Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crossroads by Jonathan Lister: Interview and Review


Do you have any special routines or rituals? 

Other than, the candles arranged in cuneiform images, the flock of chickens I keep chained out back and the pint of ox’s blood in the fridge, I’m as ritual free as any other Appalachian snake handler.  

Actually, the majority of my rituals involve coffee, which isn’t altogether special. I used to drink it exclusively from a French press my brother bought me as a birthday present, but I shattered the cylinder while trying to clean it bleary-eyed one evening. Now, I’m a sellout K-cup user. It’s like my need for caffeine and my impatience had a beautiful Swedish child and it existed solely to brew me single cups of wakey-wakey juice. 

When's the last time you played that musical instrument? 

One minute ago! I’ve been a guitar player since I was 15 and I keep two by my writing desk. Whenever I’m stuck between paragraphs, or a particular chapter needs a different direction, I head to the acoustic and play through a couple songs or riffs to center my mind and align the flow of thoughts. Improvisation can dislodge the crap that’s lingering in the pipes. I even have my own Sound Cloud where I record random riffs that come into my head, but I’m way too nervous to share it! Everyone should learn a musical instrument just for the therapeutic aspect, though. It’s a great help.

What are your hero and heroine of the story like? 

Leon Gray is a man’s man; complete with all the psychic blockages that keep him at odds with his daughter Shauna and eternally loyal to her all at the same time. He is a man who’s made the hard choices to provide for his family, and they’ve landed him behind bars for a time. 

David Hastings, the man Leon has been hired to protect, comes from a very different background in terms of financials. He’s grown up in wealth and relative comfort, but has a burning desire to seek out the truth and tell the stories of those who the system may have wronged. The two are halves of a coin – human and werewolf coexisting – feeding off one another. In the figurative sense of course…or maybe not?


Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why? 

There’s power in naming a thing or a person – it gives them dimension and definition. I like names to exude certain aspects of the characters and even to some extent myself as the writer. The two main characters for example, Leon and David, have names that conjure images of their inner qualities. Gray’s name exudes this economy of phrasing that suggests the character is more blur collar, while Hastings sounds as though his family were sparing no expense for each syllable. I also look into how old characters are and the names popular during the years of their birth, the linguistic roots and meanings of them. Like I said, you control a thing when you name it, might as well give it the appropriate parameters.   

Welcome Jonathan! Thanks for stopping in! Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself? 

More than I’m probably willing to admit, yes! Each character, with certain unnamed exceptions, is an extension of my personality to some extent. I’d like to think that Leon Gray is the purest version of my inner monologue, but that would mean I’m a werewolf on the inside…have I already said too much?


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for the privilege of entertaining you, even for a few hours a week. In all seriousness. You literally have thousands of options out there and it’s ridiculously humbling that you saw a book of mine and decided to take a chance on it. I promise to not let you down by putting out inferior material or a story that does not do the characters you’ve invested in justice. I’m always eager for your opinions on them as well, so if you happen by my blog or see me on Twitter, give me an earnest shout.  

Author Bio: Jonathan Lister is a full-time writer with work appearing in outlets of USA Today, The Houston Chronicle and many others. A graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, he’s waited an unspeakable amount of tables en route to having the career he wants, and the ability to the tell stories he loves. Crossroads: a Demos City Novel is Jonathan’s first book-length work of fiction. He currently lives in the Philadelphia area and continues to drink too much coffee.

Author Social Links: 

Twitter: @realjonlister  Blog:

Book Blurb: Werewolf. Bar bouncer. Dad. Standard traits for any self-respecting, reformed criminal, living under the radar in Demos City. For Leon Gray, normal is what he wants — for himself and his not-yet-changed teenage daughter.

Playing bodyguard to crusading reporter David Hastings would totally ruin Leon’s peace, especially since Hastings has hired killers on his trail, pros who know how he takes his espresso in the morning, and where Leon lives.

The payoff, though, would fill up Shauna’s empty college fund, and in a battle between opportunity and ordinary, money wins. He just has to keep Hastings alive long enough to cash the check.

If only he didn’t have to save his daughter, too.

As a budding wolf, she’s piqued the interest of a local pack Alpha — one Leon knows will steal Shauna right out from under him the first chance he gets.

Leon isn’t about to give up on his daughter or Hastings, and will fight for both longer than it took Demos City to see werewolves as equals to humans.

He can only hope it doesn’t take a thousand years.



I loved this book from the onset all the way to the last sentence.  Leon Gray is an ex-cop who, when the book opens, is working as a bar bouncer.  When he is hired to protect an investigative reporter, David Hastings, he knows the job will be tough but he needs the money for his daughter’s college fund.

There are several backup characters that Leon interacts with as the case develops who were easy to love or hate (as the case may be).  Leon sort of reminds me of Jack Reacher except for his tendency to turn hairy when provoked.  His relationship with his teenage daughter is complicated – she is growing up and he is having difficulty with the transition.  There is plenty of action, mystery, suspense, and witty dialogue.  The story moves along quickly, but at a pace I loved.   Leon is my hero,and I hope to read more books featuring his adventures.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Reviewed by Laurie-J


ijonathanlister said...

Thanks for the blog tour love Laurie! Kind words to say the least. I may, in fact, be blushing.

Tammy R. said...

This one just got added to my TBR mountain! :D Thanks!!