Clearly this is not going to be fun. That cat in the corner is going to distract both of us.

Clearly this will not be our best game. That cat in the corner is going to distract both of us.

A game of chess? Surely not with me! I don’t know my knight from my day. Checkers is more my speed. Or used to be. All those red and black squares make me dizzy nowadays (or is it nowaknights?).

No, we’re here to talk about a the newest novel from James Mahoney, aka Dark Jade, aka blogger behind Legends Undying. It’s not as confusing as it sounds.

James wrote a book called Chess with Agatha. That’s what we’re here to talk about.

Nice cover, huh?

Nice cover, huh?

This is not Marlon Brando. It's James.

This is not Marlon Brando. It’s James.

I read and reviewed a novella he wrote, intriguingly titled, “I Died Once.” Click here if you want to read my snap-crackly-pop post (and you really should–I write very entertainingly reviews). Here’s just a little bit of what I wrote: “It hooked me from the very first line: ‘Mady was a Dark Child…’ That was the first line.  Now that’s a great hooker!  Well, you know what I mean.  I want to know who Mady is and what makes her a ‘Dark Child.’”

Just to make James feel comfortable, I pulled out an old game of “Shoots and Ladders.” It’s missing some stuff, but we’ll be so focused on his new book, I don’t think he’ll notice that it’s not a chess board and that it’s missing crap.

Lorna: Welcome to my game parlor, James! Have a seat and get comfortable.

James: Thanks for inviting me to do an interview, Lorna. I really appreciate it. Game parlor, huh? What this? Shoots and–

Lorna: Wasting precious time, James! Let’s get right down to business. Describe your new novel. What’s the story about?

James: “Chess With Agatha” is a Fantasy novel about a young girl being reacquainted with her “true world” and her family. With no memory of her home or family, she finds herself immersed in both because her father’s kingdom and his people have a desperate, immediate crisis. This leads her on an exciting, revealing adventure accompanied by several magical and colorful characters.

Lorna: Fantasy novel, eh? What exactly is that? I run a G-rated blog, Buster. I mean when I hear a man say the word “fantasy” I get a little, well, nervous.

See what I mean? What's this all about Fellas? What really needs inflating here?

See what I mean? What’s this all about Fellas? What really needs inflating here?

James: [Chuckling both knowingly and nervously] Not to worry! To me the Fantasy genre allows for endless possibilities, in regards to places, characters and story.

Lorna: Not helping, James.

James: Okay, how about this? Where else can a Unicorn sit down for a cup of tea with a talking typewriter, and dancing mouse? Not that I’ve seen such a thing. The Fantasy genre lets us escape from our everyday life. In it, our minds can go on great, epic journeys not possible in real life.

Lorna: Hmmm. I remember seeing a dancing mouse but it wasn’t with a unicorn sipping tea. I’d be suspicious of that. Never mind. So fantasy novels aren’t necessarily naughty. Good to know. [Taking deep cleansing breath]

Yeah, that's what I was thinking of and that was total fantasy. No man can dance like he did.

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking of and that was total fantasy. No man can dance like he did.

But I’m still confused, which is really easy to do, so don’t worry. You described the story, but it had nothing to do with chess. So what’s up with that title?

James: You ask such great questions, Lorna.

Lorna: I know! Thanks!

James: There is, to a degree, a slight parallel to Chess in this book. In so many Fantasy novels, there are great battles fought by large Armies/Forces. What if conflicts between leaders/kingdoms were settled by each leader choosing only a handful of their people like in chess (e.g., Rook, Bishop, Pawns, Knight), where battles are between these small groups? This would both settle the conflict, as well as reduce the overall bloodshed suffered by each side, which so often occurs with large battles. Plus, I was drawn to chess because I learned when I was five and liked it very much.

As for “Agatha,” never really liked the name. Ironically, it kind of just popped in my head. I feel there’s something magical about the name and magic is woven throughout this book.

Lorna: Well, Agatha Moorehead was the actress who played the witch that was mother on the old TV series “Bewitched.” Maybe that’s the connection. Okay. I’m over-reaching. Given I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about, tell me who would be most interested in a book like this.

James: You’re doing fine, Lorna.

Lorna: Actually I'm not doing fine, James. That was AGNES, not Agatha, Moorehead. A memory is a terrible this to misplace.

Lorna: Actually I’m not doing fine, James. That was AGNES, not Agatha, Moorehead. A memory is a terrible this to misplace.

James: Simple mistake. I’m too young to know the show anyway.

Lorna: Gee, Thanks, James. I feel SO much better. Back to your target audience?

James: This book is written for the “young at heart.” Anyone who seeks an adventurous journey and is drawn to interesting, quirky, and/or intriguing characters will enjoy this book.

Lorna: Hey, that sounds like the tag line for my memoir! Golly, sometimes fantasy and reality are eerily similar, at least in my life. But that’s another story… Speaking of other stories, you’ve written and published a several works. Any words of wisdom for readers who want to get their fantasy or real words in print?

James: “Chess With Agatha” will be my fourth self-published work. One of the pieces of advice that’s really stuck with me is not to focus all of your energy on the writing the proverbial ‘Great Novel’. In other words, write and publish (or self-publish), as many different works as possible. Just get them out there. Whether it’s your first book, or your twelfth book which finally has some form of success (monetary or readership, or both), your readers are likely to go back and read all of your earlier books at some point as well. Write. Write. Write.

