Author Interviews

Author Interview - Sharlene Almond - Initiated to Kill

Sharlene Almond has a diploma in Body Language and Criminology, enabling her to explicitly portray the main characters in her novel. Sharlene lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her two dogs and partner. She enjoys watching documentaries about history and conspiracy theories, giving her ideas for her next books.
At 31 years old, Sharlene has a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural therapy, Freelance Journalism, and Editing and proofreading; giving her the ability to better understand the human mind, writing about it in manner her readers can understand and connect with.
Sharlene has also started up two additional websites: Body, Mind and Health services -
Animal Health and Welfare Services:

Both websites are based around her qualifications in Counseling, Personal training, human and animal nutrition, Animal behavior and Natural therapies.

Initiated To Kill
Two men from two different generations, both initiated into a powerful organization that throughout history has sought control and uses their power for destruction. They leave behind a wake of murder, manipulation and ancient secrets. The first man wreaks havoc in and around the Whitechapel district of London, England in the 19th century. While the other stalks his victims in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain in the 21st century; knowing that only he could uncover the true motives of one of the world's most infamous serial killers—Jack the Ripper.

Who are your influences?
I like a variety of authors; however, there are some in particular that especially influence my writing.
James Patterson is one of my favorite authors, not only does he write great thrillers, he writes short chapters, which in my opinion makes the story go faster, encouraging the reader to want more.
Jeffery Deaver is another great thriller writer, with both of these authors delving into the psychology of the main characters, and especially the killer or killers.
Jack Kerley, Michael Marshall and Stephen White all write great psychological thrillers, largely based on drawing the reader in through the connection they make between the characters in the book, and the reader.
And, of course, Dan Brown, with his ...


Author Interview - Sebastiano Lanza - Author of That Which Must Happen

Sebastiano Lanza, born and bred in Sicily, Italy, is the author of That Which Must Happen.
He's passionate about non-linear storytelling, labyrinthine plots, and mise en abyme, which feature heavily in his works.
He adores impossible challenges, if nothing else for their paradoxical nature. Nothing is impossible. Or so he says.
He also loves good food.

That Which Must Happen 
   Benjamin is a child able to foresee and forestall events unfolding in his life and that of others. Yet he dreads to reshape them, for these events intertwine each and every existence in a delicate balance. However, when he senses his sole caretaker’s imminent death, he feels he must intervene.
   In a fevered state, Benjamin was abandoned in the midst of a winter night, and is now sheltered by Ms Penter, a woman grieving over the loss of her own child. As he’s nurtured back to health, and his presence helps the woman to partially let go of her grief, Benjamin is devastated each and every time he glimpses her imminent demise.
   Despite his attempts to alter the events leading to her death, Benjamin knows he won’t be able to save Ms Penter without damaging the delicate balance which entwines each and every life. The same balance he was born to preserve.
   That Which Must Happen tackles the theme of fate.
   Not to be understood as a series of immutable events leading to a predetermined destination, rather, as a series of interconnected events which can be influenced by our choices.

Who are your influences?
If I were to name all of them, we would stay here for quite a while. So I'll limit myself to three.
First, I'd say Pirandello influenced me a great deal. I was always fascinated by his writing, since high school. Maybe at the time I didn't truly grasp what was he trying to convey, but I knew there was something more underneath. Eventually it came to me, and I said to myself, "This is brilliant!"
His works are truly worth some in-depth studying. His latern theory, the psychological relativism, the fragmentation of self, these are all concepts worth sinking one's teeth into.
I'd like to say Umberto Eco was one of those intellectuals I admire a great deal. Let's just say I love intertextuality.
And finally Nolan. He's a brilliant storyteller. His reflections on time and subjectivity make his films so thought-provoking and enjoyable.

When did you begin writing?
Just about a few years ago. It's funny to think that around 6 years ago I said to a friend of mine, "I would never be able to write a book. ...


Author Interview - Joan K. Lacy - Author of A Shadow Away

From a young age, author Joan K. Lacy loved travel, meeting people in other countries, and learning to speak their languages. This interest led to leaving UCLA to live a year in Europe, where she got excellent practice with French, Spanish, Italian, and German. Joan is intrigued with myths and legends from all over the world, and now is happy to combine all she's learned, researched, and experienced into exciting and entertaining adventure stories with a magical twist.

As an artist, the wild and domestic animals she loves became her subjects for drawing, painting, and sculpting. Science, from quantum physics to the cosmos, piqued her interest and broadened her scope for storytelling. In her free time, Joan enjoys playing the banjo, bossa nova guitar, and Irish fiddle, and spinning alpaca fiber into yarn. Her other artistic interest is creating silk floral arrangements within unique glass vases.
Her first novel, A Shadow Away, is the first in the Alex Cort Adventure Series, where she combines research, imagination, and personal experience to create exciting stories filled with metaphysics, folklore, mythology, quantum physics, and archaeology. In a world where time and space are not always what they seem, Joan shows readers that anything is possible if they just believe. 
 In A Shadow Away, archaeologist Andrew Seaton discovers a jewel-encrusted golden statue and realizes he may have uncovered the key to the lost city of El Dorado. The statue disappears before he can verify his findings, and Andrew must rely on private detective Alex Cort to recover the prized artifact. The two men find themselves caught up in a dangerous race against a corrupt colleague and a ruthless art thief who will stop at nothing to claim the statue for themselves. As each new clue leads them up the Amazon River and deeper into the jungle, they soon discover things are not quite what they appear. When all seems lost, the mystical powers of a beautiful woman guide them out of danger and ultimately to the ruins of an ancient city, where Andrew must right the wrongs he committed in a past life and Alex discovers a secret of his own.
 Who are your influences?
I love Mary Stewart’s books The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. Her books started my love for Merlin and the legends of King Arthur.
All of James Herriot’s books, beginning with All Creatures Great and Small. I love the way he tells a story, and I encourage everyone who loves animals, and a good story, to read his books.

When did you begin writing?
I didn’t start writing until later in life. The benefit of that is I can combine all I’ve learned, experienced, researched, and imagined into the adventure stories I write now.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
First, I’ve always been interested in myths and legends, archaeology, and science.

Author Interview - Ricardo Alexander - Author of Bollywood Invasion

Ricardo Alexander is a descendant of the Great Yyu, a.k.a. the first king of China. He lives in Massachusetts and enjoys experiencing all kinds of cultures around the world. After obtaining his doctorate in science, he became fascinated with time-travel. As an aspiring writer, he loves to write time-travel fictions that blend fantasy, science, and real history together. 

In 2017, he published his debut time-travel novel Dragon Tomb, the first book of his TLR (The Last Resistance) pentalogy. This history science fiction series starts from World War II, during which a young archaeologist discovers the true origin of Chinese civilization and saves the world from Armageddon.

Bollywood Invasion 
A fantasy novel about a modern-day American boy who wakes up in 1958 India as the reincarnation of John Lennon. Bollywood Invasion opens when the protagonist, a sixteen-years-old boy from Brooklyn, finds himself with riches and power beyond his wildest fantasies in India, thirty-five years before he was born. Brooklyn is readily forgotten. Life becomes a constant stream of debauchery, coming to a stand-still only when he meets “the one.” However, love doesn’t come easy. He must become a better man, a pursuit ignited by his memories of Beatles songs on his iPod. Will these legendary songs change his life? Can he escape Lennon’s eventual tragic fate? Will he ever find his way back to Brooklyn? His fate will unfold in Bollywood Invasion.  

 Who are your influences?
I believe that my writings are heavily influenced by my favorite author, George R.R. Martin. His A Song of Ice and Fire would certainly keep me up all night reading. The most valuable lesson I learned from him is that the most beloved characters should die once in a while.

 When did you begin writing?
As a scientist, I was always fascinated with time-travel fantasies. However...


Author Interview: Shari Lopatin: Author of The Apollo Illusion

Shari Lopatin tells stories that matter. An award-winning journalist in her earlier years, she now writes complex and stimulating suspense novels that tie into modern-day social issues. Shari has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, public relations professional, social media manager, and earned the title of “Cat Mom of the Year.” Her debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, is coming out May 19, 2018. Digital copies are now available for pre-order. Learn more at

The Apollo Illusion 
The year is 2150, and bullied nineteen-year-old Flora can no longer ignore the burning curiosity to learn what’s behind the towering Wall surrounding her home state of Apollo. Citizens still read books, discuss philosophy, and send text messages, but questioning The Other Side is forbidden.
When Flora’s naïveté accidentally reveals a dark secret about Apollo, she’s forced into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival. Fearing for her life, she leaves behind a clue
for her childhood friend, Andrew, placing her last hope in their special bond.

Who are your influences? 
My primary influences in creative writing have been George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, Judy Blume, and more recently, Junot Diaz.

When did you begin writing? 
I've been writing for as long as I can remember! I wrote my first short story when I was seven years old about a group of aliens who befriended a girl on earth; they all had names of food items, such as "Butter."


