Monday, November 24, 2014

J.T. Lewis - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author J.T. Lewis. He is the bestselling author of the The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic Series and the The Pepper and Longstreet Series.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Author's Blog: J.T. Lewis Author
Blog: J.T. Lewis Author Facebook
Twitter: @JTLewis_Books
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Author Description:
Mystery abounds in the books of Amazon Best Selling Author J.T. Lewis.

Living in Southeast Indiana with his wife, J.T. has always loved a mystery. Striving to bring readers a story packed full of action, adventure, and suspense has led to his current selection of titles.

His first full length novel, Murder! Too Close To Home, was the beginning of the acclaimed Adventures of Gabriel Celtic series, and was voted #1 on Goodreads Best Debut Mystery Series list. The thriller/adventure series continued with Gabriel's Revenge,followed closely by In Case of Death as well as The Book of Gabriel in 2014. The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic is as series about the life of Gabriel ordinary man caught up in extraordinary adventures!

Another new series, The Nick Behr Mysteries, starts with the story Kidnap Inc., where we get to meet Nick well as all of the people that have crowded into his head! Fighting against the craziness of his life while trying to solve the murders of the current case sometimes leads the story to veer off-kilter a little. This unexpected result has caused the story to be labeled, "One of the funnest mysteries I've read in quite some time!"

Also added to J.T. Lewis' series list this year...The Artifact Hunter! Jesse Flanagan is just a guy who enjoys making a profit from the antiquities he buys and sells. When one of his discoveries suddenly puts him in the cross-hairs of assassins, he must change his whole life as he goes underground to try and reclaim his life!

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thanks for asking James! I am about a month away from finishing the next Nick Behr Mystery, entitled ‘Falcon’s Pray’. (And yes, that is the correct spelling)

In it, Nick Behr is once again experiencing the hallucinations that plagued him in the last book while simultaneously trying to solve the murder of a young woman. Shot down while studying the Peregrine Falcon for her doctorate, it would seem that Amy Gondosh is but an innocent bystander that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if that is the case…why did the shooter go out of his way to kill her?

As the investigation continues, Nick fights through the rabble in his head to find the answer…only to discover that it ultimately leads to an ancient Native American prophecy.


The brown eyes in the scope show no fear.

The man takes another few seconds to look upon the animal in the viewfinder, admiring the sleek lines of the animal. This was their place in life: he the hunter, the deer the food.

Taking a final breath, he lets it out slowly until it is almost gone before patiently squeezing the trigger.

The sound of the shot.

The comforting compression on his shoulder.

The animal disappearing from the scope as it drops to the ground.

This was the way of things: the hunter…and the hunted.

Hearing something off to his right, the man quickly swings the gun…following the sound until he finds the source of the noise.

Binoculars…trained on him.

She lowers them when she sees him pointing the gun at her.

The blue eyes in the scope show fear. The man takes another few seconds to look upon her in the viewfinder, admiring her sleek lines.

He lets out a sigh…before slowly squeezing the trigger.

The sound of the shot.

The comforting compression on his shoulder.

The girl disappearing from the scope as she drops to the ground.

This was the way of things: the hunter…and the hunted.

While I am finishing Falcon’s Pray, I am anxiously awaiting being able to start on the next Gabriel Celtic Adventure! My favorite of all of my series, the fifth novel is entitled ‘Murmansk’ and should be out in the spring of 2015.

After saving mankind from the Antichrist in The Book of Gabriel, Gabe is finding it hard to discover a new niche. Now happily married to his oldest friend and a new grandpa besides, he is nevertheless anxious about his future.

The sudden appearance of the strange little man at his door one day quickly changes that however.

Patrick McGruder is a mysterious man that is secretive about what he actually does. Be that as it may, he offers Gabe and his crew a job…in Russia! Although Gabe is not at all confident that they are the right people for the mission, McGruder assures them that he has been “watching” them for quite awhile and has the utmost confidence in their abilities.

Finally accepting the offer, they set off on their adventure…only to discover the simple project that they had been promised quickly turn into a battle for life or death.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche?

Ah, the mysteries of acquiring a following…mankind’s eternal quest for acceptance!

