Tag Archives: Thriller

Book Blitz: ‘Ask Not’ by Mary M. Schmidt

Title: Ask Not

Author: Mary M. Schmidt

Publisher: Lulu.com

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller

About the Book:

To Katie, her love for John F. Kennedy was her whole world, even though he never heard of her.  Anyone who harmed him would have to answer to her.  It would not be pleasant. And when someone does, her revenge would consume her spirit and drive her in madness to Dallas.  Will she succeed in destroying Oswald?

Ask Not.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

About the Author:

Mary M. Schmidt, also known as Lynx, is the author of Gemini Lynx, Persephone’s Song, Cat Lady, and Our Frail Disordered Lives. She is a hospice volunteer, which during the pandemic, means going to a lot of zoom meetings. (Every time I turn around, more zoom!) A lover of animals, Mary lives near Annapolis with her rescue cat, Gemma.

Social Media Links:

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196284.Mary_M_Schmidt

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/pages/category/Writer/Mary-M-Schmidt-756593501152605

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Author Interview: ‘Azalea Heights’ by Rajat Narula

About the Book:

Twenty-two students of Winston Elementary School are being held hostage. The gunmen are demanding the release of ISIS leaders held in Iraq. A rescue attempt by the FBI could get the children killed. Altaf Khan, a 48-year-old Pakistani American, may be able to help them infiltrate the terrorists’ network. However, one of the captors is his son, Zain. 

Azalea Heights is a clash-of-cultures story of a diverse cast of characters wanting to make a fresh start. Naina is recently divorced and is learning to live alone. Rohan is a small-time restaurateur with big dreams. Altaf, a proud American citizen, is struggling with the radicalization of his teenage son. Gerard is a retired Iraq veteran fighting with his inner demons and legacy of the war. When they move to a new development called Azalea Heights, their paths inevitably cross and result in a chain of events that upend their lives. Azalea Heights captures the escalating tensions within the neighborhood, but also recognizes the American spirit, when people with disparate ideologies, beliefs, and politics come together in a moment of crisis.

Fans of Little Fires EverywhereAn American Marriage and There There will enjoy this riveting tale of intercultural conflict in these unsettling times when prejudices have come to be accepted as normal. 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Reviews:

“Azalea Heights is a brilliant insight into the lives of the South Asian community in the U.S. The vivid details of the customs, the food, and the culture are both engaging and informative. The characters are well-etched and distinctive and the tension between them is palpable and real. The writing keeps you on the edge till the very end. A fantastic read!” –  Minty

“The leisurely beginning suggests a touch of interpersonal drama about to start, but then the narrative grows into a quietly powerful exploration of cultural differences, simmering religious tensions, and societal divisions which becomes completely riveting. All the characters are sympathetically and brilliantly depicted. They are all convincing, authentic, and thoroughly investable. Azalea Heights is an intelligently structured, thought-provoking, and absorbing novel. Highly recommended.” – Rose Auburn

“Once the story reaches a crisis point, tension is maintained, and the book becomes a page-turner. The ending is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching.” – Audrey Driscoll

“Azalea Heights is a beautiful novel.  I liked the book for its real-life depiction of humanity. I recommend everyone to read the book.”  – Book Blogger

“Azalea Heights is a riveting story of strife between human goodness and personal ideologies. An amazingly engaging read, with a plot and characters that you will find extremely relatable!”  – Sandeep Jain

Quotes from book:

  • “Ayesha had been religious even when they got married in Pakistan, but the extremity began when they moved to the US. A reaction to the liberalism she encountered in the alien country. Since she couldn’t compete with the Americans in being open, modern, and liberal, she galloped in the opposite direction. The more you show, the more I hide.
  • “He had left the army to get away from the war in the distant lands. But the distant lands had come home to him.”   
  • “He had embraced this country for over thirty years. He voted in every election, paid his taxes, and celebrated July 4th on the mall watching fireworks. Just because his skin color was different, would he have to prove his American-ness every time something went wrong? Was Zain right when he said they didn’t belong here, that they never would?”  
  • “Sometimes, he missed not having a daughter. A daughter would perhaps have been an ally at home, against the united front of Ayesha and Zain. She would have appreciated his working hard for the family, the sacrifices he made for them. She would have been attentive to his small needs, would have asked him over dinner if he wanted achar or whether the okra was too spicy for him. She would have recounted to him her day and shown interest in his.”