Lorna: So all this work I’m doing on my “Great American Blogvel” isn’t probably the way to go, eh? Shizzel. But I can’t think about that right now, This is about you, not me. So tell me something fun about your book.

James: Ha, ha, ha! Blogvel! Lorna, you’re so funny!

Lorna: I can’t help myself.

Lorna, you may be only a quarter Jewish, but you know funny like I know funny. You're just one-quarter as funny as I am. Sorry, you mostly Shiksa blonde.

Lorna, you may be only a quarter Jewish, but you know funny like I know funny. You’re just one-quarter as funny as I am. Sorry, you mostly Shiksa blonde.

James: As Agatha gradually reconnects to her forgotten world, she transforms in more ways than one. Before she is drawn back to her father’s kingdom, she has golden, almost white blonde hair. But as the story progresses, her hair begins to turn black—its color before she left the world she forgot.

Lorna: That’s neat. I have golden blonde hair and really bad memory. If my hair starts turning black, you can start calling me Agatha. Notice how I always manage to bring things back to me? It’s a crafty interviewing skill that few possess. How about a fun fact about you, James, since this interview is supposed to be about you, right?

James: Right. I originally pursued film making as a career, and then came to the realization along the way that I’m also a writer. My film making dreams were inspired by the first two “Star Wars” films. Epic stories with rich, brilliant, and colorful characters inspire all of my creative work.

Lorna: Guess you can’t go wrong when your aspirations are epic. Tell us more about your aspirations. I mean your creative ones…no need to get too personal.

James: I knew what you meant. I’m currently working on writing a sequel to “I Died Once” called “Mady’s Storm.” I’m also hoping to self-publish the first of a series of my Vampire Novellas, which will be called “Allure.” Also, once “Chess With Agatha” is released, I will continue writing the sequel (which I’ve already begun). The plan is that “Chess With Agatha” will be a trilogy.

Lorna: Wow! You’re already writing the sequel to the book you haven’t quite released? Plus you have several other projects? You were serious when you said “Write. Write. Write.” What about “Eat. Pray. Love?”

James: Are you asking about what else I do?

Lorna

Lorna: Yeah. I was trying to be clever.

James: I’m very close to my immediate family. My mom, her boyfriend, my brother and my two sisters. I’m also terribly in love with my best friend. But shush.  Don’t tell her that.

Lorna: Your secret’s totally safe with me. Can’t speak for the 520+ followers, though…

James: Um. Oh. Hmmm. I have a cat named Baron. He is eleven years old, and is named from the “Baron” character in the Flash Gordon movie. I’m a New York Yankees Fan. Don’t hate me. And I love to cook. Especially for my best friend, who I’m in love with. Shush, don’t tell her I said so.

Lorna: I was going to say, “A little awkward, but nice recovery.” But you blew it, James. I bet you were never great at keeping secrets. If you secretly wished I asked a question but didn’t, what would it be? I know you’ll answer it because you obviously can’t keep a secret.

James: Oh, Lorna, you’re such a kidder. Do I love writing?

Lorna: Well, I know you love your best friend…

James: YES! I love writing…too. Stories have coursed through my veins, ever since I was a very little. In fact I started my first Fantasy novel when I was about eleven. (I never finished it.) But I did not start pursuing writing as a career until I created my first blog in August, 2011. I’d always heard, “Writers write,” so I set myself a daily (on average) goal of 800 words per day. Instead I achieved an average of over 1,100 words a day during my first year and a half. And haven’t looked back.

Lorna: I’m convinced! You’re a writer, James. Now where the heck can we get a copy of “Chess With Agatha?”

James: If your interested in pre-ordering “Chess With Agatha”, you can send either a $15.00 payment ($20.00 if outside the U.S.), which includes shipping, to my PayPal E-Mail/Account jadeblue68@yahoo.com. Or contact me at the same E-mail and I will supply you with a physical address where you can send a check. Your copies will be signed by me if you’d like, or can be sent unsigned.

Lorna: Great! And now, tease us with a bit of the magic in this book that you talked about…

Excerpt from “Chess With Agatha”

“And this is… Morr,” Hemmingbyrd says, speaking so low, that one can hardly hear him.

With this Morr looks up from his drink, his eyes wholly black, but for a momentary yellow gleam. He grins.

With this Agatha’s blue eyes darken, and she loses her breath for a moment. Her keen Ordose senses begin to return to her. A Vampire? Morr is a… Vampire? she thinks to herself. Is this some kind of a sick joke…

I’m afraid not Hemmingbyrd replies, and she quickly looks at him, as he appears to be enjoying his salad.

“Delicious salad is it not?” Hemmingbyrd suddenly speaks, turns, and smiles at Agatha.

Iliad watches Agatha closely.

“Sooo,” Agatha starts, her father’s blood beginning to boil within her, her gaze on Morr. “You’re a blood sucker, eh?” She suddenly says, and Morr leaps to his feet, fingernails digging into the table, eyes glowing yellow.

Hemmingbyrd quickly stands and waves his hands about. “Whoa, whoa, whoa now.  Let’s not start things out on a bad note,” he says.

With this Morr sits back down, drinks his full glass of… Blood… Once finished, he turns the cup upside down with a CLANK.

**********

To find out more about James’ other works, visit his blog, Legends Undying or the Written Word.

Thanks for hanging in there.

Thanks for hanging in there.

I have one more interview planned. If you have a project you want subjected to publicized on this blog via a one-of-a-kind interview, please let me know. I’m happy to help my kindred authors!