Social media has been a big boon…and yet a mystery equal to any confronted by Gabriel Celtic. In fact, I can just imagine what Gabe would have to say about it all ;)

Be that as it may, it is actually quite refreshing to be able to have a platform to ‘announce’ a release and also get almost immediate feedback. The technology of eBooks is of course at the heart of the new age of independent writing, but were it not for the simultaneous emergence of social media, we as a whole would be left waiting at the alter as far as finding a following.

Were it not for people inviting us into their home (albeit on their computer screen or iPad), we would be quite inept at securing new readers…or any readers at all! And even though everything that we post will not be read by most, we can only hope that it will build to a small groundswell.

Having said that, we as a group need to monitor ourselves so that we don’t over-inundate the general public with all of our “must reads” and “breakthrough novels”. Keeping the attention of the reading public is at once both an exercise in self promotion and buffoonery. To over do is a death knell to keeping our social media relationships.

*Steps down off of the pulpit.

Ahem…anyway…where was I…oh yeah…how did I build a following? Unfortunately, my following has been built one follower at a time. There is no magic to buying 5000 followers for $20 that will guarantee any new readership. The most avid of my fans have either found me and then read one of my books or have read one of my novels and then found me.

I am a big believer in offering something of value to my readers however…value added content much as you do with here on your blog…something that isn’t necessarily pushing your writing at them constantly (see above). While I don’t do many interviews on my blog, I have been doing a ‘Quote Of The Day’ for a few years now, as well as posting funny or interesting information. I am also a big believer in using any automatic links available so that any post gets spread throughout as many other forums as possible.

It all comes down to being an entertainer…because after all…isn’t that the essence of why we write stories?

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I do not have a readers list per se. Within Facebook I do a bit of posting on reader’s groups, as well as posting to my wall when I have something new to offer. Ditto for the blog, as well as Twitter, Pinterest and Wattpad. I do encourage readers to friend, like or follow me on those forums.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I have no personal appearances scheduled at the moment, possibly due to my troll-like appearance and inability to carry on a verbal conversation past ordering food at McDonald’s.

I do have many ways to keep in touch with me…including email at:

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

My current collection of covers is all my own doing. Like you mentioned, I have approached it with the intent of creating a common look or brand, especially with the Gabriel Celtic series. My intent has been to use the black background with one bold element to draw your eye. I am very hands-on in developing the covers, working through in my mind the one element that I think can express a major part of the story. Of course the potential reader won’t know how that fits in until they actually read it, but it is always my hope that I can titillate their imagination with it. Also, if I can’t find an image that matches my imaginings, I have been known to create the image myself. The best example of this is the cover for Gabriel’s Revenge, a cover that is near and dear to my heart.

That is not to say that I don’t get help with the final setup. There are limits to my abilities (and patience) when it comes to photo-manipulation or cover creation software. I usually work with an amazing friend and fellow author on doing this type of work (Alexia Purdy).

You have written many short stories (See description of Circles below). Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels?

Many of the short stories are prequels to the Gabriel Celtic series. Currently I offer these for free as an enticement to get people interested in the series…and yes, it has had a dramatic effect on sales of the novels.

Circles is the newest of my creations, one that has been rumbling around in my head for quite awhile. A sci-fi offering, it is the first of probably ten shorts that this series will have as it stands now. One advantage (to me as a writer) to producing shorts is to start to get the story out. Circles is not my main focus at the moment, so my ability to bring it out as a novel is limited by time on other projects.

Other short story series such as Pepper and Longstreet and The Adventures of Young Gabriel Celtic have been turned into collections once I reached the end of a story line (novel or novelette length). One thing I have gleaned from other successful writers is to keep writing! The more you have to offer the more interest you will glean from potential readers. And yes, I think every story you put out has the potential (and actual) ability to draw the reader to your other offerings. In my opinion, a short story series actually works better as a draw to one’s other work, verses using it as a means of income in and of itself. I feel that there is a limited number of people that will shell out money for multiple editions of a series spread over time unless you have the wherewithal to put them out every few weeks like a serial. Longer than that and your readership will lose their interest in your title.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels and short stories. You have put together two sets of your shortys called The Adventures of Young Gabriel Celtic and The Pepper and Longstreet Mysteries (see below). What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your short stories?

