Read It With Whiskey

Jack Casey, The Royal Green

July 20, 2021 Laura Juntunen Episode 25
Read It With Whiskey
Jack Casey, The Royal Green
Show Notes Transcript

Thank you so much for tuning in with the Read It With Whiskey podcast! We are speaking with Jack Casey, the author of The Royal Green.

In this interview, Jack and I discuss the characters and world-building put into this story. We also touch on how Jack's own personal growth developed the deeper meaning within the book.

Some extra content about how this book relates to our current world situation (cough, cough, Covid, cough) was taken out of this audio version of the podcast. If you want to dive in and get that extra info, make sure to become a Viewer patron so you can WATCH the video interview!

Here is how to contact Jack and learn more about his books and projects:

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Laura Juntunen:

Hello, Jack Casey and welcome to the Read It With Whiskey podcast! How are you doing today?

Jack Casey:

Good, it's good to be here!

Laura Juntunen:

I'm so excited to have you on because we are going to talk all about your book, The Royal Green. We might even get into a little bit of what books two and three are going to be about. But before we dive into all of that, I would love for you to tell all of our listeners (readers): Why did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

Jack Casey:

I mean, I was always a kid who was playing with my action figures. I would be inventing entire backstories behind them. And you know, creating an entire world in my head just playing growing up. So I was always kind of a storyteller. And I would write stories but never quite finished them usually. It was only later that I started this one. When I was 17, I started the first chapter. And I kind of let it sit for a while in my head and hadn't quite gotten back to it. And then a few years later, I came back to it was like, you know, I want to finish this, I want to actually do this. And and and actually put it out there. So I made myself a promise to finish it and publish it within 10 years of having started the first chapter and funnily enough, that's exactly how long it took for me to find a chip and put it out there.

Laura Juntunen:

That is some some dedication 1010 years. So tell me like, What was that process? Like? Was it a little bit of writing here? A little bit of writing there? Did you forget about it for five years? Or was it an ongoing process?

Jack Casey:

Yeah, it was effort starting that chapter and taking like, two, three years to just kind of think about it and let the story stuff come together. And and at that time, you know, when I started it, I was kind of at the age of like, trying to question things and you know, about your beliefs or your ideas about the world or, you know, thinking about things like that. And so I, I took some time to meditate on that, and then went back to finishing it. And I wrote the first draft in about a year and a half. But then I sat on that and was writing the sequels are later editing for many years after so it was only, and of course working up the nerve to actually put out there and self publish. Yeah, once I did that it was 10 years to the day, it was pretty cool. I felt like I was keeping that promise to myself when I was when I was growing up. Yeah,

Laura Juntunen:

yeah. And so you decided self publishing? So tell us why did you decide to do self publishing? Yeah,

Jack Casey:

I thought about doing the traditional way. I went to one of those writer, you know, conferences, you know, the query letters and whatnot. And after like, maybe a year of that, or two, I quickly could see that independently publishing, or self publishing, it was gonna be better for me. I think, on the one hand, I like having creative control. I didn't want to give up too much of the rights. But also, I just didn't, you know, I wanted to do it my way. So that good or bad, it was resting on my shoulders. And I could I could do my way, you know, I think I just have sort of an independent streak. So that seemed fitting.

Laura Juntunen:

Exactly. That's a common thread. With all the guests on the podcast, we can't control. Any publishing just, it just makes sense. So you have the royal green, you also have it sequel out, which is in the silver throne. And then your third book is coming out this summer, crowned by gold. So we're not going to dive into books two and three too much today. But I would love for you to tell us tell our listeners, what is the royal green about oh, man,

Jack Casey:

let's see. I mean, it's got the sort of arranged marriage scenario you have this prince and the stoops, daughter, the prince has this, you know, controlling authoritative mother figure and the Queen Dukes daughter is concerned about her father to do his his sort of potential plants revolution or, you know, some sort of pushback against the Crown. And so these two, the prints of his daughter are being kind of pushed together to try and keep some sort of peace between these two sides. And so there's some of that kind of spying, political intrigue there. But they're also asking big questions about what they want for themselves in their lives, you know, whether or not they want to play the roles that they've been given by their parents. So on the one hand, there's there's this tension of trying to prevent a civil war, but also a lot of personal discovery. Like they're trying to find their own sense of freedom, independence, and what they want out of their lives, too.

Laura Juntunen:

There's so much that happens within this book. And I gotta say, when I was reading it, because for those of you who are watching the video version, this is the book and it is meaty it is it's like a huge book, and even in just what you said, just now I'm like, oh, there's so much more that people don't know, like,

Jack Casey:

how far do I I know, it's like, it's like an onion, you keep peeling back layers, and it's gonna, it's gonna keep pulling you along. It's a new character developments, for sure.