Author Interview: Christopher Bardsley: Author of Jack Was Here

Christopher Bardsley lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. He undertook his studies at the University of Melbourne, where he received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Above Water prize for fiction. While he is primarily an author of novels, his interests also include modern and ancient history, with a particular focus on interpreting extremism. Christopher teaches literature and history at independent schools in Victoria. Jack Was Here is his first novel.

 Jack Was Here
 Hugh Fitzgerald is losing control. In the aftermath of a traumatic end to his military career, his life has disintegrated. Hugh is approaching the end of his tether when a desperate plea for help arrives from a most unexpected quarter.
Nineteen-year-old Jack Kerr, halfway through a coming-of-age trip to Thailand, has disappeared. He has left few traces, little information, and absolutely no answers. As the days turn into weeks, his parents grow increasingly frantic.
They approach Hugh with a simple request; do whatever it takes to find their son, and do whatever it takes to bring him home. It sounds easy enough. The money is right. More importantly, it’s something to do–something useful.
But as soon as Hugh touches down in Thailand, the illusion of control begins to slip through his fingers. Jack’s warm trail is easy to find, but it leads somewhere unimaginable. Finally, as he closes in, Hugh is forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures.
Jack Was Here is an intoxicating glimpse into Thailand’s underworld.
A startling debut from Christopher Bardsley.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc? 
I’m always on the hunt. Anybody spending too much time in my vicinity is likely to have their personality harvested for interesting quirks. Character names are plucked from here and there, and mashed together until they seem reasonably plausible. My imagination is a bit of a blender. To be perfectly honest, I don’t actually know where it all comes from. I don’t need to know, either, and it’s not something that I spend too much time contemplating. In terms of point-of- view, most of my work has been in the first person. That’s not a rule by any means, but I do prefer the subjective to that omnipotent third-person voice-of- god that can be so difficult to manage.

When did you begin writing?
As soon as I could, really. If the question is when I began properly focusing on writing, I would say that was around the age of nineteen or twenty.


Author Interview: Shaun Baines: Author of Woodcutter

Shaun didn't always live in a damp cottage in Scotland.  He once lived in a flat that permanently smelled of pizza. He wasn't always a writer, either. He worked in a factory, a government institution, as a manager in a purchasing department and later as a gardener.
  He has had a gun levelled at him and been threatened by a man with 'Bad Joe' tattooed on his neck. He doesn't knowingly associate with criminals.
  Shaun comes from the north east of England where his novels are set. He is represented by David Haviland of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.
  Woodcutter is his debut novel published by Thistle Publishing. It is based on the criminal underworld of his native home, available as an ebook on Amazon. The paperback will be published 7th June 2018.
  These days, he keeps chickens and bees, grows his own fruit and vegetables and wonders where it all went so right.
  You can find him at, on Facebook as Shaun Baines Writer or Twitter as @littlehavenfarm

On the run from his criminal family, Daniel Dayton returns home to Newcastle Upon Tyne when his abandoned daughter is attacked.But his family have problems of their own. Targeted by a brutal mercenary, their empire is destined to be destroyed should Daniel refuse to help.Betrayed by his parents. Despised by his brother. In love with his sister-in-law. Home has become a dangerous place to be.Daniel wants his daughter safe. And he wants his revenge, but in the shadowy streets of Newcastle, things are never what they seem.

Who are your influences?
There are a lot of writers I've admired over the years. The list is achingly long, but includes James Herbert, Jeffrey Deaver, Thomas Harris, Martina Cole, Stephen King and more. They're all very different, but they've worked hard at their craft. Whether you like them or not, that effort comes across in their writing.
The people who influence me the most aren't writers. I live in a rural community where farmers work around the clock just to keep up with the payments on their farm. My Dad had a series of grisly jobs when I was growing up, but he went in every day without complaint. When I grumble about how difficult writing can be (and I do. Bitterly.), I remember there are people out there working twice as hard for half as much.
If that doesn't squeeze another paragraph out of you, nothing will.

When did you begin writing?
I think everyone enjoyed writing stories when they were a kid, but some of us never grew up. I have a vague memory of writing a Christmas play for my parents when I was six-ish. I persuaded my sister to play an elf while I played Santa Claus returning to his Grotto from the pub. I'm not sure why Santa was drinking on Christmas Eve, but I was very judgemental about it. He certainly shouldn't have been flying his sleigh. The narrative arc started and ended there, but we received rave reviews from our parents. Forty years later, we are still hoping to tour the play at some point.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
I have to come clean. I am terrible at naming my characters. Conventionally, names should encapsulate the characters in some way, but I'm so eager to get the story finished, I don't stop long enough to give them much thought. Where I write, I am faced by rows of DVDs. There is a direct correlation between my character's names and actors in my favourite films.


Author Interview: Sarah Scholefield: Author of Redferne Lane

Sarah Scholefield initially trained as molecular biologist gaining a BSc (Hons) in Biology from The University of the West of England. After realising she wasn’t cut out for life in a laboratory she worked in numerous schools across the West Country.
She has always enjoyed making up stories in her head and finally began to write them down. In 2014 she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Redferne Lane is her first novel.
She lives in Somerset with her husband and children.

Redferne Lane
Ezra had it all when he died. A good job. A nice house. His loving wife, Grace. 
Grace doesn’t even realise she’s struggling to keep herself together. Until Torin turns up in Redferne Lane. It’s been nearly two years since Grace has seen Torin. Since Ezra’s funeral. Now Torin is back in her life, emotions from the past are resurfacing and Grace begins to realise elements of her life are going wrong. She’s not sure she can take control. 
But Grace isn’t the only one with problems in Redferne Lane. Josie has a husband and young family to contend with. Ada is facing the difficulties of old age. Jerome thinks he’s found the perfect girl. Eliza just wants to grow up. And Torin isn’t sure he should have what he wants. They all begin to turn to Grace for answers. Can Grace look beyond her own difficulties and help those around her, even while she’s trying to save herself?

Who are your influences?
The first writer that really got me into reading was Sebastian Faulks. I read ‘Birdsong’ and was smitten. At the moment, I particularly enjoy Maggie O’Farrell, David Nichols and for literary indulgence I always go back to Jane Austen.

When did you begin writing?
I started making some primitive scratchings around 2003. I’ve been writing with intent since 2010. In 2013/14 I did an MA in Creative Writing, which really helped my writing.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
It all usually starts with daydreaming. Perhaps I’ll see or hear something that interests me, maybe something someone says or a picture. Then I’ll go for a wander in my head with that thing and start building a character or a situation. 


Author Interview: Max McBride: Author of Mink Eyes

Max McBride is a lawyer, novelist, playwright, and poet. He writes. He reads. He works. The bulk of his time is spent at the office.  He will never read all the books by his bed or watch all the shows saved on his DVR. Max enjoys art, design, college basketball, ballet, modern dance, and sacred music. Bob Dylan, Shakespeare, Rumi, and Yeats are just a few of the greats who have had an impact on him.  His book Mink Eyes, a novel he calls “white noir,” and Tenebrae, a collection of poetry centered around the death of his wife (but also including several snapshots of growing up Irish in America) are both available for purchase in print and digital form from Amazon, B&N, and bookstores nationwide, as well as directly from the author. McBride is also a social commentator of sorts, and his occasional observations about culture, travel, and—when he can’t hold it in any longer—politics can be found on his website:

Mink Eyes 
October 1986—the tarnished heart of the “Greed Is Good” decade. Private detective Peter O’Keefe is a physically scarred and emotionally battered Vietnam vet. Hired by his childhood best friend, ace attorney Mike Harrigan, O’Keefe investigates what appears to be merely a rinky-dink mink farm Ponzi scheme in the Missouri Ozarks. Instead, O’Keefe finds himself snared in a vicious web of money laundering, cocaine smuggling, and murder—woven by a mysterious mobster known as “Mr. Canada.” Also caught in Mr. Canada’s web is the exquisite Tag Parker, who might be the girl of O’Keefe’s dreams—or his nightmares.Mink Eyes weaves murder, addiction, obsession, sex, and redemption into a fast-paced, compelling detective novel that also brings in themes of duty, fatherhood, friendship and love. Peter O’Keefe is a reluctant hero who struggles every day to choose in favor of life over death.

Who are your influences?
I am able to say who my “inspirations” or “admirations” are, but I am reluctant to call them “influences” because they all wrote so differently, and so much better, than I do.  In poetry and drama (and everything else), Shakespeare above all.  In poetry, Wordsworth and especially Yeats.  In prose, Dickens, Turgenev, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Salinger, Donleavy, Joyce Cary, Simone Weil, Joseph Campbell, Robert Stone, E.L. Doctorow.  In detective fiction, Chandler and the MacDonalds (Ross and John D) showed me how good it could be, and Elmore Leonard showed me not only how good but how funny it could be and how ordinary people could be its heroes.   
When did you begin writing?
Since high school I have felt the strong and persistent “call” to “write.”  But, due to an unfortunate combination of not knowing how and where to enter and not having enough confidence in my abilities to take the risk of plunging into it as a full-time vocation, I instead pursued a career in academia and then in law, both of which involved a lot of writing, creative in its own way but not of the imaginative variety. 

