MtSnow reviews ‘Forget Me Not’ (Mnevermind series, book 2) by Jordan Castillo Price. Published by JCP Books, LLC., Feb. 19, 2014, 171 pgs.
Blurb: No two people are exactly alike, but Elijah Crowe is very, very different.
Elijah is on the autism spectrum, so the tasks of day-to-day life most people breeze through are a challenge for him. His career suffered because he never got the hang of schmoozing, and now his talents are being wasted teaching classes at the mall. His social circle is limited to his ex, his therapist, and a structured inclusion group at the Rec Center. The one bright spot in his life is the memory science of Mnemography.
Although he loves nothing better than devouring the latest research and tinkering with all the specialized equipment, he never clicked with any other experts in the field until he met Daniel Schroeder. Daniel runs a memory palace—he even writes his own mnems—and that shared interest alone would make him fascinating. But Daniel and Elijah met under unusual circumstances, where the statement, “I like you, and I think you like me,” held some surprising nuances.
Now Elijah suspects he’s gay, but the few prominent people in his life are less than supportive. Some are downright hostile. Elijah might not be neurotypical, but he’s plenty smart. Surely there’s some way to get people to accept him for who he is. If only he could figure out how.
Note: This is Part 2 of a 3-part interview, with JCP providing 10 or more Q&A responses per review for each of the 3 stories in the trilogy. Be sure to come back for the next book in the series for more interview questions and answers! Click here to read the review of book 1 in the series as well as the first part of the interview: Persistence of Memory: Mnevermind Book 1
Let’s welcome author Jordan Castillo Price to RGR. Thank you so much for joining us here today! I’m looking forward to your responses to even more good Q&A time!
RGR: Soooo, I just finished reading your Mnevermind trilogy and right now all I can say is -Wow. What a creative and very engrossing world you created. So believable and such a wonderful escape.
JCP: Thank you so much! I was aiming for something I think of as an “intimacy of plot,” something that would take these elements that might seem outrageous or far flung and make them seem highly relatable and entirely real. That’s why I focus so much on the family dynamic.
11. What made you choose the Crow as a symbol for Elijah? I loved the black feather clue that was left in Daniel’s Mnem Sherpa experience, and how coworker/friend Larry (who’s not overly the brightest bulb…) helps Daniel find his guy in the local mall. Great deductive reasoning!
JCP: Poor Larry! He has a different kind of intelligence, a more freewheeling creative social intelligence. Plus there’s something to be said for being naturally resilient. Or so I’d surmise, since as we’ve established, that’s really not how I see myself.
The crow is a reference to Norse mythology. Odin has a pair of ravens who scour the world for information to give him, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory.) There’s a poem in which he dreads that Huginn might not come back, but he’s even more worried about what would happen if Muninn abandoned him.
People’s mnem bodies are an stylized representation of themselves; Daniel sees himself as a weary soldier in a never-ending battle. I thought it would be interesting if Elijah saw himself as something other than a person since he’s so apart from the rest of the world.
12. What was your inspiration for this series and how did you go about conducting research for it?
JCP: It started with the image of a bunch of bodies in some kind of suspension in a warehouse, and one guy stuck being awake to take care of them as kind of a janitor. I went pretty far afield from this initial idea, to the point where I think I could take another stab at it and end up with another whole story.
13. I’d be interested in how you came up with this original idea of Mnemography. Was it like an ‘ah-ha!’ moment, or a compilation of experiences and ideas that stacked up in your mind over a few years?
JCP: I was playing with the idea of people being in comas but having this really vivid internal life going on, but I started playing with the idea of having this coma be temporary. Then making the technology cheaper. Then making the whole experience be common enough that a middle-class person could afford to do it, something on par with getting a tattoo maybe. Some people never get a tattoo, some people get only one, and some people get inked regularly. But it takes a certain amount of equipment and expertise that most people can’t tattoo themselves unless they’re in the field.
14. Is it hard for you to create your characters, or are they already formed in your mind, and you just have to get them written?
