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Interview with Jeffrey Small


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I grew up as a math and science geek and never saw writing as one of my strengths, but I devoured books and loved daydreaming story ideas.  About eight years ago in my late-thirties, I felt a calling to flex my creative muscles to a greater extent than I was able to in my job, a job I was good at doing and had achieved success in, but in which I still felt something lacking. That’s when I began the six-year process that became my debut novel, THE BREATH OF GOD.

What genre do you write and why?
I write thrillers because that’s what I enjoy reading. I like the escapism, mystery, and suspense. But my books also stretch the genre’s boundaries in that they tend to offer greater elements of spirituality and mysticism. I add that philosophical element because I enjoy getting my readers to think and question their beliefs as I am entertaining them at the same time.

Tell us about your latest book.


My second novel, THE JERICHO DECEPTION, is a thriller exploring the nexus between spirituality, neuropsychology, and international politics. In the novel, Yale Dr. Ethan Lightman’s groundbreaking invention, the Logos machine, has the power to produce religious ecstasy, but it may also cause madness. After a colleague is murdered in his Yale lab, Ethan and grad student Rachel Riley, descend into a web of treachery that takes them deep into the Egyptian desert and to Project Jericho: a top-secret CIA mind control program. Ethan and Rachel must race to unlock the Logos machine’s secrets before Project Jericho launches a modern Holy War.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I try to take a page from the non-fiction world and build a platform around myself as an author and speaker. In marketing terms, I think of myself as the brand and my writing as one of my products. Because my books have themes that touch on spirituality and I have a degree in Religious Studies from Oxford, I do a lot of speaking on the meaning of religion and spirituality in the 21st century. The subjects of my talks often touch on themes in my novels and I use my lectures to build my readership. Blogging and social media support all of the above. In today’s free-for-all of e-publishing, finding innovative ways to rise above the noise has become more important than ever!

What formats is the book available in?
THE JERICHO DECEPTION is available in trade paperback and as an e-book in stores and online now.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I still pay the bills with my day job as a real estate investor. In my free time, I love to hike, mountain bike, and be on the water with my family—basically anything that gets us outside into nature. A fun fact from my past: my wife and I are former US Champion ballroom dancers!  We stopped competing ten years ago but still like to go out for fun.

Who are your favourite authors?
When I read fiction, I love Ken Follett, Preston & Child, David Baldacci, and a host of others in my genre. I wish I had more time to read for fun now though, because the research for my books can encompass hundreds of non-fiction sources.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Writing, and getting published, is hard work that can be discouraging and ego crushing at times, yet it is also the most rewarding activity I do. The best advice given to me during a period when I had suffered years of rejections: “giving up is not an option.”

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
This quote is not specifically about writing per se, yet it helped inspire me to take the chance and begin my first novel. It’s from Goethe: “What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has a genius, power, and magic in it.” The only way to guarantee that you will not be published is to never write the book!

What's the best thing about being a writer?
I write because I must. The creative process for me is spiritual. Giving birth to the ideas, stories, and characters brings me a joy and sense of purpose that I never found in my day job.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Please visit my website: www.JeffreySmall.com.

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