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Monday, July 2, 2012

"The Long Road From Perdition" by JR Stone - An Interview

Recently I got together with author, JR Stone. JR wrote "The Long Road From Perdition."

Here's what he had to say:

Q: Please share with readers a little about yourself.

I grew up in Groves, Texas. I was considered an “odd duck”and suffered the consequences as such. I've lived in and around the Groves area for years and just recently moved out of state. As for my writing background, I was lucky enough to be a professional ghostwriter for many years.  I loved doing this type of work but always felt frustrated by the fact that there was never time to write my own novels.  I’ve written over 15 books for clients as well as white papers, web content, brochures, mainstream magazine articles (Builder and Developer,,, etc.) to name a few.  I was in the habit of cranking out written materials, memoirs, novels, books etc. in record time.  I longed for lingering over a novel, taking care to get it “just right.” Due to health reasons, I retired and am now afforded that luxury."

Q: Why did you write "The Long Road From Perdition?"

Call me strange, but the story was put into motion after hearing Jonny Lang’s song, “Wander this World.” I’m a big blues fan as the area I grew up in was and is frought with talented musicians (Janis Joplin, Edgar & Johnny Winter, ZZ Top, Blind Willie Jackson, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown to name a few). The emotion behind that song stayed with me for days after I first heard it. I bought the CD and played it over and over. Then, one evening I was watching television and began watching “Entourage.” The actor, Adrian Grenier, jumped out at me.  Instantly, I created a main character who would have Grenier’s physical features with a troubled background.  When I created the book video, I even used Lang’s song as the background.  It just fits the mood and quiet desperation I was seeking.
I wrote the story because I had to. The music was prodding me to develop a story. Once I came up with the MC’s name, I had Grenier’s looks in mind, that helped me to develop the character of Nicholas Fontenot. It seemed once I started to flesh out the story, I couldn’t type fast enough to get the story and dialogue down. It was as if I was watching a movie in my head. I suppose it was a serendipitous venture for me.

Q: How did you create your title?

I can thank my trusted friend, Elaine, for that one. In fact, I dedicated the novel to her. I originally entitled the book, “The Long Road from Extradition.” I’m careful not to provide any “spoilers,” but there is a legal subplot to the novel and to me, it was the logical title. I had submitted the story to for other authors around the world to offer constructive criticism and one author asked the same question--“Shouldn’t the title be ‘Perdition’ instead of Extradition? The beginning definitely describes the living hell Nicholas went through.” Elaine also pushed for the change in title and I decided that she and that author were right. If you read the first 20 or so chapters, I think you’ll agree that Nicholas went through hell on earth.

Q: Got a brief storyline?
Nicholas Fontenot is a precocious yet sensitive teenager who lives in an abusive home with his family. After witnessing a horrifying scene, his world is torn apart. It leaves him emotionally broken. As the only witness of a grizzly crime, he is shuffled through the Foster Care system until he escapes his life of misery and abuse. Through his journey, Nicholas meets a kindred spirit in Charley, a drag queen and owner of an off the beaten path gay bar in New Orleans. A host of colorful characters within this bar become Nicholas’ extended family.   Yet, his troubled past continues to haunt him until he is forced to leave the only happy home he has ever known. His struggles give new meaning and insight to the thought,“The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.” His journey is a long one, but his travels to find peace is even longer. It is through his journey that he discovers "The Long Road from Perdition."

Q: Are you surprised by the positive response to "The Long Road From Perdition?"

I’ve been blown away by the response to this novel. I’ve been connecting and reconnecting with people on Facebook from the area I grew up in and everyone I talked to was convinced that the story was factual and that I was revealing my personal story through Nicholas’s character. Wow. What a compliment. I even blogged about it ( as I felt the readers were starting to become very concerned about me! 

Q: Did you enjoy writing it? 

It was definitely a labor of love. The ghostwriter side of me was growing impatient with the time I was allowing to delve into this plot. I was so used to writing and completing books in a matter of months that I had to MAKE myself linger! 

How long did it take to write? 

From start to finish, it took me 3 years to write it. 

Q: Did you work from an outline?

I know a writer is supposed to create an outline and make notes chapter by chapter, but I would be bold face lying if I said I did that with TLRFP. I had the general plot in my head and I was off to the races. I literally wrote the book in the wee hours of the night by just going with the flow. For inspiration, I would sometimes play Jonny Lang’s “Wander this World” in the background and I found a photo of Adrien Grenier online that I used to inspire creativity. Lang and Grenier were my muses.

Q: Got a favorite character?

My favorite character in the story is Nicholas. Sometimes I could swear he is a real person. I find him to be sweet, vulnerable and very human. He is caught in a firestorm within his own family and struggles to get through it. I think most people can relate to that.

Q: Got a least favorite character? 

My least favorite character was “The Bum.” He was the definition of excess and destruction.

Q: Got a sequel?

In the last couple of days I’ve been pondering it. I really didn’t expect this big of a reaction, but I am toying with the idea. Right now, I am working on a new novel on a completely different subject. It’s hard to let go of the story, but I think the time is right for a new story.

Q: Got a favorite book you haven't written?
I don’t have one favorite. I couldn’t possibly name just one. Some of my favorites: Stubborn Child by Mark Devlin; A River Runs Through It, by Norman MacLean; To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; The Color Purple, by Alice Walker; She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey; Fried Green Tomatoes, by Fannie Flagg, are just a few.

Q: What is your advice for writers working on their novel?
Don’t be afraid to “let go.” If writing an outline helps you, then do it. If you want to write and just see where it goes…do it. 

"The Long Road From Perdition," by JR Stone
Available online, paperback and Kindle:

JR Stone Contact Information:
Twitter: @Author_JRStone


JR Stone said...

Thanks again for the interview, Linda. You made it effortless. I put a few thoughts of what it was like to be interviewed by YOU for your readers. :)


Anonymous said...

Dear Talented Writer (to brow phrase from JR Stone),

Thank you for such an engaging interview. It was a pleasure to "listen in." Was most intrigued by two things he said (in essence):
1. He was too busy writing what he needs to write in order to write what he wants to write.
2. That it wasn't a matter of putting the story together but rather just letting it come out.

Also enjoyed his comments about you ("kind, thoughtful, funny") and I share his observation and enjoyment that he never tires of reading your work.

Keep it up.

A Dedicated Reader and Thus Admirer

Anonymous said...

You've written that you love Roger Federer.
Hope you're watching today's Wimbledon final.
Should give you a lot to write about.