Monday, February 26, 2018

Indie Author Interview: RJ Plant

Indie Author Interview with RJ Plant - Author of the Science-Fiction Thriller Rise and Run.

RJ Plant is a Birmingham, AL native and recent Williamsburg, VA transplant. After playing the famed "Struggling College Student" game, she came away from the University of Alabama at Birmingham holding a BA in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a Professional Writing minor.

Interview with RJ Plant

Author RJ Plant
Author RJ Plant
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): How would you describe your writing background?
RJ Plant: I spent my years in college working toward an English degree with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in professional writing. For my senior capstone, I interned at Highlands Publications, mainly helping with one of the magazines. Shortly after I graduated, Highlands signed me on full time to their newest magazine, Modern WorkTruck Solutions. I spent three years there, and also did a few freelance gigs on the side. My passion for writing has always edged more toward the creative, though. I knew I wanted to write fiction from a pretty young age. I think it was when I won an award at a Young Authors Conference that I decided writing fiction was for me. My first finished novel actually started life as a short story in one of my college creative writing classes. It had received such a positive response that I wanted to turn it into a trilogy.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
Adrian McKinty is a huge influence for me. I picked up one of his books (Dead I Well May Be) in a bargain bin at Barnes N Noble and have picked up every one of his books since. He's one of those writers who can put out a book about anything and I'll read it. Simon R. Green is another of those authors, as is Kelley Armstrong. I've also been completely absorbed by Gregg Hurwitz's Orphan novels.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
That first award I received in third grade definitely got me started on the path. I had a few years when I fell out of love with reading, but around 6th grade I became an avid reader. The more I read, the more I wanted to tell stories. It was such a driving force for me that when I started college, there was no question of what I'd be going for and the creative writing concentration was a huge part of that.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Vaguely. There was a girl, a cat, and a unicorn. That's about all I remember of it. I think I was reading Into the Land of the Unicorns at that time, so that may have inspired it.

"I must have read it 20+ times and going through the editing process before shipping it to a professional editor."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
For Rise and Run, I had no routine. I was trying to write it while going to college and working two jobs. That book was a ten year labor of love. Once it was completely written, I must have read it 20+ times going through the editing process before shipping it to a professional editor. With the new book I'm working on, Commonality Sanctum, my process is a lot more refined. I write every day, even if it's only a page or two. If I get stuck, or get board, I practice the violin, then go back to writing. That usually helps.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
Small. I have an antique secretary desk that holds my laptop and the monitor it's plugged into, wireless keyboard and mouse, a cup of pens, a lamp, and a bunch of really random things. I even have a little Isuzu stress truck that I can squeeze on if need be, a nod to my days with Highlands.

"The more obsessed with a topic I am, the easier it is to write about it."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?

I have a bit of an obsessive personality, so when I get really hooked on a subject I go into overdrive. That's how Commonality Sanctum started. I got really into this idea of cults and ex-cult-members, what they go through in the aftermath. The more obsessed with a topic I am, the easier it is to write about it. On the flip side, once I lose interest, it gets a bit hard to write about a particular subject. Another hard part of writing is the act itself. You're sitting in a chair for x-amount of hours and it gets boring no matter how awesome the subject matter. I always have to get up and go do something, anything, that involves physical movement.

"I love to hear how readers respond to certain characters."

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating characters that readers can invest in emotionally. I love to hear how readers respond to certain characters. Of course, I know the story and the characters so intimately. When a reader's opinion of a character conflicts with mine, it's always so interesting because that's a hallmark of a fully formed character. There are nuances to characters I've created that I don't even notice and that is very cool.

Rise and Run (RJ Plant)
Click to Read an Excerpt

RJ, please tell us a little about your Science-Fiction / Thriller Novel Rise and Run.
Rise and Run is about two brothers (Conor and Felix) who were born in a lab as a government controlled project. The brothers aren't typical, however. They share the same body, yet have two completely separate genomes. After being smuggled out of the lab, they are adopted by an illegal-trades mogul, Rian Connell. After a few years, Rian notices that one of the brothers is much more violent than the other, so he works with a contact of his to fix the situation. The brothers' relationship becomes strained after that until, eventually, only one brother (Felix) has access to the world.
Years later, Rian discovers his niece is in danger and sends Felix to handle the situation. Unfortunately, the niece is just bait to lure the brothers into the hands of Government Directive International (GDI, one of the last standing governments of post-war 2042). GDI doses Felix with a deadly virus, but because of Conor's genomic differences, he is immune. Now that Conor is finally out again, he just wants to run. But running will risk everything he's waited for. It's up to him to find a way to cure Felix's virus or else risk becoming a biological weapon for GDI.