Laura Juntunen:

So where did the inspiration for this book come from? Because there's so many different intertwining parts. And so is there like one thing that inspired you to write this entire story? Or was it kind of a mash up of a couple different things?

Jack Casey:

A lot of it was unplanned. I'll typically have Uh, sort of, you know, ending in mind or I know kind of where I want to go. But this was, at the time of me writing it not only when I started at 17, when I finished more of it around 21. And it was a lot of inner kind of soul searching, I was really asking questions kind of, in my own life about everything from spiritual questions, political questions, personal, ethical questions and things. And just at that, that time of your life, when you're, you're trying to find yourself and figure out what you really believe in why. And so I think seeing the characters go through that was sort of me wrestling with that internally, but also trying to relate it to, you know, for other people, that world too, because we've all been there where we're, you know, trying to figure out what we want and why and where responsibilities are or, you know, where we want to be more free and stuff. So there was a lot of kind of internal soul searching, subconscious, kind of talking to me, but also, as I was going, figuring out, how can I tell this story that people can enjoy to and relate to?

Laura Juntunen:

Yeah, sounds like you put a lot of your own internal struggle and battle and just life into these characters and kind of had them play out, like, almost like a fantasy of what could be in your brain. Does that make sense? Does that make sense? Just yeah. You know, exactly.

Jack Casey:

Yeah, it's, I think, a lot like dreams or nightmares. Like they tell you things, right. It's from your own subconscious. You're kind of watching it happen. In some cases, you're influencing your own dreams, but it's like you're talking to yourself and hearing things, you weren't necessarily able to express this clearly until you saw it in that sort of fictional fantasy dream form. And you're like, oh, yeah, maybe that is what I think or believe. Or maybe this is, you know, so the characters kind of manifest a lot of this those things, but I hope, too, that they're, there's real to people as they were to me when I discovered them, you know, you kind of meet them too. And they surprise you. And you're like, oh, wow, feels like I've visited this other world and now trying to describe my experience.

Laura Juntunen:

Right, exactly. And let's dive into the characters a little bit because I had some favorites of my own. And I always like to ask the author, who is your favorite character within the book?

Jack Casey:

Oh, man, I've it's so tough. I think a part of me, I mean, obviously, you know, the main two whose perspective that follows is his JD and craft do the Princeton, the Dukes daughter, but it's clear, pretty early on that the other characters played significant roles to, on the one hand, I like writing the characters whose thoughts you can see, but I also love when you see characters, like our Kelly, S, and evera, and others, where you're having to guess along with the two main characters, what they're thinking, or you know, how they really feel. And so I like that some of those characters are fun, because there's more mystery to them, as you're writing them for the reader. But then I also enjoy, you know, Jaden craft do getting to see in their head, and the funny thoughts or, you know, miscommunications or things have happened because of that. So it's really tough to say,

Laura Juntunen:

yeah, it's tough. It's tough. And I always relate really hard to the main characters whenever I read a book, but there's always this subcategory, category character, where I'm like, I really like that person, because they're strong, or they have some kind of characteristic about them, where I'm just drawn towards them. Like they're either a protector or something like that. And so I really, really connected to evera. She was probably my favorite character out of everybody. And so anytime she was in the scene, I was like, yes. I just really liked her because she was, she kind of was like, if it doesn't work out, I'm going to do my own thing. Like I want to, I want to be my own person, I want to take control. And I really like that strong type of personality. And I'm a rebel like, my personality has a lot of rebel in it. And so relating to her rebellion tendencies was really yeah, really fun.

Jack Casey:

Yeah, absolutely. She's, she's great. I she definitely presented the kind of character who had clearly found their independence and sense of freedom, and you're watching JT crap, you'll struggle with their own and here you have example, someone who has kind of made it in his doing her own thing, but is also obviously attached to or involved with the other characters, and that she kind of yet represents that sort of successfully free person, you know, who's doing what she's gonna do and, and go through her own struggles too. But I liked writing. I will admit, as far as favorite characters to write maybe like, because it's not, I can't ever choose favorite character. It's like children, but as far it's probably the most fun to write because of the scenes. I do have to admit that. Definitely Galloway, the scenes in the theater, I think are always fun, just because Gary has such a witty banter, dialogue, twisty, turny way of you know, messing with people's minds. That's always fun to do to kind of it may be a little biased, because he's sort of a storyteller as well. But, but as like a character with a minor role, you know, in this book, that one being a fun one,

Laura Juntunen:

too. Those were fun, fun scenes to read, because I was so confused, and in a good way. I don't think that's gonna happen kind of thing. There's so many different characters, and I mean, it's a big book, there's gonna be a lot of characters that you have to learn about in expeience And as you read through, and so obviously, we won't hit all of them. But one of the really big, important characters who's not actually a central, like, we don't see them doing anything, but is a big character, his great mother or their spiritual kind of deity. And so explain to our readers who is she and and what is her significance in the story? I know, that's a loaded question, but go for it.

