You know him, but you can't remember his name. He is the one that is always there, in the background, all but invisible to those roaming the hallways. What if he had a secret? What if it was a secret that even he didn't know?
Test Davis has always been a blur to those around him. He's a shadow like a million other kids--not smart enough for the academic team, not beast enough for the football team, not extroverted enough for the drama crowd. In all things Test is just...not, which is why no one ever notices him.
But what happens when someone does notice him–Nicole Paxton, a cheerleader, no less? What happens on the night that Test finds out there's nothing average about him and that a powerful gift has been hidden within, secretly waiting to be set free and alter his life forever? The question is, will that power save him and those he loves or tear them apart?
Just as teenager Test Davis delves into a blossoming romance with his long time crush, Nicole, he discovers that he has supernatural abilities. His powers are so intense that he struggles to control them, exploding his life into turmoil, violence and angst with the result that he becomes a fugitive running from the authorities while coming to terms with his powers. Will his romance with Nicole survive? Will he be able to come to terms with his powers and learn to control them? Will the world be able to accept him?
JM Pierce has written an engaging story told by two voices, by Test and by Nicole. Both characters are well fleshed. Test's frustrations and angst left me rooting for him. I felt Nicole's pain as she tried to decide whether to lead a fugitive's life with Test or give him up. The story is far from over and I look forward to the sequel.... Get writing, JM!
About the Author
J.M. Pierce is a simple midwestern man with a creative side that has found writing as his primary outlet. He lives happily with his wife and two children in rural Kansas and finds happiness in a good cup of coffee, a Kansas sunrise, a good book, the sound of his daughter singing, his son's laughter, and his wifes eyes. Everything else is gravy.
Q&A with J.M. Pierce
What/who was the inspiration behind Failing Test?
The inspiration behind FT was a series of lucid dreams that I’ve had since high school, a span of nearly twenty years now. I found myself longing to have the dreams when I lay down at night and was upset when the morning came to bring them to an end. I had taken some writing classes in college, and had thought about writing a story around these dreams, but never gave a thought to the possibility that it would turn into an 83,000+ word novel! It just sort of happened. As I began to write, the story really began to take on a life of its own and characters began to appear spontaneously, particularly Cliff; some of which became an integral part of the story. While the base of the story originated from within these dreams, that is about where the relationship ends. Sadly, since having written Failing Test, I no longer have the dreams.
Test is interesting choice of name, how did you come up with it?
This sounds strange, but I heard a voice whisper it in my ear. Seriously, while taking a shower the name just entered into my mind like a whisper and I knew immediately that this was to be my main character’s name. After that came the title of the book. I already had the concept in mind and those pieces fit the puzzle perfectly.
Who can you see playing Test and Nicole in a movie adaptation of your book?
Funny that you ask this! I recently put up a thread on my Facebook page on this exact thing. The actress that I agreed with the most for Nicole was Ellen Page. I think she is perfect. Test is a little more difficult for me. I haven’t been able to come up with anyone current that fits what I have in my head so I’d have to say maybe a younger Joaquin Phoenix.
Is this book part of a series? If so, how many books will there be in this series?
It is a part of a three book series. I’m hoping to have the second book titled “A Shadow’s Light” done and in print by the end of December 2010.
How long have you been writing for?
I have always been a writer in one form or another. I was big into poetry while in high school and then as I grew older, I began to write songs. Failing Test is my first ever attempt at a novel and I began writing it in early 2009. I love the release and I love feeling everything that my characters are feeling. When writing a given scene, my heart will race and the world around me disappears. It is cathartic in a way. I love it and don’t see an end in sight.
Have your friends and family read Failing Test?
Some have yes. That was a difficult thing for me. It was, and still is, such an intimate thing for me, writing that is. It was easier for me to put it out into public hands than to let family and friends read it. I can’t explain why that is, just that it’s the way I felt.
Who is your favorite contemporary author?
The genre thing has always been blurry to me, especially in regards of the classification of an author into a particular one. I was a Michael Crichton junkie for a long time. I was amazed with every book as it seemed like within his stories, everything was actually possible.
I will say, though it seems to be extremely unpopular to say so, that I am also a fan of Stephenie Meyer. Call it a guilty pleasure, call it whatever you want, but my main goal when reading is to get away from the everyday stress of life, so I look for authors that can transport me to another reality. I try not to read with a magnifying glass. I much prefer to get lost in the story.
Since becoming an Indie Author, I have discovered many other Indies that I am very excited to read. The traditional market has become a little stale so I am very excited to get into the wealth of titles on this side of the fence. I haven’t been this excited to about my TBR in a long time!
Why YA books? Will you write other genre's as well?
I didn’t really choose to write a YA book, it kind of chose itself. Aside from the sequel to FT, I am currently working on a book that is titled “Duality”. It is completely different than FT and is leaning more towards the Horror/Thriller side of the genre spectrum.
If you could be the lead singer for any rock band, which group would it be?
I actually was the lead singer of a rock band. Just go to YouTube and type in Bitter Sane. The guy in the cowboy hat (or ball cap depending on which clip you see) and the white Les Paul guitar would be me a lot of years ago! I wish that I could scream like some of these guys doing it now though. It must be such and emotional release to be able to blast out vocalizations like that! Anyway, my musical claim to fame was that we opened up for Slaughter one time!
I have such broad musical tastes that this is a difficult question to answer. I would go nuts if I could ever jam with the original Allman Brothers line-up. Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Merle Haggard, the list just goes on forever and covers nearly every style. It’d be amazing to jam with any of them!
Can you tell me about your current projects?
As I stated earlier, I am currently working on a book titled “Duality”. It is a very intense book dealing with the devil, demons, and the faltering of faith throughout the life of one man. I estimate that I’m about 40% finished with the first draft and am very pleased with the ease in which the story is flowing onto the keyboard.
I’m about 70% finished with “A Shadow’s Light”. It was going very well, and I have the story completed in my mind, but had to put it down to get “Duality” out of me. My muse was very persistent about which I was to finish first!
I have several starts to other books as well. The only thing that I lack is time. I am a proud father of two with an incredibly supportive and understanding wife and they come before anything. My kids tell me to write so I can sell lots of books and get “lots of money” so that my daughter can have a horse and my son can have a bulldog puppy. I guess I better listen to them, huh?
Reviewed by Imogen Rose at Wednesday, August 25, 2010