JCP: Creating characters is a great joy for me. It’s complicated but not daunting. I usually understand one key aspect of their personality when I start, but as the story evolves, more character depth unfolds and they become more dimensional. So it starts with an idea, but then it deepens as I write and explore.
15. Do you create your ‘visual’ then write your description, or write them first then try to find models that match your idea?
JCP: Doing my own cover art is another great joy for me, because I have a lot of schooling and experience in art and graphic design, and I love being able to work on my book as a whole package or concept and carry the feel through to the cover.
I collect cover models who intrigue me even if I currently have no project for them. I’d been holding on to the Elijah model for years. (I called him Major Tom because he looked New Wave and reminded me of Peter Schilling.) But I didn’t write the character thinking this model would be my guy. I looked through my existing pictures and had to decide whether or not he fit the casting call.
16. And we also ask the same question for how you create your supporting characters?
JCP: Since the supporting characters don’t generally appear on the covers, they are more of a mental construct for me than any real-life photograph. I would imagine if you cracked open readers’ brains, they’d all have different and specific ideas of what everyone looked like and they wouldn’t necessarily match my ideas.
17. Also, how do you make the friends and family of your MCs so that people care about them, or not, as in the case if Daniel’s father and mother and extended family and friends/coworkers?
JCP: The best way I can describe it is that it helps to think of every character as being the center of their own universe. They’re not there to support or oppose the main character, they have a whole life of their own. Only small parts of that life may touch the story, but I try to have a feel of them being a glimpse of something more complete. For instance, Daniel’s father had dreams and aspirations that were different than Daniel realized. And his mother wasn’t a bitch just because. She felt jealous and excluded because Daniel and Big Dan were so lavishly close.
18. What do you think of the growth rate of M/M genre as a whole (couldn’t believe the high number of new authors when I did a recent search on Amazon) and what do you think draws people to these relationships vice the typical M/F story?
JCP: I’m really surprised by the exponential growth of the genre, because when I started in 2004 there were just a handful of authors. It’s hard to speculate why other people read M/M, but for me the appeal is that the story has different gender dynamics than an M/F.
19. Do you see these types of stories becoming more accepted in libraries, and/or going mainstream anytime soon?
JCP: That’s a whole can of worms. I may know too much about the way libraries function to answer this succinctly. It depends on the distribution channels. The librarians I’ve worked with tend to be pretty liberal and are eager to meet the requests of the community, but their library may have systems in place that don’t allow them to purchase print-on-demand titles, which is the technology most M/M publishers use to print their paperbacks. The Free Library in Philadelphia has a pretty extensive JCP collection, but that’s due to the efforts of a savvy librarian who lobbied for the acquisition of gay romance and made specific recommendation.
20. I like that your MCs don’t seem to be the ‘perfect beautiful people’, but more the ‘everyday man’, a touch too skinny, or too tall, or gangly, or a chain-smoker, fighting personal addictions or issues with familial relations, or even not neuronormal (I really like this term, as who really IS to say what’s neuronormal).
JCP: Thank you. I think everyday folks are more interesting that “perfect” people. A lot of my friends post pictures of hot models and I find I’m not really interested in them. It’s because a body to me is just a shell. I’m interested in the personality inside—or, when I’m being shallow, the tattoos on the outside! When I look for cover models I’m looking for a face that tells a story.
21. Was there a conscious effort on your part to make the MCs resonate with a different audience or to make them aware that everyone deserves a chance at a relationship, that relationships take work and everyone can go through bouts of loneliness too?
JCP: It was actually a knee jerk reaction I had to another story where the love interest was tall, dark and handsome, and I was so not feeling it. I thought, what if Daniel’s love interest was someone most people would totally overlook as being a potential partner?
22. You are a very talented cover artist as well. Do you always have a vision in your head of what your guys look like before you create your book covers?
JCP: Thank you, I like to think it’s more training than talent that goes into visual art. I have six years of art school under my belt and over 15 years as a graphic designer. Because Photoshop is always evolving I maintain a training regime of 1-2 hours training/research per week, and I was fortunate enough to attend live training with many of my favorite online instructors such as Dave Cross and Corey Barker.