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

As an adolescent, I wrote sappy love poems that got me enough attention that I continued the scribbling. In my teen years, I wrote a column for the local newspaper of my town that made me famous among my ten friends. Then life intervened and I got busy pursuing an education, then a career, and then a family. It was in my mid-forties, that the infamous writing bug bit me again and I wanted to tell a story that had been on mind for years. So, writing my first novel, The Jasmine Bloom, was the result of my mid-life crisis 😊.  

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I like to write every day. And since, I have a day job, it means getting up at 5:00 am every day to get an hour or so of writing done before I head to work. So, beside the weekends, it has become my time to write. My study is the place where I write. I live in a lovely suburb in Northern Virgina (the windows currently offer me a lovely view of the Fall foliage).  

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Ideas could come from anywhere: an interesting person or couple you see on the metro, a conversation overheard in a party or a snippet in the newspaper. 

Let me illustrate by telling you about Azalea Heights. When ISIS was at its peak and controlled a large territory in Iraq and Syria, they witnessed an influx of young people from across the globe — including the West. I wondered what kind of families these kids came from. Did their families hold extremist religious beliefs too? Or was their attraction to fundamentalism an act of rebellion against the parents?   This is how Altaf’s story came about that formed the nucleus of the book. Here was a Pakistani immigrant in the United States who spent all his life trying to assimilate in the American culture, who wanted nothing more than to be counted as an American. What happens when his only son, goaded by his zealous mother, goes exactly in the opposite direction? The other characters (and their stories) were the results of my fascination with certain topics. How does a returning solider feel when his next-door neighbor looks and talks like the enemy he had been fighting in distant lands? That’s where Gerard’s story came about. My curiosity about inter-racial marriages gave me Naina’s story. Hard-working immigrants — taxi drivers, construction workers, hospital attendants — determined to succeed in this country gave me Rohan’s story. How does the loss of a child upend a couple’s life? Does it ever get back to normal? Those questions led me to Kate’s story. Weaving these stories together into one narrative was driven by my belief that despite all the ostensible differences, at the core, we are all the same and believe in the same values.  

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I like having an outline of the story at the outset. If you know broadly, where the story is going to go, you don’t get lost on the way. However, as I write, the story takes twists and turns not planned before and eventually turns out to be a lot different (and richer, I think) than intended at the start. The characters evolve and present opportunities that weren’t simply there when I started writing them. So, it’s a bit of both. I do have an outline at the start — but the final story goes beyond it.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

As the adage goes — write what you like to read. I like to read contemporary fiction and hence my writing is contemporary fiction also. I like to write about human relationships — our capacity to change and grow. I write about issues that are affecting the well-being of the society we live in — racism, extremism, ultra-nationalism. However, the storytelling is important to me. I don’t want my books to be preachy – I want them to engaging for the readers and like the message to be weaved in the story.   

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

There is not a single day when I don’t play that movie in my head 😊. The book has American and South Asian characters. I see Bradley Cooper play Gerard and Amy Adams as Kate. I would have liked Irfan Khan to play Altaf. Unfortunately, he passed away last year. Now, I would like to see Aamir Khan play that role and I would like to have Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor play Naina and Rohan.  

7: Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?

I love to read. However, with the day job and the writing, I end up reading only about 18-20 books a year.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez would have to be my favorite author. I also admire Salman Rushdie, Khaled Hosseini, Kazuo Ishiguru, Jeffrey Eugenides, Emma Donoghue, George Orwell, Laura Hillenbrand, J.K. Rowling, and many, many others. One writer I wish I could write like is Jhumpa Lahiri. She can evoke deep emotions in her readers without resorting to melodrama.  

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I am currently reading ‘Directorate S’ by Steve Coll, an engaging non-fiction about America’s misadventures in Afghanistan.  

9: What is your favorite book and why?

I consider Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ the ultimate in storytelling. The spinning of a story that spans generations and yet continues to engage the readers closely throughout, the mastery with which Marquez adds the magic-realism in the storytelling is unique. The book that comes closest to it, in my view, is Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’. Both are beautiful, unforgettable books.  

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

First: Persist. I see several people starting, but then losing steam midway. It doesn’t matter how good or bad your first draft is, but it is important you finish what you start. There is plenty of time, after the first draft is completed, to further improve the book. But the most important thing is to finish it.

