Meet Writer Jay Hartlove, #103

Hartlove HeadFor, #103, we have author of the Isis Rising Trilogy, Jay Hartlove. I met Jay at BayCon (a Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Convention) a few years ago. Last season he was on the show as part of our “Answer Five Fast” author quiz. For #103, he’s bringing us a short story called, “A Day with Daddy.” It is a Twilight Zone style story about the power of familial love.

Let’s find out a little more about him.

HA: What is your most recent work for sale and what is it about?

Jay: Daughter Cell is the second book in the Isis Rising trilogy. It continues the adventures of our detective Sanantha Mauwad, the Voodoo psychiatrist from The Chosen. This story starts out as a medical thriller but quickly turns into a very dark exploration of the soul and the nature of evil. I am now writing the third book in the series, Isis Rising. Desiree Macklin, the survivor of the cloning disaster in Daughter Cell comes into her own destiny opposing pure evil. Love my evil. Love my souls. Love my strong female protagonists.

HA: What was the spookiest night of your life?

Jay: Spooky would have to go back to night when I scared the hell out of myself with dark imaginings as a child. Let me tell you about creepy and awesome much more recently. A few years ago I was driving home late at night from the Benicia Clocktower where I was in charge of decorating for a huge fantasy ball. The wind was blowing off the bay so hard it actually howled. There was a full moon with clouds racing in front of it. I was exhausted, fighting to keep my car on the road. My head was already filled with fantastical visions from the work I was doing. So I turned on the radio to keep company, and what comes on? Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” I cranked it up and let the moment overtake me. Living the dream..

HA: How do you create stories and what is in your writers tool kit?

Jay: I prefer the computer for its word processing. If I can’t get to one I use my smart phone to make notes. If I have time and no computer, then I use paper. I found myself in a hotel room with a couple hours to kill recently and I grabbed a legal pad and ripped out another chapter of Isis Rising. I wrote my first novel (an embarrassingly autobiographical sword and sandal fantasy that will never see the light of day) entirely in spiral bound notebooks. Of course that was so long ago I did not have a computer. Once I was done, I went and got a computer and used it to edit the book. The experience of seeing it the second time strictly as an editor was very enlightening.

Daughter CellI do a lot of research for my writing. The Isis Rising Trilogy is a secret history, with the events of the story inserted into real world events between 2001 and 2009. So I do lots of reseach to get it right. I also draw on many religions and history in my writing, and that needs research too. So when you talk about a writer’s toolbox, for me it’s more about resources than equipment.

I am inspired by music. When I can find the right song that feeds my conception of a story, then that touchstone keeps me going. For The Chosen the song was “The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes.” For Daughter Cell it was The Scorpions’ “Loving You.” For the mermaid romance I am writing as an online serial, Mermaid Steel, the song is The Plain White T’s “Rhythm of Love.”

HA: What era do you feel most at home in?

Jay: I wouldn’t want to live in any other era, if only because of the medical and communications technology we have now. When I am playing on paper, I love going places where people feel and react based on what makes sense for them where they are. I have a lot of fun in ancient Egypt, mountainous Haiti, and jungled Malaysia in the Sanantha books. I have a Jules Verne project I love to toy with, so I get the appeal of Steampunk. And I am having all kinds of fun in my mythical mermaid village.

HA: Who is one person you’d like to meet, living or dead, and why?

Jay: Michael Crichton. His courage to combine genres and break whatever molds he needed to tell the the stories he wanted to tell has been an inspiration to me my whole writing career. I consider it the highest praise I could get when a critic said my work reminded him of Crichton.

HA: What is your favorite horror flick?

Jay: Pumpkinhead. About as dark and personal a fairy tale as can be told. And it introduced me to Lance Henrickson.

HA: If you were to battle a hoard of zombies, who would be your dream team fighting next to you?

Jay: Ernst Blofeld, Anton Phibes, Erik Lehnsherr (aka Max Eisenhardt), Darth Vader, and throw in Megatron for good measure. Supervillains know how to get the job done.

HA: What is the most horrifying costume experience you’ve ever had?Reading pic

Jay: I had myself sealed up in a mummy suit for a couple of hours for a stage presentation. There was no ventilation, and the temperature continued to rise the whole time. The presentation was a huge success, but by the time my roadies cut it open, a cloud of steam hit them. Me steam. I was delirious but thankfully not permanently harmed.

HA: Where can readers/listeners chat with you?

Jay: I hang out a lot on Facebook. I’ve got pages for all my current projects up there. Jayhartlove, Chosenthebook, Mermaidsteel, Snowwhiteplay. And I’m on Twitter @jayhartlove.

To find out more about Jay, visit his blog at: And to find out about The Isis Rising Trilogy, check out where he has posted the research that went into the books in a series of essays that are under Tarot cards you flip over. Lots of interactive fun there. Don’t miss his reading of “A Day with Daddy” coming in episode #103.

Daughter Cell

9781629290379Randy Macklin woke up in Malaysia with no memory of the last four months of his life. His wife has died in a car wreck and his daughter is in a coma after a poisonous snake bite. Randy is currently living with his friend and business partner Young Nae, together they had been working on a way to use genetics to make people look younger, but their work has not been approved by the FDA and their project is now on hold.

To get his memory back Randy visits psychiatrist Sanantha Mauwad to fill in the missing memories of the last four months. Sanantha and Randy discover that there is more to this situation then meets the eye and not everyone is who they appear to be. There are conflicting reports on the death of Randy’s wife, she may have been murdered and Randy’s daughter’s coma may have been caused by one of Young Nae’s rivals. To make matters even more complicated someone has been spotted that looks oddly similar to Randy’s deceased wife.

Daughter Cell by Jay Hartlove is the second book in the Isis Rising Trilogy, the first book was The Chosen and both books are self -contained stories. Daughter Cell is a medical thriller that takes a look at loss and forgiveness and how far are you willing to go to be with your true love again.  This is a Frankenstein type story set in an exotic location with voodoo mythology, black magic martial arts, spirituality and  poisonous pufferfish.

What I really liked about this book was how the mystery unfolds slowly.  I also like how it was shown through their dreams that something wasn’t quite right. Daughter Cell also wrestles with the themes of ethics and morality. In the beginning both Randy and Young Nae talk about how they have no problems manipulating genetics to make people’s lives better but Sanantha has her doubts and you get to see how playing god effects all the characters.

What I enjoyed most about Daughter Cell was how both Sanantha and Randy turn to their faith in a time of crisis. Sanantha is from Haiti and gets comfort from voodoo when things are bad, while Randy listens to classic rock. I liked hearing about the character’s different belief systems and how the two main characters work together. I also liked how Young Nae tries to get more in touch with the spiritual god within him. Other scenes I enjoyed was when Randy had to choose between two people he loved even though one of the two was no longer the same and I liked when Randy knows that the person he most wants to talk to is right in front of him but he will never get to say what he wants to say.  Jay Hartlove makes his characters suffer and some of them come out stronger in the end.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that I wanted more time spent on the genetic creation. The scenes with the creation in it were great and I enjoyed how I wasn’t able to predict what would happen. This book is not your normal medical thriller, it has a lot of heart and makes you question a lot of things such as if you could be with a younger version of the person you love after they are gone would you take it? If you like horror that really makes you think then you will enjoy Daughter Cell.