Jack Casey:

Yeah, see how much how much to say or not say, I guess, you're seeing a world where they have a belief, a religion, and and you're seeing the ways that it influences certain characters who are either who believe in it, or who some who very much don't. And I think that's often the, I think I'd like to touch on is how much people who can pull the good or bad from anything, you know, whether it's a belief system, or from, whether it's political views, religious views, and so forth, and to have characters who are very much influenced by something like whether or not they believe in the religion of their time, or whether they, whether that guides their, their life, or whether they're questioning things about it. And I think at some point, we all go through various forms of, you know, at some point, sort of losing, or maybe rediscovering our religion or beliefs, whether they're actually spiritual or not, you know, I think we're constantly going through a sense of change and evolving and trying to question what's real, what's not, and what you've been taught that you want to take with you and what you want to leave behind? And I think so in that sense, the Great Mother character, that idea really does have a big impact on shaping the characters and what they're wrestling with, too.

Laura Juntunen:

Yeah, definitely. That was that's very well said exactly, exactly what I was shooting for. Because that was, that was something that I mean, it's strung throughout the entire book, because there's entire rebellion, who are against believing or not believing. And so there's this rivalry within the world, speaking of worlds, the whole world building process that you must have gone through to create where these people are their setting. And their time, after I finished it, I went back and I was like, Is there a map of this place? Because I need to see where everything is? Is there a map that you've created? Or is this just in your brain?

Jack Casey:

There are several poorly drawn maps I've made, I've strongly considered getting an official one into book three, because it's one of the most requested things is certainly to avoid any confusion, if there ever is any about where they are, how far away things are from each other. But yeah, I think I could do an official map at some point, I hope to make it into the book three, or if not, maybe I can put it on the website or have some other way for people to access it. And then I can always add it into the books in a future edition. You know, I think my concern was that if I over committed to one map, I was worried if I had to tweak or change something, as I put these out, I wouldn't want to actually be like, Oops, I got to change the the geography to make sure that this makes sense a little bit, you know, so I held back a bit, but I'm totally open to doing a map because I'd be cool. I didn't realize it,

Laura Juntunen:

I think that would be really cool. Because as I was reading, like, there was this one specific part where they're in my brain, I was like this, I saw them going through a desert, and they had to basically avoid being caught and then go in a different direction. And so I'm trying to see all this in my brain and like, I know how I see it. But I would be intrigued to see where you see it on the map. If

Jack Casey:

you're like drawing it. You're like, Hold on. Okay, let me orient this. So they're here. And that's me often while writing it, too. I'm like, Hold on, let me visualize this.

Laura Juntunen:

i This is one of the really hard parts about creating your own world. And fantasy is making sure it actually makes sense. And everything connects the correct, yes. And so creating that world is just really tough. So what was that process? Like? Was it easy to just like, dive into this world? Had you been thinking about it so much that it was more like a reality and your dream to yourself? Or did you have to create a fizzy wet?

Jack Casey:

Yeah, some of both, I think definitely, because there's so much focus on the characters, and how sometimes they represent certain ideas or beliefs, or maybe they're from a location that conveys a certain attitudes to sometimes honestly, the places I wanted to be as much kind of a personality that's either reflected in one of the characters as well or at least sets the tone for maybe what I want to do with certain characters. So if it's to do in Vinglish, and his whole thing, or you know, the northern provinces and where their loyalties are definitely the the weather or setting or mood at certain times plays a factor like that. So that kind of helped my shaping some of that, try and fit with certain characters. There are moments in the story where I'm like, it'd be cool if they were in this setting right now. Because I mean, there's always the rule of cool if it's cool, do it but also make it makes sense from a story thematic standpoint, for sure.

Laura Juntunen:

And something I really liked about your world, let's fantasy so there's magical components. And our characters have basically like little Bluetooth radios, but they're just, they're gemstones.

Jack Casey:

In my ear right now. Yeah.

Laura Juntunen:

This is just it's so fun, because like in fantasy, you just think, okay, they have to send a messenger on a horse and that's how they're going to communicate, but you're like, Nope, we're gonna bring magic in. You can talk through their jewelry. So where did that idea come from?

