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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Indie Author Spotlight: JD Cunegan

When the body of Dr. Trent Roberts is pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay, mangled and mutilated, Detective Jill Anderson is on the case. But the doctor’s murder is more than it seems and threatens to dredge up Jill’s past which contains military service, cybernetic enhancements, and a conspiracy involving one of Baltimore’s most beloved sons. While Jill investigates Trent Roberts’ death, an even bigger secret is being whispered. Who is Bounty?

Bounty was a really interesting take on the superhero story. I don’t want to reveal too much, but Bounty is basically a female version of DC’s Cyborg. While that particular character has always been kind of lame for me, Bounty was fresh and interesting. There’s a lot of really good humor and the relationship between Jill and her team is always entertaining. Bounty is a well told story that keeps you guessing until the very end. The action was well written and entertaining, and there was plenty of it.

This isn’t just for fans of superheroes, sci-fi, or mystery books. This is for anyone who like a well told story that’s an excellent start to a series.

You can buy Bounty here!


Now let’s meet the author!


Fresh off his debut novel Bounty, J.D. Cunegan introduces his intense follow-up, Blood Ties, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that re-introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, enjoys reading, and is an avid auto racing fan.

Start us off with a Twitter synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

Jill Andersen is a cop with a secret. Her latest case threatens that secret, and her entire life in the process.

Where did you get the idea for Bounty?

I first created Jill way back when I was in high school and had designs of being a comic book creator. Back then, she was little more than a leggy brunette with a samurai sword and a costume that looked an awful lot like Elektra... but as I grew up and began taking in more and more media, she evolved into the fantastic character she is today. So many of my favorite characters over the years -- Buffy Summers, Sydney Bristow, Sara Pezzini, Kate Beckett -- have been dynamic, multi-faceted female protagonists, and I'm glad that my own has resonated with readers the way she has. Jill is by far the best character I've created, and I'm glad to see her as popular as she is.

What do you think sets Bounty apart from other novels?

There are plenty of murder mysteries out there, and a good many superhero stories, but I'm not sure of many that blend the two genres. There's even a little sci-fi thrown in, even though sci-fi isn't necessarily one of my favorite genres. By merging aspects of those three genres, I feel like I'm able to tell a story that is simultaneously familiar and unique. I also love playing with Jill's double life; as in, what does it mean to have a secret identity in the social media era, and when your day job is already one that tasks you with keeping people safe?

Who was your favorite side character to write?

A character who didn't appear in Bounty, but was introduced in Blood Ties. Detective Earl Stevens has been a blast to write, because his dialogue is undoubtedly some of the most colorful I've written. In Blood Ties alone, he has quite a few scenes in which he berates a suspect, and the words that flew out of his mouth were so damn colorful and not what I typically write that I instantly knew he was gonna resonate with readers. I look forward to diving deeper into who he is and what makes him tick as the books progress.

Who is your biggest writing influence?

Equal parts Stan lee and Chris Claremont and Joss Whedon. The comic book and genre elements are fairly obvious in my work, and it was an issue of Claremont's X-Men, back when I was in middle school, that made me want to be a writer in the first place. Whedon deserves a spot on the list because I discovered Buffy, Angel, and Firefly when I was creatively barren... and those shows re-ignited my creative spark. If I don't discover Whedon's pre-Age of Ultron work, I'm probably not a published author today.

What lesser known sci-fi author (other than you, of course) do you think people should know about?

Jason Luthor. His novel Floor 21 might not be sci-fi in the strictest sense (there's definitely a large horror/thriller component to it), it is a fantastic read that I think fans of the genre would enjoy. It was certainly one of the best books I read in 2015, and I try to tell people about Floor 21 every chance I get.

What can we expect next from J.D. Cunegan?

I just released Blood Ties, the second novel in the Jill Andersen mystery series (and follow-up to Bounty). The next two novels in the series -- Behind the Badge and Behind the Mask -- are in-progress; Badge is in the revision stages (slated for a June 2016 release), while I'm writing the first draft of Mask. I'm also writing a first-person political thriller called The Pen is Mighty, which I hope to release toward the end of 2016, and a supernatural/fantasy epic called Notna that should be ready sometime in 2017.

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