I have bundled them for a couple of reasons. One is, as I mentioned above, there is a limited market of people that would buy a whole series of individual short stories…especially once the series is complete. If you can hold their attention by releasing a new story in a serial every few weeks you might capture their interest. After the rush is over however…

The second reason, which I also alluded to above…is that I am now ready for them to read the whole story. I may have been too busy to concentrate on the whole of the series before, but now I am ready…and I think that people in today’s world like the idea of a collection. They may not read it in one setting, but the short stories within handily lend themselves to periodic reading…and they have them at their fingertips when they are so inclined. Additionally, the two series that have been bundled so far are targeted to a younger audience (Middle Grade and Young Adult respectively), who are more apt than not to read a short story versus the whole of the book.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

My first novel in the Gabriel Celtic series, Murder! Too Close To Home is now perma-free…and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Offering that, along with the prequels free has been a great boon to my readership. It does need to be done right however, as in you must have a few other titles out there that make it worth giving one away. The secret number (I have been told) is to have four or more novels available before you offer one for free.

You have published several different genres. Does changing hats create any problems? Any tricks you can share with us? Which genre did you enjoy writing the most? Does moving from one to the other give you some breathing room?

I do enjoy reading as well as writing any sort or mystery/thriller…it’s what got me in to writing in the first place. I also enjoy delving off into a different genre now and again though…it awakens your thought process to new ways of looking at stuff. I have always been somewhat of a techno-geek, so sci-fi is a good fit. I also have a great interest in the paranormal and spirituality, which lends itself well to all sorts of things.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I have a great collection of Alpha and Beta readers…the best actually! For the most part, I do depend on them for an honest review when they are done with the book. I have in the past entered writing contests that usually come with reviews, but other than that, I have only depended on the whim of the reader for a number of years now.

Author's Book List
Annie Chang has finally arrived! Receiving an engraved invitation to interview for the job of her dreams, she is startled to find that she is the only one that has been invited!

Accepting the strange position offered at the new high-tech company, Annie feels like she has finally found her niche…until she discovers the mysterious subroutine 606. Hidden in the code of the supercomputer, her discovery is quickly dismissed by her suddenly nervous boss.

Already having misgivings about what they want to do with the new technology, the added mystery that they are trying to hide from her makes her even more determined to get to the bottom of it.

Although hired for her amazing skills in both psychology and computer science, she soon realizes that they also expect her to go in the field with the strange private detective, Jeremiah Sparks. Thinking he is half crazy, she finds herself suddenly depending on the wisecracking gumshoe when her life is threatened on their very first job.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Pepper and Longstreet Mysteries
Meet Pepper Jones and the mysterious Jacob Longstreet... Neighborhood burglaries, snobby cheerleaders, hidden clues, missing children, haunted houses, historic bank robberies, secret codes, ghosts, eerie graveyards and all the usual suspects. Pepper and Longstreet are on the case in the Young Adult mysteries that fans say, "Hearkens back to the stories of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys."

The Wolf Creek Bandit
The Mystery at the Mall
The Missing Clue
The Roadside Rescue
The Haunted Mansion
The Unsolved Robbery
The Mystery of The Rose
The Haunted Camp
The Apple Junction Payroll
The Legend of Ol Red Eyes
The McGruder File
A Christmas Tale

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Adventures of Young Gabriel Celtic
The Adventures of Young Gabriel Celtic is a Middle Grade/YA series that focuses on the misadventures of Gabriel Celtic as a youngster. Always inquisitive, he follows his intuition in search of mystery and adventure. Unfortunately, things don't always turn out quite like he planned.

The Great Plane Robbery
The Russian Coin
The Abandoned Mine
Hiawatha's Treasure
No Man's Land

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Book Of Gabriel - The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic 4
Gabriel Celtic is confronted with something that he never thought he would have to deal with...Saving the world!

Ancient scrolls found by Gabe’s friend Julien Taylor in present-day Iraq have foretold the end of the world, as well as the man tasked with trying to prevent it….Gabriel himself.

