MtSnow reviews ‘Life Is Awesome’ (Mnevermind series, book 3) by Jordan Castillo Price. Published by JCP Books, LLC., Feb. 24, 2015, 240 pgs.
Daniel Schroeder wants nothing more than to repair his father’s broken memories, but it’s been a long time since he’s thought of himself as a memorysmith. Even though convincing Big Dan of their current reality is the most painful task Daniel faces every morning, somehow life manages to prevent him from finding a cure. He needs to keep their family business running. And he needs to moonlight at a competitor’s shop to keep all his employees paid. Or maybe he’s just trying to keep himself from exacerbating the situation.
A year ago, Daniel would have presumed he was clever enough to memorysmith his way out of their predicament, but nowadays he’s not so cavalier. Playing with people’s memories shouldn’t be taken lightly, and things can always get worse. Even with the help of some of the best minds in the business, Daniel still isn’t sure how to navigate his way out of the persistent false memory that’s crippled his life. Is new programming the answer? Better gear? More money? Or is time the only thing that can heal Big Dan’s memories…if they can even be fixed at all.
What Daniel needs most is some breathing room, and Elijah Crowe is eager to provide it. Since he’s smitten with Daniel, Elijah is determined to prove himself—and he’s more than qualified to clear Daniel’s schedule by taking over some duties at Adventuretech. With the support of his new boyfriend, possibilities begin to open up for Daniel, hints of things he hasn’t even realized he’d stopped hoping for: the contentment of a harmonious family, the fulfillment of his creative expression, and a chance for a relationship with a man he loves.
Note: This book completes the Mnevermind Trilogy.
Note: This is Part 3 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 look at the others in the series for more interview questions and answers! Click to read the review of book 1 and 2 in the series as well as the first and second parts of the interview: Persistence of Memory: Mnevermind Book #1 and Forget Me Not: Mnevermind Book #2
Let’s welcome author Jordan Castillo Price to RGR for our last set of questions and answers. Thank you so much for joining us here today! This has been a great interview and we very much appreciate Jordan’s thoughtful responses to all our questions.
RGR: Soooo, I just finished reading your complete Mnevermind trilogy and right now all I can say is, well, I’m sad it’s over. I VERY much enjoyed this series.
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.
25. With the various familial relationships, and the different relatives and secondary friendships and challenges that support or hinder your characters, how much would you consider autobiographical in your stories?
JCP: So much of writing is autobiographical. But one thing I tend to do is really mix up my sources. So I might take a situation I am observing happening to someone else, but filter it through a situation of my own where I felt a certain way. I seldom lift anything very directly from my own life. Real life is a lot more unsatisfying than fiction. With fiction, things that happen randomly feel contrived, and major events end in payoffs of some sort. Real life is full of things that would make very crappy and unsatisfying fiction.
26. This trilogy may be very futuristic, creative and original, but at its heart, it tells a story about family. The relationship between Daniel, Elijah and Daniel’s father, Big Dan is at the center.
JCP: I’m really happy that’s what you got from the story. Speculative fiction lends itself to getting bigger and bigger, with plots that impact huge things, like saving the whole world. The bigger the plot gets, sometimes the less realistic it feels. What I was trying to do with Mnevermind was to scale it back and make the story very personal and intimate. I wanted the events of the story not to impact the whole world, but a single family. My hope was that by scaling back the circle of effect, I would take this technology that I had invented and make it feel relatable.
27. Do you think Daniel would have stopped punishing himself, overcome his fear and rediscovered his gift without seeing his father and his work through Elijah’s eyes?
JCP: Hopefully not, which probably sounds funny! Elijah was the catalyst that nudged Daniel out of his downward spiral. Maybe that’s what really makes a story a story. You can’t take out an important element without changing the outcome.
28. Do you think Daniel and Elijah’s relationship would have lasted beyond the first awkwardness, if Big Dan hadn’t accepted Elijah just the way he is, Aspergers and all, as part of the family?
JCP: I suppose it would have put Daniel in an awkward position. Normally if he disagreed with Big Dan, he could go off and do his own thing because he’s an adult. But he felt obligated to sacrifice whatever he needed to sacrifice to help big Dan with his persistent mnem. It would’ve been out of character for Big Dan to react like that, but for the sake of argument, if he hadn’t been welcoming to Elijah then the story would’ve been a different story.
29. You have created a very rich and original world. The invention of Mnem Machines in that world is not just a way to have fun, but could be used in various ways.
JCP: It probably says something about my inherent cynicism that people are generally just treating the mnem technology like it’s nothing more than a newer bigger Ferris wheel rather than the therapeutic tool it could be.
30. Do you think you will ever write another story set in this world, whether about Daniel and Elijah and their achievements or completely different stories like mysteries where modern mnem machines are used to help the investigators?
JCP: The strength of the story lies in Daniel repairing his family and expanding it with Elijah, so I think if I took the mnem technology into something like crime solving, it wouldn’t ring true. The story elements were constructed specifically to build the scenario in which Daniel and Elijah could flourish together, I don’t think these props and settings would repurpose convincingly. The worldbuilding was interesting, but worldbuilding is something that comes easily to me. And I feel like I can always build another engaging world to tell my next story.
