What do you do when a nightmare threatens your dream? In the disturbingly funny new novel from the authors of Vampire Vic, Brian Lawson receives a dread diagnosis: cancer. But he won’t spare a moment from saving his struggling coffeeshop, even if success comes with his dying breath.
Divorced and ostracized in the rural community, Andrea Goldine sets her sights on the charismatic java man. Brian’s doctors ravage him with chemo and radiation, yet the tumor on his shin grows. Brian drafts Andrea into his battle with a competing coffeeshop, desperate to tap the college campus’s retail gold mine. But Andrea yearns for a different partnership…
Passions simmer below the surface of the tight-lipped community. Fresh from prison, North Dakota’s legendary basketball goddess dangles a ticket to Brian’s campus coffee dreams, and a disgraced scientist’s toxin treatment tantalizes. Two miracles for two maladies—with one cure more deadly than the next.
Cremona, thank you very much for having us on your site. We’re looking forward to talking with you today.
MB: Thank you, both. It was a real pleasure
Who is the real Java Man? There is in each of us a Java Man?
Allan: I’d like to say that Jason is the real Java Man. Like Brian Lawson in the story, Jason owns a coffeeshop, battles the town ordinance enforcer over his sidewalk sandwich boards, and wears shorts every day except Christmas or Easter (one or the other). But I can’t say that.
Jason: Cremona, it seems I have a little trouble separating fact and fiction.
Allan: When Brian got cancer in the story, Jason was convinced he was doomed. I got tired of his two a.m. phone calls, looking for reassurance, pretending he wanted to talk about plot development.
Jason: Let me tell you about a dream I had, while we were writing Java Man. I was floating up into the air, rising higher and higher. In my dream I realized I had died. And for whatever reason, I wasn’t too upset about it. I keep rising, and now I’m in space. I can see the Earth below me. It’s nice. Now I’m looking out into space, and I see a white light, way out there. I’m heading toward it, this bright white light, flying faster and faster, eager to see what’s out there, pretty sure I know what it is. But the light starts to dim. The closer I get, the dimmer the light gets. I’m hurtling toward it faster and faster, the light’s getting dimmer and dimmer, and then wham! it’s a black hole. That’s when I woke up.
Allan: That dream was so terribly good, we used it in Java Man.
Jason: That’s when I decided that Allan is Java Man.
Allan: Except you won’t get me out of my longjohns in the winter, much less my pants.
Java Man is described as „disturbingly funny new novel” – what is the humor meaning in Java Man?
Allan: Jason and I like to entertain each other with our misfortunes.
Jason: Really, we’re to the point where things are a bit twisted; we sort of look forward to unfortunate occurrences, in order to get a good story.
Allan: Luckily most of the bad things seem to happen to Jason. For instance, we were messing around in a little canyon outside Moab a couple years ago, each finding our own way down to the canyon floor. Suddenly I hear a terrible snapping sound, and then this hair-raising falling sound, and finally what I would call an impact sound. Then no sound.
Jason: Not to kill the suspense, but I was all right, mostly. Turned out I shouldn’t have tried to down-climb on a wall of sandstone and shale.
Allan: Now that I think of it, the fact that most of the bad things happen to Jason really isn’t luck.
Jason: Brian Lawson in Java Man is a storyteller. He knows that a shock factor can make a good story great.
Allan: So cancer is his perfect misfortune.
Jason: Assuming it doesn’t kill him.
Is it a big step from Vampire Vic to Java Man or not? Have they something in common?
Allan: I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I think Vic and Brian do have a connection – both men are dealing with an affliction, trying to figure out the best way to live with it.
Jason: And in both stories, there is a mystery surrounding that affliction. In Vampire Vic, how did Vic become a vampire? For Brian Lawson, will Dr. Bhani’s “toxins” cure or kill him? Both men’s futures hinge on the answers.
Allan: Even though Vampire Vic is probably classified as “horror”, we aren’t hardcore horror writers. Both books are about men facing extreme circumstances, deciding whether to accept or fight their fate. And botching up their sex lives something terrible.
Jason: There’s where the two books are very different. With Vampire Vic, everyone was like, “Where’s the sex?” And with Java Man it’s, “Did you really need so much?”
Allan: I don’t think it’s the quantity, Jason. It’s that you made it so freaky.
Jason: I thought we had settled that question. Looks like the next few therapy sessions are on you, Allan.
What is the secret of your collaboration?
Jason: Trust. I would read a chapter draft from Allan, where Brian is doing something stupid or destructive, and just cringe and think, I would not do that. My first impulse was to rewrite it, to soften it, to cast Brian in a better light. But I knew from experience that Allan had a plan, a plot if you will.
Allan: Of course Jason does stuff like that all the time, but the general point is right. For instance, while Java Man is basically Jason’s autobiography without the cancer, Vampire Vic is all fiction. I think we continually surprised each other creating unique characters and scenes and plot developments that the other guy never would have come up with on his own. It’s trust, based on proven experience.
Jason: And therapy, for sure. A lot of professional counseling.
Talking about humor, there is a real risk for the reader to become a coffee addicted after reading Java Man?
Jason: As a coffeeshop owner, I sure hope so.
Allan: We hope Java Man does for coffee what Vampire Vic did for blood.
Jason: I don’t know if that’s a great analogy.
Allan: We do think the coffeeshop is a great setting for our story. All the romances and intrigues that live and die in the coffeeshop, all the quirky employees and colorful customers…you’re getting the owner’s view of the original, iconic social meeting place. What Brian brings to the community—and what the town does for Brian—plays a big role in Java Man.
Jason: Cremona, we sure like what you’re doing for Java Man and the writing community. We really appreciate the chance to join you and talk shop for awhile.
About the author:
In the nook seat of Jason Gray’s coffee shop, Allan Harris wrote. And eavesdropped, as Jason told stories. One day Allan found waiting for him a little yellow notepad, crammed to the margins with Jason’s tales. Allan typed them, touched them up, and called it good. Jason had other ideas.
A collaboration began. The writer and the storyteller. As their tales converged and became inseparable, as they were fused by the stories they told…all the king’s horses & men can’t un-make Harris Gray again.
Author's INT Giveaway