Jay Falconer - Cyber-Attacks, EMPs, Invasion, War.
Jay J. Falconer is an award-winning screenwriter and Amazon #1 Bestselling Author in Action & Adventure, Military Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, and Men's Adventure fiction. He lives in the high mountains of northern Arizona where the brisk, clean air and stunning views inspire his day. When he's not busy working on his next writing project, he's out training, shooting, hunting, or preparing for whatever comes next. As our Author of the Day, Falconer tells us about his five-part post apocalyptic serial, Bunker.
Please give us a short introduction to what Bunker is about.
Bunker is a five-part post-apocalyptic serial centered around a foreign invasion that involves both a high-tech component and a swarm of boots on the ground. The story takes place in a small town where nobody is prepared for what is about to take place, leaving the residents little choice but to turn to a mysterious drifter for help.
What inspired you to start this series? Did you plan from the start to make this into a series?
I wanted to pen an action-thriller that took place in modern times and focused on a very real set of events that could take place tomorrow. Yes, I planned for Bunker to be a series.
In fact, all my series are multi-part serials and most of them involve a sweeping global conspiracy, with a flawed, reluctant hero. Bunker is no different, though this set of books is much more heavily involved with military tactics and weapons, for obvious reasons.
Why postapocalyptic thrillers? What drew you to this genre?
It’s important for authors to focus on what they know and what they enjoy to read. For me, that’s post-apocalyptic action-thrillers. Given the nature of our society today and the threats we face on a daily basis, this is one genre where the readers cannot get enough. Me included.
Who is Jack Bunker? What makes him so special?
Jack Bunker is an amalgam of contradictions. He’s a former military man who’s made a slew of bad choices in his life, though sometimes for all the right reasons.
He is more than capable as a warrior but is also extremely vulnerable, depending on the circumstances. His mysterious past forces him to become an off-the-books drifter, one who is just trying to start his life over. For the third time. What happens next not only changes his life, but the lives of those he meets along the way.
Sometimes you find your destiny. Other times, it finds you. In Jack Bunker’s case, it found him. With a vengeance.
Bunker has received several awards. What surprised you most from readers' feedback?
When I fleshed out the Jack Bunker character, I wasn’t sure if the readers would take to his less than stellar past. He’s not always been the hero, nor has he always been the bad guy, yet sometimes he has been both with dire consequences.
As I mentioned earlier, he’s a walking testament to bad choices and bold contradictions. Even so, the readers seem to have fallen in love with this complicated hero. A man whose very nature is one that would give most people tremendous pause.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m a long-time software engineer, hockey player, and weekend woodworker. Those “skills” are not exactly related, but along with writing, they keep me from getting bored.
You also wrote a lot of screenplays. How is this different from writing a novel and how has it helped you in your writing?
Screenplays are a completely different type of fiction to tackle. Formatting and presentation are very important. Plus, you are only allowed very limited amounts of detail. The same is true for dialogue. Less is more, providing you hit all the proper tropes, keeping the audience interested and glued to the pages.
Screenplays are a difficult lesson in editing. You must cut scenes to the bone, combine characters, and eliminate side plots. In other words, it’s all about abbreviated storytelling. That is a term that I'm sure most of my novel readers would guess I have a tough time with.
With screenplays, you have 120 pages to work with. That’s it. Not an easy task, but I think all fiction authors should take a run at them—after taking classes or working with a mentor who specializes in script writing. They will help hone your craft, teaching you what’s really important and what’s not.
Case in point: I am planning on turning the Bunker series into a screenplay later this year. That task should be an interesting endeavor, given the complicated nature and volume of characters in the Bunker saga.
How do the books in the series tie in with one another? Can they be read as standalones?
The Bunker series is a 5-part serial. They need to be read in order, one after another. Each book takes place immediately where the last one left off—usually with some kind of cliffhanger. All my series are serials.
Basically, Bunker is one long story with many characters, spanning what turned out to be over 900 pages of non-stop action.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Yes, all the time. I’m write by the seat of my pants and plan very little. I usually have a single character in mind, plus a beginning to the story and some sort of general ending. But the rest of the story is up to the characters to decide.
In fact, at the absolute end of Bunker 5, I had no idea who he would end up with romantically. The two women vying for his affection made the decision for him and did so at the very last minute. I did not know until I wrote those last couple of pages. Seriously. I had no idea.
Most of the time, I don't know what will happen next in a scene or in the next few chapters. Characters enter the story out of the blue and take over. My fingers are simply the conduit for their actions and what I see play out in my head in real-time.
What are you working on right now?
I’m close to finishing on an all-new series that I’m co-writing with my publishing partner, superstar author, and long-time friend, M.L. Banner. It’s a engaging story about a group of people trying to survive in an underground facility after the next mini-ice age takes down the planet.
It’s due out sometime in the Fall of 2019, along with about twenty other books being written by fellow authors. It’s all part of our new Frozen World set of books. The sheer number of books and amazing storylines should keep the readers busy for a while.
Where can readers get a copy of Bunker and the other books in this series?
The entire Bunker 5-part series is exclusive to Amazon and Audible.