August 02, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with author A. Jay Lee

Today we would like to welcome A. Jay Lee author of the Holy Damned series. First off a little about his first book in the series Grace Through Blood.

Welcome to the Nightlife of the Palmetto City

With an Arch-Demon masking itself as a serial killer, a NCSI agent hounding a Navy SEAL for crimes he didn’t commit, a clan of lycanthropes living secretly among the masses, and overseeing it all a congregation of pious vampires believing that they have ‘Divine Right’ over the city, the nights were wild enough. Add in one young woman with special abilities and in possession of a holy relic that threatens the existence of all vampires, and the stage is set for a dangerous mix of action and steamy sex over the course of hot, humid nights in this ‘Holy City’.

Jamie Grace wants nothing more than to lead a normal life, but her ability to see a person’s soul through an aura that radiates through every living person makes this wish impossible. Soon after arriving in her new home of Charleston, South Carolina, she encounters what appear to be humans that have no aura.

Jamie soon learns that the mysterious creatures are vicars of the Sanctum Damnatus and unfortunately they are as troubled about her existence as she is with theirs. Complications ensue when the vampire that has been sent to kill Jamie falls in love with her. With her would-be assassin turned protector, Jamie finds herself on the run from both the Damnatus and an Arch-Demon from Hell. Tangled with Christian dogma and biblical lore and set in this historic coastal Southern city, Jamie must find out whom she can trust and begin the journey of learning what she truly is in this first novel of the Holy Damned Saga.

You can see our review of the book here Review

Now on to the interview

PR: What authors inspire you?
A.Jay Lee: This is hard to answer... I think I would have to say authors who are great writers, but are terrible storytellers. I find myself inspired by how many bad stories are getting published these days. I've never been a good writer, but I can tell a story. Today, there are so many authors, who are getting published, that just tell a story by formula. Their skill at putting just the right word on the page at the right time can be magic, but the story they weave is stale and predictable. These authors will remain nameless. I think these authors and the publishers who keep pumping their novels out are one of the main reasons the big time publishers are hurting and why small presses and indie-authors are finding a following. The reading public is looking for something new and different. And I hope I have written that.
  I'll get off my soapbox and give the canned answer of authors like J R R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and George R. R. Martin...Wait they all initials for parts of their names...Like me! Now, These authors are great storytellers.

PR: Where did you get the idea to get the vampires a religious twist?
A. Jay Lee: A few years ago I was on a business trip and visited a Walgreens. At the front of the store there was a bin of $5 books. In it was Robyn Young's book' Brethren' , the first book of her triology on the last years of the Knights Templar seen through the eyes of one Knight over 60 years. I was intrigued regarding how men of such faith could do so much evil in the name of Christ
  Then later, again I was looking for something to read and my house was full of Paranormal Romanics and Urban Fantasies because my wife reads (and still reads) about one a week. It wasn't something I normally read , but I love Bram Stroker's  Dracula and Anne Rice's novels on vampires. How different could these be? After perusing a few of them I found I was very wrong. They all seemed very similar and most had lost what a "true" vampire was. When I told my wife, she asked, "You think you can do any better?" 
 So I started writing. I mixed in things I am familiar with: history,Christian dogma and lore, and 'real' vampires.  A few days later I had the Prologue. She liked it. After a few chapters, she asked if I knew where the story was going. I said yes, but I wasn't going to finish it because I was just writing to prove a point. She made me write an outline and finish it. Six months later I had the rough draft.

PR: Do your characters act like anyone you know in real life?
A. Jay Lee: Yes but larger than life. Jaime is a lot like my wife. I think more like Gui, but Grant is my good side and Matt my dark side. I could give you a long list of  other characters, but I would like people I know to guess who they may be. And all my characters come from  one of my favorite past times- people watching.

PR:When your not writing about them do the characters beg to be let out of your head?
A.Jay Lee: No, but scenes do. I have all the scenes in my head and I just have to put them down on paper in the right order. Almost like a movie out of time that I have to put right.

