Friday, January 20, 2012

Author Interview: Jerry Hanel - Win 2 Free eBooks!

Last April, I had the great opportunity to interview Jerry Hanel, author of The Brodie Wade series.  You can check out that interview here if you'd like:  Author Interview: Jerry Hanel

Today, Mr. Hanel is back to give readers some more insight on Death Has A Name, authors who have inspired him, and the indie publishing scene.  On top of that, he's generously giving one lucky reader a chance to get both books in the Brodie Wade series for free! 

Q:  Always a pleasure to have you here!  For our first-time readers, tell us a bit about yourself.

A:  Thank you for having me on board. Well, I'm a thirty-something geek that loves to write. Since writing doesn't pay the bills (yet) I do have a day job as a computer programmer. I work for a local engineering firm, writing technical programs to assist the engineers in their calculations.

I'm married to a wonderful woman named Cheryl, and she has made me the happiest man ever. We had a dog, but he passed away just after Christmas. We'll miss him, but we know he was very old. He is much better off.

Q:  It's been just over a year since Death Has A Name first landed on readers' ebooks.  How have readers received Brodie Wade?

A:  Brodie is the most interesting character I've ever written. He's a quirky, twitchy character. I was very worried since he wasn't a stereotypical masculine marine or willing hero. I thought that maybe people wouldn't understand his hesitancy. But I was very surprised at the response. So many people have written me, telling me that Brodie is one of the funnest characters they've read in a while. Needless to say, every time I read those emails I smile.

Q:  For our first-timers, tell us a bit about the book.

A:  Well, Brodie is a paranormal detective. His gift isn't something he can control. Instead, it appears to him at the most inopportune times. Unfortunately, no one else can see the manifestations, and most people think he is certifiably nuts. He calls the manifestations The Truth because they can only tell him the truth about a situation. The Truth, when it speaks, talks in riddles and quirks. Sometimes it even speaks in other languages. It is unaware of human frailties such as language, time and pain, so Brodie must balance communicating with The Truth, and keeping just out of its reach.

In the first book, Death Has a Name, Brodie's best friend, Homicide Detective Phil Dawson, brings him the most unusual case yet. It seems as though someone that they put to death several years ago has come back from the dead to continue his murderous spree. During the case, The Truth tells Brodie that he must protect the world from the Angel of Death. To do so, he must learn Death's name. He must also protect the Third Key. If Death gets his hands on that final orb, he will resume his march across the face of the earth, devouring every soul.

Q:  What genre would Death Has A Name fall into?  What made you choose that style?

A:  Amazon marks it as Horror. Then again, Amazon lists Twilight as Horror, so it's hard to tell. I call it "Paranormal Thriller". One person labeled it as a cross between Twilight and James Patterson.

I didn't choose the style. It really chose me. I started out writing a crime novel, set in a very realistic, modern, gritty world. The problem came in when I wrote the Brodie Wade character as a bit part. I really, really loved that character. He was so interesting and wild. I threw out the original manuscript and started over with Brodie as the main character. After that, the story really took off, and the genre just fell into place.

I like dark/dystopian stories and songs that end up with a bright ray of hope that runs through them.

Q:  Would you mind painting us a picture of Death Has A Name's world?  The sights, the sounds, the environment?

A:  Death Has a Name is set in a modern Chicago. Most of the scenes are rather gritty. I think Brodie's apartment is the only scene in the book where everything is in order, clean, and in it's place. Once he leaves his apartment to work on the case, everything seems to just be a bit grimy.

Q:  What can you tell us about The Truth?  What is its role in the book?

A:  The Truth is an abstract concept that has come to life. Imagine, if you will, if every word you say, and every action you make leaves its impression in the fabric of space around you. Now, if that impression realizes that something is trying to cover it up, it will fight the bounds that separate our realities to make itself known.

In the book, The Truth knows that it can commune with Brodie, so it will reach across that fabric and try to get his attention. As a plot mechanic, it is how we -- the readers -- can know things about the end before we get there. Unfortunately, you have to know the end at times to make the clues make sense. I hope that when a person reads the book, they can look back through the book and all of the clues make absolutely perfect sense. But the first-time through, the hints and clues are as mysterious as the crime itself.

