Tim Greaton: It’s great to have you here Jeremy. I’m
anxious to talk about your book, but first I was hoping you could tell us a
little about your childhood.
Shory: I actually had a very gifted upbringing growing up in Orlando. Not
gifted in the sense of having gobs of money, but gifted by having the luxury
of major theme parks in my backyard. I have always felt that people travel
thousands of miles to see Disney World and Universal Studios and Sea World/
Busch Gardens, so why not take advantage of my close proximity. Truth be
told, I really love the theme parks. It’s a way to escape from day to day
issues and just live in the magical moment. Because of being able to visit
these magical places on a regular basis, I feel like I’ve always had a
passion for replicating that feeling for those that can’t make it by
transporting their mind via a story.
Tim Greaton: A lot of authors I talk with, Jeremy, have unusual
pastimes, but you’re more of a guys’ guy. Can you tell our audience about
that and how you use your interest to help others?
Shory: I’m a big football junkie. I love just about everything involving the
sport, from college on up to the pros. I’m a big Florida State Seminoles fan
(grew up with them being the premier team in the 90’s and have painstakingly
stuck with them ever since). For a while I was serving as chief ACC
correspondent for a college football website called FantasyCollegeBlitz,
which has since shut down. Now I tend to fill my football desires by co-operating
a local flag football league that pairs inner city kids with adults to help
guide and mentor through the sport. We play some ball and have some
heart-to-heart discussions in the process. It’s as rewarding as it is fun.
Tim Greaton: Even though you’ve spent a lot of time at the
Florida theme parks, I understand there is another magical place that has
impacted your career.
Shory: Ah yes, this is a good one. I’d say the place that will always stand
out to me as being vital to my life as a writer is the Atlantis Resort in the
Bahamas. I know, it sounds like a strange place to consider influential, but
if it wasn’t for Atlantis I don’t think I would have come up with The Orion Chronicles concept. My wife
and I were vacationing at the amazing resort and it literally was paradise.
If you haven’t been, you must find a way to go at least once in your life.
You won’t regret it. But anyways, so my wife and I were having a great time
and I said to her, “You know, I just need to write the next pop-culture
phenomenon that way we can just stay here any time we want.” As silly as the
comment was, later that night, which was our last night on the vacation mind
you, I was lying in bed and I couldn’t get to sleep. Now I don’t know if it
was because of anxiousness about leaving the next morning or what, but I like
to say it was because my mind was racing with all these fantastic ideas for a
new story. I started jotting them down into my phone (see I wasn’t lying
about that) and before I knew it, I had enough to get The Journal of Forgotten Secrets started. So Atlantis played a
crucial role for me in my writing career and for that, I have to say it was
possibly the best vacation I’ve ever taken.
Tim Greaton: Who are the authors who have influenced your
work? And I suppose the next natural question would be do you model your work
after any particular author?
Shory: Consider me your next Stephen King mixed with J.K. Rowling , Dan
Brown, Kurt Vonnegut, and Rick Riordan. Okay, not really. I think that would
be pretty impossible to be all of those combined. But to answer it honestly,
I’d say I don’t think anyone can write a Young Adult Magic Fantasy about a
teenager without saying J.K. Rowling had some influence on them in some way.
But the person I feel I most compare to from a stylization standpoint would
be the great Dan Brown. He has a way of keeping his chapters short, but
eventful. In addition, he has a unique way of injecting internal thought
monologues for his characters and that’s something I really liked, so I
infused it into my stories as well.
Tim Greaton: I love to ask writers about their creative systems.
I, for instance, prefer my office to be quiet or to have classical or movie
soundtrack music in the background. What kind of writing environment and
process have you developed?
Shory: My cell phone has about eight different pages full of different notes
about The Orion Chronicles – plot notes
for the overall series, plots for specific books, character names, monsters –
you name it, I have it written down. I feel this works the best for me because
I always have my phone on me no matter where I am, and ideas come to me
constantly. So my cell phone gets quite a workout as I add and remove notes
to it. Then I always make sure to have it next to me as I sit down to write
the next chapter so I can look for any standalone pieces of information I
might be able to work into the story somehow. I listened to my iPod when I
was writing The Journal of Forgotten
Secrets, but now I almost prefer silence as I write. I feel too
distracted with any blasting music nowadays.
Tim Greaton: I’ve never been a fan of dense writing, which
often comes in the form of huge chunks of encyclopedic information being
dumped on the reader or even as endless descriptive details delivered every time
a character enters a new scene. You definitely don’t have that problem,
Jeremy, and in fact readers have told you just the opposite. Could you talk a
little about that?
Shory: I have been told that I have a unique way of injecting specific
details into the story without bogging it down. I personally struggle reading
a piece that seems like all I’m getting are the details—how long, how much,
what color, what cut someone’s hair is for example. I feel there is always a
way to infuse the details into the action. This gets back to the age old rule
of “Show, don’t Tell.” If I said someone had voluminous curly, auburn hair that covered her head, you’d get
the picture. But what if I said she
tucked her auburn hair behind her ear, moving the curly strands out of her
face. There’s a difference…there’s action. It’s the same information, but
not like you’re reading a laundry list of features. I’ve worked hard at that
concept and I appreciate those who notice.
Tim Greaton: Okay, first I have to say I LOVE the cover
for The Journal of Forgotten Secrets.
Could you tell us about it…the book, I mean?J
Shory: The Orion Chronicles: The
Journal of Forgotten Secrets is the first installment in my Orion Chronicles series. It’s about a
teenager who finds himself inadvertently lured into a sadistic plan, a game
of life and death if you will, that was specifically designed for him by a
mastermind that was thought to have vanished almost one hundred years ago.