Second: Write the best book you can. I finished the first draft of Azalea Heights in 16 months, but it took me another 38 months to ‘complete’ it. I understand there are shortcuts available (self-publishing, editors) and the quality of writing of some of the bestsellers isn’t quite the best, but you still want to give it your best shot. The book may be a hit or a flop, but you won’t want your name to be associated with a shoddy, half-baked product.

Third: Buck the trend. Don’t write what you think sells in the market. Write what you want to write. The story you think you can tell the best. For example, if college romances are what’s selling, doesn’t mean you must write one too. If that’s the story in you, of course. But if you have another story to tell, go ahead and tell your story. That way your truth will make the writing stronger, and the readers will relate with the book.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

Website: www.rajatnarula.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/author.thejasminebloom

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rajatwrites

Instagram: www.instagram.com/author.rajatnarula

About the Author:

Rajat Narula is a writer of contemporary fiction, passionate about issues that are dividing people across the globe: racism, extremism, and ultra-nationalism. Having lived in India, Indonesia and USA, he has observed some of these prejudices at close quarters and they feature prominently in his writings.

He works for the World Bank, fighting poverty by day, and making up stories at night. He lives in Virginia, USA with his wife and two daughters.

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Author Interview: ‘Homecoming’ by Frank Winter

About the Book:

One last dance… Homecoming was going to be the best night of their lives for the students of Villa Vista High School, but instead it became their last. Love was in the air as several couples among the crowd found themselves at a crossroads. Expectations were high, but the future was less certain than they could ever imagine.

Death was not the end. The students found that Hell looks a lot like high school. The afterlife only offered more questions than answers, but one question took center stage. With grief and anger consuming them, the search for the killer began.

Now the accused must survive the wrath of their classmates, while continuing their own search for atonement and escape. Their Limbo could give way at any moment, and they have no idea how far down the Circles they might fall.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

My family is full of a variety of different creative personalities. My father did some of his own amateur writing over the years and I had an inkling toward music thanks to my brother. I didn’t start out interested in writing right away though. My real passion was musicals. I was very big into the animated musicals of the nineties. Over time that led into a hobbyist interest in poetry and lyrics.

Then, when I started college, I had an English GE class where the teacher encouraged us with many different creative writing assignments. That gave me the taste of writing prose which I pursued on and off for many years afterwards.

I’ve collected a document file of ideas over the years. When the pandemic hit, I had more free time to play with and I began developing them. That’s when one of my oldest ideas really seemed to crystalize and the novel began to pour out of me.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I mostly write on a desktop in my home study. There is a shelf with a lot of trinkets and things that have inspired me over the years. I’ll purposefully seek out other items to add to it to help me flesh out an idea. In a similar way, with each story, I have a large folder of images that I keep as reference to help me visualize and describe what I’m putting to print.

Time of the day is much more varied. I have such an inconsistent sleeping schedule that I will write whenever time allows and an idea is ready and waiting.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

They mostly seem to just come to me at random times, and the good ideas will stay with me for a while. This first novel really started out because of a dream I woke up from on Christmas morning. The entire first chapter played out in my dreamscape and it was so incredibly vivid and detailed that I just had to write it out. After that, I just kept writing and the characters and story manifested quickly afterwards.

When I have an idea for a plot or arc, that usually forms first as the backbone, then specific scenes will sprout more variedly like grapes on a vine. They don’t all mature at the same time, but once they do, I pluck them and turn them into the finest wine that I can.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

The overall arc of the story is usually what comes to me first, then how the characters grow and interact within the bounds of that story affect the details of how it progresses and who is instrumental in what ways. Ultimately though, the final results aren’t too different from my original plan.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

This first book is a supernatural thriller. I’ve always been a fan of the supernatural stories from the likes of Stephen King and Tim Burton, and with Thrillers specifically I’ve read most of Michael Crichton’s bibliography.

I think thrillers are great as a main genre of literature because you can really feel the action and the stakes, even when you’re just reading words in black and white. 

Homecoming specifically is driven by a murder mystery plotline and much of the drama comes from the thrill of search for the killer. Then by the nature of the setting, there are quite a few Romance themes as well.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Ha-ha, I did put some thought into that when developing characters. While I’d need a time machine to pull in the famous personalities, the looks many of the others were amalgamations of kids that I went to school with.

