Mystery Novelist Margot Kinberg Discusses her new book Downfall

Downfall Margot Kinberg



They Said It Was a Tragedy. They Said It Was an Accident. They Lied.


Second Chance is a Philadelphia alternative school designed for at-risk students. They live on campus, they take classes, and everyone hopes they’ll stay out of prison. And then one of them dies. When Curtis Templeton falls from a piece of scaffolding near the school, it’s called a tragic accident. A damned shame. A terrible loss. And everyone moves on.

Two years later, former police detective-turned-professor Joel Williams and two of his colleagues do a study of Second Chance for a research paper. When they find out about Curtis’ death, they start asking questions. And no-one wants to answer them.

The search for the truth takes Williams and his research partners behind the scenes of for-profit alternative education – and straight into the path of someone who thought everything would stay buried.

In the meantime, changes are coming to Tilton University. The School of Social Sciences is going to be the new home of a center for research on juvenile offenders. But not everyone is happy about it. YouthPromises, the company that’s underwriting the center, is a for-profit alternative program that has a stake in the outcome of any research the center does. What will that mean for the faculty? Williams finds himself caught in the controversy over the center, just as he’s finding out the truth about Second Chance


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Today's Guest Talk Show Microphone Discussion Interview Program








*Is it easier writing about protagonist Joel Williams as the series progresses?

It actually is. As the years have gone by, I’ve gotten to know him better, if I can put it like that. So, it’s easier to see him as a complete person.



*How did you develop the plot for Downfall?

When I write my crime fiction, I always start with the victim. So, in this case, I began with fifteen-year- old Curtis Templeton. Once I imagined what he might be like, I thought about the sort of school/program he’d attend, and about his background. That gave me the context. And that led to the people in his life, and to the reason he’s killed.



*What are alternative schools like Second Chance?

Alternative schools are intended for students who can’t benefit from ‘regular’ public schools or private schools (like religious schools). For example, students who are pregnant or who are raising young children might need a school program that allows them to parent as well as attend classes. Students who have certain medical problems may also need an alternative program that allows them to meet their medical needs. And students with certain behavioral problems (this is where Curtis Templeton fits in) may benefit more from an alternative program with closer supervision and a different learning environment.








*What does ‘at risk’ kids mean and how do they qualify as such?

The thing about the term ‘at risk’ is that its definition varies depending on (for the US) the state and sometimes the school district. In a very general sense, an at-risk student is a student who is in danger of either failing out of school or of being expelled. Both situations make a student far more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system, so the idea of the ‘at risk’ label is to help these students before they end up in prison. It doesn’t always work, sadly, but that’s the idea. A student who’s got several suspensions from school might be considered ‘at-risk.’ So might a student who struggles academically. For instance, students who are a certain number of grade levels behind their peers in reading might be considered ‘at-risk,’ depending on other factors in their lives.



*What were the most challenging aspects about writing this book?

The thing about writing crime novels is that, in most of them, people die. That’s a devastating loss for friends, loved ones, and co-workers who grieve for them. To portray that grief in what I hope is an authentic way isn’t easy. Everyone grieves differently, and there’s nothing to say that one way of coping with loss is ‘better,’ or ‘more normal’ than another way. So, one challenge is allowing for different people to express grief
differently. Another challenge is to do so without either getting melodramatic, or not doing justice to the real-life suffering of those who lose people.




Challenges road.jpeg





*What are the most rewarding?

One of the best parts about writing this novel was seeing the characters come to life, so to speak, and letting them tell their stories. When the characters start to seem real (or close to it), the story gets more interesting. And that makes it more of a pleasure to write.

I also richly enjoyed exploring Philadelphia as I wrote. It’s a large city with a lot to it, so even though I consider Philadelphia my home town, there’s still a lot I don’t know about it. It was rewarding to learn a few things. And I did enjoy the chance to immerse myself in the city. I often get homesick, and writing the book was a good tonic.




Reward Rises From Risk





*Who are the members of Joel’s research team?

