace where I sit on lunch breaks, and I often dictate in the car on my commute home. During polishing, one other thing that helps me is to listen to my work read aloud. I use a software program that converts the text into speech. “Amy”, the synthesized voice, is a very proper British woman who has become almost like a real person to me. I LOVE her! (And she cracks me up when she uses invective. It’s priceless!)
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Hmmm but you don’t call her ‘Amy’ do you?
Jeremy Pack No way. Amy is much too bland. She sounds uncannily like Anjelica Houston to me. We’re on nickname basis now, so I have taken to calling her Angie-baby.
Jeremy Pack To wax serious for a moment, though: Flow and cadence are something I really strive for in my writing. Listening to the text aloud helps me find stuttering passages and repetition. It also helps me make sure my characters speak distinctly.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews I can guess at what she would call you if she could! And it great that you do that as well Jeremy I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have been heaved out of a book because the speech is to bland or just sounds wrong (the voices talk in my head… don’t push it). So other than creating nicknames for voices what else do you do in your spare time (you know those five minutes in between your work, writing, partner and daughter) 😉
Jeremy Pack Free time? What’s that?
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews LOL, so no hobbies besides going to see the Avengers film at MIDNIGHT
Jeremy Pack Kidding. My house was built in the late 1800s, so I do a lot of renovation–and I love it. Jason and I like to go camping and fishing in the summer. I read voraciously, play video games with Elise, garden. I’m very dull in real life… haha.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Ah reading… so what types of books do you read and who’s your favorite author?
Jeremy Pack I’m very genre agnostic. I tore through the Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. (Excellent, excellent mysteries) and loved them. I’m a big fan of Dean Koontz, as well, and I adore Mary Roach (Bonk and Packing for Mars). On the M/M side, I’ve recently read Poppy Dennison’s Mind Magic and loved it, anything by Rick Reed, and of course I continue to be a big fan of Kate McMurray.
Jeremy Pack My favorite author is Jean M. Auel–if only for The Clan of the Cave Bear. I read it in my formative years, and for anyone who has ever been an outsider, it’s positively inspiring. I make a yearly pilgrimage with it. It’s absolutely my most cherished book of all time.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews You have excellent taste. I applaud you. So I will be bringing this interview to a close soon and I will be asking all authors this question… and then making up a personality type for each answer. * Bwahahahaha…* If the world suddenly became a magical place what magical creature would you be?
Jeremy Pack Wow. Excellent question. Ponders…
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews It could also be a mythical creature 😉
Jeremy Pack I think I would have to choose a sprite–like Puck from a Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m a little bit mischievous and elusive myself, so having license to give in to those inclinations is appealing. Plus, the whole sylvan lifestyle. Yes, please.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Hmmm I will have to think up something suitable *evil grin*. So Jeremy let you legions of fans know where they can find you.
Jeremy Pack Disclaimer: Sprite Attire + Jeremy = Eww… Imagine at your own risk. LOL
All things Jeremy
Jeremy Pack Legions of fans… LOL.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Yes. I say Legions, so it will be Legions, so says the Pixie. Ohhhh. I missed that what does the J stand for.
Jeremy Pack Oh no. This is REALLY the jugular.
Jeremy Pack My middle name is Joe. Jeremy Joe.
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Ha ha, that’s why Portia usually keeps me looked in a cage lol
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews And that should say Locked
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews Okay. Jeremy I think that’s everything I can think of at the moment, if I have missed anything I am sure Portia will tell me. But, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy days to answer my questions and say it was a pleasure to chat with you and hope we can do it again.
Jeremy Pack I’ve loved spending time with you, Pixie. I hope I haven’t bored you to tears, ’cause I’ve had a great time! Really hope we get the chance to meet in real life. I owe you a big hug, or at least a stiff drink.
Jeremy Pack Added to the bucket list. Now off to slay the pernicious morning glory. The nasty bitch is trying to kill my lilacs. Hope you have a wonderful evening, Pixie. Don’t be a stranger!