Model Agent: A Thriller (Jaclyn Johnson, code name Snapshot series)

It's my pleasure to welcome Sean Sweeney to my blog today. He's an author from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, USA. He also writes under the name John Fitch V. He's written seven novels, a novella, several short stories, with plenty coming.

Sean's Bio

Under the JFV name, I’ve penned The Obloeron Trilogy, One Hero A Savior, Turning Back The Clock, A Galaxy At War, as well as Vuvuzombie, Sidetracked, Amber Twilight, Refugees (as part of David Dalglish’s A Land of Ash), and The Mastermind. As Sean, I’ve written my debut thriller, Model Agent. I want to thank Sibel for this opportunity.


1.  Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.


The first book, oy. I started writing the first book back in 2003. January 4, to be precise. Around 6 p.m., to be preciser (that’s a word I made up for this interview). It was a hard road, where I clawed together prose for one month. I wrote four chapters, then the first line of the fifth chapter. I had no idea where I wanted to take the book from there, so it went on the shelf for about five months. When I was ready to take the manuscript off the shelf, my father grew ill. After he passed away a couple of weeks later, I spent a weekend in Maine, USA with friends, and I managed to write chapter five. It went back on the shelf again for a year, until I saw R.A. Salvatore speak at a local library; by this time, it was August 2004. He had already inspired me to start the novel in the first place; now he inspired me to finish it. It took a few months, but I finally finished it in February 2005. I also nearly lost the manuscript, as I had a 3 ½-inch disk issue on Christmas night.


2.  What is your latest novel?


The latest novel is my debut thriller, MODEL AGENT. It is mainly set in Boston, Massachusetts USA, but also Washington, D.C., the cities of Leominster and Worcester, Massachusetts and the towns of Petersham and New Salem, Massachusetts, as well. It introduces Jaclyn Johnson, a partially-blind counter-terrorism agent.


3.   What inspired you to write the book? 


I had just finished writing a zombie novel (I bounce all over the place when it comes to writing), when I had a dream about this leggy blonde. About a month and a half later, I was e-mailing back and forth with British author Steven Savile, one of my best friends in publishing. At the time (January 2010), Steve was about to release SILVER, a thriller based in Europe. He told me I should write a thriller, especially with the London Olympics coming up. I told him about the character of Jaclyn, and he told me to put her in a story set around the Olympics. I did that; that book, as it turns out, is the sequel to MODEL AGENT. Another dream inspired MA: I was sound asleep one August morning, when I dreamed of a gun fight in an office building. Jaclyn was prevalent in the dream. I vaulted out of bed, went to my office, got online, and started typing some ideas down. About a week later, I had the plot written, and then I went to Boston to do detail research. The next day, I went to Worcester and did the same.


4.  What’s your favourite part of writing a novel?


I love plotting/brainstorming. There’s just something about an empty pad of paper with unlimited opportunities and scenarios in front of me that gets my adrenaline going. I get tunnel vision at this point; my mind is filled with the possibilities.


5.  Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?


I’ll be honest: Yes. I’m just learning the whole passive/active voice thing. Show and not tell, not my best friend. These were things they didn’t teach us in high school.


6.  Where do you get your ideas from?


Ideas and concepts come from everywhere and everything. Dreams, observations. I wrote one short story based on the USA-England World Cup match. The story I’m working on now, I was inspired from watching a YouTube clip of a 1980s television show theme song. Another short came from a family member talking about wayward cats in dark woods. Another came from a storm that rumbled through last July. You must have your eyes and ears open, and let the imagination run wild.


7. How long does it take to complete a novel?


Depending on the length of the story, it can be a month to three months. The next book I’ll release was written in two weeks. So I have that going for me. Which is nice.


8.  What’s your writing process?


Quite simple. I write until I can no longer write. I love writing, and I do it all day long. And sometimes all night, if I can’t sleep.


9.  Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Read every day, and write every day. I tell this to my younger cousins who want to write, and I tell this to any young, aspiring writer. Read and write. It doesn’t matter if it’s a magazine, a newspaper or an article on the Internet. I don’t care if it’s a short story or a term paper. The more you write, the better you get at it. The more you read, the more you learn.


10.  What's next in the pipeline? 


I’m planning on, at the very least, four more books in 2011. We’ll start off with ZOMBIE SHOWDOWN, which is the two-weeker. Then we’ll return to my fantasy world under the John Fitch V pseudonym with the first OBLOERON prequel THE RISE OF THE DARK FALCON. In June, I’ll release ROYAL SWITCH, a baseball thriller. And then at Christmas, I’ll release the next Jaclyn Johnson novel, ROGUE AGENT... which I know Sibel’s England-based readers will love, since it’s set in LONDON!


Right now I’m working on a sci-fi book for older teens with older teen subject matter.


11. Do you think your books would translate well to the big screen? If so who would you like to see play your lead characters ?


Ahhh, the Tinsel Town question! I do, I really do. I see them play out as movies in my head. For MODEL AGENT, I think Hayden Panetierre would be a perfect Jaclyn Johnson. 


12.  Tell me three random things about yourself.


I’m a Taurus.

I support the Boston Red Sox and the Arsenal F.C.

I’m not wearing socks right now.


13.   What do you do when you’re not writing?


It seems as though I’m always writing even when I’m not. I’m a sportswriter for my local newspaper, so I’m always typing away on the keyboard. I love reading, watching movies, and playing with Caramel the Wonder Cat.


14.   Do you write in just one genre?


Negative! I’m always bouncing around. I started in fantasy, then wrote a sports novel based around the Sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees. Then I wrote sci-fi. Now thrillers. I think I’m going to stick with the thrillers for a while.


15.  Do you use Social Media for marketing your novels?


Oh yes, I’m everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, messageboards. You can find me everywhere.


16.   Who are your writing influences?


Definitely R.A. Salvatore, J.R.R. Tolkien, Steven Savile.


17.   If you weren’t writing, what would be your favourite job?


I’d probably be a teacher... or a radio disc jockey.


18.   Which five people would you invite for dinner?


Arsene Wenger, Debbie Gibson, Bud Selig, Hayden Panetierre, and Sibel Hodge.


19.   Describe your latest novel in fifteen words or fewer.


The human body is two-thirds water.

Water can kill as much as it gives life.


20.    What are you reading at the moment?


Right now, I’m reading HEART OF A DRAGON by David Niall Wilson.


21.  What three things would you add to your bucket list of things to do.


Go to London.

Hell, get out of Massachusetts. Do you know how cold it is here?

Did I mention go to London?


22.   Do you write full time? If not, how do you balance writing with another job?


This and the sportswriting. I love it.


23.   Do your characters talk to you?


They never shut up!


24.   Have you ever used a friend or foe as a character?


Refusing to answer due to the fact I may incriminate myself. No, kidding. Yes, I use friends in my book. In fact, I think every character in MODEL AGENT has some tie to me.


You can purchase Model Agent from

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Or find out more about Sean at his website

Thanks for your time, Sean. The dinner invite sounds like it would be an interesting night! 

Sibel XX