Exclusive Interview: Jon S. Lewis

jsl_02 invasion

Author Jon S. Lewis kindly agreed to an interview with SciFiChick.com to discuss his recent release Invasion: A CHAOS Novel ! Lewis has written several books for children in the Grey Griffins series, co-authored with Derek Benz, as well as a comic series called Free Realms for Wildstorm/DC Comics.

Can you tell us a bit about the CHAOS series and Invasion in your own words?

The series was inspired by the story of David & Goliath, but David has a jet pack and Goliath is a giant robot. It boils down to a land battle, where a race of aliens has destroyed their world and now they want ours. It’s part Fringe, part X-Files, part Star Wars, and part Rocketeer, all wrapped up in a unique twist.

During Colt’s training, he sees that CHAOS is using Trident technology. Yet they seem to be enemies. Will that connection be explored?

Great eye! Yes, it will. Trident is a lot like GE, where they have their hands in just about everything. So no matter what, you probably have something in your house from GE. Like that, the odds of the government or military not having something built by Trident is pretty slim.

Do you have a certain number of books that you’re contracted for in the series?

This will be a trilogy, but we’ve talked about expanding it. It’s hard to predict that future, because I have a short attention span and there are a lot of stories I want to write. You never can tell. But I love working with Amanda Bostic (my editor), and look forward to a long career together with her.

Thomas Nelson is a Christian imprint, yet the spiritual references in the book are fairly subtle. Is the hope that this series will be more mainstream than others?

Yes. What I like about Thomas Nelson is that they produce amazing books from a Christian worldview instead of books just because Christians wrote them. That is an important distinction. I loved The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe because you can read it as two different stories, and that’s my goal with these books. I want to be true to my beliefs while still writing fun stories that entertain.

What are some of the major differences between writing novels versus comics? Do you prefer one over the other?

In a novel you have a lot of room to get your story well rounded, which is a luxury. But you have to be careful. People are busy, so if you take too long getting to the story, they could put it down and never come back. You don’t have that opportunity in comic books. You have 22 pages to get a complete story and I love the challenge.

Are you currently working on any other novels or comics?

Yes. I’m working on a couple projects that I can’t talk about yet, but one is a really exciting comic book property with a super talented artist named Jorge Lacera. I have more ideas than time, but right now I’m trying to finish at least 3 novels in 2011 and I’m going to take a shot at writing some short fiction as well.

What inspired you to begin writing for children rather than literature geared towards adults?

I loved being a kid and I don’t want to ever grow up. I write to my mental and emotional age. Being an adult has enough problems as it is, I don’t want to rehash them.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing. How did you get your start?

I wrote a story with a friend of mine from childhood. We got an agent and sold it to Scholastic, where my first three books were published. We moved the series to (Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles) to Little Brown, and at the same time I’ve been working on the C.H.A.O.S. Novels with Thomas Nelson. In fact, I’m in the middle of writing book 2 right now.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

Favorite Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Eoin Colfer, Paolo Bacigalupi, Max Brooks, Cormac McCarthy, Maurice Sendak, Mercer Meyer

Favorite Books: The Hobbit, Ship Breaker, The Road, Where the Wild Things Are, Guess How Much I Love You, Mortimer’s Christmas Manger, The Last Thing I Remember, Hunger Games

What are your favorite comics/superheroes?

My two favorite comic books are Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight. There is an amazing graphic novel called The Coffin by Phil Hester that I love. My favorite character of all-time is Ben Grimm, aka “The Thing.” I also like Sasquatch, Captain Maerica, Juggernaut, Bizarro, Red Tornado, and Hawkman.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time (if any)?

I like to spend as much time with my family as I can. I’m also a big sports fan, I love movies and Star Wars Clone Wars.

Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I really appreciate your willingness to review the book, and I’m so glad that you liked it! I also know that there are a lot of people out there who are hoping to break into the publishing industry as writers. There is a lot of amazing resources on my blog (http://www.jonslewis.com) where I ask a bunch of my friends from the industry to pitch in and answer some important questions.

2 thoughts on “Exclusive Interview: Jon S. Lewis”

  1. Hey, did you know that the publisher of Invasion (Thomas Nelson) is sponsoring a contest where youth groups can compete in a national contest to have Jon S. Lewis come to speak to their group? The details are at http://www.chaosnovels.com. The contest includes a free four-week curriculum and great activities.

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