The other members of the research team are Dr. Jered Carr and Dr. Ben Peterson. Carr’s a former parole officer who’s gone into academia. He’s got experience working with juvenile offenders and their families, so his skills will help in getting a broad picture of Second Chance. Peterson has a background in data analysis and an interest in computer crime, so his research skills are invaluable. He’s also got a brother in prison, so he has a personal interest in whether for-profit programs are helpful.




laptop computer




*Tell us about the changes coming to Tilton University and the Social Sciences department. 

Any academic can tell you that when a foundation or corporation is willing to invest several million, a university sits up and pays attention. In this case, a for-profit company called YouthPromises is planning to donate three million (US) dollars to Tilton to fund a center for research into juvenile offenders. On the one hand, this is very good news for the School of Social Sciences. Members of the Departments of Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice (that’s Joel Williams’ department) will have all sorts of opportunities. Trust me, universities everywhere love it when they get funding for research. Among other things, it means that faculty can pursue their interests, and that students interested the field can get the support and facilities they need.

On the other hand, YouthPromises is a for-profit company. What might this mean for the sort of research that goes on at the new center? Some people are afraid that there might be an undue amount of pressure on the faculty to research certain topics, and to support certain findings. And what might that mean for academic freedom and integrity of research findings? It’s not an easy set of questions.



*Tell us about Youthpromises and the role it plays in the book. 

YouthPromises is a company that owns several alternative programs. This company has just agreed to donate three million (US) dollars to fund a research center at Tilton. And that means both lots of opportunities, and some very difficult controversial questions.


While YouthPromises employees and facilities don’t appear in the book, the fact that it wants to fund a research center means that the School of Social Sciences will be paying a lot more attention to alternative programs for young people who are at risk of ending up in prison.




Companies Youth promise




*Tell us some fun facts you discovered that aren’t in the book. 

That’s what I love about researching for a book. I always learn a lot. One thing I learned is the sometimes-complicated picture of which police authority has jurisdiction in certain places. In US National Parks, it’s the National Park Service, which is a federal authority. Park rangers may be assisted by local police in nearby towns or townships, or by state police, depending on the situation. And it works better for everyone if these different groups share information and cooperate. But, when a murder occurs in a US National Park, as one does in Downfall, the US National Park Service steps in. Thanks, by the way, to Valley Forge National Park for helping me with this part of the novel.

I also learned some interesting things about different sorts of row homes. For those of you not familiar with row homes, they’re a very common sort of architecture in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and some other cities. They tend to be longer than they are wide, and you may see several blocks of connected row homes. Here is a link to an interesting article from Philadelphia Magazine about Philadelphia row homes. There are
some helpful photographs, for those who haven’t seen this style of home before.

Thanks again, Benjamin, for hosting me!





Margot Kinberg headshot




Margot Kinberg is a mystery author and Associate Professor. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kinberg graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then moved to Philadelphia, which Kinberg still considers home.

Kinberg had always been fascinated by crime fiction and mystery novels. In fact, she became an “addict” while still in her teens. So in 2007, she began her fiction writing career with her debut novel, Publish or Perish. In that novel, Kinberg put her experience in the world of higher education to use in creating a murder mystery that takes place at fictional Tilton University. This story introduces Joel Williams, a former police detective-turned-professor, who teaches in Tilton University’s Department of Criminal Justice. In this first outing, Williams helps solve the murder of a graduate student. The second in Kinberg’s Joel Williams series is B-Very Flat, in which Williams helps to solve the murder of a young violin virtuosa who dies suddenly on the night of an important musical competition

Kinberg, who now lives with her family in Southern California, is currently at work on her third Joel Williams novel.




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Interview with Author & Filmmaker Vivian Schilling







Vivian Schilling



*What traits or characteristics define you as a storyteller?

I am an existential thinker with a robust curiosity about life. Because of this, the material I create often varies greatly.

I can almost always see life from another person’s perspective, no matter how upsetting or different it may be from my own. If I open my mind to truly acknowledge that person’s circumstances, I can usually see their justification for their views, even when they are in direct conflict with my own. I think this ability has helped me tremendously when it comes to bringing my characters to life, especially my antagonists.

