J.E. Purrazzi’s prequel novella Revelation was just released on April 23rd!
I got to read it ahead of time and was intrigued by the worldbuilding, the technology, and the questions raised in this book.
Luckily I snagged an interview with her and I appreciated her genuine answers. I hope you will too!
Me: So, “Revelation” is the prequel to an entire trilogy? What do you hope readers will get out of this novella?
Purrazzi: Revelation is a prequel novella to a Biopunk post-apocalyptic trilogy. There are some functional things it needs to do as the first in a series, such as setting up a pretty complicated world and introducing some major concepts. In all my work I try to marry the best of classic fiction (character development and strong themes), with the best of modern fiction (an addictive, fast pace). What I really hope readers will be able to take away is an excitement for the world that leaves them wanting more, while not making them feel like the story went unfinished.
Me: What is your work similar to? Who do you think will like it?
Purrazzi: Readers so far have found similarities in my work to a few well-known Sci-Fi stories. The Malfunction Trilogy has been compared to Hugh Howey’s “Wool”, Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game”, and the Sci-Fi movie trilogy “The Matrix”. It’s hard to judge the flavor of your own writing. My aim is to get the reader into the character’s head with an immersive style and draw out some deep questions to chew on while keeping a good pace. My hope is that it can be enjoyed both by readers who just want entertainment as well as by people who want to think a bit longer on the themes that I’ve highlighted.
Me: What are the themes and messages in this trilogy? And can you talk about them without giving anything away?
Purrazzi: When it comes to writing the two things that I lean on more heavily than anything else is “Theme” and “Character Building”. So, yes, there are a lot of themes in the trilogy. While I do want readers to be able to draw things out for themselves, (and each book does have a slightly different emphasis) I will not make it a secret that these books are, for me, about the value of human life. From the beginning, writing these have been a way for me to work out some of the pain that my family has suffered from the loss of my unborn step-children. It is a loss that is deeply felt by me, my husband, and the mother of the children. It may seem like an odd thing for me to be mourning over, but unless you have lost children, you will never understand the impact that has on a person. While it is different for me, the effect the loss has had on my husband has been felt in our marriage, especially as we haven’t been able to have any of our own children.
Of course, there are other causes that have been laid heavily on me while writing this, including my sorrow over human trafficking, and the effect of walking through my mother’s cancer with my family. All these things work well with the themes that the biopunk sub-genre naturally highlights with bioethics.
While all these things did impact the story, my greatest hope is not to “preach” to my readers, but to ask questions and then trust them to find the truth for themselves.
All that being said, Revelation is, at its root, a story about an abandoned boy and how his pain drives him to interact with the harsh world around him.
Me: What does your creative process look like? (Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have a daily routine?)
Purrazzi: I am somewhere between a plotter and a pantser. My creative process can pretty much be summed up in two words: “day dreaming”. It usually starts with two things: a vague impression of a character and the beginning concept of the climax. From there, I start to flesh out the character in my mind and put him into the climax, always asking the question “Why?” If at any point, I can’t find an answer for that question, I file that idea away. Maybe I will fold it into another story later, maybe it will be lost.
Eventually, I start telling myself the story, starting with the scenes with the most emotion. When I drive, when I am falling asleep, whenever I have a free moment I think through every word choice. Over and Over and Over, I patch holes and grow my characters and world. Sometimes I make notes, or do research, or watch a movie or read a book to get ideas, but eventually, I have something formed enough that I can start writing it down. Everything else I just invent as it comes out. By then, there isn’t much I haven’t “written” in my head a hundred times.
Me: Tell us more about you. Why do you write?
Purrazzi: I am an introvert, a cynic, an artist and I like to also imagine that I’m an intellectual. I have a million and one interests, among them reading, fish keeping, fine art and I love to consume as much information as I can find. Pretty much on anything, except for math. I grew up overseas, on a small Island country that most people have never heard of. I am starting to settle into life in America, but Papua New Guinea will always be home. I don’t think I will ever stop dreaming of it and waking up feeling just a bit more empty. I firmly believe heaven will have a little piece of PNG for me.