Presented this unbelievable revelation by his old friend, Gabe is unwilling to accept the massive responsibility seemingly thrust upon him…until the Beast of Biblical prophecy goes after him and his family with a vengeance!

Forced against his will to get involved in the far-fetched prophecy, his faith is relentlessly tested as he raises a ragtag army to combat the man that calls himself Wolf.

Doing so will put everyone he loves in added danger…but to do nothing…risks even more!

The End Is Near!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
In Case of Death - The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic Book 3
Men are dying mysteriously all over the world, but as Gabriel Celtic soon discovers…The killer lives in his own back yard!

Having started a new journey in life with his new-found daughter, Gabriel Celtic soon learns that the life of a private investigator is not always what it’s cracked up to be.

Arriving home late one night from a long and tiring trip hunting a bounty, Gabriel is confronted by a mysterious message from an old friend. The mystery expands the next day when he discovers that two women from his past want to hire him. Having once been in love with both, he is at first hesitant when they ask him to find the murderer of both of their husbands!

At the same time, a mysterious man suddenly shows up in Gabriel’s life. Known only as Preacher, Gabriel first has to decide if Preacher's fantastic tale is believable, and then convince his daughter Abby to bring the mysterious man in on their new investigation.

Together, the three of them delve into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murdered husbands, only to find that they were only two of many that have met a similar fate.

Tracking the murderer becomes cumbersome as he hides in plain sight, his name hidden behind the gibberish of a mysterious book. When they finally do start getting close…he brings their world crashing down around them!

Set in southeast Indiana, In Case of Death weaves a global story of action and suspense that will leave you begging for more!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
kidNAP Inc. - A Nick Behr Mystery Book 1
Detective Nick Behr is called back from an extended stay in the Nevada desert. A woman has been murdered, and there are no leads except a single word written on the wall in her own blood.

Unfortunately, the murder isn’t the only thing he has to work through. He has a mental condition, his stay in the desert a medical retreat. What he has going on in his head may be tougher to solve than the murder!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Gabriel's Revenge - The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic Book 2
Working at a dig in South America, Gabriel Celtic’s dreary existence is shattered by a one page telegram from back home, asking him for help on a murder… the murder of his friend!

Meeting a mysterious woman on the flight back, she seems to be trying unsuccessfully to drag him out of his dark mood. He is unnerved however, by the feeling that this “girl” seems just a little too familiar with his past. Starting his investigation as soon as the wheels hit the tarmac, he soon finds help from an unexpected source… the mysterious woman from the plane.

Coming to his rescue in the nick of time, her competence and bravery are undeniably familiar.

Meanwhile the investigation into the diabolical murders of his friend and others will soon lead him on a journey that will end at a place that he had never expected… the darkest corners of the Catholic Church!

JT Lewis is the author of the new YA series, Pepper and Longstreet, exciting mysteries that hearken back to the old Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery series.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Murder! Too Close To Home - The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic Book 1
The sleepy little county in southeast Indiana is suddenly awakened by a series of murders, leaving local law enforcement unsure where to turn.

Seeming like professional hits, the victims are nonetheless normal every day people, with no ties to each other or anything criminal. Of the scant clues left at the scenes, there is one that kept showing up, a business card identifying their perp only as the 'GHOST'.

Gabriel Celtic and the other members of the Major Crimes Taskforce have been tasked with finding the ominous man, but soon discover that they will be thwarted at every turn. The revelation of another's involvement also involved in the murders, the mastermind of the killings, sends the investigation yet again into turmoil as this person easily eludes their efforts to identify and locate...her, a woman!

As the murders continue, it also becomes apparent that Jasmine, the beautiful blonde mastermind, has it out for the County Sheriff's Department, implicating its involvement with each new body found.

Having never been involved in such a bizarre series of crimes, Gabriel soon learns that solving the investigation would cost him the ultimate sacrifice.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Artifact Hunter!
Jesse Flanagan is just a guy who enjoys making a profit from the antiquities he buys and sells. When one of his discoveries suddenly puts him in the cross-hairs of assassins, he must change his whole life as he goes underground to try and reclaim his life!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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