The main character, Blaire, is essentially a mix between Barrett Wilbert Weed and Sophia Anne Caruso, based on their respective characters of Veronica Sawyer and Lydia Deetz. Elise is a blend between Sissy Spacek and Natalie Dormer. Rafael is based on Michael Peña and the character Jackie Welles. Jennifer is drawn from a young Heather Locklear and Darren is inspired by Liam Hemsworth from the first Hunger Games movie.

Everyone else is more heavily drawn from people I knew growing up. The personalities are fictitious characters though. Despite the plot, I actually really enjoyed high school and my classmates were generally very nice.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I tend to listen much more than I read, actually. I used to have horrible commutes for my day job, which gave me two hours alone in my car each day. That began my love of audiobooks in early 2014, along with Audible specifically. 

I’m actually a big sci-fi fan, which is strange considering this first novel has no sci-fi elements. Future stories definitely will though. I grew up really loving Michael Crichton, starting with the original Jurassic Park novel. I was also deep into lore of the Halo franchise, including all of those original books.

Since high school and college though, I’ve read a pretty wide range of genres in fiction and non-fiction, basically anything I find interesting.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Right now, I’m re-reading The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. It’s a fascinating set of anthropological theories by Julian Jaynes on how humanity developed self-awareness. It’s been very inspirational to me when writing. It makes you question a lot of things you do and why you do them, makes you self-critical of your own agency. I’ve found it very useful in developing characters.

As far as things I’m reading for the first time, I’m going through Bubble in the Sun, about the history of Florida and how land speculation contributed to the Great Depression.

In terms of fiction, I’m finally reading Ready Player One and its recently released sequel.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

My favorite book would probably be The Andromeda Strain. While the Spielberg movie introduced me to Crichton as an author, The Andromeda Strain really enraptured me with the themes and storytelling that come across. His more recent book Prey touches that nerve bundle in a similar way, but The Andromeda Strain is the clear genesis for his whole body of work.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I think that if it is something that you love to do, you should do it. Whether or not I become prolific enough or famous enough to make writing my full-time career, I do it ultimately because it’s very gratifying.

It’s fun to think up my own worlds and stories and synthesize them into something that others can experience and enjoy in the same way I enjoyed those ideas coming to me in the first place.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

My website is the main source for news and updates. I have a blog that I will post major milestones to every few weeks. My email is found there as well.

www.frankwinterfiction.com

I post more frequently on Facebook and Twitter with random little things and points of progress.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FrankWinterFiction

Twitter: @FrankWinterFict

About the Author:

Frank Winter is a native of Northern California who was born into a wonderful family that supported his passions and aspirations. He grew up loving the performing arts, inspired by the animated musicals of the 1990s. During his university days, he dabbled in local theatre as well as productions put on by his church. At the same time, he expanded his interests to include creative writing. This quickly evolved from lyrics to short stories to long-form fiction.

After graduation he pushed forward in his career as a mechanical engineer while continuing to moonlight in writing and music. Following years of honing his craft, he finally decided to pursue an old story idea to be released as his debut novel.

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Author Interview: ‘Tidal Rage’ by David Evans

About the Book:

On the cruise ship circuit, Sebastian McKenzie is a star. A brilliant pianist and singer, he entertains the wealthy guests every night in the piano bars and restaurants of the world’s leading cruise liners. But he never stays with the same ship for long. And some of the other entertainers have nicknamed him the Grim Reaper, because whenever Sebastian is on board, people go missing.

After escaping from prison, Josef Werner is driven to a safe hideout in the Didim area of Turkey. He sets up his base in the beautiful bay of Akbuk, and buys two isolated villas high on a hill overlooking the bay. But Werner has been followed by a private eye named Cortez, and the premises are bugged.

Max Cutler is an All-American boy: tall, blond and handsome, with a sharp wit and a keen eye for female company. A stand-out student at law school, he is immediately recruited into the Secret Service, to protect America’s interests overseas. Max is in Europe, breaking up a violent counterfeiting ring in Germany, when he hears that his baby sister Elisa has disappeared from a cruise ship in Alaska.

In a gripping thriller crossing three continents, these three men find their fates are entwined.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I spent my formative years in Singapore and Germany before returning home to Liverpool. I attended the same school as John Lennon and Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, albeit a generation later.

Presently I am Managing Director of Business Consultancy and have investigated over 200 industrial accidents. This has given me an insight into causations and forensics. I am also a qualified lecturer teaching industrial and safety law, and a Principal Designer.

