It isn’t often that I find myself curious about a series that hasn’t quite become an enjoyable read – yet, this is *exactly!* what happened with the Gray Widow Trilogy! I was truly captured by Janey & the background of her character – from how she was able to use her ‘augmented gift’ for teleportation and to seek out an answer towards what was driving her to seek vigilante vengeance in the guise of protecting certain people in certain untoward circumstances.
I felt a bit conflicted by what I was reading – as on one hand, I truly did appreciate the lead character to a certain extent, but there were elements of the story I simply felt pushed me too far outside what I could appreciate to read. However, having said that – inside my review I shared these reflections which speak to the heart of why I felt conflicted as a reader:
Jolley captures your attention with Janey Sinclair, as he may or may not realise he crafted an emotional character who had a passionate self-motivating mission to right the wrongs of society; however, some of the avenues of where the narrative passed in and out of this lead prospective had me a bit confounded, in the same manner I oft-times felt muddled down by the sub-plots on The X-Files. The core of the story was telling enough for my interest; but sometimes, when you throw in wenches to the established wheel, I find my mind drifting and thus, I had hoped Jolley might have tightened the focus a small bit to establish the fuller story surrounding Janey prior to exploring tentacles of an evolving plot; wherein it might be warranted further in the trilogy.
Why did Janey Sinclair want to be the Gray Widow? And, what does that future have to do with her connection to The Astounding Alexander!? Sighs. Questions I fear will remain unanswered and a character I had to depart from reading about because the shift of focus was simply not my cuppa in the end.
-quoted from my review of Gray Widow’s Walk
I contacted the publicist for the blog tour (Stephen Zimmer) and asked if he knew if Mr Jolley might entertain a follow-up conversation on the book, the series and Janey Sinclair. He responded positively that the author would enjoy doing that, and the results are this conversation! As you will see, I was walking the line between asking a few questions towards a hint of a spoiler whilst trying to keep my curiosity reined in to where the author could happily disclose a few extra bits towards what inspired him to write Janey’s story!
I hope you will enjoy reading where the convo took us & perhaps, help you decide if this is a series you’d be interested in reading. For me personally, I was thankful to know more about the background towards how technology & character motivation were key components of Janey’s story!
“The only thing in this world you can truly control is yourself.”
Janey Sinclair’s ability to teleport has always been a mystery to her. She tried for years to ignore it, but when tragedy shatters her life, Janey’s anger consumes her. She hones her fighting skills, steals a prototype suit of military body armor, and takes to the streets of Atlanta, venting her rage as the masked vigilante dubbed “the Gray Widow” by the press.
But Janey’s power, and her willingness to use it, plunges her into a conflict on a much grander scale than she had anticipated.
Soon she encounters Simon Grove, a bloodthirsty runaway with a shapeshifting ability gone horribly wrong…
Garrison Vessler, an ex-FBI agent and current private defense contractor, who holds some of the answers Janey’s been searching for…
And Tim Kapoor, the first person in years with a chance of breaking through Janey’s emotional shell—if she’ll let him.
But as Janey’s vigilantism gains worldwide attention, and her showdown with Simon Grove draws ever closer, the reason for her augmented abilities—hers and all the others like her—begins to reveal itself. Because, high above the Earth, other eyes are watching. And they have far-reaching plans…
Gray Widow’s Walk is book one of the Gray Widow Trilogy,
to be followed by Gray Widow’s Web and Gray Widow’s War.
What kind of research did you put into the creation of Janey’s Gray Widow suit and how did you react when you first saw the cover art in which the suit would be revealled to readers?
(inspired by this note of mine on behalf of the cover art design)
The tech of the suit for the Gray Widow is truly
what caught my attention – that is one seriously creatively designed suit for a superhero, isn’t it? I could see how stealth & flexible the material was meant to jolt her through her actions but it’s just seriously a kickin’ wicked outfit! I also presumed she had some martial arts in her background given the weapons of choice in her hands!
Jolley responds: I knew I wanted the suit to be composed of something along the lines of Kevlar. It’s just body armor – it doesn’t grant Janey super-strength or let her fly or anything like that – but I wanted it to be the best possible body armor, so I decided to invent a fictional material that would be like Kevlar taken to its logical extremes. I consulted an industrial engineer on the composition, and that’s how “Vylar” was born; the engineer advised me about the whole “composed of millions of tiny octagons, woven into a cloth with monofilament wire threaded through holes drilled by a precision machine press” bit.
Then, when it came time to commission the cover, I approached a long-time collaborator of mine in the comic book field, John Nadeau. John started out as an engineering student before migrating over to art, and he’s got a fantastic, precise way of approaching his subject matter. I gave him the description of the suit from the book, and he did some research on real-world body armor and came up with a hybrid. I couldn’t have been more pleased when I saw the result.