In the first two books, The Truth causes quite a bit of problem, but in the third book (I'm working on it, now) The Truth appears to be much more an enemy than a friend. Things go upside-down for Brodie, and I wrap up the entire series with a slam ending that I hope will leave the audience with awe.

Q:  Were there any other authors in particular that inspired you to pen your own novel?

A:  Frank Pereti, Robert A. Heinlein and Piers Anthony. I collected every book those three ever wrote. In my older years, I've begun to collect Ted Dekker. While his writing doesn't drag me into the story as deeply as Pereti did, I find their works very similar, and incredibly inspiring.

Robert A. Heinlein taught me how to get facts right without making a book boring or tedious. The characters could be full-fledged, make a social statement, and still be a great book in its own right. It was with his book Tunnel in the Sky that I really blossomed in terms of my writing. I was fourteen when I read that book, and I realized that its so much fun to release your imagination. His books were always so imaginative, even when they were a bit dark. 

And Piers Anthony. What can you say about Piers? Imagination, wit, humor, imagination and more imagination. I couldn't get enough of his Xanth series. If you haven't read that series, go to your local library and find any one book in the series and pick it up.  Most are self-contained stories, so you don't need to know the whole history. But the sheer wit and humor in his unique world are wonderful.

Q:  Describe your ideal protagonist.  What traits do he or she embody?

A:  Valor. He/She must -- in the end -- be willing to sacrifice his own life for the sake of the world. Keep in mind, Brodie isn't exactly valorous. But when it comes right down to it, Brodie must decide to either put his own life on the line, or run away. Of course, he goes in with both feet. I think if a hero isn't willing to put his life on the line, he's just another human, walking down the sidewalk.

Q:  Why should readers buy/download your book?

A:  Wow... you get right to the core, don't you? (hah!) I'm so tired of the vampire books. Not that I don't enjoy a good vamp paranormal. I do! I love them. But when the only stories on the market are vamps or warewolves, the storylines become trite. There are thousands of aspects to "paranormal" stories. I hope that my books show a new, provocative apsect to the "paranormal" genre outside of vamp and warewolf spins.

Death Has a Name is only $0.99, so it doesn't cost a lot to take a chance on me. =)

Q:  Shameless self-promotion time:  Do you have any social network links or other websites you'd like to share?

I'm all over the place. Just look up "Jerry Hanel" on any of them. On facebook, you can find me at:

Q:  What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry?  With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

A:  In terms of indie publishing, I think it's a mixed blessing. For authors and readers alike. For authors the pros are the fact that guys like me who probably wouldn't see the top of a slush pile for many years, I have a chance to get my works out. The cons are that the pay is much less because it's hard to get my name out there. And that's hard, because writing isn't a very lucrative career as it is. With so many new people hitting the indie market, it's hard for me to shine in such a vast crowd. 

For readers, the pros are that they have an opportunity to find authors that would otherwise be filtered out by the gatekeepers of the publishing companies that think that they know what "we" want to read. The cons are that they have **so** many new choices that it can be overwhelming. 

Q:  And just for fun, name one random fact about yourself.

A:  I have one pointed ear, like Spock. No, seriously. I do. My right ear. It is -- apparently -- a birth trait for all of the Hanel men, most of the time less obvious than my case. In my case, it's not QUITE as prominent as Spock's ear, but it's very noticeable. 

Thanks for stopping by to chat.  It's always a blast to have you here.  Let's do it again soon!

Win FREE copies Jerry Hanel's novels, Death Has A Name and Thaloc Has A Body, by posting the following phrase in either the comments section of this blog or to my official facebook author page at

"Please pick me to receive free copies of Death Has A Name and Thaloc Has A Body for my Kindle!"

One winner will be chosen at random to receive the books in Kindle format!  So get commenting, because the winner will be chosen on Sunday, January 15th after 12:00pm.  The winning name will be announced on my official facebook page (, so be sure to check back Sunday evening to see if you've been chosen!

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Jerry Hanel for this generous offer!

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