Finding models is difficult, especially finding models that aren’t on dozens of other book covers. A lot of times I have to find the best match I can based on the stock photos available. Someday I hope to do an exclusive photo shoot for my images, maybe the next time I start a new series.
23. Is there a ‘mood’ that you aim to set up with your visuals?
JCP: Generally I go for an atmospheric mood and I tend to layer in a lot of smoke and schmutz. But lately I’ve been focusing more on “which genre am I aiming this book at?” rather than other considerations, like what the cover model looks like or whether the cover can illustrate a specific scene from the story. When I see self-made covers, I find many of them are so focused on showing some detail from the story that they miss the mark in conveying what genre the book is supposed to be. As a reader, the first thing that catches my eye is the cover genre. If it looks like speculative fiction, I look closer to see if the plot might grip me.
24. How long have you been creating book cover art?
JCP: I started in 2007 when I first began self-publishing, so about nine years.
To be continued…
And there you go. That’s it for this week’s questions. Sooo, everyone..if you want to read the rest of this interview, you’ll have to stay on the lookout for the next review on the third book in the trilogy back to Daniel’s perspective: ‘Life Is Awesome: Mnevermind #3‘ And you can read the first part of the interview here:
Thank you Jordan for joining us here at Rainbow Gold Reviews today, and I’m sure the readers are looking forward to more! I know I am 🙂
Last spring, while I was buying an old book about crows in a shop in Deeside, the lady selling me the book looked at the cover: ‘They’re meant to be intelligent birds,’ she said.
‘Pity they’re regarded as vermin.’
-Corvus, A Life With Birds by Esther Woolfson”
Excerpt From: Jordan Castillo Price. “Forget Me Not (Mnevermind 2)
MtSnow – Okay, so after reading the first book in this series, I was left wanting more. It wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger but I got the clear impression that things were just starting to develop between Daniel and Elijah.
So, as I began this second book, I realized it was being told from Elijah Crowe’s POV. Now talk about interesting. Not only do we get to see what he’s REALLY thinking, something that is very hard to tell from the fairly flat facial expressions and non-emotive tendencies of a highly intelligent, but on the spectrum person, but we get to see his frustrations with himself, and the people around him, as well as the process of how he works thru them. Or not.
It was very interesting the rituals and routines he had to go through everyday to even seem close to like everyone else around him. I was very much surprised about the relationship he had with his ex, and that she was still such a part of his life even while he became involved with Daniel too. There are many things about this story that gave me quite a few ‘ah-ha’ moments as to events that happened in the first book. And I don’t think this would’ve been possible without us getting into Elijah’s head. Things like the texture of cheese and colored hangars have a whole new meaning. And laundry. And being really good at something. Like, perfect. The things so many of us take for granted in our every day lives, and the things we don’t know, but think we do.
Price does a fantastic job creating a way for the reader to get a taste of what it’s like to deal with the challenges in everyday life for a person with autism. There is such a genuine desire to be good enough for Daniel. And having just finished Daniel’s POV, it is nice to see that he is trying just as hard to be good enough for Elijah. And he’s so matter-of-fact in his head that he at times can seem arrogant, but also the self talk and frustration let us see his vulnerability. The amount of trust he puts in Daniel is a VERY big deal. There is so much of this relationship that has to be at an intuitive level for both these guys to fumble and yet still find ways to make life work for them.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I now see why showing up in Daniel’s mnemes were so important for Elijah to establish initial contact. Whether by accident or on purpose I still wonder after having read the series. And the fact that Daniel was in such a vulnerable place with his family and business probably made him more open to possibilities with Elijah. I’m just so glad these guys gave it a chance.
If you haven’t checked them out yet, please consider grabbing up these stories. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll wonder what took you so long. Highly, highly recommended.
10/10 pots of gold = 100% recommended and converts to 5.00 of 5.00 stars
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out another of her series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.
With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again.
Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for JCP News: http://psycop.com/newsletter.html