Exclusive Author Interview with J.D. May
The author of Factor-7 joins me in an exclusive interview to answer all those questions we need answered!
Tell us about Factor-7 without giving away spoilers.
Factor-7 follows Dr. Sam Hawkins, a trauma surgeon whose life is changed forever by the cryptic words of a dying friend and the series of strange murders that follow his passing. As Sam pulls the string, he realizes that his friend had uncovered a clandestine plot to unleash a deadly virus.
Sam teams up with Dr. Rainee Arienzo, an Italian infectious disease specialist, to uncover the truth about a new bio-weapon with a 98% mortality rate: Factor-7. But their search leads them into harrowing situations where they realize that they are stuck between two devils and must play with one to survive or be burned by both.
Did you have a favorite part in crafting Factor-7?
I really can’t say that I had a favorite part of writing Factor-7. It flowed quickly as my characters talked to me. If any part stands out as my favorite, it is a situation where they are kidnapped and what they must do to survive. I think the underlying theme that even the smallest of choices can have world-altering consequences is one of my favorite aspects of the story.
Where did you come up with the suspense storyline in Factor-7?
I wrote the first draft of Factor-7 in 1991. Today’s version holds only a slight resemblance to that first manuscript. So I say the story is rather serendipitous because, in 1991, I had no idea of what viruses or pandemics were about. It was purely from my imagination. There had been the emergence of SARS and MERS, but nothing like today’s situation. In late 1991, I lost my first husband and found out two weeks later that I was pregnant with my daughter. My writing went on hold as life happened, and I raised her. In 2017, she found the original manuscript and read it. She called me and begged me to re-write it. I did, but I updated almost every aspect of it. It took me two years to get to where it is today—published and on the market.
What is it you hope readers take away from Factor-7?
First and foremost, I hope readers of Factor-7 enjoy the suspense and the story. I hope it pulls them into the harrowing world that I hope I portrayed in the book. It is fiction in every aspect but should provoke thought of the possibility of such a scenario. Based upon our times, I state that if something does not change, Factor-7 and the story behind it may very well become our new normal.
How do you come up with your characters? Are they inspired by people you know?
As I said earlier, my characters talk to me. I came up with Sam Hawkins in the original manuscript. I don’t know why I named him that, nor do I think I patterned him after any particular real person. However, Sam is portrayed as a good ol’ Texas boy, and that was my intention. He was a bit naïve about what he was going to encounter. But as he went through the dangers, he grew in strength, and his life changed. I think I wanted to make him start off as just that isolated doctor who saw nothing but trauma day in and day out and then turn into the man who took on the worst of mankind. Rainee is also pure fiction. I took the last name, Arienzo, of a friend of mine (now deceased), from Italy. I wanted Rainee to initially be the strong one and then learn she needed to depend more on Sam’s help.
Walk us through your writing process.
I think I write differently from most, and I certainly write differently from what they teach you. I do not make an outline. I don’t always know where the next chapter will go, and I did not know my ending until the night before I wrote it.
It came to me in a dream, and I got up and put it on paper. I carry a notebook and make notes every day. If I read something that I need to research or hear a line, I write it down. I write very quickly, and the manuscript is a mess with grammar and spelling errors. It is just a messy story.
Then the duty comes to clean up line by line. It gets a lot of re-writing at that point, but the story is intact. I, of course, had professional editors, but I worked almost a year getting it cleaned up enough to pass on to them.
Did you always want to be an author?
I have always written and wrote poetry during my Flower Power days. I scratched out songs and short stories. I am a painter, too, and writing, to me, is painting a picture with words.
What is up next for you?
The sequel of Factor-7 is already in the works. It will include Sam and Rainee and a couple of the very wicked characters. It will be a medical suspense thriller but leaning away from the virus aspect into another frightening scenario of today’s science. Science can be our savior, but it can also open Pandora’s box of an incredibly frightening future for the world.
You can get your copy of Factor-7 on Amazon!
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