I am a strong believer in research and strive to build my writing, no matter how fantastical, on a solid foundation of accuracy. In Quietus, I create an entire mythology surrounding death, but it is drawn and pieced together by linking numerous sources, including ancient scriptures and apocrypha, Egyptian mythology and art from the Reformation. I feel the more support I can provide for as many of the story elements as possible, the more credibility it adds to the purely fictional ones.




Storytelling image typewriter




*Which medium resonates with you more, film or books?

As a creator and connoisseur of film and books with a deep love of both, it would be painful to lose either from my life. But if I had to make a choice, books would win the battle on both

Filmmaking can be a tremendous amount of fun. But writing is introspective, going deeper and further and leaving a more profound impact on my creative spirit.

As a filmgoer, I enjoy movies immensely. I love that I can sit in a theatre and completely escape for a couple of hours. I love the community experience of a film, especially in L.A., where the
film business is such a part of the culture. I love the dialogue that takes place with my friends immediately following a film, usually about the production, but also about the underlying themes and philosophical and cultural aspects of it. Film has often been the centerpiece of some of the most interesting and enlightening conversations I’ve ever had.

Reading books, on the other hand, is a very personal experience, a deeply gratifying one. I enjoy attending book clubs as a guest author, but I make a terrible book club member. Unlike film, I usually don’t feel the need to discuss the book in great detail. I would rather think about and savor it on my own.

I can completely forget a film after a week, but I rarely forget books. Another telling factor is that I don’t collect movies, but my place is packed with books.








*According to your experience as a writer define what the imagination is. 

What a beautiful question. Imagination goes to the very core and health of my spirit. With this said, I feel imagination and spirit are one in the same. If I open up my mind and allow my spirit to roam freely, I create. Sometimes these creations are dark and sometimes light. Most often, they embody both. When I am feeling caged in by the mundane demands of life, my imagination retreats and it is far more difficult for me to create.




Imagination Quietus




*How has writing affected your creativity as opposed to working in the film industry?

Writing has always been there for me. From the time I was a young girl, scratching out plays to perform or writing in a journal, writing has been my door to the world. I can write about anything I want. I can explore any thought I have and take it as far as I choose. Through writing, I am constantly discovering who I am and where I am headed. Its lack of limitations is very empowering to my creative spirit.

Film has its own positive attributes to offer, in an almost opposite way. It teaches restraint and discipline, as well as versatility. It is a collaborative process so you have to be able to adapt and to be open to the ideas of others and to give them space to create alongside you. It also can be very limiting if the project is restricted by budget, time or resources.



Creativity painting Quietus




*How long did it take to write Quietus?

The concept of Quietus was with me for many years before I wrote the novel. I had explored it in two other works, including a screenplay entitled Dark Angel that circulated Hollywood for some time. At one point, the film was set to start shooting in Canada, but the money fell through. That’s when I decided to turn it into a novel where I could embark on a more serious exploration into the concept. Once I finally began the novel it took me seven years. During that time I often found myself split off to do film or other writing projects. If it weren’t for my cabin escape in Big Bear, it would have taken a lot longer to complete.




Pen writing Quietus




*From Los Angeles to the Ozark mountains. Do you need complete solitude to write?

Most often times, yes, especially if I am deep into a novel. My most productive time as a writer is in seclusion, surrounded by nature. Even if I work long days and nights for weeks without a
break, I always leave feeling rested and light.




Ozark Mountains





*Did the cabin there have anything to do with the cabin in Quietus? 

I had already written Quietus before I had a cabin in the Ozarks. But I did stay thirteen months alone in a different cabin in Big Bear, California while writing the novel. It had a large loft that I turned into a writing den. That one completely inspired the layout of the one in the novel, along with some other moments and scenes later in the book.




Cabin Quietus


*Quietus has a very elegant writing style. What’s your editing process like?

