Monday, July 23, 2012

Persistent Illusions by Joseph Devon: Interview & Excerpt: Nurture Tour Stop

In book one of Joseph Devon’s urban fantasy series, Probability Angels, we were introduced to the world of Matthew and Epp. Back then, Matthew thought he had his hands full just learning how to be an undead tester of humanity, but then Hector staged an uprising and everything Matthew thought he could take for granted fell apart.
Yet, over the past few months, a strained peace has settled over his world and Matthew is starting to feel like he can finally get back to training at his usual New York haunts.

However, things are more fragile than they appear. Nobody can see the stress lines already clawing away at the new peace. Nobody has guessed the toll that was taken on those at the forefront of their war. And, when a new tester wakes up with the power to possibly unravel the universe…well that’s when things really start to get interesting.

Come see how a zombie can protect and serve, a photographic memory can earn you a permanent place on Mount Everest, and a teenage drug addict can hold everyone’s fate in her nail-bitten fingers.
Persistent Illusions
Author: Joseph Devon
Genre: Fiction – Urban Fantasy
Published by: CreateSpace (April 27th, 2011)
Age Recommendation: 18+ for sexuality and graphic/mature themes
Format: eBook & Perfect Paperback
ISBN13: 1460957687
Number of pages: 512

Buy the book at:

Kyo was standing in the midmorning sun, his shirt off, a thick layer of medical tape wrapped around his torso. Looped over the tape and his chest was a rope which stretched out behind him. The other end of the rope was cleated to the aft of a small motorboat. Under his feet was the deep blue of the Indian Ocean, fifty miles off the western coast of Australia.
The radio on the boat was blasting out some peppy music as the current struggled to drag the boat westward against Kyo, whose feet were dug into the water like it was a plot of damp earth. His whole body was trembling, flexed and sweating, as he struggled to maintain the boat in a fixed position while the current fought to yank it toward the western horizon.
A repetitive beeping noise sounded amidst the wind ripping over the water and the music blaring from the boat and Kyo took a deep breath, then hooked his hands under the rope and pulled it off his chest, carefully pulling it up over his head and turning around. He pulled the boat toward him with steady arm-over-arm motions, the current causing the rear of the boat to churn against the water.
When the boat was close enough Kyo climbed on board, located his watch, the source of the beeping, shut it off and took a quick breather sitting on one of the plastic-leather seats as he dug a bottle of water out of a side pocket.
There was another noise and Kyo turned to see his phone vibrating along the top of the dashboard. He rolled his neck on his shoulders, eyes closed, mouth open as he continued breathing deeply, and reached a hand out to grab it. He looked at the number, his face composing in thought. After a good thirty seconds of pondering he came to a decision. He flipped the phone open, typed out a text message, and then tossed it back onto the dashboard.
He took another drink of water, the thin plastic bottle crinkling as his hand.
“Kyo,” he heard Matthew’s voice say, “I what the–” the voice tried to shout before it was cut off in a loud splash.

Kyo shook his head, his face bemused.

 “Unbelievable,” he said to himself. Then he stood up and walked over to the edge of the boat, hooked a heel against one of the seats, leaned way over and grabbed Matthew up out of the water.

“Where the hell are we?!” Matthew shouted, spitting out sea water as Kyo dropped him into the boat.

“Do you even look at someone’s number before you go visit them?” Kyo asked, disappearing into the little hold and coming back out with a towel. He tossed it at Matthew.

“Not really, no,” Matthew said, catching the towel. He was applying it to one drenched arm of his tuxedo jacket when he stopped. He deliberated, then took the towel off his arm, his head bobbing as if to psyche himself up. “No,” he said, and he tossed the towel back in Kyo’s direction. “No…I have no body…I have no body…” He started repeating this to himself over and over again, staring with concentration at his sleeve.

Kyo watched, eyebrows raised.

The cuff of Matthew’s jacket began to dry off, the fabric no longer clinging and heavy against his skin, a marked difference from the rest of his tuxedo. He pursed his lips, his eyes screwing up in awkward, forced concentration before he collapsed inwardly and swore. “Just give me the towel,” he said, reaching a hand out, his face refusing to look over at Kyo’s.
Kyo tossed the towel back. “You’re over-thinking it,” he said, then took another drink of water and went back into the hold.


Kyo,” Matthew said, toweling himself off as best he could, “what are you doing out here?”
“Working out,” Kyo said, coming up out of the hold with a thick length of chain in each hand.
Matthew stared at Kyo, his face frozen, unable to figure out how to react to what he was seeing. The song on the radio ended. Another song started. Matthew turned toward one of the speakers, an unbelieving little grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. “And…you work out while listening to Avril Lavigne?”

