New Orleans does things to people. It swirls the senses of both the folks who live there, and the ones merely passing through. It overwhelms its citizens and wayfarers alike with as many people and places beautiful and light, as wicked and dark. One man long renowned for being fairly good with words said of the city, "The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time." Clearly, New Orleans left a deep impression on Bob Dylan’s psyche.
And so too has New Orleans done on the spirit of today’s Gazalapalooza Author Spotlight guest, author Bruce T. Jones. Jones is here to talk about writing, and share some thoughts about his debut thriller, The Lost Reflection, an uncanny tale set in New Orleans. Not to be outdone by Dylan without a fight, the eminently well-traveled Jones says to New Orleans, "…no city has touched my soul, and called me back like you."
So touched was Jones’s soul that he was compelled to write The Lost Reflection. We know the feeling. New Orleans affects us the same way. That’s one of the reasons why we’re so pleased Jones joins us for this Spotlight. Another is that The Lost Reflection is a chilling, delicious read. And so without further ado, let’s get the Spotlight’s rows of klieg lights fired up and trained squarely on today’s guest.
Gazala: In my omnipotence, I've sentenced you to be stranded alone on a desert island for offenses best left unnamed. In my beneficence, I've decided to allow you a limited amount of reading material to make your stay a little less bleak than it would otherwise be. I'll spot you your religious text of preference, and the collected works of William Shakespeare. In addition to those, name the one fiction book, and the one nonfiction book, you'd choose to take with you, and why you choose them.
Jones: So many fictions and only one to choose. The Lord of the Rings would have to be the front runner. It’s long and certainly not the easiest book to read. It takes my dyslexic brain longer to process than most, thus it would last much longer. It is a great tale of defeating insurmountable odds, offering hope to get off this God forsaken island you have dumped me on. And lastly, it allows the wandering mind so many directions to continue the saga of the characters, both past and future.
What do you mean Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t nonfiction? Actually, although it may not be the one of the best written books I have read, Kyle Maynard’s No Excuses is certainly a testimony to one man’s belief that nothing is impossible. Hence, proper mindset can overcome even the biggest obstacles in our paths.
Gazala: Your new book is an excellent and gripping thriller titled The Lost Reflection, about the Vatican's ancient secret hidden in the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans' French Quarter. I've read it. I enjoyed it immensely, and recommend it highly. Shockingly enough, however, from time to time my bare recommendation doesn't always motivate a book's potential reader to become a book's actual reader. Tell us something about The Lost Reflection, and why its potential reader should make the leap and become its actual reader.
Jones: The roots of this tale are entrenched in 250 years of New Orleans history. This is a living, breathing legend that can be experienced today upon a visit to the Crescent City. Believe in vampires or not, the mystery of the Ursuline Convent’s third floor is a fascinating tale. Otherwise, the book contains some pretty hot vampires and is pretty darn inexpensive entertainment.
Gazala: What are books for?
Jones: Education would be the academically appropriate answer. But for me, it’s the ejector seat from reality. It’s a chance to free one’s mind from the everyday constraints and tribulations which have a tendency to wear the soul down over the long years. It’s sharing in accolades and tragedy, growing emotionally and spiritually with the writer, it’s... education.
Gazala: W. Somerset Maugham said, "There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." Do you agree, or disagree, and why?
Jones: What I have learned in this journey, rules may be responsible for the best books never written. There are books, educators, publishers, editors and agents. All have different interpretations of the rules, so many more than three. Unfortunately, society rarely embraces the rule breakers, but when they do, the creation of some astonishing work is witnessed.
Gazala: A nice gentleman dressed in black with long, sharp fangs seems hungry for my attention. While I see what he wants, ask yourself a question, and answer it.
Jones: Q: If this guy starts to kill Richard, should I run? A: I probably should hide out in the dumpster until the guy in black leaves, then nab Richard’s Starbucks gold card. If the cops or the coroner finds the card, they’ll probably use it themselves. I could use a free latte about now.
It seems Jones has spent enough time in New Orleans’ steamy swelter to fare well under the Spotlight’s fiery glaze. Interestingly, I never told the man I have a Starbucks gold card, but I do. Eerie. That kind of supernatural vision bodes well for a book about otherworldly thrills in a city where you could be dead for a long, long time. See for yourself — The Lost Reflection is available at book retailers everywhere, but if Amazon's your preference you can get your copy right now by clicking here.