Welcome to my tour stop for The Cypress Trap by J.C. Gatlin. This is an adult suspense/thriller novel. The tour runs October 12-23 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.
When Rayanne commandeers her husband’s weekend fishing trip, she knows it’ll take work to adjust Owen’s attitude. She has no choice. Since the tragedy, they lost so much. They need to reconnect. Without her knowledge, Owen texts his best buddy, Daryl, to join the getaway. The three of them aren’t alone in the backwoods of Georgia, though. Owen took something that didn’t belong to him. Something that changed their lives. And now the owner wants it back. By any means -- including a posse led by a killer dog. At first, Rayanne is clueless about the item and its value. One thing becomes crystal clear: If it’s not returned, they might not make it home alive.
JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida. In addition to regular fishing trips, he wrote a monthly column for New Tampa Style Magazine, then began penning several mystery/suspense stories. He also maintains a blog about the art of spinning a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat mystery yarn. Coming from a large family with five brothers, JC grew up in Grapevine -- a small Texas town just outside of Dallas. He moved to Tampa in 1999, and most of his stories feature the rich landscapes of Texas and Florida as backdrop.
Website | Amazon Page | Goodreads
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I don’t know if this is just terrible and makes me a horrible person, but when I was in grade school, I stole my best friend’s rabbit’s foot. I was spending the night at his house and just took it off his bedroom dresser in the middle of the night and put it in my duffle bag. I think I was seven or eight at the time.
Now flash forward 30 years, and something made me think about the poached rabbit’s foot and I imagined what would’ve happened if my childhood friend held a grudge over all those years that manifested into a homicidal obsession. That was the seed that ultimately became The Cypress Trap.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I think Darryl is my favorite character. He is the husband’s best friend and is based on Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead. He’s enjoying a string of good luck but ultimately confesses a nasty secret. He tries to protect his best friend, and I think he redeems himself in the end.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
Without a doubt, the novel. It’s actually had six different titles until I finally found The Cypress Trap. I found the title – or maybe the title found me, I’m not really sure – when I was looking through royalty free graphics to create a cover. I stumbled on the black shadow graphic of the rabbit and immediately thought “trap.” The whole book is about the mental trap of hanging onto past sorrow and regrets. Then I started looking for a word that would compliment it. “Cypress” seemed the logical choice because the cypress branch represents deep sorrow.
What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
My favorite scene is the part where Rayanne must leave her husband in the wrecked truck and wander the woods in search of help. She hides in an auto graveyard, inside the shell of a VW Bug and comes face to face with the Rottweiler that’s been terrorizing them. Several people have mentioned that it reminded them of the book Cujo, and I’m not surprised. Cujo is one of my favorite novels of all time, and I thought of that scene as an homage to that book. Of course Cujo was a St. Bernhard and infected with rabies. Luger, in this book, is just a misunderstood Rottweiler.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I’ve learned to be supportive of other people and their writing. It’s easy to crush a person’s dream, and I don’t ever want to be do that. As authors, we’re not in competition with each other. Just because someone buys your book, that doesn’t mean they can’t buy mine too. So, we need to support each other and build each other up. I think I was needlessly critical, especially of other writers, when I was in my twenties. There was no need for that behavior and I see it in others all the time.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The red background with the deep shadows looks ominous and just reeks of impending danger. The rabbit silhouette looks innocent, and I hope that conflict draws people to the cover. It’s my favorite cover so far.
What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?
I’m really looking forward to Dean Koontz’s Ashley Bell. I read that short story that ties into it, and have already pre-ordered Ashley. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Koontz book that I didn’t like.
What was your favorite book in 2015?
Gillian Anderson’s Vision of Fire was surprisingly good. I haven’t really thought about my favorite book of the year, but that might be it. The sequel is coming out before Christmas and I’m really looking forward to it.
What’s up next for you?
My next book is a murder mystery in the traditional sense. It’s about a young woman who returns home after five years to attend the funeral of a childhood friend. While there, she suspects her friend was murdered. It will be coming out in March.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
If anyone would like to touch base with me, they can find me on Facebook. I’m really active and respond to questions. I also have a website www.jcgatlin.com. Look me up.
$10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends Oct. 28th
Prizing is provided by CBB Book Promotions, hosts are not responsible for prizing.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.