31. What was your first story about and did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
JCP: I’ve always wanted to do something creative though I wasn’t sure if it would be art or music. I also did a stint as a puzzle maker, not a very lucrative career choice. I came to writing fairly late, when I got my first computer at the age of 31. One of the first things I did on that computer was write a huge high fantasy novel. It was very Dungeons & Dragons. And not very good.
32. Where and when was your first story published?
JCP: Sometime between 2002 and 2004 I finally started getting some traction with all the stories I was submitting around. I went through this grind of submitting and submitting and submitting stories everywhere I could. Because of this process, I’m not totally sure which one was the first but I have short stories and several erotica anthologies that came out around then. I do remember my early vampire/werewolf story Starlight (in the Alyson Books anthology Blood Lust by M Christian and Todd Gregory) being the first one I felt was truly a story of my heart, and not just me trying to fit into an existing market.
33. How many years have you been writing in the MM romance genre and where do you see it going from here?
JCP: The first MM publisher I worked with was Torquere Press in 2004. The genre was really new at that point. It’s grown so much faster and bigger than I ever could have anticipated. My hope is that someday it will be able to split into more categories. Right now MM is always considered to be “Romance” first, although many of the titles are actually books in other genres with a romantic subplot.
34. What other projects are you working on?
JCP: Right now I’m working on some PsyCop projects that I hope to have ready by the time I see readers at GRL this October. The best way to keep abreast of my newest projects is to sign up for my email newsletter, JCP News, at http://psycop.com/newsletter
35. Are you planning on doing anymore audiobooks?
JCP: Absolutely. I adore hearing my work performed by Gomez Pugh. His performance allows me to enjoy my own stories in a whole new way. Spook Squad (PsyCop 7) is currently in production and I should get to hear it any day now.
36. What books on your backlist do you wish others would try out?
JCP: I’ll attempt to liken some of my work to various TV shows or films people might have seen. If you like psychological weirdness like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Inception, I’d love for you to try the Mnevermind Trilogy. If you loved LOST, you might give the Turbulence Collection a whirl. If you get sucked into skill-based reality shows like The Biggest Loser or Project Runway, you’ll get a kick out of Magic Mansion. And if you reach waaaay back in your memory banks and remember getting a big charge out of the filthy punk rock vampires in Lost Boys (the original movie only, please!) definitely don’t miss the Channeling Morpheus series.
37. Do you have favorite authors and inspiration you’d like to share?
JCP: I know and love so many wonderful authors it’s really hard to single out just a few. I’m a big fan of Holly Black’s White Cat series, I adored the plot twists and the magic system. Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale is a huge all time favorite of mine. I’m scared to re-read it because I always worry about subconsciously trying to imitate her style because it just sucks me in that completely. And I’m really jonesing to read Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk, a followup to the story she wrote for my Charmed and Dangerous anthology.
38. What advice would you give a new author or wish someone had shared with you when you were just starting?
JCP: It’s a really different time to be writing now than it was in 1999 when I first started out. I wouldn’t say that being traditionally published isn’t the pinnacle of being a writer anymore. You’ll have to decide what makes you tick and determine your own goals. (I actually stink at that, personally. I’m always on a quest to figure out what I’m trying to achieve). Be inquisitive, be authentic, and always ask yourself what makes your work special. Whatever the answer is, do more of that.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity delve into a lot of the hows and whys most people don’t get a chance to know about!!
And… this concludes our 3-part interview. Thank you again, Jordan Castillo Price, for such in-depth and thoughtful responses to our interview questions. This has been a real treat! I wish it wasn’t over, but you have given us great insights into your creative process and so much more during this enlightening interview..
Thank you, Jordan, for joining us here at Rainbow Gold Reviews today. I’m sure the readers are looking forward to more! I know I am 🙂
Memory is the diary that chronicles things that never happened or couldn’t possibly have happened.
Excerpt From: Jordan Castillo Price. “Mnevermind 3: Life is Awesome.” JCP Books LLC, 2015.
MtSnow – Well darn. I’m sad to say this is the final review in this three-part series of stories in the Mnevermind universe. It was a great place to visit, and a great place to lose myself in the great, and to me, realistic world-building that included mnemes, dream Sherpas and a place where virtual reality-type equipment allowed people to pay for a few minutes, or hours, of happiness. Of a way to replay their realities to how they wished they could’ve been. A way to think ‘Life Is Awesome’.
There was a lot of character development in this series, and even now, I have to say book 2 from Elijah’s POV is still my favorite, but that all three stories were perfectly paced to a conclusion that satisfied my need for an HEA, and the development of relationships with ALL the characters, not just the MCs.
That is something I find few authors are accomplished at for me. Creating believable relationships with the supporting characters as well as the MCs. I began to care as much for Big Dan’s happiness, Larry’s loyal friendship, and the rest of Elijah’s and Daniel’s friends and family as I did for the main characters. For such fairly short novellas, I felt at the completion of this series an overwhelming sense if rightness with the world, a thoughtful and full picture of what the rest of their lives could be like. And I enjoyed the possibilities.
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. A great conclusion to a well thought-out series. The interview with the author is worth so much more in that it gives us such a good overall feel of what it is like, even for a second, to be in the mind of an author gifted in taking us somewhere we will think of for years to come. Highly, highly recommended.
9.5/10 pots of gold = 95% recommended and converts to 4.75 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