Featured Author of the Month June Jotham Austin, II

Jotham Austin’s, II Interview

  • What is the first book that made you cry? I don’t remember crying while reading a book. But I have been emotional after reading a book. The book that comes to mind is Mira Grant’s (Seanan McGuire) “Feed”. No spoilers but I was so upset at what happened to a character  (darlings were killed) that I refused to read the rest of the trilogy right away. I did eventually finish the trilogy and Seanan is a wonderful writer.
  • What is your writing Kryptonite? I don’t think I have a writing Kryptonite. Maybe that’s my Kryptonite. LOL
  • Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’d say a group of friends, The Highland Writers Group. We meet every Saturday to read and critique each other’s work. Also, support and motivation to keep writing.
  • If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? If I could go back to when I moved to Boulder, CO in 2001, I’d have told myself to make time to keep writing. Focusing on my career and family I stopped writing for almost 9 years. I didn’t get started writing again until my life was slowed down after tearing my Achilles Tendon in 2010.
  • How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I think the process of going through multiple rounds of editing and working with the editors to keep chiseling the rough edges into fine polished details, have made me a better writer. Also, as I write I think more about the marketing side. Writing the Synopsis, Pitches, Audience, Newsletter, Mailing lists, Etc.
  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it? The best money I spent was a developmental edit and line edit from a professional editor before signing with my publisher. It was like taking a refresher English class and being reminded of how the Oxford Comma, EM dashes, etc works. LOL. I probably will not do this for every book, but it was helpful as I shook the rust off. Second best money is going to a writer’s conference and networking—I look forward to post COVID and going to more.
  • As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? I have always loved turtles and elephants. Both are thoughtful and patient in their actions.
  • How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have 3 unpublished books—the first novel I ever wrote and is locked away, “Pretty Small Things”. I have a WIP,” Wake me Slowly From This”, I was working on edits when the pandemic hit, and since this is a post-pandemic sci-fi novel, I couldn’t work on it mentally. And the third novel is The Cost of Us, a cyberpunk techno-thriller, and it’s almost at the stage of querying. Unfinished novels would be a dozen or so, and they range between a synopsis/outline and 30k words.
  • Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction? I think discovering Octavia Butler showed me that there was a place for a black science fiction writer in the genre.
  • How do you select the names of your characters? I select names by googling baby names a lot. I try to avoid using names of friends, but it happens (in my romance novella and debut novel I realized minor characters were unintentionally named after good friends). Also, I love names that can be used for a male or female character or have unique spellings.
  • What is your favorite childhood book? Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”

Bio:

Jotham Austin, II lives in Chicagoland with his wife and two sons. He has his PhD in Botany, and can be found taking electron micrographs of cells at The University of Chicago. When Jotham is not in the lab or writing, he splits his free time between gardening, woodworking, and home-brewing.

Book Blurb/Description

What if you had the memories of 110 people stuffed into your brain? How would you know who you really are?

The passengers of flight 2164 all lose their memories except Brian; he not only maintains his own memories, but gains everyone else’s that was on the plane.

As Brian begins remembering the other passenger’s lives, and soon finds himself unable to separate his memories from theirs. Intense flashbacks, disjointed personalities and often violent outbursts puts a strain on Brian’s relationship with his fiancée, Brenda.

They will have to trust the neuroscientist, Marci, whose experimental technology could restore Brian’s memories, and the life Brenda and Brian once had. As Brenda and Marci race against time to untangle Brian’s memories from those of the other passengers, they discover secrets Brian hid about his past. 

Brenda will have to decide if some memories are best forgotten, and can she still love who Brian really is?

https://books2read.com/Jotham

Katherine E. Soto’s Review of this Book

Will You Still Love Me if I Become Someone Else?

Book Review written by Katherine E Soto

A man comes home from a trip and begins acting different. Turns out he does not have amnesia like the other people who were on his airplane. Instead, he has all his memories plus theirs stuffed into his brain. How does this happen? Science is involved, of course.

Alex is a scientist for a nano-technology company who studies the brain and memory. There is a lab accident that no one is aware of. Instead of gaining a superpower, he acquires a wicked set of memories that set him off into his own adventures.  His wife is pulled into the mix up in his mind as he turns into other people while he lives with her. To top it off she’s newly pregnant when this all starts.

This book is an interesting romp into how people think and how memory affects humans. The author takes time to explain there are two parts to memory- one part is full of how to do things, the other is full of memories of who you did them with. In this book the second type of memory is affecting the people on the airliner. They become similar to zombies; they can live but have no memory of their lives. The author brings the story through the confusion Alex and his wife, Leslie, have by telling their stories of the Event and after the Event.  He also tells the story of Alex’s partner Marci, who is Alex’s ex-wife. No love is lost between the wife and ex-wife, but they must work together to help Marci solve the memory puzzle.

The author weaves the confusing pieces of the puzzle of Alex’s life into the pieces of the nanotechnology mistake with the relationships the characters are dealing with. This book is an excellent read and leaves you thinking about the world you live in. Do you truly know your loved ones? Is love a memory that can be faded or erased in someone’s memories? Follow Alex, Leslie and Marci as they try to solve the entanglements in which they find themselves. This book is a page turner to the end.

Just for Fun!

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