What inspired you to write the book?
I had originally written this short story in college called Pressure. It was a noir thriller and got great feedback. The main character had a form of dissociative identity disorder. I was taking a psychology class during this time, so mental illnesses were my influence. As I tried to expand the story, it started to turn into an organized crime thriller, but about 50 or so pages in, I wasn't liking the direction. At about that time I started really getting into science, specifically genetics, epidemiology, and virology. So, Pressure became Rise and Run, a semi-dystopian sci-fi/thriller.

Who do you see as your target audience?
Roughly 18-64 and likely more male than female.

"It's hard to live with your enemy inside your head."

What makes your book special?
The characters. The brothers are in kind of a unique position; they're essentially at war with one another. Conor just wants a life so desperately and Felix thinks Conor is a raging madman. It's hard to live with your enemy inside your head.

"Just keep writing."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Probably what every author would say: Just keep writing. That's the most common advice simply because it's the only advice worth taking.

Are you working on another book project?Can you tell us a little about it? 
I am and I can. My latest project is Commonality Sanctum. I'll give you, essentially, the back cover blurb:
After being taken as a child and raised in a brutal cult, Claudia Dayo is forced into a murder she never wanted to commit. As her faith in the guru wanes, Claudia fights to find a way out of the cult and away from its headhunters. When she encounters a mysterious stranger, she realizes he might be her only hope.
Michael Alvis’s life was turned upside-down the day his family disappeared. He has spent every day since then tracking them down. When Michael discovers the kidnapping of a high-ranking official’s son, he is lead to a vicious scene: a bloodied girl crying over the remains of a mutilated body. As he questions the girl, he realizes she might be the only lead he has to finding his family.
As Claudia works inside the cult to find Michael’s missing family, Michael must figure out why Claudia was set-up. And why the cult wanted the official’s son dead.

"Readers are this giant community and bookstores are our haven."

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I strongly feel that physical books won't go out of style. While bookstores might become a casualty, I doubt it. Readers are this giant community and bookstores are our haven. When you go to a bookstore, it's not just for the books, but also for the experience. Actually, in my case it needs to be a quick in and out because five minutes after I walk in, someone will inevitably ask if I need a basket. There are so many readers out there who prefer physical books over eBooks. Hell, ask most book bloggers.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do write full-time. I spend a good amount of spare time at the gym. I have a personal trainer for weights and then I go to the martial arts gym several times a week and spend two to three hours when I go. I also practice the violin and read a lot. And I cook. I love, love, love to cook. I wouldn't call myself a foodie, but I've noticed a lot of pictures of me happen to be of me eating. So, my brand is eating.

How can readers connect with you?
They can go to my website,, or find me on Twitter @rj_plant. I'm also on Facebook @therealrjplant and on Instagram @writer_rj.plant. Oh, and just recently I can be found on Goodreads.

Thank you very much for the Interview, RJ.

About the Book Rise and Run

Rise and Run (RJ Plant)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Felix and Conor Quinn are brothers at odds. After starting life as a less-than-ethical government experiment, the brothers now share the same body. When their adoptive father, illegal trades mogul Rian Connell, receives a tip that his niece is in danger, he sends Felix to track her down. The assignment brings up bad memories for Felix. It also threatens to bring Conor’s dark secrets to light—secrets that necessitate the manufacture of a drug to suppress his genome.

More pressing problems arise once Felix finds Kaitlyn. He soon realizes that Government Directive International (GDI)—one of the last governments of post-War 2042—has disturbing plans for him. By the time Felix realizes that Kaitlyn was only bait to lure him in, it’s already too late. GDI’s Agent-in-Charge doses Felix with a lethal, fast-acting virus, bringing Conor to the surface.

Immune to Felix’s virus thanks to his genomic difference, Conor must take up the mantle of uncovering the secrets of his past... before they get everyone around him killed. Every instinct tells Conor to run like hell, but in the end, his only choice may be to outsmart GDI.

Or bring the organization crashing down.

Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Rise and Run on Amazon

Link to the eBook Rise and Run on Amazon

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