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Author Interview: James L. Weaver

September 30, 2019

Hey hey, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an Author Interview… So I’m excited to welcome James L. Weaver back to chat about his FOURTH installment of the Jake Caldwell series.

I’ve been out here before. Twigs snap beneath my boots as I creep along the well trodden path. Its just trees out here… trees and dirt and the scent of rotting leaf matter and possibly animal carcasses… at least I hope the smell is animal…

Hi James, good to chat to you again. I appreciate your time.

Jake is back! Asylum Road is the fourth of your Jake Caldwell series… Tell us a little about it without giving too much away?

Asylum Road is the first book of the series that picks up right where the previous one ended. I had every intention of making each of the books a stand-alone novel, but the little devil on my shoulder compelled me to drop a bomb at the end of Blackbird Road and then make readers wait seven months to find out what happened. Blame him, not me. (Grrrr! Oh, I hate waiting.) In a nutshell, Shane Langston, the psychopathic villain from Poor Boy Road (book #1 of the series), escapes from prison with a plan to exact revenge on Jake and Bear…along with everyone else who had a hand in putting him in the big house. In trying to hunt down Langston, Jake and Bear get mixed up with a bad ass biker gang called the Blood Devils, guns, drugs and sex-trafficking. The question becomes who is going to find who first. It was a ton of fun to write and I guarantee readers are going to enjoy the trip.

Jake is a flawed hero… he has a lot of internal battles to overcome. What do YOU like about him as a main character?

The thing I love about Jake is his wavering moral compass. What I mean by that is his compass is always pointed in the right direction – he’ll kill himself helping out someone in need and protecting those that can’t help themselves. We’ve seen him do it time and again in the series. The wavering part of the compass is he doesn’t mind taking some dubious steps or knocking the shit out of the bad guys to get it done. I like that he’s tough. I like that those on the wrong side of things fear him. I like that those on the right side of things love him.

Jake and Bear’s relationship is a great male friendship. One is a cop, the other was once a criminal. Why is their friendship so important to write?

It comes down to the ties that bind us together, ties that transcend time and past deeds. Jake and Bear went through a lot together in high school and it formed a bond that Jake’s sixteen year absence and dark years of working for the mob couldn’t wipe away. People who have read my books tell me they love the relationship and banter between Jake and Bear, (I do too.) two tough guys who love each other like brothers (but would never admit it) and who would crawl through a field of broken glass if it meant saving the other guy. My readers love their relationship and I do as well. Their scenes together are my favorite parts to write.

Asylum Road is a story of a hunter and the hunted, which is a little different from the first three. Why did you chose this direction for the fourth story?

I knew at some point that Shane Langston was going to pop his evil, little head to the surface and wreak havoc with Jake and his family. But, I wanted to wait until Jake was a little more settled. I needed Jake at the point where his moral compass still wavered, but it wasn’t swinging like a broken metronome. I needed him to have a bigger stake than just himself. By the time we hit Asylum Road, Jake has plenty to lose and that just ups the ante. Poor Boy Road was about Jake saving himself, Ares Road and Blackbird Road was about saving others. Asylum Road is about stopping a psycho and saving his family. 

It is also a story of people trafficking – in particular about the trafficking of young women. What did you do to research this element of the story?

I like to try to blend in real life agencies and give kudos to the work they do in my books. I’ve covered Hospice House and Newhouse, a domestic violence shelter for battered women, in previous books. I knew some basics about the trafficking of women having watched various news programs over the last several years and I needed something in Asylum Road to connect the Blood Devil biker gang with Shane beyond just guns and drugs. I found a Kansas City non-profit called Restoration House of Greater Kansas City which provides long-term, residential housing and support services for girls and women who are survivors of sex trafficking. I contacted them for information and arranged a meeting with one of their program managers named Christine. Christine is a survivor of human trafficking, homelessness and addiction and was a prostitute who worked the streets of Kansas City. She knew the trafficking trade from the inside – what these lowlifes do to lure the girls into the sex trade, what they do to keep them and what Restoration House has done to get them out of that life. It was an extremely eye-opening meeting that pretty much took place exactly as I related in Asylum Road. There’s some additional activities with the trafficked women that I took a bit of literary liberty with, but I’ll bet my commissions from the book that they happen in some circles of the world. Restoration House does some wonderful work and anyone wanting more information should check them out at

What, in your opinion, is the hardest part of writing a sequel?

Keeping the story line fresh, but familiar. I’m a huge fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport series. The beauty of them is they are, for the most part, stand alone novels. You can drop Reacher or Davenport in any setting or circumstance you want and you’re going to get a great book with characters you love. Sandford’s Prey series is more linear than the Jack Reacher books, but the point is you don’t have to have read book #1 of either series to devour book #10. That said, it does help to read them in order because you get the fuller backstory rather than a couple of sentences in a later book. So, the struggle comes in coming up with a fresh story line with new circumstances, but keeping some of the recurring characters and diving deeper with them.

Please give us a hint about the next installment of Jake’s story?

For book five, we’re going to venture away from the beautiful Ozarks into the snow-swept cornfields and biting winter winds of Nebraska. Jake and Bear are taking their daughters on college visits and get themselves in the cross hairs of some unsavory people. The sparks are going to fly when Bear learns that the reason they are in those cross hairs is because of Jake’s side mission and who asked him to do it. There’s also going to be a familial tie that nobody saw coming, especially Jake. I’ve sketched the outline and written about ten chapters of it. It’s pretty rough at this point, but I think fans of the series are going to enjoy this new adventure.  OMG I can’t wait for that!

For your readers, what do you hope they will take away from this series?

I want readers to have fun, pure and simple. Life gets busy and hard sometimes between jobs, bills, kids and all the other stuff that taxes our psyches. I want to provide a means for them to just get away from it all for a few hours. I want them to turn that last page, nod their head and say “That was a damn good book.”

Okay – and now some wider questions about YOU

What achievement are you most proud of?

My kids. I have a daughter in college and a son in high school and they are both pretty awesome. I’m not sure how we did it, but my wife and I turned out two special people who are going to do great things in this world. A distant second is my books. If you would have told me five years ago that I’d be releasing my fifth novel, I’d have told you that you were crazy.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I’ve run seven marathons and running my eighth in November. I’ve also applied to be on Survivor about ten times, but have yet to grab that ring. Maybe now that I’m over fifty and in the shape I’m in, I might be able to help them fill that older demographic!

What is something you are best known for?

My optimism. I’m a very upbeat, positive person who always sees the glass as half-full. Almost always…I’m not a robot. 

What is something that you love?

Movies. I love getting lost in a film, hunkered in a comfy chair in a darkened theater with blaring sound for a couple of hours with a big soda and box of Milk Duds. If I could go back in time and start over, I could very easily see myself in the film industry.

Thanks once again, James, for your time. I’m really excited about Asylum Road… It’s out tomorrow… so get yourself a copy ASAP!

The following link will take you the the promo for Asylum Road

You can read my reviews of the series below.

Review Poor Boy Road

Review: Ares Road

Review: Blackbird Road

Review Asylum Road

  1. LylaWeaver permalink

    This series would make a nail biting movie. Hope to see that happen. Nonetheless, it is an excellent read of thrill and suspense that’s hard to put down once you start reading it. Kudos.

    • Oh yes, I would love to see it as a movie. Action scenes are fabulous and all actions by the main character fit perfectly with his personality. A terrific series!

  2. Gwen M. Plano permalink

    Great interview! It prompted me to buy Asylum Road. It arrives tomorrow — YAY!

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