I am a chartered member of the Institute of Safety & Health. I have been a technical author for many years, and decided to use this knowledge and imagination to write fiction.

Health and Safety sounds boring, but I have travelled over rough water and climbed 90 metres on stations above cofferdams when the Forth Bridge and Mersey Gateway bridges were being built. I’ve been in the tunnels under the Thames for the new sewage pipe for London, under London for Cross rail and HS2. 

I have eight parachute jumps to my name, in the Lake District, Florida, and a base jump over Chamonix on skis. I have scuba-dived the Red Sea, Pacific, and Indian oceans, as well as the Barrier reef and Cozumel. I’ve caught sailing fish and Barracuda (always returning them to the sea alive and uninjured), undertaken safaris in Kenya, and been charged by elephants.  

Travel has been an important hobby for me and my wife, we have travelled to the four corners of the globe, visited every location in the book, and undertaken over twenty  cruises in preparation for writing this novel. I drove to Turkey to see how it could be done from Europe. We travelled to the Falkland Islands and walked the ridges over Mount Longdon, again for the scene in the book. 

Writing technical reports can be a little bit dry, and when I got to my fifties and the children had flown the coop, I decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition to write a book. I always had a vivid imagination, with English being my best subject at school, and I always received great marks for essays. 

The great thing with age is experience, and I think all the points above have assisted greatly with having an active imagination and helped me to write this book. My second in the trilogy is near completion and I have a cameo appearance for my father who has just died and intend to start on my third shortly after. 

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I have three favourite places to write. I have to travel a considerable amount for my work, and found I spent most of these nights away in a restaurant or pub, and went up from 70 kilos to 85 kilos. I decided I needed to do something, or I would be 120 kilos by time I was sixty. So, I began to write in hotel rooms, from 5pm to 9pm, when I was away, mostly listening to either Wagner, the Bee Gees, Queen or the Beatles. 

My second favourite place was when we took cruises, my wife who is very creative would work on her projects, and I would find a secluded area on deck and write. I observed people and gained insights into different characters, many traits I observed have assisted me to develop the characters. 

Third, I built an office outside in my large garden and when I finish work, I will sit there between 6pm and 9pm. I find it helps my thought process as I am surrounded by the aroma of flowers, the birdsong and I do not even mind the gnats and insects that invade the office from spring onwards. 

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I had been interested in deaths at sea for many years, and tracked cases of accidents, missing persons, suicides, murders put down as suicide and manslaughter and murders at sea. I observed a case at first hand where a Singapore businessman murdered his wife, after being caught stealing in the ship’s jewelry store. I was the only person observing the stern of the ship as the helicopter whisked the body and husband off to the island. The cruise line called an impromptu pool party with free drinks at the front of the ship to divert attention.

I pay waiters, barmen and security guards on ships to explain the cctv cameras: which one works, and which does not. They tell me the hiding places and about where the garbage goes, how they launch lifeboats, etc. You can find any information out as long as you tip.

I have a million different ideas in my head. For instance, my grandfather shot his best friend dead at the Somme in the first world war, as he had snuck up on him as a joke. My grandfather came back and married his best friend’s widow and took on seven children; she never forgave him and hated him till the day he died. What a great story for me to write in the future!

This week there has been a lot of press around sexual harassment and attacks in schools. The idea jumped into my head of writing a book around the subject. Taking first the boy’s side and showing how the internet, online porn and peer pressure affects their judgment. One boy gets away with it because of incompetent tutors, another boy posts pictures online and we follow him through as the future university and then prospective employers knock him back because of his previous social media and online failings.  Then showing the girl’s side, one who gets over the trauma by seeking help from friends and counsellors whilst another is sectioned and in later life goes on to commit suicide.

I visited Agatha Christie’s house in Dartmouth a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed the atmosphere. I thought about writing a book about her settling down there in her later years, and a fictional companion who looks after her but keeps asking her about characters and plots. The companion turns out to become a famous author, but cannot stop being Agatha’s companion because she has no imagination. Agatha Christie’s agent suspects something, and the killings start. Agatha has one last case to solve.

And it goes on and on. 

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I normally mind map the book. I have a beginning, a middle and end, but the story evolves as I start to write and the ideas flow. I have never had writers’ block when writing, and must contain myself sometimes. I want to make the story as believable as I can. 

