Derrick Ferguson: Although I’m sure that many reading this know you and your work, for the benefit of those who don’t, thumbnail who Joel Jenkins is, where you live, what you do and what you’ve written.
Joel Jenkins: I’m a Realtor in Washington State with 35 published books in various genres from sword and science fiction, guns and guitars, horror, and weird western. I also have a secret stash of a dozen manuscripts that have yet to undergo their final rounds of editing. Usually, three or four of these are released each year, but by that time I’ve added three or four manuscripts to the secret stash so it maintains an equilibrium. A list of published books can be found at http://www.JoelJenkins.net
DF: How long have you been writing?
JJ: Since about eight years of age when I wrote, in pencil, a story about time travel and dinosaurs and sent it into Highlights for Children. It was returned with an encouraging rejection letter.
DF: This isn’t the first Dillon story you’ve written. What was the first one and why did you write it?
JJ: I’ve been a fan of Dillon ever since I read an unpublished draft of Dillon and The Legend of The Golden Bell. I began with great skepticism but after about five pages I was completely won over. I thought it would be fun to team Dillon up with another alpha-type personality–one adventurous rock Musician named Sly Gantlet, and watch their personalities clash as they walked into an ambush. So I wrote Dead Beat in La Esca, forwarded it to you to put some finishing touches on it. Since then, we’ve collaborated on a number of other Sly Gantlet/Dillon team-ups–or Dillon/Sly Gantlet team-ups, depending upon which character has the upper hand at the moment.
DF: What is it about Dillon?
JJ: What isn’t it? Dillon is everything you could want in a globe-trotting adventurer. He’s an instigator and a troublemaker and a righter of wrongs. You’ve set him in an amazing world that resembles our own but contains many other marvelous and mind-boggling things.
DF: What’s your favorite Dillon novel or story?
JJ: Dillon and The Legend of The Golden Bell edges out the rest. Maybe just because it was the first one I read, but probably because of The Blagdasen Citadel and all the strange goings-on and supernatural overtones.
DF: Who’s your Favorite Dillon Sidekick?
JJ: Tough to say. You have a way of introducing these fascinating side characters who could probably carry stories of their own, but they come and go from Dillon’s life and move on to have their own adventures, which we only catch glimpses of.
DF: Dillon has shared a number of memorable adventures with your character, the rocker/mercenary Sly Gantlet. Why do you think they’re such compatible characters?
JJ: They are compatible characters because they are so ‘incompatible’. They are both used to being the top dog and when they have a rival for that position, they like to knock their competition down a peg. They rub each other the wrong way, they bark and they snipe yet, when it comes down to it, they have each other’s back.
DF: What sparked “Dillon and The Sisters of The Machine”?
JJ: Sometimes I can point to the catalyst for an idea and other times I’m not really sure where an idea came from. In this case, I think it was something to do with the high-tech island nation of Xonira. It seemed like a place where a cult like the Sisters of the Machine could exist and attempt a takeover of the world through high-tech extortion.
DF: Wyatt Hyatt plays an important role in this story even though we don’t see him for much of it. How do you see the relationship between him and Dillon?
JJ: Though Dillon is no slouch in the brains department, Wyatt Hyatt is a genius caliber intelligence. He can write code and develop operating systems in his sleep and against a foe like the Sisters of the Machine, Dillon needs someone like that in his corner. I see Dillon and Wyatt as friends primarily and, as a friend, Wyatt tends to get dragged into various adventures–albeit quite willingly for the most part.
DF: Is it possible that The Great Machine is still out there somewhere and will return?
JJ: Entirely possible.
DF: What kind of research did you do for this story?
JJ: I read every Dillon story that exists.
DF: Do you have any plans to write any more Dillon stories?
JJ: I heard a rumor that there might be a Dillon Odd Jobs Volume 2. If that happens, then absolutely!
Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
Joel Jenkins: Probably.
And now, with Joel’s kind permission, my Casting Call for “Dillon and The Sisters of The Machine”:
Wyatt Hyatt…Nonso Anozie
Paula Patton…Deziri Gaja
And Miss Cicely Tyson as The Voice of The Great Machine