Author Interview: Ted Galdi: Author of An American Cage

Ted Galdi is the author of the bestselling novel Elixir. The book is a winner of a Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and a Silver Medal in the Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Ted is a graduate of Duke University and lives in Los Angeles. He has been featured by ABC and FOX television, iHeartRadio, Examiner, and many other media outlets. His second novel, An American Cage, is set for release Fall 2017.

An American Cage
 Three inmates break out of a maximum-security prison in Texas, one of them Danny Marsh, a suburban kid in his twenties who landed in jail because of a crime he never intended to commit. An American Cage follows Danny and his two escape partners over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico. On this dangerous journey, Danny has to evade the rabid Texas authorities, and even worse, the schemes of one of his closest allies, who isn't who he seems. 

Who are your influences?
My favorite author is John Updike. Unlike me, he wasn't a thriller writer. But the best elements of his work transcend genre. I think any fiction writer would benefit from reading him. His plots aren't necessarily "exciting" per the mainstream definition of the word. They mainly feature everyday people in everyday settings. This, however, leaves him nothing to hide behind, and makes you realize how good of a writer he was. Often, car chases and explosions can divert a reader's attention from bland writing. When reading Updike, something as simple as a man going for a jog can be captivating. The descriptions, constant psychological probing, and subtle tie-ins of common suburban situations to profound philosophical movements make for a unique reading experience.    

When did you begin writing?
"Professionally," with the publication of my first novel, Elixir, in 2014. However, it all started when I was a kid. I wrote a whole bunch of stuff along the way, from short stories to comedy skits to screenplays. I tried selling a few 


Interview: Frank Cavallo: Author of Rites of Azathoth

Frank Cavallo is a horror and dark fantasy writer. His previous works include Eye of the StormThe Lucifer MessiahThe Hand of Osiris, and the Gotrek & Felix novella Into the Valley of Death.

He was born and raised in New Jersey. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in Communications in 1994 and he earned a JD from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 2001. His life-long fascination with the darker side of human nature has led him to devote most of the past 15 years to a career as a criminal defense attorney, at the Cuyahoga County Public Defender Office, in Cleveland, Ohio. There he has come face-to-face with some of the truest horror in this world. Murder, rape, burglary, drugs. That's his bread and butter.
Rites of Azathoth 
F.B.I. criminal profiler Diana Mancuso doesn’t do field work anymore. Not since a tragic mistake that cost innocent lives. But when notorious serial killer Luther Vayne escapes from prison and resumes his campaign of brutal murders, the Bureau convinces her to take one last case. To catch him, she must understand him. She must delve into the arcana that fuels his madness, risking her life and her sanity to follow his twisted path. The trail plunges her into a shadowy world of occult rituals and unspeakable horrors, leading to a secret cabal operating at the highest levels—and a plot to summon the darkest of all powers, to bring forth an evil that does not belong in our world—to enact the Rites of Azathoth.
Who are your influences?
Since my newest book contains a Lovecraft character in the title, you’d probably expect me to say HPL, and you’d be right. But there are plenty of others, especially from that golden age of pulp fiction.
I remember reading the preface to an old collection of Robert E. Howard stories in which the writer (I can’t remember who, unfortunately) said that a lot of writers made him want to read, but only a few writers made him want to write. That stuck with me, for two reasons. One, because I agreed with him, Robert E. Howard made me want to write too. Second, there are very few writers I’ve come across since who made me feel that way. Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker are the two guys working today who have that effect on me.

When did you begin writing?
When I was about eight years old, I started writing stories in school. At first they were just monster stories at Halloween, then sci-fi stories in the mold of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. That became kind of a habit, and I haven’t stopped since.

Author Interview: Ed Duncan: Author of Pigeon-Blood Red

Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the author of Pigeon-Blood Red, a fast-paced and suspenseful crime thriller. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy.

Pigeon-Blood Red tells the story of underworld enforcer Richard "Rico" Sanders, who believed his next assignment to be an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss's priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.
 As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

Who are your influences?
Some of my favorite authors are Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, James Jones, Somerset Maugham, Richard Wright, Ken Follett, Theodore Dreiser, Scott Turow, Dennis Lehane, Walter Mosley, Frederick Forsythe, and Lee Child.  I think they all have influenced me at least indirectly.  Since I write crime fiction, the author who has influenced me the most in that genre is Dashiell Hammett.  His writing in The Maltese Falcon is brilliant.  Spade's long monologue near the end of the novel where he explains to Brigid O'Shaughnessy that he "won't play the sap" for her and that he's "sending her over" is masterful.  Relative to Lee Child, few writers can elevate the level of tension in a scene as well or as often as he does, novel after novel.  When Reacher is in one of his frequent tight spots, the reader feels as though he is right there beside him.

When did you begin writing?
I've been an avid reader since high school.  I always planned to write for fun in my spare time, but there 


Author Interview: Robert Skuce: Author of Kiss of Death

Robert Skuce thought that he was too pretty and small for prison so he decided to write about it instead. After dabbling in different genres, he found himself at home as a thriller/crime writer. A man, who was born and raised in Eastern Ontario, Canada, in a small town, he decided to try his hand at creative novel writing. Turned out, he loved it and kept writing to improve his craft and is now the writer he is today. He enjoys a good mystery and once in a while he likes to go back to horror when it was simpler and less complicated then you find in this day and age.

Currently living in Southern Ontario with his wife and four kids, he enjoys long walks, time with his family and lazy afternoons getting caught up on television. He loves playing with computers and is the household personal IT technician. When he goes out, you can find him exploring the different restaurants his city has to offer and driving in the country side.  He is always looking for new places to be the basis of his books. He photographs abandoned buildings and unique parts of town in order to create a sense of realism in his books.

Filled with ideas and personalities that are unique, he is always coming up with a new and twist-filled story that will make its way to the pages everyone can enjoy. Captivating his readers with the difficulty in his books and leaving them trying to figure out who did it, will make you want to keep reading to see what Robert Skuce will come up with next!
Kiss of Death

Bruno Norcross is a detective who never got over letting a serial killer get away. Now that Kiss of Death has re-surfaced; he is determined to close the case. The death of another young college girl has sparked outrage in Charlie Lassitor, the police Sargent, whose daughter was killed by this very killer. Bruno feels compelled to close this case, but the details get blurred when a new name enters the list of suspects. Can Bruno catch the killer before his killing spree ends and he vanishes again? Or will Kiss of Death once again elude him?
Who are your influences?
Stephen King is obviously a great influence and I always enjoy his books, but also have a couple lesser known authors that influence me and my writing. Rayne Hall has a Writers Craft series that I find myself always referring to over and over again. Charles Barnett has a book called The Deepest Sea. It’s still one of my all time favorite books and I admire his writing style.

When did you begin writing?
I wrote my first novel about four years ago, I would like to say it was a master piece and an amazing novel, but it wasn’t. What it did though, was show me that I could write a complete book and that each book I write gets better.

Author Interview: Christopher Johnson: Author of Seven Days Dead

Christopher Johnson is a former United States Marine Sergeant who lives in New Jersey with his three sons.  A fully disabled veteran, he enjoys writing in fiction, specifically scifi, and nonfiction religious anthropology.  He has held a variety of jobs from night auditor at a hotel to Financial Advisor, has dabbled in amateur blacksmithing, and has a real thing for zombies.  You can see his work, as well as get updates on forthcoming books, at his website:

Seven Days Dead 
   Tal Barzani, Mizrahi Jew, former IDF operator, and confirmed drunk wakes up to find his city in flames. As Jerusalem burns, he accidentally saves a ragtag group of people already on the jagged edge of survival. Will they escape the City of David alive? Can Tal keep his group together long enough to find safe harbor? Or will it become a three way race between the undead, their own prejudices, and the desert to see which kills them first?  
   Follow the survivors through the rich landscapes and beautiful history of the Levant as they work to survive in this new and frightening world. All cities, names, historical sites, military units and more are represented with as much accuracy as possible to ensure an experience that will pull you in...and never let go

Who are your influences?
I've had quite a few over the years. When I was younger David Eddings was a favorite author of mine for the way he could weave a grand and complex universe. More recently I've been drawn to George RR Martin, Joe Abercrombie (one of my absolute favorites), and Patrick Rothfuss.

When did you begin writing?
I first started writing when I was in 10th grade, I believe. I had an assignment from my history teacher to come up with a myth for some natural occurrence or another - I think it was the changing of the seasons. So I wrote up my myth




Author Interview: Carl Schmidt: Author of Dead Down East

Carl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow he studied mathematics at Brown University.

Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.

Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.

Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone.  In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.

Dead Down East

Dead Down Easta fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais.  She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor of Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.

Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.

