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J.W. Zarek
J.W. Zarek Author Interview

The Devil Pulls the Strings follows a young man with uncontrollable panic attacks and time travelling abilities that send him on a race through time to capture a cursed melody. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

1) Honor the hero’s journey and infuse Slavic mythology and Baba Yaga in a modern day epic fantasy adventure.
2) Paganini’s association with the Devil.
3) The Rule of Three.
4) David Henry Sterry and Bonnie Solomon.

I wrote Chapter One Promise Me, because David Henry Sterry with The Book Doctors, read my first twenty-five pages, and said “You have to show the inciting incident, the joust, before Boone and Sapphire meet outside Stone’s brownstone.”

I wrote The Prologue, because Bonnie Solomon, Producer of Dreamworks’ SHREK and Walden’s THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, read my story and said “You have to show both secret societies before the joust occurs.”

For awareness purposes, there wasn’t a prologue in the first draft. However, without Bonnie’s suggestion, I never would created the prophecy scroll, or incorporated the domovoi into this story, or shown upfront the centuries old war between two opposing secret societies, or revealed why the horn gets blown at the joust, or created Pep, the runt domovoi, or Laureus the Scottish Warrior Laureus, or Lahash and Zakun, the steampunk vampire assassins.

Boone is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

1) Failure is not an option for Boone because all he’s ever known his entire life is failure and setback.

Boone’s development throughout the story shows he turns moments of failure into the catalyst for his success.

2) Boone discovers as the story unfolds it’s possible to work with, power through and overcome a circumstance, a condition, a disease or disorder.

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

1) You can overcome insurmountable obstacles.
2) No one is defined by their circumstances, condition, disease, or disorder.
3) The power of a promise.
4) Everyone has a choice.

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

The next book Flynn’s Folly is a heist job gone wrong and its availability is TBD.

Author Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook

THE DEVIL PULLS THE STRINGS, described as The Librarians meet The Magicians is a 76,000-word epic fantasy adventure with series potential, set in modern-day Wentzville, MO, New York City, and 1813 Genoa, Italy, weaves bromance, Slavic mythology, secret societies, Paganini’s music and time travel.Boone Daniels (22) has problems, debilitating panic attack, gut-wrenching guilt, a wendigo haunting him since age six, and now he almost killed his best friend in a joust. But when he fills in for his injured friend at a New York gig, he goes to meet the gig’s contact at his NYC brownstone and a body falls from the brownstone balcony and the place explodes with gun fire.Boone barely escapes but uncovers a sinister plot to perform a rare Paganini piece that summons the Devil to trap Baba Yaga and destroy modern-day New York City. Then finds himself on a race through time to capture the cursed melody. Along the way, a Romani immortal, steampunk vampires and Baba Yaga set the stage for war, and Boone shall have to risk death for redemption. Because all Boone wants is to keep a promise to a friend. The same friend, he almost killed last Sunday during a joust.Can a small-town Missouri musician outplay the supernatural and save NYC’s soul? The Devil Pulls the Strings is the pulse-pounding first tale in the Archivists series. If you like when tortured heroes, epic battles, time travel, twisted history and secret societies collide, then you’ll love J. W. Zarek’s spectacular page-turner.

The Devil Pulls the Strings

The Devil Pulls the Strings by [J.W. Zarek, Peter Johnston, Susanne Purvis]

Confusion is the name of the game for poor Boone. Most of the time, he doesn’t know where he is, who he is talking to, or why he is there. Boone’s life is one strange adventure after another, but none of these adventures are planned. Boone Daniels is a time traveler and an unwilling one at that. A tragic event involving his best friend, Flynn, has placed Boone in the very awkward and frightening position of finding someone called “the Professor.” Nothing about his task is appealing, but Boone is not in a position to argue. He’s on a mission to make things right.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is an imaginative science fiction tale by J.W. Zarek. Main character, Boone Daniels, has happened upon his time-traveling abilities quite by accident, and he remains in a perpetual state of overwhelming confusion when his travels take him to one century and one part of the globe after another. While he is not thrilled at the idea of going to New York to take Flynn’s place in a gig, he knows he owes Flynn and owes him big.

Boone’s travels from place to place and time to time happen quickly–very quickly. Zarek has the book’s main character moving rapidly through time to complete the mission he has been given. Readers are treated to numerous tidbits of history as Boone races through time to prevent events he knows will occur. There seems to be nothing left out when it comes to major historical events, famous names, and easily recognizable points of interest. The blend of present-day Boone and time-traveling Boone make for an engaging storyline.

The first-person point of view really makes Zarek’s book a truly engaging adventure novel. Hearing Boone describe his apprehension and his insecurities in his own voice really make the story all the more relatable. He struggles with his strange gift, and he is in a constant battle trying to figure out which way is up and how to solve the never-ending puzzle before him.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is a wildly thrilling time travel adventure. Readers who love a good underdog will find Boone Daniels the perfect main character–his constant trepidation is endearing. Zarek’s unlikely time-traveling hero, Boone, brings an element of humor and normalcy to an otherwise magnificently spun urban fantasy adventure tale.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B09435JJ67

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Devil Pulls the Strings

The Devil Pulls the Strings by [J.W. Zarek, Peter Johnston, Susanne Purvis]

Boone’s life has changed, and it changed in the time it takes to blow an air horn. What should have gone without a hitch turned into an event that could easily have taken his best friend’s life and left Boone standing as the guilty party. Boone, not exactly one for making a spectacle of himself, is now doing his best to pull it together and stand in for Flynn and take his place in the upcoming gig. Boone is prepared, but is he really ready for what lies ahead? There is something Flynn has been hiding from him, and he can’t quite put his finger on it.

The Devil Pulls the Strings, by J.W. Zarek, is the story of Boone, a young man left with a unique set of abilities following a freak accident. Boone now experiences panic attacks and is able to time travel–all out of his control. The big city seems like the worst possible place for Boone, but his debt to Flynn is a big one and must be paid. When he finds himself without the advantage of having a cell phone and being pushed around on the bustling streets of New York City, Boone realizes exactly how far out of his element he really is.

I really love Boone’s character. He’s confused. He’s genuine. And he’s one determined guy. His challenges are beyond those of most main characters you could name, yet he somehow persists. The fact that he is not quite at ease with his abilities makes him even more endearing. The vulnerability given him by the author makes him that much more relatable.

The world Zarek has created for readers is a wonderful blend of science fiction and present day reality. The contrast between the two is amazing and gives readers the best of both worlds. Science fiction fans will enjoy wonderful descriptions of the altered reality Boone is forced to face–vivid scenes, well-drawn characters, and enthralling plot lines. I was especially taken with the way Zarek incorporates the wendigo into Boone’s storyline.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is an enthralling epic fantasy novel. Readers looking for an exhilarating storyline steeped in fantasy and science fiction will become instant fans of Zarek’s work. The plot is involved but will have readers on the edge of their seats rooting for its main character, Boone.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B09435JJ67

Buy Now From B&N.com

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