Beyond the Reach of Judgement
By: Jo Bissell
“Did we leave any sin out?” she replied with a forced weak laugh.
“No. Between the two of us, I think we have managed to cover them all.” he mumbled as that uncomfortable lump in his gut returned.
Julien Rene Durant was once a good man. Born in France, he took the oath as a Jesuit Priest in the 1600s. He dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel. Now, he was a monster surviving off the blood of others; killing for survival even as he wished for nothing other than for his own extinction. After almost four centuries of guilt and hopelessness, he encounters someone who might just be able to rescue the good man trapped within the monster, but will his judgements deny him a second chance?
Mary Ruth Jacobson-Ryan is nothing special; a small town girl stuck in a rut. Married to the local Iraqi War Hero who turned out not to be the perfect guy she fell in love with before the war, she is desperate for a way out. When things turn from bad to worse, she runs with plans to never look back. She quickly finds, however, that her search for a better future may lead her down a path with no future at all.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/D-BSsXjx0v8
What inspired you to write this novel, Beyond the Reach of Judgement?
To be honest. I read Twilight several years ago and found myself in love with the concept., many of the characters, and the genre, but overall disappointed in what I felt was a lack of “steaminess,” a weak central female character who drove me insane, and some questionable ideas about relationships and love. For years I thought about how things would have been different had I had control of the story. Then I read several more short stories, novellas, and novels with vampire/human relationships and found myself engrossed with shows like True Blood and Vampire Diaries. Finally, I decided I had to try it myself. Thanks for the 30K words I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2012, I had a good start. It took some time, many beta-readers, and a good editor do the appropriate research and to polish the story, but finally I felt I had something worth sharing.
What are some challenges you faced while writing Beyond the Reach of Judgement?
I find it difficult to step out of the story and see it from a readers' perspective. Many of my beta-readers have opened my eyes to just how much I tend to assume readers know when I haven't yet told them. I also find it hard to capture some of the details I know about my characters that make them real to me but aren't necessarily crucial to the plot. Thankfully, the novel has come a long way since its first draft and the characters have found ways to distinguish themselves with each new draft.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I spend the majority of my time working as a full-time physician caring for hospitalized adult patients. I love my job, but I find writing helps me unwind and explore emotions, problems, and themes that I can't allow myself to explore or simply don't have time to explore while at work.
When I have long breaks, I like to travel. The places I've been often end up as settings for my writing. During my travels, I spend time experimenting with photography and often do volunteer work. I enjoy snowboarding, archery, and hiking as well as watching movies. I occasionally post film reviews on my blog.
Do your experiences influence your writing?
Most definitely, but probably not the way that many would think. I know I've been very fortunate in my life, having an excellent family, an excellent support system of friends, and some good luck. In my job, I see so many people that aren't so fortunate and often wonder how things would be different if I faced such adversity and challenges. Often, these thoughts become central themes in my writing and are my way dealing with these questions.
Why do you write paranormal romance and urban fantasy?
Mostly I write these genres because I enjoy reading them. I think they have exciting and unique characters and allow just the right combination of escapism and guilty pleasure. I like the way using unreal creatures and settings with ties to reality allows me to work with complicated themes and ideas without having to weighed down the “rules” of reality. I find that using non-human creatures actually accentuates and highlights what it means to be human and magical elements are often representation of real life problems but can be manipulated and viewed in ways that the “real world” just does not allow. Plus, who doesn't enjoy fantasizing a little?
What's next for you?
I am currently working on an Urban Fantasy surrounding the mystery of The Black Angel grave marker in Iowa City, IA, which I am very excited about. After that, I hope to write a sequel and/or a spin-off of Beyond the Reach of Judgement. I also have outlines for a mermaid adventure/romance and a gargoyle paranormal romance I have yet to start writing.
Jo Bissell started writing in middle school with fantasy stories inspired by books such as The Hobbit, and in fact once turned in a journal project written entirely in Dwarfish Ruins. She then explored fanfiction and short speculative fiction writing. Now, after many years of study, she spends most of her time working as a full time physician caring for hospitalized adults. When she is not writing or doctoring, she enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, archery, thrift store shopping, and snowboarding. She currently resides in the Iowa City, IA area with her husband and two cats.
Beyond the Reach of Judgement is Jo Bissell’s first original novel which evolved out of a 2012 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project. She also has a short speculative fiction piece, His Eyes, available for Kindle. Future planned novels include a sequel to Beyond the Reach of Judgement, other works of urban fantasy and paranormal romances, and a science fiction novel. She continues to participate in NaNoWriMo.