1. Mr. Jerkins, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. DONE IN ONE, your newest thriller, came out today. Tell us a bit more about this book.
I sure appreciate your interest, Ethan. DONE IN ONE is a look at the life of a police sniper (technically, a counter-sniper) and what it might feel like to—in essence—kill people for a living. The psychological toll that might take on the man and his family.
2. Who is Jake Denton, and how did you come up with his character?
Jake is someone that Jan and I built together. I was sort of more interested in the darker aspects of Jake’s psyche, while Jan was always more interested in him as a hero. A lot of what’s in the book is based directly on Jan and her husband’s life (he’s a retired police sniper,) so it was always more personal for her—and with less moral ambiguity.
3. What kind of research did you do for DONE IN ONE?
Well, hey, we had “The Sniper” (Jan’s husband) as our #1 resource, plus the fact that Jan lives and breathes the life. The research is all first-hand experience. Jan brought insights to this story that I think people will find startling.
4. How did the cooperation with Jan Thomas work?
It’s a long story. Fifteen years in the making. But I will say this: There was never one single way our collaboration worked. It was constantly shifting. The one thing that never deviated was our commitment to each other, and to getting this story told.
5. How is DONE IN ONE different from other spy thrillers in this packed genre?
It’s not a spy thriller. No espionage or anything like that. But it sure is a thriller. I think what sets it apart is the same thing that sets something like THE GODFATHER apart. We are giving the reader an explicit look at a hidden world, a secret society. There is at least one sniper on every decent-size police and sheriff’s office across the country. Snipers are all around us, but nobody knows it.
6. Why do you write? Why thrillers?
I write because it’s one of the few things I’m good at, and I want to entertain people. I want to give readers the same thing my favourite writers gave to me: getting lost in a story well told and with honesty. Thrillers are as good a way as any to tell a story.
7. What is one of the most interesting things you learned during the research for this novel?
Hmmm, I’d have to say it was the fact that sniper kills aren’t automatically investigated. You know how if an officer discharges his weapon and kills somebody in the line of duty, he or she is given time off with pay while the shooting is investigated? Well, for a police sniper, that’s not true. As we say in the book, a sniper wouldn’t automatically be given time off with pay to investigate, because that’s the entire point of his specialty. It’s already been determined by calling SWAT that death is on the menu. A sniper shooting a bad guy just did his job.
8. What is your greatest satisfaction as a writer? What is your greatest disappointment?
Being published is definitely my greatest satisfaction as a writer. I could easily be a chronically depressed wannabe sitting on a trunk full of unpublished manuscripts, but I caught my lucky break a few years back and started publishing. That’s really the only thing that separates me from other writers still trying to make out in publishing—I caught a lucky break.
My biggest disappointment is probably the low income. I would love it if I could support my family with my writing.
9. What are your favorite pastimes?
Reading and film with a little mountain hiking thrown in, but mostly I enjoy spending time with my son.
10. What is your next book going to be about?
That’s still up in the air. I try to push words around the page every day, but I hate to discuss anything that’s not finished. I do have a finished manuscript called ABNORMAL MAN that I’m hoping to place this year. It’s pretty dark.