Who are your influences?
Two novelists come to mind. First, Tim Cockey wrote five quirky mysteries (The Hearse Novels) before changing his name to Richard Hawke and writing more traditional, edgy ones. I much preferred the Cockey stories, which are laugh-out-loud funny…pure entertainment. They are smart, witty, and hard to put down.
And second, David Guterson, who wrote Snow Falling on Cedars. This novel was spellbinding for me. Each paragraph is constructed with precision, texture and feeling.


Author Interview: E. W. Sullivan (Sully) Author of Swarm Theory

Award winning author E. W. Sullivan (Sully) was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He worked as an architect and contractor, taught computer networking, and owned a financial services company before becoming an author.  Sheaves of Zion was Sullivan's first novel and Readers' Favorite 2013 bronze medal winner for fiction-mystery-sleuth. His second novel, Swarm Theory, is the second book in the Thelonious Zones crime series.   He credits his high school English teacher, Mr. Smith, for planting the seed for his love of writing, his late father for how to tell a great story and his late mother for how to curse properly.   E.W. Sullivan lives, works and writes in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Anita and daughter Paris.

Swarm Theory: A Murder Mystery-Thriller

Criminal profiler Dr. Thelonious Zones wants to believe his father didn’t kill his mother. What stops him from believing is the twenty-five years to life he received for her murder. Zones’ avuncular employer and father’s best friend, Sam Drake, defends his innocence. Zones sets out to find the truth to this twenty-four year old question, but his search is interrupted when he is forced to investigate the death of a young Arab college student and the series of bombings engulfing a small southern town. Zones’ theory and profile of the perpetrator(s) are questioned by law enforcement when events change and new suspects emerge. The trail to the truth will lead Zones through a thicket of well-guarded secrets and childhood memories that cause him to question what he believes about how the world truly works.

Who are your influences?
My literary influences are many and they span both time and genre. Richard Wright and James Baldwin first showed me the impact a good story could have. JD Salinger brought out the rebel in my writing. More contemporary are Walter Mosley and George Pelecanos whose crime fiction is some of the best I’ve ever read.  
When did you begin writing?
I became serious about a writing career ten years ago. 

Author Interview: Lisa Gordon, Author of A Sealed Fate

Lisa is the winner of the 9th American Gem Novel Writing Contest 2012/2013.
Lisa also scooped 4th prize with another novel.
Lisa received an honourable mention for her play Holly Leaves in the Writers Digest Annual Awards.

Lisa Jacqueline Gordon was born and brought up in in Johannesburg. She studied BCom Law at Witwatersrand University before going to the UK to complete a BSc. Industrial Economics Hons. She now lives in the UK countryside. Lisa studied with the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London and later became a regular guest on BBC WM and BBC Shropshire doing to monthly stars and forecasts for the Birmingham footie teams. Lisa has guested on BBC Coventry and Warks, BBC Cambridge, BBC Northants, TalkSport and Fox FM. Lisa also campaigns against injustice and unfair trials abroad.

A Sealed Fate

A chain of tragic deaths across Dubai spanning two decades, only Valda knows they were not accidents, but murders. Her name is next on that list. Spunky singer Valda ditches her old life in Cape Town for a new start in glittering Dubai. Armed with just her cigarettes and some attitude she sets about reigniting her career and putting to bed the heartache over her former boyfriend Richard.
Valda does indeed find success and to her astonishment love, but all is threatened when she is introduced to a billionaire Sheikh. Her clandestine liaison with the Sheikh, propels her into a murky web of deceit and when newspaper clippings of seemingly accidental deaths across Dubai are posted anonymously to her it is clear she is rushing headlong into the same fate. No one dare cross the Sheikh and she can hardly hardly turn to the law, so with few options open she confides in Larissa. As an astrologer, Larissa predicts that Valda and the Sheikh's destinies were sealed from the moment of their first meeting; however she keeps the dire fate that she reads in the charts a secret. Lara resolves to help Valda flee Dubai and the ever tightening grip of the Sheikh; but should Valda be putting all her faith in her new friend and guru of the grimoires.
Together, Valda and Larissa take a gamble in a game of cosmic Russian Roulette where the stakes are their lives and their adversary, Fate itself.A thoroughly modern cocktail of intrigue, passion and suspense set against the exotic locales of Cape Town and Dubai with an eclectic mix of characters, a perfect beverage if you like a tangy lemon peel in your drink as this one has a twist at the end too, but you'll have to read it to discover it. 

Who are your influences?
I always enjoyed Sidney Sheldon and I loved the way every one of his books was slightly different; there was no formula and like me, he did not rely on a cop or detective as a main character and books were story more than body count/evidence lead.
Sheldon had strong female characters who were never whiter than white - I steer clear of books which take a good versus evil stance.  We can all be good and evil according to what we are faced with.
I love Robert Ludlum as I think his plots are complex and exiting and I love the conspiracy angles.

When did you begin writing?
 It was right after I had a tarot reading and the psychic said, "Do you know you are a very good writer." I had never thought of writing before, in fact I was studying accounting and yearning to be an actress.
Writing was actually my saviour as it came at a time when I needed a direction and a goal I cared about. I started writing A Sealed Fate right away and was amazed when I found myself nine chapters in - it came so naturally and suddenly I realised that this was way better than acting as it was my own words, I was not just speaking someone else's.


A.M. Rycroft is a dark fantasy and horror writer, and blogger. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh.
She has been writing since a young age, and though she attended art school for a time, she found her way back to writing again after art school. Her first dark fantasy/horror novel Into the Darkness was written while she attended the University of Pittsburgh. Her writing has been compared to the works of David Eddings and Stephen King.

When she is not writing, Rycroft is a writing coach and a periodic cartoonist. She enjoys keeping fit with weight training and walks through her local parks. During the summer, A.M. is frequently seen riding the roller coasters at the Kennywood amusement park.

The Taming

Imps, ale, and intrigue… This dark fantasy tale follows the brash Thystle Moran, sword for hire. Only one job has ever bothered her, one that promised to be easy money, but ended in the death of her friend. Now, an imp with questionable motives says her friend's death was no accident. Thystle seeks retribution as her world spirals out of control. She faces off against her dark past, a betrayal, feelings for a young woman, and the interests of a shadowy group known only as the Immortals. Can she ever catch a break?

Who are your influences?
Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Joe Hill are my biggest influences, and to a smaller degree George R.R. Martin.

When did you begin writing?
I've been writing since I was very young. I didn't really decide on writing as a career path until after high school and a brief stint at art school. When I 


(For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.)

John Murray: A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as ”Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations.

  John was raised in the South by his grandfather who taught him at an early age how to survive by hunting and fishing, which all served him well for his future. He firmly believes that if he had not had the guidance of his grandfather and others who influenced his life that he never would have survived the ordeals that he did.

  John, who enjoyed a very average American childhood, always wanted to be a ‘normal’ husband and father, but you’ll eventually understand why that was impossible. 

  Papa and his crews bore the responsibility of taking care of much of the world’s evil – evil that could never have come to the public’s attention.

Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify. ​ 

Sharon Murray: Sharon is a retired business executive who has lived in many parts of the US and in Asia.  Happily married to John for over five years, she had no idea about his work until she experienced his nightmares about the past. After discussions about how she might help John, he asked Sharon to help him write his memoirs just as something to leave behind, unpublished. After several years of working on them, Sharon convinced John it was a story worth telling to the world. 
  Working on this project has helped John start to face some of the things he experienced while trying to be a good guy in a world gone awry. 

Abby Jones: This is Jones’ fifth book.  She also writes for numerous magazines.  The original manuscript was handed off to Abby, a friend of Sharon, who has a reputation for her easy, conversational writing style.   
  Abby worked with John and Sharon for approximately eighteen months to make sure John’s voice was never lost in the rewrites.  She notes that both John and Sharon were wonderful to collaborate with via phone, computer and text.  By the way, she has never met John!   Abby currently lives on the West Coast. She has traveled extensively and lived in many other parts of the US as well as in Europe.

Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals-- both men and women-- who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that;s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.
Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years.

  After a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government. 
  “With this book, I hope to educate the public and open up the conversation about what our country and others have really done on dangerous secret missions to help the world,” says John Murray (Papa), who deftly tells his fascinating and memorable life story, laying out facts but leaving it to readers to determine how they feel about each mission. 
  The highlighted missions include the deaths of eight counter covert operators in a major Las Vegas hotel conference room during a mission that has “stayed in Vegas” until now; a European mission to save sex slaves from major drug dealers; a successful all-out effort to save a small European country from takeover, and much more. 
  These are real stories, gritty and true—not the fantasy world of James Bond, Scandal, and others.

How long have you been considering turning your adventures into a memoir?
Quite honestly, I never considered doing this.  But, years after these missions were over, I continued to have nightmares and night sweats that scared Sharon, my wife of seven years. 