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I prefer adult fiction, thrillers, war, confrontation and spying. As a youngster, I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and thought it magnificent. I went through a stage of reading Dennis Wheatley and Stephen King but tired of the horror genre. Once I discovered Deighton, Forsyth and Le Carre I was hooked on thrillers. I would like to write a timeless novel such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, or Angels in the Sky by Wilbur Smith. 

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For me the cast was easy to pick, Max Cutler would be played by Christopher Hemsworth because of his acting ability and charisma, not to mention looks. Sebastian McKenzie the serial killer would be Jackie Chan. Robert Stahmer’s role would be taken by Stephen Graham, because not only is such a wonderful versatile actor, he is from my hometown. Moana ran through my mind when I created Tuck Walters, so although larger than the character in the book I could not get beyond The Rock. Fabienne Asper would be the wonderful Kirsten Vangsness, Cheryl Ross played by Alexa Vega. Hoagie Finberg must be Tom Hardy, Matt Rice known as Basmati would attract female audience if played by Corbin Bleu. Tom Hanks always plays the nicest man, and I would want him playing evil Seppi Werner. Alec Baldwin has aged well and would do justice to the role of Wyatt Rockman. Samantha Colley would play Ghislaine Lyman, Adrian Rodriguez would represent Philip Cortez very well. When I wrote about Delegate Frau Uebering, Angela Merkel kept coming to mind; failing her, I think Helen Mirren, who I adore as an actor, would be fantastic in the role. Lother Gotschalk could be played by the very able Til Schweiger, Idris Elba is the only consideration for Nathan Colton and finally Lou Diamond Philips as Lachiman

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read at least two books a month, more when on holiday. My favourite authors are Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Christopher Dickens, Harper Lee, Len Deighton, Clive Cussler, Wilbur Smith, Dennis Wheatley, Frederick Forsyth, Jeffrey Archer, Rudyard Kipling, and Lord Roben.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. 

9: What is your favourite book and why?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – opened my eyes as a twelve-year-old to the injustices and discrimination in the world. Convinced me I would never be a bigot or racist which was widely accepted when I was a child.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Everyone has a story. It does not matter if you do not have perfect grammatical English or whatever language you write in. If the story is good enough someone like the editors from Loudhailer Books will polish it for you.

We all want a legacy so whether your are eight or eighty, and if it take you six months or sixty years, once you have written it , no one can take that away from you. 

If you are younger, what a great addition to your CV.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

Presently I am on LinkedIn and next week I am setting up a Facebook page for Tidal Rage which I will link into my own Facebook page.

My publisher is loudhailerbooks.com

My website is davidalanevans.co.uk

About the Author:

David spent his formative years in Singapore and Germany before returning to his home city of Liverpool, United Kingdom. David attended the same school as John Lennon and Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, albeit a generation later.

Presently David is a Managing Director of Business Consultancy and has investigated over 200 industrial accidents. David is also a qualified Lecturer and teaches Industrial and safety Law. He is a Chartered member of the Institute of Safety & Health. He has been a technical author for many years and decided to use his knowledge and imagination to write his first fiction book.

Travel has been an important hobby for David, he has travelled to the four corners of the Globe. He has visited every location in the book and undertaken over twenty cruises in preparation for writing his novel.

David has been interested in deaths at sea for many years and tracks cases of accidents, missing persons, suicides, murders put down as suicide and manslaughter and murders at sea. David observed a case at first hand where a Singapore Business man murdered his wife after being caught stealing in the ships jewellery store. David was the only person observing the stern of the ship as the helicopter whisked the body and husband off to the island. The cruise line called an impromptu pool party with free drinks at the front of the ship to divert attention.

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Author Interview: ‘The Midas Effect’ by Manuel Dorado

About the Book:

What would happen if someone could turn every one of their wishes into reality? Is the human psyche empowered to manage the power of a god?

Alongside a plot of international intrigue and scientific conspiracy, the characters The Midas Effect must answer to themselves those key questions. They leave us a trace of reflection throughout this story that grips the reader until its round ending.

Miguel Le Fablec, a young European university professor, appears to have the ability to turn his imagination into reality – the so-called Midas Effect. Unaware of his power, Miguel attracts the attention of the CIA and NASA, which take him to the US and draw him into international intrigues, scientific projects and secret services operations that overwhelm his reaction capacity. Everyone wants to control and use him. But how do you control a power such as this?

