April 25, 2011

State of Mind Blog Tour: Character Interview with Jake Travissi

About the Novel: State of Mind

Your thoughts are not your own...

In the not too distant future, freedom is a just a word that you willingly trade for a dozen donuts, based on the dubious promise that you can eat what you want and never gain weight. You can also take drugs will no ill effects or call a friend while surfing the web without a phone or computer. All this and more will be yours following the simple installation of a P-Chip in your brain.

After botching the arrest of the governor's son in Los Angeles, Commander Jake Travissi is banned from law enforcement. the workaholic homicide cop spirals into depression... until he is given a rare second chance. The price? Volunteer for chip implantation and join Homeland Security's experimental Enhanced Unit.

The grisly assassination of a prominent Nobel Laureate brings the newly formed Unit on the scene to investigate. But as the body count rises, Jake begins to realize that his actions, and even his thoughts, are not his own. Fighting to regain control of his own State of Mind, Jake finds himself embroiled in a global conspiracy to enslave the human race!
Read my review here.

About the Author: Sven Davison

I’m a Californian by conception, a Texan by birth, and I spent fifteen years prior to college in Colorado. Like many folks my age, I was inspired by Star Wars when I first saw it in the theater at the ripe old age of seven. I saw it so many times during the summer of ‘77, I was able to recite every scene from memory. I cast aside my dreams of becoming a navy pilot and devoted all my time and energy into mowing lawns and painting houses in order to buy a super-8 film camera.

Writing was always at the core of my filmmaking aspirations and as time went on, I lost interest in making films but writing remained.

The worst thing I ever wrote was the first to get produced. The making of ICE CREAM MAN (staring Clint Howard, Jan Michael Vincent, Olivia Hussy, and Lee Majors II) is far more interesting than the film itself. But that's another story.

After ICE CREAM MAN I moved to Beaver Island and wrote my first novel BLOCKBUSTER. After that I spent ten years running the Global Content Development Group for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. I worked with talent on a daily basis and land they inspired me follow my passion to write.

I was lucky enough to marry Jeannine, a person who supported my dream. I quit my executive job and wrote two novels. The most commercial of which is STATE OF MIND. During this time our son Isaac was born. With Isaac in the picture I'll need to get back to full time work again to help support the family. I plan to find a way to make writing pay the big bills... that is certainly my near term goal.

Thanks for reading.

Bio provided by Sven's profile at GoodReads.

 Welcome to Black Lagoon Reviews, Jake!

BLR: Can you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself prior to implantation?

JT: I was cocky and overly confident. I had been successful at an early age and that created a false sense of security. People said I had anger issues and I thought they were full of crap. Even when my anger killed my career, I continued to ignore my real problems. Like most people I wanted to fix the symptoms and avoid confronting the cause at all costs. The P-Chip was the perfect answer. I was scared of it, but at the same time I saw it as a Godsend.

BLR: After receiving the P-Chip, can you tell us a bit about your initial thoughts? What did it feel like having all that power at your disposal?

JT: At first it was incredibly disorienting. Having multiple images appear in my brain. The ability to retain 100% of all information I absorbed. I could ingest a mountain of knowledge in a few seconds, which would take a normal person a month to learn. Someone speaking inside my head was… bizarre, but then it began to sound just like a conversation flowing through my physical ears. There was a twenty-four-hour period there where I was beginning to love it. I was superman. If I hadn’t had the memory bleeds I would have been addicted in a matter of days.

BLR: When did you initially begin to think that something may be wrong?

JT: From the start I had headaches which would not go away. I was surprised because the P-Chip was supposed to be the miracle cure for everything biological. Then my first day on the job I began to have shocking visions of my actions at a crime scene. I brushed it off because I believed having the chip was my chance to stay on the force. I was enjoying the benefits of the chip, and felt that my visions had to be an integration issue. I also had an emotional outburst at Parks, the rookie on our team. It was a ridiculous overreaction on my part and something I had never done before. My actions did not seem like I was the cause… it was a creepy feeling.

