Interview with J.F. Penn, author of Deviance

24 Sep 2015

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Ignore the advice to get a ‘proper’ job. You will spend years climbing the wrong ladder. Be true to your creative calling and start writing now. Don’t wait until you’re in your thirties. Life is too short.

Do you listen to anything while you write? If so, what’s your audio of choice?

I listen to Rain and Thunderstorms on repeat. It blocks out the noise of the world, especially if I am writing in a cafe or public place, and gets me into the creative state quickly. If I am on the internet, I also use where you can mix various natural sounds.

What are you currently craving?

A longer travel adventure! I’m planning a trip to Japan. All my books are based around detailed research and my own travels. I love to explore new places and feel like an outsider in a different culture. I always come back with tons of ideas, notes in my journals and the memories will find their way into different stories, even years later. For example, there’s a scene in Deviance where one of the characters scuba dives and encounters the octopus that inspires her full body tattoo. That’s based on a real dive I had in New Zealand back in 2002 where I had a similar experience. I find that memories emerge as I write, so I need to keep filling the creative well so I have more to draw on.

If The London Psychic Series is turned into a movie, who would you pick to play Jamie (or Blake) ?

I always cast my characters! Jamie would be Jennifer Connelly and Blake’s role is reserved for Jesse Williams. Jesse is mixed race, half Swedish-American and half African-American and I always had him in mind as I wrote the books.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

I love reading so I would probably read more. My Kindle To Read list is massive! I particular enjoy thrillers with an edge of the supernatural. My favorite authors include James Rollins, Daniel Silva, John Connolly, Mo Hayder and Stephen King. I also read travel books, entrepreneurship and self help.

What is the one movie that you can quote the most?

I never remember quotes but my favorite movies would be Legends of the Fall and Con Air. Two very different stories but I love explosion action adventure movies and I’ll never forget Brad Pitt as Tristan on a bloody rampage after his brother’s death.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always been a big reader and I’ve written journals since I was a teenager. I decided to write my first non-fiction book when I wanted to change my life after years as a cubicle slave. I was so miserable in my job, so I wrote that first book as a way to change it. That started me into writing books in general and then I did NaNoWriMo in 2009, writing the first scenes of what became Stone of Fire, the first in the ARKANE series. I caught the writing bug and discovered what I was really meant to do with my life and now I can’t stop!

What’s your favorite quote or scene from Deviance?

The tattoo and body mod community continues to fascinate me and the scene at the Tattoo Convention is based on an afternoon I spent researching there. I’ve read a lot about the psychology behind tattooing, how it’s become an almost sacred rite of passage in an increasingly secular world. You can see many of the pictures that inspired the book, including the tattoos, on Pinterest here:

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

“Have you made art today?”
I have this question on my wall and I look at it every day. I measure my life by what I create, so I try to make art every day.

Tell us a little bit about your new release, Deviance.

Who is the sinner and who is the saint?

LONDON. When the body of a priest is found in the ruins of Winchester Palace, his tattooed arms flayed, his mouth stuffed with feathers, the artists and outcasts of Southwark huddle in fear.

Private investigator Jamie Brooke begins the hunt for the murderer aided by Blake Daniel, a psychic researcher, who is haunted by visions of the past. As violence erupts, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, Jamie and Blake must find the skin collector before those they love are taken down.

A crime thriller with an edge of the supernatural, Deviance is the story of a struggle for power and a fight for freedom against the backdrop of modern-day London.


J.F. Penn is the author of the new book Deviance.

Connect with J.F.
Author Website

Buy The Book
B010W01I6W cover image

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.