Breia Brissey
January 22, 2013 AT 06:41 PM EST

Vortex, the sequel to Julie Cross’ 2012 debut, Tempest, hit shelves last week. The fast-paced thriller follows Jackson Meyer as he throws himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, a division of the CIA. Unfortunately, I don’t have Jackson’s time-traveling abilities to get you and early copy of book three. The next best thing is a chat with Julie Cross where she talks about Vortex, the final installment in the Tempest trilogy, and a new project with the Jackson cover model. [Minor spoilers ahead!]

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Vortex has been out for a week now. What’s the reaction been so far?

JULIE CROSS: So far everything has been really positive. I haven’t been able to find one negative review. And I’ve had a lot people say that Tempest wasn’t their favorite book, and they liked Vortex better. Or they liked Tempest, but they liked Vortex better. I hadn’t anticipated that, so I’m really excited about that part.

I’m one of those people. I really enjoyed Tempest, but I liked Vortex better. Is that a good thing to hear? That people like this book better than the first? 

It’s a very good thing. I think that’s about the best thing that an author can hope for in a sequel is to make it better than the first one.

As much as I enjoy the books, the time traveling aspect can be pretty confusing. How do you keep it all straight?

It is really confusing, and if I could go back and change a few things, I think there are places where I over-explained. I would have been better off just backing off and not putting in so much information. But overall there’s enough story there for people to go with it. It definitely gets much simpler in book three as far as the time travel goes…. But most of the time, it really does stay pretty straight in my head, and I think that’s because it was developed in layers. It wasn’t like a big thing that I thought of all at once. I remember this part, and then I added this on. So that makes it a little bit easier.

UP NEXT: Julie talks book three and a special project with the real-life Jackson…

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