Thursday, November 10, 2022

Q&A with JJ Cook and AJ Cook




JJ Cook and AJ Cook are the authors of the new novel Percivious Escape, the third in their Percivious Trilogy that also includes Percivious Origins and Percivious Insomnia. JJ Cook has a background in marketing, and AJ Cook is a pediatric urologist.


Q: Percivious Escape is the third in your series--did you know from the start that you'd be writing a trilogy?


A: I think that we knew there would be a continuation of the mystery that is identified in the first novel, Percivious Insomnia. But did we know that there was an epic science fiction trilogy in the works? Absolutely not. In fact, if we had known initially where the original idea would take us, it may have scared us off. This trilogy has definitely been an ambitious project for us as debut authors.


Q: You write about a pandemic in the series--how much did the Covid pandemic influence the story?


A: Well, it was interesting because we had been working on Percivious Insomnia on and off over a seven-year period. So, to be launching its release just as a real pandemic took hold was eerie and unbelievable.


I remember working on the book trailer and saying to AJ Cook, “Do you think we should use the term pandemic; it seems so dramatic, perhaps epidemic is better?” In the end we decided upon pandemic with absolutely no clue as to what was to unfold and how it would impact our daily lives.

On one hand it made the novel very relevant, and it absolutely did influence the description of the insomnia pandemic in the trilogy, especially while writing Percivious Escape.


However, the mystery or the cause behind our insomnia pandemic results in a much different outcome than what we experienced with Covid, so what we ended up with was a true-to-life fictional pandemic, only with more devastating consequences.


Q: How do the two of you collaborate on the books? What is your writing process like?


A: As a couple we love to talk about just about anything…for hours. When it came to writing together it started slowly. It was a bit of an epiphany with the premise as I mentioned, and then ideas just started coming together so we started jotting them down. Sentences turned into paragraphs and then a first chapter initially.


Now, three novels later we have a reliable process in place. We usually discuss an overarching story arc and key plot ideas. But when it comes to the writing I (JJ Cook) will take a stab at it and then we edit it (many times) together. So, it’s literally a labour of love and what we have in the end is a single voice, I believe, resulting from a true joint effort. We really don’t hold back when it comes to writing.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: We are approximately 19,000 words into a new novel set in the Rockies. It will have some of the same elements and feel as the trilogy. There is a bit of a mystery that leads the characters off planet. But this time in search of treasure instead of an escape for survival.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: There may be more to the Percivious story…To be clear, we are absolutely satisfied with the conclusion of the trilogy in Percivious Escape; however, we have had requests for a continuation of the story. So, depending on how this last novel is received, you may see Percivious become a series rather than a trilogy. For us, the door is still open a crack and it might not be over just yet. We will just have to see where the story takes us!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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