The more Orion dives into this evil scheme, the more he uncovers about his
family and how everyone he’s ever known has been keeping dark secrets from
him. Ultimately he decides he’s had enough and he determines he’s going to
take matters into his own hands and start controlling his own fate. At least
he thinks he is anyways.
Tim Greaton: Sounds like a great premise, Jeremy. In a lot
of ways, I see parallels in how we work. For instance, one of my sisters
reads everything I write and has served as a “first reader” for many of my
novels. You, too, have some family help. Could you tell us how that works?
Shory: Oh gosh, I don’t think there’s any way I could have ever completed The Journal of Forgotten Secrets
without the help of my sister, Kristy. I consider her my resident Orion Chronicles expert because she’s
read so many drafts of it she could probably recite it in her sleep. This is
a great question because it really gives me the opportunity to thank those
who really helped in my writing process. As I mentioned my sister read every
version, every small edit or plot change, and did it with a smile (I know how
mundane it had to have been for her reading the same thing over and over).
She was a big factor in shaping the story into what it is today.
Tim Greaton: Are there others involved in your production
Shory: My brother, Jason, and best friend Shereena, were my early editors of
sorts. They read the very first version of the story, looking for plot holes
and giving feedback on the overall flow. My editor, Carissa Rossi, was a big
influence and really helped guide me with some excellent advice on how to
tell a clear and precise story. I’ve become really close with a well-known
author named Shaunna Rodriguez, and I’ve recently leaned on her in regards to
my writings as well. She’s been super supportive; it’s been wonderful to have
an author companion like that, especially someone who knows the industry like
she does. And of course my wife…she was there listening to every note I was
jotting down or plot point I wanted to throw in the story. I really can’t
thank these people enough because they were so influential throughout the
Tim Greaton: When you say Orion Chronicles, I hear series. What can we expect next?
Shory: The Orion Chronicles is
scheduled to be five parts. The Journal
of Forgotten Secrets is out right now and I’m working on book two, which
is titled Curse of the Phantom
Brotherhood. The second story really builds on the first by picking up
right where it leaves off. It answers some questions raised in book one, but
more importantly we start to see some of the seeds planted begin to sprout
into more complex, overarching storylines that will be carried throughout the
series. Orion and his three friends, Grayson, Cremmel, and Zora will remain
the focus in each story, but I promise, there’s room for many more characters
and each of them will have their moments in the spotlight as the series
Tim Greaton: After writing The Journal of Forgotten Secrets, did you wish you could have
changed something? Do you think you will address that issue in future
Shory: I like to think that I’m a pretty descriptive writer, giving details
via action, but I know The Journal of
Forgotten Secrets carried a steep learning curve with it in terms of
writing style. I feel like I’ve been able to take the lessons in efficiency I
learned while writing it and apply them to each piece of writing I’ve done
since then, including Curse of the
Phantom Brotherhood. There’s
something to be said for the way an author can paint a clear picture using as
few words as possible…it’s an art really. As we touched on earlier, I’m not a
fan of overly verbose or wordy pieces as I feel it tends to detract from the
main concept. So if I had to say there was something I wish I could change
about The Journal of Forgotten Secrets,
it’s that I wish I would’ve honed that efficiency skill beforehand. It would
have saved a lot of time.
Tim Greaton: I can see your eyes glimmer as we talk about
having a Hollywood-style, effectively unlimited budget to promote your book.
Can you tell us how you’d spend those heaps of advertising dollars?
Shory: What a tricky question. An unlimited budget means an infinite amount
of ways to get myself into trouble. I think a billboard plastered up in the
heart of Times Square in New York City would be the perfect launching point
for a major marketing campaign. With the millions of people swarming through
there, I’d think it would maybe catch a few eyes. Then I’d follow that up
with replacing the Hollywood sign with my series title, The Orion Chronicles…that would get everyone’s attention right?
Next, I’d drop a canvas of my book cover that would stretch the whole length
of the legendary London clock, Big Ben. If replacing the Hollywood sign
didn’t bring some awareness, I think that would. And finally, for the cherry
on top, I’d have afternoon and late night commercials run on all the major
networks in hopes that I’d be able to get the college kids talking about it.
Yeah, I think that pretty much hits all the major demographics. Now I kind of
wish I did have an unlimited ad budgetJ.
Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your
website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly communicate
with you and purchase your stories.
Shory: Absolutely, I’d love to share.
plan to have it up for the Nook, iBooks, and in hardback and paperback
versions within the next few weeks.
main website, which is doubles as my blog, is www.TheOrionChronicles.com. There are all kinds of neat things on that site
including character bios and photos, Rules for some of the games I’ve
invented for The Orion Chronicle series (including a really fun card game
called Rookie Mistake), and Magical Race descriptions as told by one of the
main characters. I have a cool blog series going on right now that are blogs
about the characters written by the characters, really giving them a voice
outside the novels. You could say I finally have a constructive outlet for
all the voices in my head.
Tim Greaton: Thanks for taking the time with me today,
Jeremy. It’s been a lot of fun, and I suspect many of our audience members
are now searching for copies of your book.
Jeremy Shory: Tim, I appreciate the
opportunity to spread the word about my work. I’m very humbled and grateful. You
have a fantastic site and do an amazing job promoting authors, so I cannot
begin to thank you for the work you do to help us out. And thank you to your
readers for checking me out. Word-of-mouth marketing is the #1 most effective
tool out there, so anything you or your readers do for me is such an honor.
Thank you a million times over.