Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.
After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.
His latest book is the thriller, Killer Pursuit.
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About the Book:
When a high-society call girl is murdered in her Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The second is connected to the Internet through an encrypted connection...and no-one knows who's on the other end.
Special Agent Allison McNeil is asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record investigation of the murder because of the murder's similarity to a case she worked a year earlier. Allison knows the most direct path to apprehending the killer is to find the videos, but the rumors that the victim's client list may have included Mason's political enemies has her worried about the director's motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she's not the only one pursuing the videos. In fact, the most aggressive person racing against her might be the murderer himself.
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Killer Pursuit is available at Amazon.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?
Killer Pursuit takes place in and around DC and I enjoy weaving in historical facts and stories into my narrative. For this story, I knew I wanted to set a meeting in Arlington National Cemetery, one of my favorite sites to visit. I’d been on tours before but online resources gave me even more details to use. For a scene with a tattoo being cut out of a dead body, I called a local tattoo parlor. The tattoo artist on the other end was a little too into the conversation!
Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?
I self-pubbed this book even though the first was through Thomas & Mercer. I really enjoyed designing my own cover and working directly with my editor.
If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself? Can you tell us what that was like?
This is my 10th novel and I’ve self-pubbed many of them. I used to outsource the conversion but a few books ago I started to use a program called Vellum. It’s easy, intuitive and creates a great looking ebook.
If self-published, how did you determine the price?
It’s the same price as book #1. $3.99 is still a value to the reader while still valuing the work. The .99 promotion price for this tour is a fun way to get more people introduced to the series.
Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book? Why?
I try to space my books for adults in the alternative 6-month period to my books I publish for kids. It helps me wear a different hat and and keep them separated.
How did you choose your cover?
I worked with Carl Grave of Extended Imagery. We worked on several ideas and wanted to give both a sense of place (Washington, DC) and a sense of the sensuality and danger in the book. I like how it turned out.
Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?
I typically do a first draft straight through, allowing myself to be as bad as I want. I was once told that the first draft is the pile of manure out of which good things will grow. The fertilizer draft. Then I write a second, send to my editor, write another draft, let friends read it, then copy edit, then other friends… and then out into the world.
Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?
I did some signed giveaways and blog tours to reach out to new readers.
What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?
I’m happy to give copies of my books to people willing to give my them an honest review. I’m in this to be read. I’ll even take negative reviews as long as it’s something they didn’t like about the book because it means the work still got them thinking. (Reviews like: “the book arrived two days late” drive me a little crazy.) I think folks who check out one of my books do tend to read the others so I think it’s a valid way to get the word out.
What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?
1) Perfect editing. Pay for talent to catch all the errors. After than, offer your beta-readers a candy bar for every typo they find. There are always a few that sneak through even the pros.
2) Love your cover. Test it with your readers. Give them options.
3) Reviews. Whether a blog tour, your most avid readers or a local book club, make sure you have 25+ reviews ready to go. They can post on Goodreads until your book is live on Amazon.
What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?
1) Write the next book.
2) Limit your social media “marketing efforts” to less than an hour a day.
3) Write the next book.
What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?
Author page, splash page, FB ads, blog tour.
What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?
I hope you enjoy spending time with Allison McNeil. If this is your first time meeting her, you can start here or read Killer Within first. I think you will enjoy it either way. Please reach out to me and let me know what you think. I respond personally to emails and Facebook messages. Talk to you soon!