Author Interview: D.J. Williams, Author of Waking Lazarus

With the DNA of a world traveler, D.J. Williams was born and raised in Hong Kong, has ventured into the jungles of the Amazon, the bush of Africa, and the slums of the Far East. His global travels have engrossed him in a myriad of cultures, and provided him with a unique perspective that has fueled his creativity over the course of an eighteen year career in both the entertainment industry and nonprofit sector.

His debut novel, The Disillusioned, has garnered praise from
Hollywood’s elite such as Judith McCreary, Co-Executive Producer, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, & CSI, who said, “The Disillusioned is a fast-paced mystery…you won’t put it down until you’ve unlocked the secrets and lies to find the truth.”

Currently based out of Los Angeles, Williams continues to add to his producing and directing credits of more than 300 episodes of broadcast TV syndicated worldwide by developing new projects for television, film and print.

Waking Lazarus
Jake Harris' life hasn't turned out the way he planned. Battling his addictions, and the shattered pieces of his family, he is hired to ghostwrite a memoir. From the 1920's story of a controversial evangelist, to the present day mystery of a former District Attorney, everything changes when his search for the truth leads to an atrocity hidden from history. With a past he can't remember, he begins to discover that he is not the person he believed himself to be. Rather, he is a threat to a secret society that has remained in the shadows for nearly a century. Jake is drawn deep inside a world he never knew existed that brings him closer to his own extraordinary destiny.

Who are your influences?
My biggest influences are John Grisham, Michael Connelly, and James Patterson. Each one for different reasons. With Grisham, I enjoy the variety of stories he weaves into his books. With Connelly, it's the way he develops his characters in such a way that they can grow throughout a series of novels. And Patterson, for his style of writing each chapter as if it were a scene in a move. With my background as an Executive Producer and Director, I find that my writing style is a mix of all three.

When did you begin writing?
I remember when I was eight years old picking up a copy of Treasure Island


Author Interview: J. G. Clay, Author of Tales of Blood and Sulphur

Born in the leafy peaceful surroundings of Leamington Spa, J.G Clay is the Midlands Master of The Macabre. Now in his early forties and residing in the leafier English county of Northamptonshire, Clay’s boyhood dream of bringing his unique combination of cosmic horror, dark fiction and science fiction to the masses is being realised. With the first volume of The Tales of Blood And Sulphur under his belt, he is poised to unleash Gods, Monsters and weird events upon the world. Under Clay’s guidance, the Dark will become a little darker and Horror will go One Step Beyond.

When he is not destroying worlds, J.G likes to spend time with his family and friends, exploring the world of bass guitar, adding to his eclectic collection of music and watching as much geek TV and film as his eyes and brain will allow. He is an avid reader and a long suffering but ultimately optimistic fan of Birmingham City FC.

He hates cucumber, extremists of all stripes and colours, and reality TV shows.

Tales of Blood and Sulphur   
   Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur.

   J.G Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem……
   There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin......
   A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.
   The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!

Who are your influences?
The usual horror suspects; King, Barker, Herbert, Ramsey Campell, Graham Masterton. I’ve recently discovered Ray Garton and Kealan-Patrick Burke so we can add them onto the list. Outside of the printed word, John Carpenter’s films have had a massive effect on over the years, as has the British sci-fi comic 2000A.D.

When did you begin writing?
Professionally, I’d say about two years. I’ve written for my own amusement since I was about 13 years old.


Author Interview: Erin Rhew, Author of The Fulfillment Series

Thank you for hosting me to today, Dave and the Lupa Schwartz Mysteries Blog! And a big hello to all of the readers who've joined us! <waves>

I'm here as part of the Rhew 2 Rhew tour! My husband, Deek Rhew, wrote an amazing thriller called 122 Rules, published by Pandamoon on April 5! In addition, my publisher chose the month of April to feature my trilogy, so Deek and I decided to make a thing of it. And the Rhew 2 Rhew Tour was born! ;) Stay tuned because there's an opportunity for you to enter a Rafflecopter drawing for a chance at a $50 Amazon gift card!

Dave: Who are your influences?

Erin: My family has always been a big source of inspiration for me. I'm from the South, and I have a super huge, quite successful family. Many are entrepreneurs and business owners, so I've learned from them the value of working hard and pursuing your dreams. My grandparents own a car dealership. It was my grandfather's dream to do that, and he worked hard to make it a reality. He's in his eighties, and he still goes to work every day and loves it. My family's influence and support gives me the courage to reach for the stars.

My biggest writing and life influence is my amazing husband, Deek Rhew. He inspires me daily with his shining spirit, easy smile, and clever mind. I tell you, this man is the real deal, real life MacGyver. He can take a bunch of random components and make most anything work with them. I'm in awe of the way his mind works. And his writing is just His wit and prose fuse together to create a truly unique blend of literary and commercial. I've never read an author voice like his (and I work for a publishing company and read manuscripts all the time). His natural talent challenges me to be a better writer, and his bright soul inspires me to be a better person.

Dave: When did you begin writing?

Erin: I started writing when I was four years old. While sitting in my grandparent's office one day, I typed up my very first poem about the cars on their lot. My family made such a huge deal about it that I just kept writing.


Author Interview: Deek Rhew, Author of 122 Rules

I am so happy to be on The Lupa Schwartz Mysteries Blog! Hello, Dave and all you wonderful readers of his blog. What a great day to do an interview! Also, stick around after the interview to learn about our books and enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

Dave: Who are your influences?

Deek: Erin Rhew! Hands down my fav author of all time. We joke that I loved her writing so much I had to marry the author. :-)

Other than my bride, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Nelson DeMille. You will see each of these gents' influences in my writing.

Mr. King could write the danged phone book, and it would be an awesome tale. He's one of the most brilliant storytellers of all time. IMHO.

Mr. Koontz is an amazing story teller, but what he does is create incredible characters that you think about long after you've closed the cover. Christopher Snow is easily my favorite character of any book ever. Dean also has an elegant, beautiful writing style and description capability that I could only dream of matching.

Mr. DeMille weaves these intricate action plots with humorous but serious characters. If you've ever read the John Corey novels, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. John is tough and complicated and funny.

I'd love to go on an adventure with John, Christopher, and Samson. I think we'd have a marvelous time.

Dave: When did you begin writing?

Deek: I wrote a lot in high school, but at that time my focus was on music. After living the musician's life for a while I realized something very important: A musician's life blows chunks. Hard. Awful pay, long hours, drunk fans. After I switched majors, got my degree, and a job that, ya know, let's me eat on a regular basis, I returned to writing.

I've started several stories, but each time the story fizzled out. Those were more of learning who I am as a writer...actually I think I'll always be learning. But when I fell in love with the characters in 122 RulesBirth of an American Gigolo, and "Norman and Demon," I fell in love with storytelling and the writing process.


Author Interview: Dane Cobain, Author of No Rest for the Wicked

Dane Cobain is a writer, poet and musician from a place you've probably never heard of, somewhere in England. When he's not writing books, he's reading and reviewing them on his book blog - - or working at his day job in social media marketing. Find him at or follow @DaneCobain on Twitter.

No Rest for the Wicked
When the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.
Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.
The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.
            When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Who are your influences?
I have a bunch of different influences, depending upon the type of writing that I’m doing. Some of the key writers to have influenced me over the years include Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Bukowski, Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman.

When did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing seriously since I was about sixteen, but I used to dabble with it here and there way before then. I wrote a novel before I was eighteen, and then went to university to study creative writing. I guess that was when I started to take it seriously.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
It’s hard to tell, really. 


Author Interview: Nik Venture, Author of The ISIS Lone Wolf Trigger

Nik Venture has been a professional writer and editor for a variety of national magazines for more than a quarter century. Helming seven different magazines he has both won, and judged, numerous writing awards, and his words have reached millions of readers. His travels have taken him around the world on various assignments. When he's not writing fiction under his pen name, he can be found either running, or playing keyboard in various clubs with his rockin' blues band.

Description of The ISIS Lone Wolf Trigger
   Many fanatics believe the End Times are coming . . . a few can’t wait.
For them, the prophecies for Armageddon are clear, if only they could trigger the war that starts it all by blaming Iran for a horrendous act of terrorism. American retaliation would start the dominoes falling. The final battles would begin.
   Enter Jack Kant and his girlfriend Angela Bow. They don’t have a lot, but they do have each other. Jack’s a muckraker journalist with an unhealthy compulsion for poking in places where he shouldn’t. Angela is a resourceful documentary researcher and not above kicking a wiseguy where it hurts.
   When Kant visits a sketchy source to return a package of illegally-obtained materials and back out of a story he’s considering, he confronts a long-haired deliveryman who slaughters the whistle-blower, his wife, and nearly Kant, to obtain said materials. Kant escapes with the package, but before he can get home, Angela’s six-year-old niece, Kiley, is abducted.
   Should he go to the police, even though he’s soon framed as a suspect in the murders? Would they even follow up on one of the odd items in the package -- a brochure about the dangers of natural gas storage facilities with the phrase “55 Hiroshima bombs” circled?
   He is drawn into the scariest story of his life, and his obsession with learning secrets demands that he follow up, but what about Kiley? His choices are grim and the world is pressing down on them, more so than he knows, if he doesn’t act there may be no world.
   On the run, he and Angela must use all of their ingenuity to outwit unknown adversaries while trying to determine who their friends are, and who would make them patsies in an international conspiracy.