★ NOVEL FINALIST/SELECTED at the literary section of SITGES INTERNATIONAL FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL 2017

★ One year at #1 in the Crime Thriller and Adventure category on amazon.es

★ BEST OUTSTANDING BOOK 2017 on “Ni un día sin libro” Spanish Literary Website.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing.

I am an aerospace engineer and writer. Engineering and literature are primarily creative pursuits. I am an engineer by vocation, and I am fortunate to be able to develop my work in my area, and I am a writer by vocation as well.

My writing vocation has always been there, although I did not always want to dedicate myself to writing professionally. I also painted when I was a child, and I composed music when I was a teenager. I also entered inventor competitions, so my creativity has always driven me. One day, being an engineer, I decided that my vocation as a writer should not remain as just one of my hobbies. I felt that I could and should materialize writing in a professional way, so I jumped into it. I think that every profession requires education and training, including writing. And, as a good, square-headed engineer, I decided I needed training. I wrote and attended narrative classes for several years. I was trained at the Madrid School of Writers. I was published in literary magazines in Spain and Mexico, I won some international literary contests, and my stories have been published in several countries. My first novel, The Midas Effect, has been quite successful in Spanish and was selected in the literary section of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, which brought it closer to the world of cinema. I then decided to translate and publish it in English, since the story takes place mainly in the USA and many characters are North American. I think that its technothriller genre will be appreciated among English-speaking readers.

I am very systematic, and that is an essential skill for an engineer as well as for the novelist. I am very serious when I take something seriously.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Not at all. My time is occupied by my full-time job and by taking care of my two children, my father, and my partner. So any place and any free time is good for writing. A few years ago, I used to travel a lot all over Europe, and I used to write on the plane, in the hotel, and while waiting at airports. The longer the flight delay was, the better for me because it meant more time to write. I don’t care about the noise or how uncomfortable a place is; I just need a laptop. I’m the airport terminal novelist.

Of course, I also have a very small table where I write when I find time at home, which is usually in the evening or at night.

I also really like writing in public libraries. Thinking and writing surrounded by disheveled students who are focused on their exams… Yes, that encourages and inspires me. So, I’m also the library novelist.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I have technical and scientific training. I read essays and scientific dissemination magazines as a hobby. When technology or science advances towards some limit that falls outside the conventional or social approaches that we all have, and they do so continuously, a technological-moral dilemma arises. For a technothriller writer, this is fertile ground. Later, I build the argument at the service of the idea, with the intention that the reader lives it and the dilemma is his.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing, or do you let it carry you along as you go?

When I write a novel, I am very clear about where the story is going. It is not an exact point but it is a direction to point to. Then, before starting to write, I also decide the narrator or narrators, the narrative voices they will have, the tone, and many details. Then I write an outline where I begin to describe each chapter or scene, what will happen there, how the characters feel, what turning points there are, where, when, etc. Not all the scenes end up as planned; some are eliminated and others added, but this process helps me to define the plot well.

When I write short stories, on the other hand, I usually experiment with different narrative techniques, genres, and textures. I leave my comfort zone and among the many things I risk is the end. Sometimes I write by letting the characters move themselves towards an ending that I do not know. I have even tried automatic writing.

But for a novel, I always have a plan and a storyboard.

5: What genre are your books, and what drew you to that genre?

My main genre is technothriller. I like to write it, and I already have sketches for several more novels in this genre (actually, I have already finished one of them in Spanish; English will take a while, I am afraid).

Going back to the question, I like technothriller because it allows me to develop divergent, annoying ideas, contrary to common feelings, and that attracts me a lot in literature. Of course, I have tried more literary genres, and I have published them, such as surrealism, dirty realism, and comedy. I have also tried narrators who break the fourth wall, ambiguous narrators, symbolism… I think that experimentation and a foray into other genres and techniques provides narrative authority, and that’s good for any writer. All in all, I’m afraid I’m a genre author.

I have also finished a short story book. Although I use various narrative techniques and textures for each story, all of them tend to my bedside genres: light science fiction, dystopia, and technothriller, or a mix of all of them. I think the stories in this book fall perfectly within the attention span of my novel readers. So, yes, my preference is within plots mixing international intrigue with technology.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I wrote the first draft of The Midas Effect in Spanish in 2004, so my dream cast has changed a lot since then. At that time, I saw Johnny Depp as Miguel le Fablec, the main character, a European university professor. The co-star of the novel, a young American scientist of Italian descent, could be Penelope Cruz. For the antagonist, a CIA agent of Cuban descent, I imagined Andy Garcia. And in the role of Gorlov, the Russian scientist and former KGB agent, I saw Michael Caine.

