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Interview with Novelist Brett Battles

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Joining me today is Brett Battles. Brett’s latest book in his acclaimed Jonathan Quinn series, Shadow of Betrayal, was recently released by Delacorte Press. We’ll talk to Brett about Jonathan Quinn, Shadow of Betrayal, and what’s up next for the freelance operative and the author who brought him to life.


CM: Welcome, Brett. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?


BB: Sure. I guess you could say I’ve always been a writer. At least, I know that’s what I wanted to be since the sixth grade. Of course, life kind of got in the way as I went along. In college, I studied film and television production and history, and landed a job at a small television studio in Hollywood. Somehow, that led to a career in television graphics that lasted until I started writing full time recently. I’m an avid traveler, and am always interested in visiting new places, and learning new things.

CM: What is it that first made you put pen to paper?


BB: Reading, pure and simple. I enjoyed reading from an early age, loved how stories could transport me to other places and other worlds. But more than just reading about them, I felt a strong urge to create them, to write them myself. I even talked my sixth grade teacher into assigning us the task of writing a long story in class. I think mine ended up being about thirty pages though, annoyingly, I didn’t get the best grade in class. Everyone’s a critic.


CM: Do you write full-time? And do you work best in the morning or at night?


BB: Yes, I do write full time. I’m best in the morning. Usually I love to get started at 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. and write for five or six hours. I can write later in the day, but I’m never as productive as I am in the morning.


CM: Tell us about Jonathan Quinn. Where did the idea for him come from? What has he been involved in up to this point?


BB: I think Quinn first came to me when I was working a four-month job in Berlin, German. I got this image of a man riding the U-bahn (the train). He was just sitting there, almost invisible, but I could also tell he was very dangerous. That image then mixed with many ideas that had been floating in the back of my mind, and somehow, Jonathan Quinn, the man who gets rid of bodies, was born.


As far as what he’s been up to … well, quite a bit, really. We join Quinn’s adventures after he’s been a full-fledged cleaner for about ten years. Most of his jobs go smoothly, so those are not the ones I write about. It’s more interesting when things go haywire. In The Cleaner, he is thrust into the role of trying to find out why someone is attempting to shut down his employer and kill him. This leads him from his home in Los Angeles to Vietnam to Berlin, German, where he finds himself in the middle of something only he can stop. The Deceived opens with Quinn being hired to dispose of a body that’s arrived in a container at the Port of Los Angeles. Only when he gets a look at the body, he realizes the dead man is a good friend of his, so he wants to find out what happened. The trail leads him to Singapore where things get a little more complicated than he expected.


CM: Shadow of Betrayal is the third book in this series. What does Jonathan get into in this one?


BB: Previously, Quinn had promised his primary client that he would do three jobs without any question to pay them back for help they gave him when he was working on a private matter. In Shadow of Betrayal, those jobs markers are called in, and Quinn finds himself looking for a woman who is traveling with a child not her own, while a larger conspiracy begins to be revealed that reaches into many levels of the U.S. government.


CM: Who are a few other characters that readers will meet in this book?


BB: As always, Quinn is accompanied by his apprentice, Nate. Nate continues to grow more competent even despite the serious injury he experienced in The Deceived. Also along for the ride is Quinn’s partner and girlfriend, Orlando. She’s smart, talented, and has no problem putting Quinn in his place when necessary.


Other characters include Peter, head of the Office, Quinn’s primary employer, and Marion, the woman Quinn finds himself at one point searching for. And, of course, there are several others.


CM: Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?


BB: The books should be available in most, if not all, traditional and online bookstores.


CM: Do you have a website or blog?


BB: I do. My website is www.brettbattles.com, and I am part of the group writer’s blog Murderati at www.murderati.com.


CM: What does the future hold for Brett Battles’ fans? Is there anything you would like to share about the next book in the series?


BB: Well, the next one is almost done, and it’s turning out to be the most personal Quinn adventure yet. We’re going to get a look into Quinn’s life before he was a cleaner, and how that is affecting him now. And let me tell you, you’re going to see Quinn like you’ve never seen him before.


Thanks for spending time with me today. I wish you continued success.

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