PR:Where did you get your characters names?
A. Jay Lee: Jaime, my wife named Jaime Gray. I changed it to Grace. It worked with the theme and then came the title. Giu Bourg: Giu is old French for Guy and Bourg is a common name like in Smith or Brown is in English. So his name is almost like John Smith. I know GUI is an abbreviation for ' graphical user interface', and some people who have read GTB can't get over the name, but I think it works. Matthew Loftis is a mix of two of my co-workers at the time I wrote the novel, though Matt is nothing like either of them. It just sounded good. Grant Waggner  is a mix of historical army officer's names and it works in the role.

PR: Is your family very supportive of your writing?
A. Jay Lee: My wife is my editor and pushed me to write. She manages a marketing for a large engineering and writes and edits proposals all week long. She always believed she would be the one to write a novel, but I could not have done any of this without her. I wanted to make her co-author on the novel, but she would have none of that. She said it was my story and it should have my name.

PR:What do you do when not writing?
A. Jay Lee: Other than a full time job in retail management and trying to raise three kids, I have volunteered with the Boy Scouts for the last seven years at my church. I also teach my Sunday school class and I can never be found far from my Kindle. 

PR:If you were being attacked by zombies which of your characters would you want by your side?
A. Jay Lee: You'll have to see in the next Holy Damned novel- Grace in the Flesh. Still set in Charleston, but this time the Damnatus and Jamie go up against an old Gullah tail about the Boo Hag. A vampiric-witch who can raise zombies.

PR:Coffee or Tea?
A. Jay Lee: Coffee with only sugar. When I make it myself, I drink Tanzanian Peaberry, grown only in the foothills around Mount Kilimanjaro. My store is the only place I know to get it in the whole bean. But most of the time I find myself in a hurry and Starbuck's Pike's Place will do.

PR:Watch tv or read a book?
A. Jay Lee: I like to read, but I seem to be watching more and more of TV these days. However, I find the shows that I truly enjoy were first books by good storytellers. I like Justified based on the books of Elmore Leonard, Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, and my newest one is Longmire, on A & E show based on Craig Johnson's Mysteries of the same name. 

PR:Car or truck?
A. Jay Lee: Truck SUV? I drive a 96 black Ford Bronco ( the last year they made it). I grew up driving Ford V8's  and working on them. My wife would like me to get rid of it, but it's paid for and I can fix almost anything on it. Besides I'm 6'6" and can sit in it without hitting my head.

PR: Vacation would you rather go to Paris or Scotland?
A. Jay Lee: I'm mostly Scot-Irish on my father's side of the family (even though Lee is an English surname) from the Smokey Mountains area. So I would like to go to Scotland, but part of the fourth novel in the saga is set in Paris. So, I guess I need to take my wife there and write it off as research.
Thank you A. Jay Lee for a great interview. Now on to the giveaway. The wonderful A. Jay Lee is going to give one winner a Print copy of Grace Through Blood and another winner a $10 Amazon gift card. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much A. Jay Lee for your donations to Paranormal Reads for this wonderful giveaway!! I can't wait to check out your book!!

  2. Thank you for the donations to Paranormal Reads!!

  3. Thank You A. Jay Lee for the donations. Looking forward to reading your book!!

  4. Thanks So much for the donation A. Jay Lee. Paranormal Readsthis is a great giveaway!!

  5. Very interesting interview A. Jay. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading your book.

  6. Thank you for you generosity xxx

  7. Thank you so much A. Jay Lee for the donation! What an awesome giveaway!

  8. Thanks so much A. Jay Lee for your donations

  9. Thank you A. Jay Lee for your awesome donation! Your book sounds like an interesting read. :)

  10. Thank you A. Jay Lee for your donations to Paranormal Reads for this wonderful giveaway! i hope i win so i can read your book sounds like one i will enjoy!!!!!!