Mercredi, 27 septembre 2023
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    Jamming with author Russell Brooks

    Montreal author Russell Brooks’ new book Jam Run is a gripping crime thriller about the ever-present menace and violence the LGBTQ community faces daily. 

    Set in Jamaica, Jam Run was inspired by a true-life crime that sent shockwaves around the world: the brutal July 2013 killing of Dwayne Jones who was murdered outside a Montego Bay nightclub just because Jones, 16, had attended a party dressed in women’s clothing.

    According to news reports, when someone at the party identified Jones as male, a crowd chased him as he fled. Police found his body run over on the road, with multiple stab wounds and a gunshot wound.

    Jam Run was inspired by the savage murder of Dwayne Jones,” says Brooks whose book welcomes the return of amateur sleuth Eddie Barrow and his outspoken best friend Corey Stephenson. After witnessing a similar murder while visiting Montego Bay, the duo search for the killer.  

    A Canadian author of Barbadian descent, Brooks’ goal was to create a crime thriller set within Afro-Caribbean culture. Jam Run is the second book in the Eddie Barrow series and Brooks’ fifth thriller, along with Pandora’s SuccessionUnsavory DelicaciesChill Run and The Demeter Code, all of them Amazon bestsellers. 

    Once an aspiring track star who specialized in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, representing Canada at the World University Games in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1999, and Quebec at the Jeux de la Francophonie in Antananarivo, Madagascar, in 1997, Brooks graduated from Indiana University with a degree in biology before discovering his knack for writing crime thrillers.

    We recently sat down for a Q&A about his new book Jam Run.

    The horrific and tragic murder of gay teenager Dwayne Jones in Montego Bay. Dwayne was beaten, stabbed, shot and run over with a vehicle. When I learnt of his murder, his story stayed with me for weeks. It still haunts me.

    Your character Shenice / Dwayne Pottinger has same first name as Dwayne Jones.

    It was my way of honouring the real-life Dwayne. I’m hoping that one day the killer or killers will finally be caught, arrested and sentenced. Dwayne Pottinger is also named after Jamaican gay activist and fashion designer Dexter Pottinger who was murdered in Kingston in 2017. At least in the Pottinger case police caught the killer. Also, writing this book, I wanted to flesh out Dwayne’s character and not make him a stereotype.

    What were the main challenges writing this story?

    The biggest challenge was to make the book as authentically Jamaican as possible. I didn’t know much about the geography or about Montego Bay, and I do not speak Jamaican Patois. But I got a lot of help from a friend in Jamaica who assisted me with fact checking all of the Jamaican content of the story. We also visited the actual location where Dwayne Jones was killed. That area in Montego Bay is quite rough and visiting the site of Dwayne’s murder was deeply affecting.

    In a blog post, you wrote, “My personal experience allowed me to incorporate my apprehensions into Eddie Barrow—who’s also visiting Jamaica for the first time. Eddie expresses the same anxieties I had.” What anxieties did you have?

    Just driving along the road past the club to the murder site. It would have been pitch black at the time. This is not an area where I would want to be driving alone at night. There are a lot of potholes and that stretch of road is perfect for an ambush.

    You held your Jam Run book launch at the Jamaica Association of Montreal on International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, an event hosted by legendary author H. Nigel Thomas. You also read from your book at the Violet Hour at the Salon du livre Fierté littéraire hosted by author Christopher DiRaddo. Both Nigel and Chris have been profiled in this column and are big supporters of the Montreal literary scene. What has the reaction been like to your book so far?

    Both Nigel and Christopher have been very supportive of me. There was a lot of positive energy at both events, lots of people came out to see me. At Violet Hour I read a scene from Jam Run. And at my book launch Nigel did a public Q&A. I was really happy with the turnouts and I am also really happy with the positive book reviews.

    Your path in publishing reminds me of gay author E. Lynn Harris who also self-published at the beginning of his literary career. He used to sell books from the trunk of his car. Fortunately your books sell well on Amazon.

    I’m glad you brought him up, I’ve read three of his books. They were very emotional. He has written some great books. My books have done pretty well on Amazon but the truth is, today, selling books is still very difficult. But I love what I do and as an LGBTQ ally, I also believe a book like Jam Run can enlighten people and help change minds.

    Infos | Jam Run by Russell Brooks available on Amazon and

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