What is your novel, The ISIS Lone Wolf Trigger about? What was its genesis?
Well, according to surveys, 31 percent of Americans believe the “end times” are approaching. With Evangelicals, the numbers rise to 77 percent, and, among Protestants, 54 percent agreed that "the world is currently living in the 'end times' as described by prophecies in the Bible." At least half, or more, Muslims believe they will live to see the return of the Mahdi, a messianic figure they believe will begin the final events of the Muslim calendar.

Like terrorism in general, what if there were just some tiny fraction of those people who are unwilling to wait?

Author Interview: Brady Koch, Author of Guns, Gods & Robots

Brady Koch lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife and children. Feel free to read over Brady's shoulder if you see him working on a new novel or short story at the coffee shop, library, or commuter train into NYC. Despite his penchant for crime, horror, and the
unusual in his writing, he's actually a nice guy and welcomes your feedback. Brady Koch's first collection of short works, Guns, Gods & Robots, is now available. 

Here is a synopsis of Guns, Gods & Robots

Guns: A girl’s birthday wish comes true when she gets to spend an afternoon on manhunt with her lawman father.

Gods: An old man discovers his crops aren't the only dead things on his farm.

Robots: A heartless machine built for compassion malfunctions, leading its engineer on a hunt to fix the corruption before it spreads.

In Guns, Gods & Robots, Brady Koch, mixes and remixes three themes across this collection of stories and novellas that spans the range of science fiction and horror. The stories, collected here for the first time, range from the uplifting to the horrifying. Sure to spark your imagination, the seven stories in Guns, Gods & Robots will also keep you up at night. 

Who are your influences?
I suppose I’m a populist, but I grew up on Stephen King, then Kurt Vonnegut. I was always pleasantly surprised when an assigned book in school ended up being a great read. Animal Farm and The Illustrated Man stand out for me in those regards.


Author Interview: Andrew Man, Author of Beyond the Rest of Us

Andrew Man was born in Exeter, Devon, in April 1946.

After the War, Andrew’s parents moved the family to Nottingham, England. Andrew’s education was completed at a school in the Midlands and he followed another old school boy D.H. Lawrence, in his quest for the purpose of
life? Having shown little interest at school, he was sent to a School of Navigation and then apprenticed to the ‘Port out - Starboard home’ Steam Navigation Company. He served on some very old cargo vessels and some yellow funnel dream boats during the 60’s and 70’s. Then becoming disillusioned and bored he went back to study for a new career in finance. His career in finance was to last nearly thirty years, working with British, American and Swiss Banks and finally with his own finance company in downtown Beirut.

His writing developed after he retired through visits to the CERN science centre in Switzerland, which also forms a basis for some of his stories. To write his books, he has moved through places where he worked in the past, from London, Lebanon, to Geneva and the Caribbean.

Andrew lives in the Swiss Romande part of Switzerland with his wife and a teenage son and if you stand on a chair in the garden you may see the Mont Blanc. 
Beyond the Rest of Us, a Time-travelling conspiracy thriller by Andrew Man
 A retired Swiss banker is kidnapped at a Geneva hotel for crimes he doesn’t understand. An Italian cruise ship crashes into rocks in the Tyrrhenian Sea. A respected American scientist disappears into thin air. And a British secret agent follows a trail of corrupt power in this gripping third book featuring Andrew Man’s aging male protagonist James Pollack.

Who are your influences?
My writing influence sits between two very different authors: the English author John Fowles, and the American, John Updike. I know it’s a struggle to place both of these greats in the same camp, but I dream of mixing similar styles and coming up with something equally special. I love the language Fowles uses, and his intricately woven plot lines, the evolution of literature to allow the story to unfold. 


Author Interview: Stephen Childs, Author of On Track for Murder

Stephen Childs was born in Ealing, London, in November 1961.

In the early 1970s Stephens parents moved the family to New Zealand. Stephens education was completed in Wellington, New Zealand, after which he began a long career in film and television.

Stephens career highlights cover news and current affairs, documentaries, sport and even drama productions. Over the years he realized that a career of observing and reporting on others efforts, successes and failures, furnished him with an excellent understanding of how people tick.
A foray into politics, where he actually stood as a candidate in the New Zealand general election, adds to his colorful career.

Stephen rose to executive level in his television career and managed many successful ventures. A hankering for greater personal challenge eventually led him to seek a change. This change came when he and his family decided to relocate to Perth, Western Australia.

Leaving his well paid executive role and relocating to a different country gave Stephen the opportunity to utilize his skills in the way he had dreamed of for some time: writing full length fiction.

Stephen lives in Joondalup, just north of Perth, in Western Australia, with his family and two cats. And yes, there is a pool in the back yard. 

On Track for Murder, a Victorian mystery by Stephen Childs
 When 18-year-old Abigail Sergeant’s father is stabbed to death and her brother is caught with the incriminating, bloody weapon, Abigail finds herself on a dangerous cross country adventure to uncover the truth about who killed her father.  On Track for Murder is a beguiling blend of romance, mystery and a desperate race against time and will entertain fans of Agatha Christie and P. D. James with its plot twists and turns, leaving them guessing — and gasping — until the very last page.

Who are your influences?
My writing influence sits between two very different authors: Agatha Christie, and Matthew Reilly. I know it’s a struggle to place both of these greats in the same camp, but I dream of mixing such diverse styles and coming up with something quite special. I love the language Christie uses, and her intricately woven plot lines that so effortlessly allow the story to unfold. Then I am gripped by Reilly’s non-stop action and seemingly impossible situations. Having said that, an influence that I drew upon many times when writing is Alfred Hitchcock and his fabulous movies. I would often consider his use of mood, and the way he builds tension, when searching for a way to enhance a scene.

Thinking away from the creative, I am also a great admirer of Richard Branson. I find his ability to challenge accepted norms and seek a better way, to be most refreshing. And … I’d quite like to own my own island.

When did you begin writing?
As a child I loved writing. I would start devising adventure stories whenever a spare notebook found its way into my possession.


Author Interview: Harry Longstreet, Author of Falling Birds

   Harry Longstreet retired after twenty-five years as a writer, producer and
director of filmed entertainment, primarily for television.  For the past ten years he has pursued ‘humanist realism’ photography…  still pushing film through a camera but one frame at a time instead of 24 frames a second.
   He has received two Writers Guild of America nominations for script writing, as well as a Humanitas Nomination and a Genesis Award for an after-school special he co-wrote and directed.  Aside from one-man shows, his award winning photography has appeared in over two-hundred National and International Juried Exhibitions.
   “Falling Birds” is his first published work.  “Blood in the Water”, the second in the GYB series is a work in progress. He lives on Bainbridge Island, WA.
Falling birds is described as follows:“Falling Birds”, is the first in a series featuring “GYB” [Got Your Back] an agency specializing in protection and investigative services. The three principals of the Los Angeles firm; (Tracy-ex-military, Jake ex-mobster, Dave ex-cop washout) and their bizarre contract confederate, Grodsky, an infamous paparazzo. The agency works to protect a ‘Jeans Queen’ designer from a psychopathic stalker. At the same time, Jake is the subject of a contract hit ordered by a dying mob boss he is responsible for putting in prison and Grodsky searches for the killer of a film star he once loved.
Who are your influences?
Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block, Robert Parker, Donald Westlake [Richard Stark] Ross Thomas, William Murray, John D. MacDonald.

 When did you begin writing?
As a teenager but I realized how ...

Author Interview: J.J. Chow, Author of Senior Sleuth

J.J. Chow writes Asian-American fiction with a geriatric twist. She has a gerontology specialization from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Work with geriatric field experience. She lives in Los Angeles and is a member of Sisters in Crime. You can follow her blog and find more about her other writing at
Her latest title is Seniors Sleuth. Here’s the book description:

Winston Wong used to test video games but has left his downward spiralling career to follow in the footsteps of Encyclopedia Brown, his favorite childhood detective.  When the Pennysaver misprints his new job title, adding an extra “s” to his listing, Winston becomes a “Seniors Sleuth.”  He gets an easy first case, confirming the natural death of a ninety-year-old man.  However, under the surface of the bingo-loving senior home is a seedier world where a genuine homicide actually occurred. Winston finds himself surrounded by suspects on all sides: a slacker gamer administrator, a kind-hearted nurse, and a motley crew of eccentric residents. To validate his new career choice (and maybe win the girl), he must unravel the truth from a tangle of lies.        

Who are your influences?
1)     Agatha Christie: She was the author who started my love for mysteries. I have great memories of reading her stories together with my mom.
2)     Jean Kwok: She writes authentic Asian-American stories about struggling with identity and overcoming obstacles. I’ve met her both virtually and in person, and...

As well as a writer, Francis Yamoah is a Photographer and a Filmmaker with three short films under his belt. In his spare time Francis likes to read, listen to music or watch his beloved football club Arsenal FC usually at the pub with his friends. Let It Bleed is his first novel but it is the second installment in his Lucy Collins series with the first being the novelette A Good Day. He lives in London.

Here's how he describes his book:
A BLOOD THIRSTY KILLER HAS TAKEN HIS FIRST VICTIM AND HE’S GOING TO KILL AGAIN.On what becomes her last day as a uniformed police officer, Lucy Collins discovers the body of a woman at a construction site while on patrol.THE INVESTIGATION TEAM IS FAST RUNNING OUT OF LEADS AND TIME.The next day Lucy gets the news she’d been waiting for. She’s been promoted to Detective and she joins the CID team investigating the murder of the woman whose body she’d discovered. But every hopeful lead comes to a dead-end with no new ones on the horizon.AND THE KILLER’S NEXT TARGET IS SOMEONE CLOSE TO THE INVESTIGATION TEAM.Let It Bleed is a thrilling second installment of a highly enjoyable series.
Who are your influences?
Stieg Larsson, Michael Connelly, Jo Nesbo and Lee Child all have influenced my writing but Elmore Leonard by far has had the greatest influence.

When did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was about 16/17 years old, right after secondary school when I started harbouring aspirations of becoming a film director. I just wrote short scripts then, some of which were really bad but I loved writing, I love starting and finishing a story. So I kept doing it and it naturally evolved into prose. I’ve read and loved crime fiction all my life so that’s just what I wrote when I started writing prose without consciously deciding.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?


Author Interview: Jeff Mariotte, Author of Empty Rooms

Jeffrey J. Mariotte is the bestselling, award-winning author of fifty novels, including supernatural thrillers Season of the WolfMissing White GirlRiver Runs Red, and Cold Black Hearts, horror epic The Slab, thriller The Devil's Bait, and the Dark Vengeance teen horror quartet. His newest novel, the dark thriller Empty Rooms, was released in January 2015.

He also writes occasional nonfiction, short fiction (some of which is collected in Nine Frights), and comic books, including the long-running horror/Western comic book series Desperadoesand graphic novels Fade to Black and Zombie Cop. With writing partner Marsheila Rockwell, he has published several short stories and is working on more short fiction, novels, and comic book stories. He has worked in virtually every aspect of the book business, as a writer, editor, marketing executive, and bookseller. He lives in southeastern Arizona’s high desert.

Empty Rooms introduces Detroit police detective Frank Robey, a comic bookloving former FBI agentturnedcop whose obsession with the case of a missing child gives him no peace; and Richie “Maynard” Krebs, a former cop whose encyclopedic knowledge of crime and criminals colors everything he does. Initially strangers, the two men form an unlikely partnership which becomes a close bond forged by their determination to hold onto their humanity while investigating the most heinous acts one person can do to another.

Mariotte says the novel grew out of his experience writing a true crime book detailing the offenses of dozens of the world’s worst serial killers, sexual predators, cannibals, and other notorious criminals.


Author Interview: Ted Cross, Author of The Immorality Game

Today we feature Ted Cross, author of The Immorality Game.  Ted has spent the past two decades traveling the world as a diplomat, all the time dreaming about writing fantasy and science fiction. He's visited nearly forty countries and lived in seven, including the U.S., Russia, China, Croatia, Iceland, Hungary, and Azerbaijan. He's witnessed coup attempts, mafia and terrorist attacks,
Cover Illustration © Stephan Martiniere
played chess with several world champions, and had bit parts in a couple of movies. He currently lives in Baku, Azerbaijan with his lovely wife and two teenage sons.

Here’s how Ted describes his book which releases today: Moscow, 2138. With the world only beginning to recover from the complete societal collapse of the late 21st Century, Zoya scrapes by prepping corpses for funerals and dreams of saving enough money to have a child. When her brother forces her to bring him a mysterious package, she witnesses his murder and finds herself on the run from ruthless mobsters. Frantically trying to stay alive and save her loved ones, Zoya opens the package and discovers two unusual data cards, one that allows her to fight back against the mafia and another which may hold the key to everlasting life.

Who are your influences?  
So many fantastic writers have influenced me, but the main ones are George R.R. Martin, Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, Colleen McCullough, Stephen King, and Richard K. Morgan.

When did you begin writing?

Author Interview: Margo Bond Collins, Author of Sanguinary

Today’s post features an interview with Margo Bond Collins, author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them. Her latest release is a vampire yarn entitledSanguinary. Here’s the blurb:

Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.

When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city's vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.

But she didn't know then what she knows now: there's a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.

So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.

Author Interview: Christopher S. Bell, Author of Modern Hobbies

Christopher S. Bell has been writing and releasing literary and musical works through My Idea of Fun since 2008. Modern Hobbiesis his 14th published book to date, and 10th novel overall. His sound projects include Emmett and Mary, Technological EpidemicC. Scott and the Beltones, and Fine WivesMy Idea of Fun is an art and music collective based out of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. ( . Christopher’s work has recently been published in The Broadkill ReviewMobius and He is also a contributor to Impression of Sound.

He describes his latest release, Modern Hobbies, as the tale of accumulated memories tied to the staying quality of inanimate objects.  Lawrence Thorne stands firm as one of the last survivors of a non-digital age, inevitably imprisoned by a thickened experiment meant to propel the human race forward, while still taking them two steps back.  Amongst his jilted ego, a frantic rebel resides waiting for the inappropriate moment to lash out on society before his insides do so first.  The subsequent consequences are beneficial albeit crippling to the fading mementos meticulously catalogued on his shelves.

This novel will appeal to fans of Kurt Vonnegut, Phillp K. Dick, Anthony Burgess, Hunter S. Thompson and George Orwell.

Who are your influences?
On this particular novel I was most influenced by the works of Kurt Vonnegut. Something like Player Piano orSlaughterhouse Five, which contain very significant Science Fiction elements, but are still highly focused on character interactions, no matter the time or place. 

D.J. (Don) Donaldson is a retired medical school professor.  Born and raised in Ohio, he obtained a Ph.D. in human anatomy at Tulane, then spent his entire academic career at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.  In addition to being the author of several dozen scientific articles on wound healing, he has written seven forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers.

His latest novel, Louisiana Fever, features Andy Broussard, the “Plump and Proud” New Orleans medical examiner, who obviously loves food.  Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, Broussard forms a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.

When Kit goes to meet an anonymous stranger—who’s been sending her roses—the man drops dead at her feet before she could even get his name. Game on.

Andy Broussard soon learns that the man carried a lethal pathogen similar to the deadly “Ebola”—a highly contagious virus, feared worldwide for killing its victims (grotesquely) in a matter of days. When another body turns up with the same bug, widespread panic becomes imminent. The danger is even more acute, because the carrier is mobile. The man knows he’s a walking weapon and… he’s targeting Broussard.

And when Kit Franklyn investigates her mystery suitor further, she runs afoul of a cold- blooded killer, every bit as deadly as the man searching for her partner.

Author Interview: K.J. Bryen, Author of Lokte

K.J. Bryen lives in Oklahoma City with her loving husband, Adam. By day, she works at a news station. By night, she is a writer of young adult novels and supernatural thrillers. She loves any book that immerses her into a world she doesn't want to leave, and she hopes to be able to do that for her readers. She's also a coffee addict and a chocolate fanatic. She loves to meet new people, so hit her up on FacebookTwitter, orGoodreads. You can also visit her website orblog to find out more about her books.

K.J.’s novel, Lokte, was released on September 12. K.J. describes her book thus:

Marianne Garcia is a struggling actress in New York City. With a dead career and her mother dying of cancer, she begins to lose faith in a better life.
That is, until Logan Lokte shows up.
The mysterious Logan offers her everything she has dreamed of, promising that he can not only make her a famous actress, but can stop the cancer spreading in her mother's body. All Marianne has to do is sign a contract.
Marianne doesn't believe in magic, and she has lost all faith in miracles. But why does she find herself strangely drawn to him? Who is Logan Lokte? And if she were to sign his contract . . . what would the consequences be?

In this tale of passion, murder, and deceit, Marianne's decision thrusts them both into a spiral where choices are crucial, and evil comes from within.
But they also must learn that, in life, not every door is locked.

Who are your influences?
 I've had a lot of influences on my writing, both writers and people from my everyday life. The author that has most inspired me for my supernatural thriller is Ted Dekker, who I find to be a phenomenal writer.


Author Interview: Elise Abram, author of The Revenant

Today I am taking part in a blog tour for Elise Abram whose new book, The Revenant, came out on the tenth of July. Elise describes her story as a YA paranormal novel set in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Zulu is a revenant, killed and resurrected more than 100 years ago. His only companions are Morgan the Seer and Kat, a modern teen who can see auras. Together they work to save the people in danger in The Seer's dreams. But when Morgan, a powerful necromancer is raised from the dead, the trio realize the people most in need of saving are themselves.

