Today I have Jeff Laferney, author of Jumper, on the blog and he’s been kind enough to answer a few of my questions! If you are curious about his novel I also had the opportunity to share an excerpt: Jumper Excerpt
Jeff LaFerney has been a language arts teacher and coach for more than twenty years. He earned his English and teaching degrees from the University of Michigan-Flint and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Davison, Michigan. Torey and Teryn are their two children. Loving the Rain is his first novel. His second, Skeleton Key, is also available. His third, Bulletproof, was released on April 25th
Welcome to In Libris Veritas Jeff! So why don’t we start by talking about your book, Jumper.
Thank you for having me, Michelle.
Can you describe Jumper in one sentence?
A time-traveling teleporter protects the bearer of the Staff of Moses from the King of Jordan while trying to change his past and solve the mystery of his true birth-mother
Where did the idea for Jumper come from?
In Shane, an old Western book that I love, Shane is an intense, dangerous, tough, mysterious guy who is soft-spoken, polite, smart, and the role-model for integrity. My other books have local settings around the Flint, MI, area, so I decided I’d have a character with one name like Shane. I’d call him Flint, and he’d be a modern-day Shane. Once I decided that I wanted him to time travel, I started researching, and little-by-little an idea formed for an action/adventure. I originally wanted to build the story around the Ark of the Covenant, but I settled on the Staff of Moses instead because I wanted guardian-angel-type characters, and the Biblical story is that angels buried Moses on Mount Nebo. His staff performed miracles. I thought it would be a great idea for Flint (later renamed Cole Flint) to protect the bearer of the staff by taking her back in time.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing about the most?
I like both Cole Flint and Hanna Carpenter, but I honestly think that in all of my books, my favorite characters are minor characters. In Jumper, I have one scene with a lady named Lillian Marsh who had an experience with a teleporter and tried to explain it. She made me laugh the whole time I was writing the scene. My other favorite character was a grizzly bear named Teddy. He actually is an important character to the plot, including becoming the final motivation behind Hannah’s climactic conflict with the King of Jordan, but mostly he’s good comic relief.
A bear? Wow! That’s really unexpected!
You’ve written 3 other books beside Jumper; did you find the writing process any easier this time around?
The organizing, planning, and revising are getting easier and easier with each book. This book had some challenges in the research and stretched me more because of the numerous unfamiliar settings, but the real difficulty was with time. Time travel causes some unique problems, and I often found myself wondering what I was getting myself into. Time in every book is a challenge, but changing time and moving about in time was often stressful and mind-boggling. I wanted to follow “rules” of time travel while presenting it in a unique way. I admit to bending some rules, but I eventually figured it all out. There were a lot of periods of me lying on my back on the couch in my office staring at the ceiling. My wife would say, “It’s fiction and time-travel isn’t real. Do what you want.” It wasn’t that simple.
No, it definitely never seems simple.
What part of the writing process do you find to be the most time consuming?
Revision and editing takes the most time—and it should. Too many indie writers finish the manuscript and become overwhelmed with impatience to get the thing published. But getting it right is more important than getting it out, so I revise and revise. I find reliable readers whose comments and questions I listen to. Then I revise and revise and edit and revise some more. It takes patience, but it’s worth it.
It’s great that you have supportive readers that help you out when it comes to revising. I agree editing should take a lot of time and both the writer and the reader are rewarded in the end for that.
I noticed in your bio that you are a teacher and a coach. How do you manage your writing time between those?
Well, I no longer coach, which freed up a lot of time. I’m generally home by 3:30 in the afternoon, and I have weekends off and summers off. Things get hectic at times, and I don’t write as much as I’d like, but I’ve produced a novel a year for four years running.
Some authors have writing quirks like music playlists, complete isolation, or writing candles. Do you have anything that you need in order to write?
I’m not a complex person. I have an office with a huge desk to spread things out on and a couch to lie down on to think. It’s full of sports paraphernalia so I feel comfortable in there. There’s a big window and a vaulted ceiling and my very own basketball hoop. It’s a great place to work.
What is your favorite quote?
“Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” I just said that because I love The Princess Bride. I’ll go with a Bible verse, Proverbs 23:19 “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path.”
I love The Princess Bride too! Definitely a great quote.
Is there anything your readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I love puppies? Does anyone reading this know anything about me? Where would I start? I teach English. I’m practically ambidextrous. I love Mountain Dew and Doritos Locos Tacos. 🙂 I love sports but I hate to swim or jog. I’m technologically impaired and usually destroy completely anything I try to fix. I’m going to quit now before I start making confessions.
I wish I was ambidextrous! I think I’d be much more efficient that way. I’ve only had them twice but Doritos Locos Tacos are amazing!
What author (living or dead) would like you to sit down and chat with?
Since To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book, I wouldn’t mind talking to Harper Lee, but I’ve received so much entertainment from Robert B. Parker, that I wish I could talk to him about writing. His passing was terrible news to me.
And finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I think writers should learn their craft better. My author friend Eliott McKay recently told me that she’s reading a lot. This is what she said. “It’s like the well needed to be filled. I can’t seem to get enough, and everything that comes my way seems to be just the thing I needed. I feel like I’m educating the writer in me. It’s lovely. I’ve finally learned to read with an eye tuned for developing technique. It’s almost second nature now. I always used to read for enjoyment, but now it’s like double enjoyment because I’m feasting on everything.” She’s already an amazing writer, but this was a good lesson for me that I need to pay attention to other writers and learn from them. Writers also should know the rules for grammar and punctuation so they can apply them effectively to their writing. Writers should strive to be experts at their craft.
Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions Jeff!
You’re welcome, Michelle. Thanks for having me!!
Books by Jeff Laferney: