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Interview with J. F. Penn, author of the ARKANE series

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Tell us about The ARKANE Series.
ARKANE stands for the Arcane Religious Knowledge And Numinous Experience Institute and it’s a secret British agency that investigates supernatural and religious mysteries. In a modern world where ancient faith now plays an increasingly political role, ARKANE can often be found behind the scenes at the crux of international flash-points.

There are three books in the series so far – Pentecost, Prophecy and Exodus – and in each, the ARKANE team has to solve the mystery before disaster overtakes the world.

What genre are the books? What kind of readers will they appeal to?
They are fast-paced thrillers, appealing to fans of Dan Brown, James Rollins, Steve Berry and Scott Mariani.

I have a Masters degree in Theology from the University of Oxford, so although the books are not strictly religious, they do use aspects of religion and Biblical history to weave into the story.

Because Dr Morgan Sierra is an academic, comparisons will inevitably be made to the Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon. Are there similarities? Tell us a bit more about Morgan Sierra.
In the first book, Pentecost, Dr Morgan Sierra, ex Israeli IDF and now an Oxford University psychologist, is drawn into ARKANE when her sister and niece are kidnapped. She remains the protagonist in subsequent books, a kick-ass heroine alongside Jake Timber and others from the team. She does Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art and she is definitely more up for a fight than Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon! She also leaves academia in book 2 to join ARKANE as a full-time agent. There are some love interests along the way, but Morgan is a loner and used to the loss that goes with the military life.

The books are certainly inspired by those that I love as a reader, which include The Da Vinci Code and also the awesome Sigma series by James Rollins. I also love Matthew Reilly‘s action-adventure books which may account for the fast-pace of the books!

Whenever I see Jake Timber’s name it makes me think of Justin Timberlake. He’s not an ex-boyband crooner, is he?
In the movie of the books, Jake would be played by Hugh Jackman and he is a scarred, battle-hardened fighter with roots in the conflicts of South Africa – so definitely no boy bands!

What can you tell us about the next book in the series?
I’m currently writing an ARKANE novella, Relic, which is set in Budapest, Hungary. It opens with escalating violence by ultra right-wing groups against the beleaguered Jewish community, decimated in the Second World War. A powerful relic has been stolen and Morgan Sierra must return it before the violence turns into a massacre. That should be out in May/June (2013).

Tell us about your site, The Creative Penn and what it offers authors.
I started TheCreativePenn.com back in 2008 as a way to share my own lessons learned on the journey of being an independent author. It has developed into a community of authors who love to help each other and offers information and inspiration on writing, publishing options and book marketing.

From this page, you can find all the resources: http://www.TheCreativePenn.com/resources/ including a free Author 2.0 Blueprint ebook, 75+ hours of free audio with The Creative Penn podcast (also on iTunes) and over 800 free articles.

If people want more targeted education, I have developed some premium online courses http://www.thecreativepenn.com/store/.

Where else can we follow you online? Do you use social media?
Absolutely!

You can find me on twitter @thecreativepenn and on Facebook for writers www.facebook.com/TheCreativePenn

I also have a site for my fiction http://www.JFPenn.com and my Facebook author page is www.facebook.com/JFPennAuthor

I’m also on all the other sites, Pinterest, Goodreads, G+, LinkedIn – so you can connect wherever you hang out.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in London now, but spent 13 years in New Zealand and Australia as well as traveling widely. I used to be an IT consultant for large corporates, trapped in the cubicle world, but became a full-time author, speaker and entrepreneur in September 2011. I speak internationally about writing, self-publishing and book marketing as well as online business these days. I love cats, Pinot Noir, chocolate, scuba diving and travelling plus, I read a LOT for pleasure!

You used to work in an office cubicle?
I’ve also written a non-fiction book on Career Change for anyone who wants to escape the corporate rat race: Career Change: Stop hating your job, discover what you really want to do with your life, and start doing it!

What’s next?
I’ve just finished the first of a new series, Desecration, which is more of a crime thriller with a supernatural edge that focuses on dissection and body-snatching. That’s with my agent right now. I’ve also got the audiobook version of Pentecost coming out in May, so that’s exciting too!

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