I write for a lot of reasons. The first being, I love to read. I love teaching and telling stories, and writing gives me a way to do that without losing anyone’s attention. It’s also helped me overcome panic attacks and depression that have been sneaking in here and there (as is common with us introverts).
Me: What are three tools you use as an indie author?
Purrazzi: My top three tools: YouTube. You can find so much on there, for research, writing and story craft, or even just for music. I have been watching a lot of surgeries on there lately. It’s as gross as it sounds but when Malfunction comes out, you will see why.
The Story Grid. This is one of the best resources I’ve ever been introduced to. There is a book, a podcast, and countless articles as well as a method for self-editing your novel that is super immersive.
Finally: podcasts. Most of the podcasts I listen to are either for research purposes of for the marketing side of writing. When it comes to self-publishing you can’t just be a good writer, you also have to know what you are doing when it comes to selling the book. I listen to at least an hour and a half of podcasts on my drive to work every day. In my mind, you can never do too much research to prepare for anything. If I stop learning, I might as well stop writing too, because that will mean I’ve lost interest.
Me: Have you read any great indie books lately?
Purrazzi: I’ve been reading some great books lately. Currently, I’m reading “Out of Darkness” by our own E.B. Dawson, and a book called Minutia by Steve Evens. Both are really fast paced, very intelligent, and have great premises. I also just started reading an ARC by one of my personal favorite self-published authors and a close friend and mentor, Sarah K. L. Wilson. This book is called “Lighting Strikes Twice” and is the sequel to her fantasy novel “The Teeth of the Gods”. I also just blew through “The Jenkins Cycle Trilogy” by John L. Monk. They are a bit on the darker side, so you want to be careful if you are squeamish (Think Paranormal “Punisher” with a lot of humor) but they are great.
Me: What area do you need to grow in as an author and what steps are you taking to get there?
Purrazzi: I can’t write romance for anything. I’m not a romantic person at heart. In that way, my poor husband and I are not matched well because he is 100% a “touch” love. I hate snuggling and romantic gestures make me uncomfortable. I am doing my best to work on that aspect of writing, but I naturally write family-love and friendship-love easier. I also struggle writing female leads. I have no clue as to why.
I think the biggest area where I need to grow is just in marketing and publishing. It is my first time and I have a lot to learn.
Me: If you had to branch out into another genre, what would it be?
Purrazzi: Historic Fiction, no question. Right now I gave myself a good broad category with Speculative Fiction. I have the first drafts of my Sci-Fi trilogy done as well as a fantasy book which will be released next year, after edits, and a Paranormal Thriller short story serial. That is a broad stretch of genres right there. My first love has always been Historic Fiction, though. I have a million ideas that I want to play around with. What is keeping me back is just the sheer amount of research that goes into it. I don’t want to jump into that until I have the time to do it right and keep my sanity. I do intend to play around in the “non-fiction” sandbox as well.
Me: What can we look forward to in the next book? (And is there a tentative release date?)
Purrazzi: I am currently in the middle of the fourth draft of Malfunction. My intention is to release it by the end of July, with the remaining books releasing every three months. Of course, I want to provide you all with the very best books I can write, so if I feel like I need more time, I’ll possibly move it to every six months.
If you enjoyed Revelation, Malfunction is going to be a real treat for you! Cowl will be back, but you will also be introduced to some new characters. One new point of view character is Menrva, who is Cowl’s childhood friend and probably has more of “me” in her than any character I’ve ever written. We will also get to climb into Bas’ point of view. Unlike Revelation, this story is mostly about Bas, and we will get a lot of questions answered about his past and his purpose. Also, if the idea of the Wreckers has peaked your interest, we will get to see the monsters up close and personal.
Expect a blistering pace, some emotional reveals, and a couple twists and turns that will knock you off your feet. Expect a lot more running and shooting.
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Thanks again, Jill!