The idea for The Finisher began on Christmas Day in 2008 when my wife gave me a blank journal. Being a writer, I immediately scurried away to my private space, took up my pen, opened the journal’s first page, and jotted down the name “Vega Jane.” Five years later--after many fits and starts--The Finisher was, well, finished. Looking back over the story, I realized I had completed more than a novel. I had achieved a dream of mine to write a story that had nothing to do with the real world, and which would be inhabited by creatures and places born solely from my imagination. It coupled my love of fantasy with the adrenaline rush that I try to bring to my thrillers.
I had told no one I was writing the book, except for my wife, who eagerly read the pages as they came off the printer. When the manuscript was done, I sent it to my agent, who was stunned by the subject matter but totally loved the story. We then sent it out to publishers but under the pseudonym Janus Pope. I wanted publishers to fall in love with the story and take it on for that reason only. And where did the name come from? Janus was the Roman two-faced god, looking forward and back. It seemed appropriate since I was trying something so new. And the Pope surname? It’s just that Catholic thing!
When Scholastic bought the book, they thought Janus Pope was a Brit because of how the story is told and the vernacular used. They wanted to know if I could come over from England to meet. My agent told them that Janus Pope absolutely could, only he lived a lot closer!
As the excitement continues to build for the launch of this book on March 4, I really do feel like a kid again, and a first-time novelist. And in some respects, with The Finisher, I am.
As I continue to explore the world of Vega Jane in subsequent books, I hope you’ll join me for the ride.