Jack Casey:

I've always loved the thought of Yeah, like, I feel like we often live in a time where we have what is effectively magic all around us. I mean, what we're doing right now may as well be magic. And I love the thought that we could relate things that we do in this world to how magical that kind of thing really is. If you could see that in another world, you know, and even if the cost of communication like it for all the powerful magic, you can have the ability to communicate instantly across long distances, tremendous and plays a part in the story and the plot, you know, be able to talk to each other or Yeah, and of course, it's using this this buying element to and whatnot. So it Yeah, it was fun to play with. And I just like the idea of them, you know, kind of going like this like a ring and talking very big. Yeah, exactly. But I really liked it, because it's the James Bond,

Laura Juntunen:

every fantasy, there's always like, Oh, you can see through the wishing well. And you can see through the magic mirror and you can see everybody, but you can't necessarily hear them. And so it was just a different component that it's like dark, why can't they do that kind of stuff. This is your world, how you want it. I really like cell phones. Book Two was already out that came out in October 2020. So we're just about almost a year since that one published. So without giving away exactly what happens at the end of book one, can you tell the readers what it was about in a big picture scheme,

Jack Casey:

I'll say this, you see certain characters who have different arcs or paths they're on and you do get to return to those characters and follow up, I think the first one ends in such a way where and I wanted each book to be like this, where you could kind of leave it there. Like it had a satisfying conclusion that for better or worse for each character, you could see it ending there and kind of leaving the door open. And then of course, with each sequel, it takes up and there's more. Yeah, I think if there's questions you had at the end of the first book about a lot of the sort of mysteries that are some of them are left unsolved, or unanswered, fully, it follows that it leans into that. And you're going to see these characters, the repercussions of the things that happen at the end of the first book, how that plays out in the world, how that plays out. For them personally trying to deal with the things that went down in the first book, I think it'll satisfy those questions.

Laura Juntunen:

Because I know I have a lot of questions. And I'm like, I just got to dive into Book Two, because Book Three is gonna be coming out. So I gotta, I gotta keep on pace here. It's a loaded book. There's so much in it, but it was so much fun to read. And even though it's really big, I read it pretty fast, just because I was so enthralled in it throughout the entire story. But that was something I was wondering, though, too, is that, like you just said, the Royal green could be a standalone, it could just end right there. I feel like I mean, yeah, there's a bunch of questions that I still have that I'm like, I want to know, but when you were writing it, did you know it was gonna be one of three or did you think it could be just a standalone book?

Jack Casey:

That's a good question. I I think I'd always wanted to do sequels by I knew that feeling of I mean, I think a part of me was was trying to focus much fun. The first book that I yeah, I want to tell each one where it could end there either. I mean, maybe sometimes afraid. Like, what doesn't happen to me and I couldn't finish these, like, I would hate for people to feel like it was a total cliffhanger. So I I wanted to always have some kind of sense of conclusion, or some kind of thing that the reader can be less of an especially because if they had to wait at the time, I didn't know if they'd have to wait file between books. I didn't ask open them out at first. And so I wanted it to be satisfying and not, you know, torturous to wait, even though maybe it still is, I don't know.

Laura Juntunen:

No, you succeeded in that because all of the things that were in this story, they concluded but there's still mysteries that could be solved. And that is where obviously it goes into book two. So I really liked it because I can put this one down and then pick up the second one. And I can be like okay, now I'm in for like a whole nother journey. And I just really like that. I thought it was very smooth how you transitioned when we would talk about too many details if we went on any longer. So I'm going to have us wrap up this would not be read it with whiskey without talking a little bit about whiskey. So Jack, what is your favorite whiskey to drink?

Jack Casey:

You know, it's funny, too. I was thinking us like I should have a glass with me. My favorite though I hadn't tried much like top shelf with the for a while until last year I had basil Hayden's that was really good. But as far as my regular go to, you know, anything from wild turkey or I usually rotate sometimes I'll make cocktails with it or on the street and I'm in all the above. I'll drink whiskey any any kind of liquor here. So I like to rotate and this is something

Laura Juntunen:

I knew we would be friends. We have the same taste in just any

Jack Casey:

all the above, which kind of would you like? Yes, yes,

Laura Juntunen:

exactly. Awesome. Well, Jack, tell us where can people buy your book and where can they follow along with your author journey.

Jack Casey:

So the website is the Royal green.com named after the book, you can order it there. You can get it directly from Amazon I mostly On the website have like the summaries and teaser things for the books. I have an email there too.

Laura Juntunen:

And then your third book in the series. When is that one coming out? Do you have an actual date?

Jack Casey:

It's a toss up between July and August. I'm aiming for July early July would be great, but I'm leaving the door open in case I need to make sure it is as good as can be. So it could be August. See?

Laura Juntunen:

Okay, awesome. Well, that means that they will be able to read all books. Boom, boom, boom, back after back after back, so it's gonna be perfect. Yeah. All right, Jack. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I had so much fun.

Jack Casey:

Thank you. You too. Thanks for having me on.