Interview with an Author: J.E. Seymour on Creating an Antagonist

J.E. Seymour

J.E. Seymour

J.E. (Joy) Seymour lives in a small town in seacoast NH. The third novel in the Kevin Markinson series, “Frostbite,” was released in March of 2016. J.E.’s first novel, “Lead Poisoning” was released by Mainly Murder Press in 2010. The second edition of “Lead Poisoning” was released by Barking Rain Press in May of 2014. Her second novel, “Stress Fractures,” (Barking Rain Press) was released in the summer of 2014.
collection3resizedamazon“Blackbird and Other Stories,” an ebook of short stories, was released in May of 2014. J.E has had short stories published in print in an anthology of New Hampshire noir: “Live Free or Die, Die, Die” (Plaidswede Press) and in three anthologies of crime fiction by New England writers : “Windchill,” “Deadfall,” and “Quarry;” (Level Best Books) and in Thriller UK Magazine. In addition, she has had stories online in numerous ezines, including Spinetingler, Shots, Mouth Full of Bullets, Mysterical-E, A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, Yellow Mama and Shred of Evidence.  She is the New Hampshire member at large on the board of Sisters In Crime New England.

In addition to writing, Joy has worked as a horseback riding instructor, a ski instructor, ski patroller, librarian and camp counselor. When not writing, she spends her time riding her pony in mounted games, playing video games, working at a library, or relaxing with her family.

510x765-Frostbite-200x300Judy: Tell me a bit about Frostbite.

Joy: The third in the Kevin Markinson crime fiction series, this book, set mostly in Concord, NH, is about a bumbling group of Rhode Island mobsters who get more than they bargained for when they bust Kevin Markinson out of prison to do a job for them.

Judy: You’re visiting today to talk about creating an antagonist. Are there “rules” or a set of guidelines that you follow or can recommend?

Joy: I am not a big believer in rules. I’m a “pantser,” meaning I write by the seat of my pants. My work is character driven, so the characters are more important than the plot, and the plot flows from the character development. Therefore, the characters need to be fully developed. Especially the bad guys. I have to know what they would do in any situation, just as I have to know my good guys. I think about their backgrounds, where they come from, even things like what they might have been like as kids. I want my baddies to be just as real as the good guy. For “Frostbite,” I have three brothers, all working for the same mob boss, and I know how they got there, what they do in their spare time, why their hands are dirty all the time, etc. There’s no need to share this backstory with the reader, but I know it. Developing the backstory, even if I don’t put it on paper, makes the characters more realistic.

Judy: What or who inspired you to become a writer?

Joy: I’ve been writing since I was in fourth grade. I’ve always received encouragement from teachers, so I figured that must mean I could write well. I’m not sure my middle school teachers meant that I should become a writer, but that encouragement kept me going. I love telling stories, and writing them down is the only way I can tell them.

 Judy: What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?

Joy: There is so much out there, but my number one piece of advice is Yog’s Law: Money flows to the writer. Don’t pay to be published. If an agent wants you to pay up front, it’s a scam. Check out Writer Beware and Absolute Write Water Cooler.

 Judy: Do you have a favorite author or series? A favorite genre?

Joy: I have a number of favorite authors, among them Elmore Leonard and Lawrence Block. Block’s Scudder series is my favorite series. I also enjoyed Dick Francis. I am a fan of dark, gritty crime fiction, where the bad guy might just be the good guy.

 Judy: What are you currently reading?

Joy: “Animals in Translation” by Temple Grandin.

Judy: What’s next for J.E. Seymour? 

Joy: I have a fourth novel in my series pretty much finished, just tidying up. TI am trying to write more short stories as well.

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Thank you, Joy. 

Find J.E. Seymour on: Website  Amazon Goodreads Facebook Twitter 

NOTE: The Comments option has been acting up for the past few days. I have Jetpack and SiteLock technical support working on it (apparently they aren’t communicating with each other properly). So if you try to leave a comment and it doesn’t work (it should say “Awaiting Moderation”), I’m so sorry. If you do want to leave a comment for Joy (or for any other post), email me at judy at judypenzsheluk dot com. I will post the comment manually from my end. Be sure to tell me what post you’re referring to! Thanks, Judy

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