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.