Into His Psyche
Posted by Literary Titan
The Judgment Game follows a boy who tries to escape a sadistic father while also struggling to escape his own demons. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Originally, I wrote this novel and it ended with a happy ending, everything with Jay was neatly tied into a happy bow of his character accepting Jesus as his savior.
A friend of mine suggested that becoming “saved” was rarely such a quick and instant fix. Often the one involved, especially one such as Jay’s character, regresses and battles with their acceptance of faith. She also suggested to make it into a saga or series because its thriller genre would probably grow my reader base.
I went back to the editing and rewriting phases and really connected deeper with the characters. I found the darkness of Jay’s world intriguing and wondered just how many lives were in the shadows of most us who never recognized their existence. I wanted to entertain but also cause the reader to become drawn in to subject matter such as drugs, homelessness, mental illness, faith, and dysfunction along with the way some might deal or react to these situations—from both sides of the coin. Viola. This story grew and has become much deeper and defined in the continuing saga of the Cader family.
Billy Jay Cader was an interesting character that I enjoyed watching slowly evolve. What were some driving ideals behind the character’s development?
This is partially explained in the above answer, but honestly, Jay was a character that began evolving on his own. My original thoughts of giving him more or less an instant cure was now dashed, so I needed to give him more depth and mystery to draw the reader into his psyche wanting to know more. I liked giving him some areas in the story that might push the reader into some form of compassion or understanding of him because of where he’d come from. I also wanted to twist that feeling back and forth where the reader was truly involved in the battle of which side would “win him over.” Good or evil. It’s really a battle each of us experience in different ways, hopefully not to the extent of Jay’s internal war.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Life in general and how people choose to deal with it. People come from every corner of wealth, poverty, love, and abuse, and I wanted to take different characters from those standards of living, and twist them into situations thrown together along with the possible outcomes from making their decisions, good or bad. Again, we all make choices and most of us surround ourselves with like-people and similar upbringings. What happens when one such as Ben, who was given everything in life, but still makes harsh choices and fails, yet still has the compassion for someone else enough to put his life on risk to help. The human conditions. That is what my focus was. To not only entertain, but maybe educate in some small way of a life that most of us never see, but could be going on even next door to us.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I actually have the second offering to this story completed and just recently sent to my narrator Paul J McSorely, who is the voice of Jay and all the other characters from my world. He’s been incredible to work with and I can’t picture anyone else making these characters come alive like Paul does. The Spark of Wrath, which is book 2, will be out middle of this April, 2021. I have book 3 written and it is in my wonderful editor’s hands currently. My hope is to have it published by November of this year. I am writing the fourth and fifth future offerings, simultaneously. I’ve come up with a neat idea to make this series just a little different than others. I can’t give that away, so readers will need to stay tuned in and read or listen to each book on Audible as I release them to find out. I am enjoying these characters and have no plans to retire this series any time soon. As long as this story stays fresh, I plan to continue on with new characters possibly branching out into sister series down the road.
I do have some other plans mixed in the pot of keeping creative change in my writing. Possibly a book of shorts in the future. My first novel was published in 2019 and was more of a Christian fiction with less language and adult situations within. It was written under my birth name Steven G Bassett. The title is The Waning Crescent, and is available on Amazon. I chose to write my darker themes, such as The Mason Jar Series, under my pen name Eli Pope so readers who read my first book wouldn’t purchase book one of this series expecting the same kind of content. I do share my faith throughout The Mason Jar Series, but it isn’t the intent to be preachy. This series is definitely on the dark side mixing mystery, murder, romance, erotica, dysfunction, and twisted thrills. Faith is merely is another facet in life and mixes well within the story of one man’s struggle dealing with his demons.
Author Links: Facebook | Eli Pope | Steven G Bassett | Website
Posted in Interviews
Tags: abuse, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, Eli Pope, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, psychological fiction, psychological thriller, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, The Judgment Game, thriller, writer, writing
The Judgment Game
Posted by Literary Titan
The Judgement Game by Eli Pope can be described in one word, captivating. In the first installment of this enthralling series, we meet young Billy Jay Cader (Jay). All he has ever known is abuse and torment. His dad is a vile man who uses a mason jar with wood tiles that list evil punishments. Jay’s father shakes the mason jar like a magic eight ball, and whichever tile falls into his hands will determine the punishment Jay or his sibling receives. We watch as Jay breaks free from his dad, but can he break free from this vicious cycle?
There is a lot to unpack with this novel. It covers meaningful topics such as abuse and generational trauma. Some may even refer to the generational trauma as a generational curse.
Pope has a talent for making his readers feel every emotion possible, but particularly the sadder ones. His detailed descriptions of essential plot points are absolutely incredible. They are well thought out, and he does not skip over even the smallest of details. Pope ensures that readers leave major plot points with all the answers they need.
Pope also did an amazing job handling sensitive topics. I felt that despite the vivid detail he did his best to show respect to those who have endured these awful circumstances. With that being said, a trigger warning is needed for this novel. The abuse scenes arouse some of the deepest and most upsetting thoughts and emotions.
In addition to Pope’s attention to detail, I appreciated his authentic characters and intriguing set of supporting characters. It can be easy for authors to skip over side characters and only view them as background fillers. You can see that Pope understood the crucial role these characters played to help produce an incredible story.
Overall, The Judgement Games is a riveting psychological thriller that is a gripping start to The Mason Jar series. If you are looking for an emotionally-charged novel that is thought-provoking as well as entertaining then you have plenty to sink into with The Judgement Games.
Pages: 243 | ASIN: B08J8J916M
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: abuse, american psycho, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, crime fiction, ebook, Eli Pope, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, psychological, psychological thriller, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, The Judgment Game, thriller, writer, writing