Teacher of English and Computer Studies by day, wife and mother by night and author whenever she can steal some time, Elise Abram is the proud author of Phase ShiftThe Mummy Wore Combat Boots, and Throwaway Child, available on Amazon and KoboBooks. She pens a blog about literature, popular culture and the human condition whenever the muse moves her at

And now, here's our interview.

Who are your influences?
Anne Rice, Cathy Reichs, and Margaret Atwood would have to be my biggest influences. Rice for her descriptive prose, Reichs for making science and technology accessible and Atwood for her skill at incorporating contemporary themes in her writing. And I can't forget Stephen King for modeling how to write about the gore.

When did you begin writing?
My first memory of writing was winning an award for my rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in grade 2. 

Today I am posting a recent email interview I conducted with Ashanti Luke. Ashanti studied world philosophy and religions, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. After living in Los Angeles for 17 years and working in advertising and the entertainment industry, Ashanti moved back to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia where he worked for the US Census Bureau and as a
personal trainer and tutor.

Ashanti is the author of Kindred Spirits, Dusk and Nightfall and has had stories publishing in Kasma Science Fiction and in Horror, Humor, and Heroes. He has worked as a writing instructor for Richmond’s Podium Foundation and currently holds a position as an English professor. Ashanti currently lives in the outskirts of Richmond with his wife and four children. He is currently researching Dusk 2: Evensong, and it should be available by the beginning of 2015. Information can be found at his website, which is an artistic showcase for Dusk, Nightfall, and Evensong and contains audio samples of Dusk and Nightfall.

Here's the interview:

· Who are your influences?
   Octavia Butler, Orson Scott Card, and Philip K Dick are my main sci-fi influences, but my writing also has heavy influence from Hong Kong Cinema, particularly old John Wu and Tsui Hark as well as stage plays like Les Miserables, Pinter’s Betrayal, and just about anything Tom Stoppard or David Mamet.

· When did you begin writing?


Author Interview: Yoram Katz, Author of The Kabbalist

I was recently approached by Yoram katz about his historical thriller, The Kabbalist, which he describes as a thoroughly researched historical detective/mystery novel, which spans 2,000 years of history, and puts the mystical doctrine of Kabbalah (which everybody talks about, but most really have no clue what it is...) in a new perspective.

Please tell us a little about you and your book.
As most Israelis do, I served the 3-year mandatory service, and participated in a war or two.
I then studied Philosophy and Psychology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I was so impressed, that having completed my BA in both, I immediately ran away to spend two years in Europe and Africa and then landed back on earth to study for my BSc. in Computer Engineering.
Most of my career since has been spent in the flourishing Israeli hi-tech industry, where I held some senior managerial positions and travelled the globe. My career sent me for a few years to Singapore where I relocated with my wife and three children.
I have always been an avid reader planned to find the time to write my own novels. With three children at home and an intensive career, the time for this never materialized, until, a few years back, I realized I could use the time made available for me during my trips. It felt right.
 The Kabbalist is my first published novel. I am now working on the next.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
There are a few scenes I like but I would rather talk about an early scene in order to avoid a spoiler.
There is this scene about a Jewish refugee running away from crusader Acre after it had fallen to the Muslims in 1291. He somehow managed to escape the crumbling city by sea, but now he is fighting for his life after his ship has capsized. He is terrified, but what happens to him next at sea is totally unexpected, changes his fortune – and lays a foundation for the rest of this multi-layered plot. It is an introduction to other twists the reader can expect in the story.

Author Interview: Dr. Glenn Shepherd, author of Not for Profit

Glenn Shepherd was raised on a farm in eastern Virginia, went to undergraduate school at UVa on an academic scholarship, and graduated in 3 years. There he lettered in wrestling four years,  was a pitcher in fast pitch softball leagues from high school through his military tour of duty, and on into private practice until fast pitch leagues were replaced by slow pitch softball. The certificate he values most is the award for being the pitcher on UVa's all Mad Bowl team; also, his participation in the Army's south eastern regional finals game.

He completed a surgery internship and general and thoracic surgery residency at Vanderbilt, completed Plastic Surgery Residency at Duke, and did a hand fellowship at the University of Louisville. He spent two years in the Army at the Ft. Gordon Hospital and the Second Surgical Hospital in An Khe Vietnam.

He entered the private practice of plastic surgery in Newport News, Virginia and worked for 28 years before retiring. For most of those years, he directed the Riverside Facial Anomalies Clinic where with the help of numerous volunteer specialists in ENT, Pediatrics, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, Speech Therapy, Audiology and Psychology, he treated 500 patients.

He was the director of the Riverside Laboratory of Microvascular Research for 20 years where he financed and participated in basic research in wound healing, cleft palate repair, nail bed growth and repair, development of capsule formation in breast implants, vascularization of  the breast, and nail bed growth and repair. Numerous scientific articles resulted from the research. Three awards were given by the American Society of Plastic Surgery for this research.

He has been on the editorial staffs of The Journal of Plastic Surgery, Journal of Surgery Gynecology and Obstetrics, and the Virginia Medical Monthly.

He is the author of Not for Profit, the first in the Dr. Scott James thriller series. A second project in the works is a biography of Barclay Sheaks, a great painter who battles Parkinson's Disease and self-wills himself to a remarkable come-back from the disease. He is currently writing a novel entitled Relief Aid, Haiti, which is in the Scott James series, in which the plastic surgeon goes to Haiti to assist the surgical load of a physician friend who lives there. The villain of Not for Profit, Omar Farok, plans a nuclear attack on America and wants revenge for Dr. James' and Ethel Keyes' disruption of his earlier attack on the US.

I recently conducted an email Interview with Dr. Shepherd.
Who are your influences?
My chiefs of surgery, Dr. Scott at Vanderbilt, Dr. Pickerell at Duke, and Harold Kleinert in Louisville influenced everything I do. They taught that discipline and dedication are the backbones of every successful undertaking in life.  It's as important not only in becoming skilled at surgery but in all things, whether it's learning golf for the first time after one retires or writing a book.
When did you begin writing?
I wrote my first novel, SURGE, while a surgical resident at Vanderbilt in 1969. I was inspired by Richard Hooker's book, MASH, which was published in 1968. I used notes I wrote while working at the Second Surgical Hospital in Viet Nam 1964-65. 


Author Interview: Karen Shell

I recently sat down with my friend, Karen Shell, in her home here in Toronto, Ohio to discuss the writing craft. I’ve known Karen and her family for over a quarter of a century. At one point, we lived on opposite sides of the same duplex wall. So when we discovered our mutual desires to break into publishing, we became crit buddies. She proofed and offered some valuable stylistic advice before I released the second edition of my novel, Extreme Unction, and she has also proofed a novella in the series which I am currently shopping to various anthologies. Meanwhile, I am proofing and critiquing the current version of her epic futuristic sci-fi “history,” A Greater Plan Than This.
Set on a geographically unrecognizable version of Earth over a thousand years in the future, A Greater Plan Than This involves an intricate plot about government spying, empire building, space colonization and seeding, and one family’s efforts to set things right. Karen has been toiling on this book for a decade and a half, making alterations, researching contemporary ideas in physics, and diagraming family trees, story arcs and anything else that might make the story more compelling. She has it all organized in two three-ring binders each over two inches thick full of marginal notes, sketches of Greek characters and MC Escher optical illusions.

As we shared some unsweetened blackberry/pom iced tea, I dived into the conversation with a standard interviewer’s query.

Me: So how long have you been writing?
Karen: Since I was probably ten.

What kind of stuff did you write when you were ten?
I tried to write books that would be similar to Nancy Drew. It was going to be a series, and my protagonist was Francis Forrest. The first one was Francis Forrest and the Giant Amoeba. (Laughter) And I started writing autobiography, and I remember one of the chapters was The Coming of the Kids, because at first it was just me. I was the oldest in my family, and then all of these brothers and sisters come along. Then in High School I would write short stories for my girlfriends who also wrote short stories for me; Our Crushes. You know they would be little romantic stories.

So who are your influences?
Binders and notes for Karen's novel.
More recently Anne Rice I like, and of course I read Mark Twain who I love. Then I got into reading more non-fiction, so... I don’t know what to tell ya. I didn’t anticipate this question. (Laughter) I might think of it later. Then you can add.

We’ll append.

The story that you’re working on right now is in the science fiction genre. Is that something you’ve always wanted to write in?
I enjoy science fiction. I guess I could say Ray Bradbury was one of my influences, Issaac Asimov. I read them. I took a science fiction literature class while I was at Bowling Green - which is a lot of reading. You know we read Dune, and that was one of ten books. I just like the genre. I didn’t exactly mean to start writing in it, but I envisioned another world, and so that takes you there, you know?

Continued ...

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