Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blog Tour: Joseph Devon Guest Post + Giveaway

Hello and welcome to this stop in the 
Persistent Illusions by Joseph Devon blog tour.

Welcome Joseph! Can you tell us a little about your learning experience, while writing Persistent Illusions?

Doing research for a book is always a strange process. You go out and learn so much by doing or reading or talking with people. Then, though, budding over with excitement of your new knowledge, you have to learn how to take a deep breath and step back from it. And, finally, there’s the act of putting it into your work.

Take for example one of the things I researched while writing Persistent Illusions: cell phones. At one point my characters wanted to influence the phone calls between two people, so I had to go and do all this research about how cell phones actually work, which was really interesting. See, even though I writing in a fantastical genre, I still like to get the rules of our universe right. I do a lot of reading on physics and technology so that I can get a better grasp of how my supernatural characters might interact with our world. I try not to say, “It’s magic,” and leave it at that. So I read up on the waves transmitted by cell phones and how varying the frequency or amplitude of these waves can give bursts of “one’s and zero’s.” That’s what FM and AM stand for, frequency modulation and amplitude modulation. I never new that.

However, while writing these scenes another truth emerged: nobody cares how much research I’ve done. Oh sure, it’s interesting to learn something new from a book, like a glimpse of how cell phones actually function, but I don’t think many readers of fiction ever put a book down and say, “Boy I wish that author had shoved more of his research into that story.” There’s a proper amount of research to utilize, enough to shore up what you’re trying to get across, enough to sound like you have an easy understanding of the subject, but that’s it. Any more than that and you can start to sound desperate. You either sound like you’re trying to show off your knowledge, or that since you did so much work on your research, that you’re going to force the reader sit through a lecture about it. But you shouldn’t do that. You know you’re weaving the right amount of your research into your book when you feel like you have much much more to share. When you start looking for new places to maybe slip some fascinating tidbits about cell phones into a side scene, then it’s time to stop and acknowledge that your goal isn’t to prove yourself a leading expert in cell phone technology. Your goal is to tell a story. It’s best to keep that in mind.
And that was the third thing I learned when I set out to insert cell phones into my book. Well, maybe I’ve learned this before, but it’s a lesson that bears repeating. In the real world, as I’ve come to know it, people simultaneously know many things and know nothing. Experts get things wrong. Knowledge gets transmitted with flaws. People learn slowly. So after doing all of my cell phone research, and then holding myself back from writing thick, textbook-like paragraphs showing off my knowledge, I then had to step even further back for the integrity of my characters and let them get things wrong. Because it just wouldn’t be real if all of them understood everything perfectly, and that meant I had to let them learn poorly or fail at their attempts, as much as this hurt my pride as a budding cell phone expert. I had to act like this knowledge was being learned and utilizes in their reality. And it turned into one of my favorite sequences of the book.
Instead of having them stand around showing off my research, I ended up with a set of scenes where my immortals began visualizing cell phone transmissions as incoming waves that they tried to smash apart using baseball or cricket bats. It’s a delightful image, and I can still see Bartleby overswinging as a text message flies past him towards a cell tower, and one that would never have come about if I hadn’t researched my subject cold, and then stepped back from my research twice.
That’s the most simple three-step process I can put together for doing research. First I learned about cell phones, then I forgot what I had learned about cell phones, then I taught it to my characters again from inside their world.
    -Joseph Devon

Joseph Devon was born in New Jersey and currently lives in New York. He’s been a student, a nanny, worked at the Ground Zero recovery project after 9/11, and of all the things he’s created he is probably most proud of the character Kyo. He writes a blog, enjoys photography and he’s also at flickr, and tumblr, and twitter — sometimes he thinks that he might have one too many social networking outlets. Joseph’s Annual Fan Art Contest has a lot of great prizes to choose from for simply submitting art based on his books — check it out at:

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In book one of Joseph Devon’s urban fantasy series, Probability Angels, we were introduced to the world of Matthew and Epp. Back then, Matthew thought he had his hands full just learning how to be an undead tester of humanity, but then Hector staged an uprising and everything Matthew thought he could take for granted fell apart.
Yet, over the past few months, a strained peace has settled over his world and Matthew is starting to feel like he can finally get back to training at his usual New York haunts.
However, things are more fragile than they appear. Nobody can see the stress lines already clawing away at the new peace. Nobody has guessed the toll that was taken on those at the forefront of their war. And, when a new tester wakes up with the power to possibly unravel the universe…well that’s when things really start to get interesting.
Come see how a zombie can protect and serve, a photographic memory can earn you a permanent place on Mount Everest, and a teenage drug addict can hold everyone’s fate in her nail-bitten fingers.

G  I  V  E  A  W  A  Y !

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Persistent Illusions by Joseph Devon – NURTURE Book Tour Schedule: