Today I am interviewing J. S. Lenore, author of the new exciting paranormal mystery, Burner, first book of the Affinity Series.
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DJ: Hey J. S.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
J.S. Lenore: Sure! I live in Indianapolis with my husband and daughter. I settled here after college, but grew up outside of Chicago. I’ve always been a big fan of books and started reading very young. Once I could write my own stories, I started and basically never stopped. Most of my early work was fan fiction, but I switched to original fiction in college. I decided to try my hand at writing a novel in 2014, and finished Burner at the end of 2016.
DJ: What’s Burner about?
J.S.: Burner is set in an alternate universe where part of the population can interact and communicate with ghosts. These people are called Mediums. One of the interesting parts about being a Medium is that they bond to a ghost as the final step of their training. That ghost strengthens the Medium’s power, and the bond stops the ghost from Turning, which is a process where ghosts lose their humanity and become dangerous. Burner is about one of these Mediums, a homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department named Kim Phillips, and her ghost partner, Priya, and follows them as Kim tries to solve a series of murders.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Burner?
J.S.: I read a lot, so it’s hard to pinpoint specific influences for Burner. Just a couple off the top of my head would be Jim Butcher’s Dresden series, Lynn Flewelling’s Tamir Triad, and J. R. Ward’s In Death series.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers will sympathize with them?
J.S.: Kim Phillips, the main character and narrator of Burner, is a homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department. She’s also a Burner, a type of Medium that exorcises ghost that are about to Turn or have already Turned. She’s strong, but she has her doubts. She’s not good at letting people in, but that’s challenged when she’s partnered with another detective, Riley Cross. You’ll see during the course of the novel how that relationship changes and strengthens, and how each of the characters is changed and strengthened by it.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the Affinity Series like?
J.S.: The world in the Affinity Series is nearly identical to our own, only there are some people who can interact with and tap into the powers of the afterlife. These people, called Mediums, have specific powers that are separated into the Affinities. Mediums have always been around and persecuted because of their powers – think Salem Witch Trials, Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades – but starting at the end of the 19th century, they gained rights and became more widely recognized. In the modern day, while most fly under the radar as much as possible, some are almost celebrities.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Burner?
J.S.: I loved the worldbuilding. Coming up with all of the magic and the laws surrounding Mediums, their history and how that’s shaped the present, and how Kim can and can’t use her abilities to do her day job. And only about half of what I came up with made it into this book, so there’s a lot more in my head than what’s on paper.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
J.S.: The story ends with a pretty big cliff hanger, though it’s still a satisfying ending. I think a lot of people are going to be talking about the final scenes and what’s in store for Kim moving forward.
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing the Affinity Series? Burner is only the first book of the series, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
J.S.: My original goal was to just write a novel. However, as the story developed, it became pretty clear to me that Kim’s story was going to span a lot of books. I think the central theme of the series is about self-discovery and re-evaluating your life and your place in it. Kim is going to be changing a lot from the first book through the last, and the big picture there is that you never really know where you’re going to end up and to not be afraid of what that could mean.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Burner that you can share with us?
J.S.: This is probably my favorite. “I press my hand onto my bloody forearm and hiss at the sting. I pull power again, this time directly from my own life force. Blood can be a conduit, a way to transfer power, but it can also be a fuel. Like gas, blood can burn.”
DJ: Now that Burner is released, what is next for you?
J.S.: I’m about a quarter of the way into the sequel, Reader, and I’m planning on finishing and publishing that by the end of the year. Besides that, I’ll be going to a couple conventions in the area to sign books and host panels about writing.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/jslenore
Author Newsletter: affinityseries.net/list
Facebook: J. S. Lenore – https://www.facebook.com/JS-Lenore-280391575690988/
Affinity Series – https://www.facebook.com/affinityseries/
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Burner and the Affinity Series that we haven’t talked about yet?
J.S.: For those out there who want to become writers, but haven’t taken the plunge yet, do it. Even if all you end up with is a bunch of terrible writing, you can at least say you did it. And, like any artform, the more you write, the better you get. Don’t give up because you think you aren’t good enough. Remember how you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** Burner is published by Paranoid Shark available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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*Burner also currently has a Kickstarter going on until April 18, 2017!!!*
Click HERE to support 🙂
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Homicide detective Kim Phillips isn’t like the other officers of the Chicago Police Department. She’s quiet, isolated, and she can speak with the dead. Born with the ability to see into and interact with the afterlife, she is a Burner: a person tasked with hunting down dangerous spirits and sending them to the other side.
When Kim exorcises the ghost of a young girl, she’s dragged into a new and unsettling case, one where people like Kim are being killed. The only problem? There’s no connection between the victims, and no proof that they were murdered in the first place. Kim has to catch the killer before he finds his last victim and unleashes an unknown evil on the world.
Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is a dark exploration of how life and death are only separated by a single breath and how even those with power can be powerless.
From an early age, J.S. Lenore has always been passionate about books and storytelling, but it wasn’t until high school that she started writing her own stories. Starting with fan fiction, Lenore found some minor success writing under the handle p1013. Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is her first foray into novel-length fiction. Set in Chicago, where Lenore was born and raised, it’s a dark tale about life and death, the ways that people define themselves, and how our histories can impact our futures.
J.S. Lenore now lives in Indianapolis with her husband, daughter, three cats, and zero ghosts.