BLR: Can you describe to us the feelings you experienced when you finally realized what was going on?

JT: I was scared shitless. I had no idea what was real and what was fake. I could not trust anything I saw, felt, tasted-- even thought. It was the ultimate identity theft. I was basically a prisoner in my own mind. My fear turned to anger and determination. I had to act fast in order to get the God Heads out of my mind, otherwise the Jake I knew would be dead and I would be trapped in my brain, a prisoner in a chamber of horrors, watching myself carry out crimes. Or perhaps I would just cease to exist… it would have been a better alternative to the former scenario.

BLR: After having it removed, can you tell us a bit about your actual experiences versus the false illusions implanted into your mind? Whey do you think that the God Heads couldn’ t control you?

JT: I spent a very long time trying to sort out what was real and what was not. How many crimes had I actually committed under their influence? I’m still uncertain but I can say I didn't kill anyone innocent. My moral fiber—better angels of my nature—what have you, won out. The God Heads could not access and destroy my core self. That was what gave me power over the hacking and the physical chip in my brain. I’m happy to know I’m innately a good guy. Then again… maybe I’m still chipped and we’re not really having this conversation.

BLR: After all the trauma you’ve experienced, would you ever consider re-joining the police force? Why?

JT: I don t belong on the police force. I feel I can do more good for this world in another capacity. I was originally going to be a lawyer before I felt I could have more direct impact on crime as a cop. Now I’m thinking it’s better to be farther up the food chain and influencing policy– Who the hell am I kidding? I’m no politician, I’m a soldier at heart… I'm not sure what I’m going to do. I’ve got a few offers, but I need to work out my strategy. I would also like my nightmares to stop.

BLR: How are you coping with learning to trust your memories?

JT: I’m not sure I do. One of the reasons I’m lying low and remaining relatively inactive is to prove that I’m not doing anything crazy. Then again, maybe the God Heads have won. Maybe I’m living out this fantasy life in some corner of my brain while my body is out assassinating people and exhibiting the personality of a God Head… but I’ m having that thought less and less now. I do “ feel” like I’m locked in reality. Funny, I used to take this feeling for granted.

BLR: Does this experience make you more hesitant to trust authority figures?

JT: I was never much on authority figures because I thought I could do it better myself. After The Chip, I don’ t trust anyone. I see conspiracies everywhere. It's not a good thing--being paranoid. I find my faith in leaders is dead. When I regain trust in myself, I hope I ll take a chance on others.

BLR: After everything that’ s happened, what are your thoughts about putting so much faith in technology?

JT: I’ d like to think I had a healthy skepticism of most things before this happened. Now I’ m even more skeptical. You really can’t believe everything you read, hear, or even witness. Question everything. Find your own facts. Challenge those facts then make a decision. I am absolutely against joining or enhancing our intelligence with machines. If we do so, we cease to be human and become something else.

Sometimes I think about the world my grandparents grew up in. There were no Omnis, PDAs, e-mail, personal computers, Internet, ATMs-- and life was slower. They had no choice but to wait for things. Sure, it was more inefficient, but it forced their generation to stop and really be in the moment. They experienced their physical environment. The day was segmented between work, family, and friends. Today it’s all tossed in a blender and everything is out of focus. No wonder people want the escape into the arms of the P-Chip.

BLR: Now that everything has come to light, what’ s next for Jake “ The Jackhammer” Travissi?

JT: I’ve discovered some demons in my past and I want to face them. Then again I can’t ignore my core nature. The more I see where society is going the more I want to do something about it. Yet I long for simplicity. I could apply to work at one of the extractions sites on the moon before they replace everyone with robots. Of course they’d have to allow pets. I’ d like the view from 370 thousand kilometers. It would make all my problems seem small.

Thanks for dropping by!

For more information about Jake Travissi and his harrowing experience be sure to pick up your own copy of State of Mind!

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