“It’s a mix,” Kyo said, his voice gravelly, the chains thunking metallic across the thinly carpeted floor as he walked past Matthew.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

My favorite character from any book is probably Madame Defarge from A Tale of Two Cities. For those who don’t know, the book takes place during the French revolution. For starters I love moments of historical significance, they’re like powder kegs of personalities. That was part of the fun of writing Probability Angels and Persistent Illusions, I could make my characters from almost any time period. I could pick and choose from Roman slaves to Japanese Samurai and then have them all interact in the present. But anyway, Madame Defarge is the wife of one of the major conspirators in the French revolution and she sits and presides over all of their meetings and is constantly knitting. Her needles are always clacking in the background and in the end we learn that what she’s been knitting is actually an encoded list of all those who have betrayed the rebellion and who will die when they are in charge. It’s just so creepy, this innocuous lady who turns out to have literally been knitting people’s fates the entire time. Truly a great character.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

I think it does, yes. I don’t travel much at all, I hate packing and flying and never seem to make the trips I want to, but in my imagination I have a list of places that are, most likely, even more vibrant in my head than they are in reality. Plus when I was younger I managed to travel across the United States and Europe. So I have a mix of real and imaginary travels in my head. I think that has fed my characters a lot. I’ve mentioned how I was allowed to pick and choose characters from historical periods, well since they’re undead and without bodies they can also travel anywhere, more or less. So I was able to give nods to some of the more interesting places I’ve been or want to go and set some very strange scenes in these places: a firefight in a plaza in Florence, a training session on top of the Patronas Towers, a safe haven at the summit of Mount Everest. So, yes, I do think the urge to travel is woven heavily into my books.

Tell us about your current release.

Persistent Illusions is the sequel to Probability Angels. The books revolve around a group of people who have been dead, some for years, some for centuries, some for millennium. These people died under specific circumstances that allowed them to stick around after their death and take on the job of “pushing” humans to make sure they live up to their full potential. They’re known as “testers.” In Probability Angels we were introduced to their world just as a civil war was breaking out amongst their kind. Persistent Illusions follows the deepening divides created by that war and its effect on the various characters, not to mention on their world and ours.

Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?

I do that all the time. Um...somewhat embarrassingly I rather often imagine claws coming out of my knuckles like Wolverine from the X-Men. But in my head I’m constantly jumping into the shoes of characters from all over the place. I think that’s just a natural thing for an author to do, to start seeing and feeling things from viewpoints that aren’t yours. To wonder what it’s like to suddenly be thrust into a brand new world, like Matthew, or to have been a part of that world for two-thousand years, like Epp.

Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?

I get a bunch of email from readers, I love it. I get asked constantly how I came up with the notion of testers, the idea that something is out there trying to make us turn our worst moments into our best. I don’t exactly have an answer for that. I get asked what I think about the afterlife, too. No answer there either. Most often, though, I think I get asked when book three is going to be finished.

Where do you research for your books?

Anywhere I can. I love soaking up information and will read almost anything to learn something new. For my current book I read a few histories of ancient Rome as well as a great little book that examined how the “average” Roman lived. You know, we have so much information about the big names of the day but this book gathered info from graffiti and gravestones and small houses that have been discovered to give a great idea of what everyday life was probably like. I also read a history of Australia, a history of sewing, a book about anatomy, the list goes on. What’s also nice is that it can flow in the other direction, sometimes I won’t be doing research, exactly, but I’ll find a topic so fascinating that I’ll decide to put it into a book. Learning about Feudal Japan, for instance, wasn’t ever research for me because I was reading it for fun, but when it came time to flesh out Kyo’s character, I had a great pool of information to draw on.

How do you react to a bad review of your book?

I usually tweet links to them. I’ve been very surprised by how people react to my bad reviews. My readers are very supportive and always help me brush them off. And I’ve actually hooked a number of people who decided that a bad review was too judgmental and they wanted to decide for themselves what they thought. After awhile, after enough reviews, the sting of bad reviews lessens some. I’m not saying it goes away, not yet for me anyway, but having an audience to throw bad reviews to is pretty helpful.

Joseph Devon was born in New Jersey and currently lives in New York. He’s been a student, a nanny, worked at the Ground Zero recovery project after 9/11, and of all the things he’s created he is probably most proud of the character Kyo. He writes a blog, enjoys photography and he’s also at flickr, and tumblr, and twitter — sometimes he thinks that he might have one too many social networking outlets. Joseph’s Annual Fan Art Contest has a lot of great prizes to choose from for simply submitting art based on his books — check it out at:

Find and follow Joseph Devon on:

(Includes full tour Info)

Next Tour Stops
July 24th – Cameo Re. @ Cameo Renae
July 25th – Jaidis S @ Juniper Grove
July 26th – Stephanie Wa. @ A Dream Within A Dream

Enter for a chance to win a Print copy of Persistent Illusions.
Available for shipping to US/CAN or UK only.
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
Follow the author on Twitter for another bonus entry.
Giveaway ends August 18th 11:59 PM Central Time.


Jaidis said...

Great Interview! Thank you for sharing!

Marianna said...

Looks great! Thanks for the giveaway

Lisa Pecora said...

I liked the interview.

brendaelsner said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway!!

lknott said...

Looks like a read for the front porch! Enjoyed the interview with this author. Not heard of him before.