It’s been a long time now, although I think some of these actors would still fall into my dream of seeing The Midas Effect in a movie.

7: Do you read much, and if so, who are your favourite authors?

As Cervantes, Chekov, Flaubert, Faulkner and many other of these giants are or should be a reference for any writer, I will not dwell on them. They are my literary base, like anyone else’s. But let’s go to my references at the time of writing my novels. By proximity to the genre and to mention just a few: Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Stanislaw Lem, Michael Crichton, and Stephen King. They have direct, efficient prose and a great ability to develop suggestive ideas mixed with entertaining plots. Two whom I admire and have greatly influenced me are Cormac McCarthy (I love modern American writers) and Dino Buzzati (also Italians). And I can’t resist mentioning Orwell, who opened my eyes to literature when I was a teenager.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

In the thriller genre, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides and The Silence of the White City by Eva García Sáenz de Urturi (an excellent Spanish thriller writer). Today, it is difficult to surprise in thrillers, and they both have succeeded. In non-fiction, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari manages to awaken and maintain interest. He reminds me of Carl Sagan, but with less sarcasm. And in more literary narrative, A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin, who had been slow to fall into my hands and is, in my opinion, a writer by right of the golden age of North American literature.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Ever since I read it, when I was a teenager, my favorite has been the novel by Orwell, 1984. I think it opened my eyes to literature. It was also the first book I read in Spanish and in English.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I am an aerospace engineer. I was trained at university and obtained my master’s degree before starting to work in the aviation world. One question: would you board and fly in a plane built by an aviation enthusiast? No, right? Maybe you would prefer a plane built by a well-trained and skilled professional, wouldn’t you? Well, why do many people think that one can write without having received training in literature? I do not want to say it must be academic training; I know it is not the only kind, but I believe that training for any job is essential. In Spain, there is no university training for creative writing; I know that in the United States there are. In any case, anywhere in the world one can be trained in any discipline.

The first thing I did was to consider learning literary techniques as an academic training. I looked for professors with reputations and seriousness. At the School of Writers, they taught me the techniques and invited me to write everything that, by technique, genre or subject, I had never considered writing or even reading. I read a lot of diverse authors. I read books on literary technique, novels that have nothing to do with my style, others that do, short stories, great classics, avant-garde, poetry. Everything contributes and shapes the writer.

Trying to master the techniques and to define and work the appropriate technique for each story is fundamental in my work.

Without a doubt, I advise anyone wanting to become a writer to look for a school, workshop, teacher, literary gathering, or place where they teach literature and creative writing. Writing is a very serious profession that requires training and practice. You also must read a lot of diverse authors.

Then it comes the writing itself, and that that is hard work. Very hard. And there is no muse who skips it or redeems you from doing it. Without hard work and technique, there are no happy ideas or muses that are worthy.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

You can find me at the following:

My author web site: www.manueldorado.es/english

My author Facebook: www.facebook.com/manueldorado.escritor

My Goodreads profile:

www.goodreads.com/author/show/16612380.Manuel_Dorado

My Twitter profile (in English): @MM__Dorado

My Instagram profile: www.instagram.com/manuel_dorado_escritor

About the Author:

Manuel Dorado was born in La Mancha, Spain. He is an aerospace engineer and a writer. His short stories have been included in books such as the anthologies “La carne despierta” (Gens Ediciones, 2013), “Segunda parabola de los talentos” (Gens Ediciones, 2011), “Plaza de Oriente” (COPSA, 2009), as well as literature magazines “THELunes” and “La Gran Belleza” in Spain and “Interpretextos” in Mexico.

Dorado has been awarded several literary prizes, such as “Vila de Mislata” Literary Award; “Patricia Sánchez Cuevas” International Short Story Award; honourable mention at “Julio Cortázar” Montevideo, Uruguay International Award; Finalist at Museum of Words International Literary Contest.

“The Midas Effect” is his first novel. It was selected and awarded as finalist at the literary section of the Sitges international Fantastic Film Festival in 2017.

Manuel has finished two more novels and a short stories book, all of them on their way to being published.

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