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Hope and Love

M.J. Jones Author Interview

Black Star is a thought-provoking and spellbinding story that I enjoyed immensely. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration for Black Star was my daughter and a recurring dream that I had about her for a week when I was on furlough from work. When I told her about the dream she said, “Mommy, that dream is better than some of the movies we’ve seen…” I wondered if she was right. Yet, my dream was so real; so intense and profound, that I could not stop thinking about it. She had no idea at the time, but I had secretly scribbled down what I could recall of the dream. As she went on and on about how I should make a comic book or a graphic novel, I sheepishly showed her my scribbles and she said, “Mom, are you crazy? No one can read your handwriting! Maybe you should type it up, and–here’s an idea–write a real book so everyone can actually read what you wrote,” while grabbing my crinkled papers and throwing them in jest! I was like, “No one is going to read or even care about my book…” But I was wrong.

For many years, I lost the passion and drive that I had for writing. I lost the spark. But the dream reignited the part of me that I thought had died just like a Black Star; a Supernova! No matter how much the light dimmed, it would return, brighter and brighter. This dream spawned the Black Star Trilogy: an imaginative, alternative reality that has one underlying theme: Hope and Love. It triumphs even over the darkest days. Becoming an Indie author has probably been one of the hardest things that I have done in my life, besides raising my child alone. She pushed me to follow my dream and to become what I was meant to be: a writer. She inspires me to never give up, even when I have wanted to quit. Art imitates life and she is truly my very own little “Ashe.”

Ashe is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Ashe is brilliant but naïve, full of hope but at the same time is a teenager dealing with the struggles of finding her own way in life while still holding on to the ideals ingrained in Ashe by her mother. One of the philosophies that she holds dear is, “Everyone is special and everyone deserves love and respect.” Easily said, but not easily implemented in real life. Her mother Mia works on the premise that one of our greatest purposes is to uplift future generations. All of these beliefs color who Ashe is. She is indeed a pop culture, K-Pop, BTS-loving, kind, and sympathetic child who grows into such a beautiful reflection of qualities inherently passed on to her from Mia.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

This book deals with profound loss, mental health, insecurities, and growth; yet it stays true to the undying spirit of humanity through a mother’s love. Mia embodies hope while Ashe embodies the future, all with the backdrop of science fiction. I wanted to write a story about people becoming everyday heroes and defying the odds; Becoming a Black Star. The characters encounter real-life consequences never experienced before in their world. We send our children out into this world and hope that they remember and apply the things we have taught them. Yet, what happens when our children become the evil that we have spent a lifetime shielding them from? Mia taught Ashton that it is selfish to only think about one’s own impact on society. We are responsible for the decisions that our children make and in turn the people they ultimately become. Therefore, this book attempts to balance the struggles of parents while at the same time educating children to be leaders, while still staying true to the lore of comic books, and fantasy, all rolled up into a fantastic tale of hope.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am actually working on finalizing the last book of the trilogy. The second installment of the Black Star Trilogy, Black Star Eclipsed, which continues following this epic saga with Ashton and her mother Mia is available on all major platforms in eBook and printed form.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In this psychological sci-fi thriller, a single mother discovers that her daughter has disappeared without a trace. Was she to blame for her daughter’s disappearance? Did she hold on too tight? As she searches for the truth, her past and sanity collide. Can she take back control of her life, and find her daughter, before it’s too late, or will she too, become a mindless drone? Follow Mia Black in this alternate reality, where things are not quite a mirror image of our world.

A Black Star is a supernova… an exploding star. Some people believe that when it dies, it disappears. Yet in reality, it shines through the darkness…just like Mia Black.

Black Star Eclipsed

Ashe and her mother, Mia, are still recovering from Ashe’s kidnapping. It’s been a long, difficult road with many twists and turns, not to mention secrets. A lot of things have gone unsaid by Mia, and for very good reasons. Ashe is quickly growing older, and her maturity is obvious in everything she does. When Ashe corners her uncle Jason and tells him that her plans for college are different from her mother’s, things begin to change for all of them. Mia struggles to face the fact she will, again, be separated from her daughter, This time, however, their separation will follow the most harrowing experience of their lives.

Black Star Eclipsed, by M.J. Jones, continues the compelling story of Mia and her daughter Ashe. Their lives are nothing short of amazing. For as much as they appear to be a typical single mother and daughter team, they are far beyond that in dozens of ways. Jones has succeeded in further developing this pair into an even stronger and more stunning set of characters. Furthering the story, Jones has added incredibly in-depth backstories and strong characters in both Jason and his wife Kierra. For seemingly secondary characters, the two are well-drawn and pull readers into the plot fairly quickly in the first chapter.

After reading the first installment in Jones’s Black Star series, I was prepared for a little more action right out of the gate. The first book featuring Mia and Ashe hit hard in the first chapters with suspenseful moments right off the bat. This follow-up story offers a lot in the way of background information, allowing both readers and Ashe to learn more about her father. Though I appreciated the attention and time given to catching readers up on the previous book and the backstories, I would like to have seen more suspense and intrigue to kick off this installment.

The dynamic between characters is a huge part of Jones’s writing. I especially enjoyed the interactions between Mia and her sister-in-law Kierra. Their exchanges are always spirited and easily relatable. For a novel that is steeped in elements of science fiction, it is nice to see characters with genuine emotions and typical relationships.

Black Star Eclipsed is engaging, psychological science fiction. The storyline is well-developed, and the characters are relatable. The overall story took a little longer to get off the ground than I would have preferred. I recommend this series to anyone who wants to explore an especially unique take on the science fiction novel.

Pages: 452 | ASIN : B09ZYQP2ZD

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Black Star

Ashe is young. She is smart. She is going places and doing great things. But Ashe is scared and has every right to be. In her area, young girls her age are going missing at an alarming rate, and no one seems to be taking the situation seriously. When she finds out she has been nominated to participate in AmeriCorps National Service Program, she is ecstatic. Her mother is a former member, and that only makes the opportunity sweeter. Ashe has what it takes to be an asset to the program, but she can’t seem to shake the fear that being away from her mother may lead her down a dark road.

Black Star, by M.J. Jones, addresses many tough and timely topics including human trafficking and racism. Jones’s main character, Ashe, is both mature and caring. She gives everything she has to the betterment and protection of others. Jones spends a great deal of time in the first chapters developing her character and drawing readers toward her. While she is portrayed as socially conscious, Ashe is also the typical teenager with interests in music and pop culture. This makes her a grounded and authentic character that is easy to empathize with.

I was honestly taken aback at the turn events took early on in Jones’s novel. I had some expectations going into the book after reading the early conversations between Ashe and her mother Mia. To say I was stunned at the sudden shift is an understatement. Jones has given readers the ideal introduction to her main characters right before plunging into the heart of the plot. I truly did not anticipate Ashe and Mia’s storyline spinning toward the science fiction genre, but Jones has managed this twist masterfully.

Not usually drawn to books written in the present tense, I was, at first, put off by Jones’s choice to present her narrative in this way. After a few chapters, however, I completely forgot any misgivings, and I realized that seeing the story in what amounts to real-time gives readers an even stronger sense of urgency when it comes to Ashe’s dilemma.

Black Star is a thought-provoking and spellbinding story and I enjoyed the science fiction elements immensely. Jones has handed readers a well-developed and well-written cast of characters within an amazing storyline. Readers across genres will appreciate Jones’s work and look forward with anticipation to the next book in this trilogy.

Pages: 216 | ASIN: B09Z9FDLZ8

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