What a nice thing to say. Thank you. I find my most inspiring times to write are first thing in the morning or late at night when I simply let my mind roam and fingers dictate. I return to these pages the next day and start tightening the scene structure. I usually go back to the same scene several times until I can read it aloud and like what I hear. I always edit as I go, which I know is not how most writers prefer to write. But my mind works linearly when it comes to prose. I have to hear the flow from the beginning.




Beauty writing





*Does your book employ a certain theme?

Quietus is a psychological thriller that follows a woman’s survival after a terrifying plane crash. It explores a myriad of cultural, philosophical and spiritual beliefs that question the very meaning of death and asks whether modern medicine is tampering with its balance.

*What are you working on next? Can you give us a bit of a teaser?

At this point in my journey as a writer, I am heavily drawn to Celtic culture and mythology. My story is set in the past and is close to the earth. I’m having an incredible time with my location research—opening my spirit and letting my imagination go where it takes me. It’s been a lot of fun!





Schilling headshot



VIVIAN SCHILLING is the award-winning author of the novels QUIETUS and SACRED PREY, as well as a screenwriter, producer and director of independent films. She recently completed work as co-writer and producer of the documentary “Bonobos: Back to the Wild” and is currently at work on her third novel.



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Author Interview with Sam Boush of the Cyber War series

Sam boush



Please welcome Sam Boush author of All Systems Down


All Systems Down




Describe the process you went through to write this particular kind of book.

In short, I read a lot of books and talked to a lot of experts. I’m not an information security wonk, myself, so I leaned a lot on the thoughts and works of others. I joined a lot of groups, interviewed experts, and ultimately tried to write a fun, compelling, and accurate book. It’s a work of fiction. But that’s not to say it couldn’t happen.



Question mark pic MTW



How do you feel about the security of our infrastructure?

No one with any expertise in this area thinks our infrastructure is safe. People at power companies have told me how vulnerable their systems are. People at nuclear plants have told me how hackers have targeted their operations. It’s not just the online or software spaces that are vulnerable, though. Firmware and computer chip manufacturing aren’t even safe, especially when those chips are manufactured in East Asia.



Infrastructure MTW



Isn’t Ipv6 supposed to be inherently more secure?

That’s my understanding. But there isn’t a system that’s safe from hacking. If it’s connected to the Internet (and sometimes even if it isn’t) it can be hacked.



Name some surprising things you found in your research.

So many things. Did you know the Iranian government accessed the control systems of a dam north of Manhattan? Or that the Russians recently used cyber war to destroy 30 Ukrainian Howitzers? Or that last year hackers from a group called Dragonfly 2.0 accessed American power grid operations so deeply they could have induced blackouts at will?



Cyber crime MTW



How would we prepare for something like a blackout?

A short blackout is simple enough. You need light (candles/flashlights), heat (firewood/blankets), and a way to cook food. Water still runs in a blackout, since water towers are filled using generators.

A long blackout is a different story. And a long blackout where generators aren’t working and emergency services are shut down… well, that’s not something I could prepare for.




Blackout image MTW




Are you a prepper by any chance?

I’m not. Sadly, if disaster of any kind struck, I’d be out of food and water within the week. I don’t think many of my readers are preppers either, though I’ve had loads of people write in that they’re creating a cyber war emergency kit after reading the book.

Really, we should all be more prepared for emergencies than we are, no matter what kind. Here in the Pacific Northwest, a major earthquake is a reasonable concern. If my city were leveled by something like
that I’d be wishing I had a month’s worth of canned food!



Prepper image MTW




Who is Pak Han-Yong and what motivates him?

Pak Han-Yong is a junior lieutenant in the North Korean army. Specifically, he’s a member of Unit 101, a hacking unit focused on asymmetric warfare. There are many complicated characters in All Systems Down, but he’s fairly straightforward. A nationalist, he’s devoted to crushing the American imperialist infrastructure as a way to punish the nation that has kept his own country from achieving its rightful glory.




Hacker image MTW




What if you were Brendan Chogan? How would you survive?

This is the question that a lot of readers ask themselves: How would I survive if I were thrust, unprepared, into a global collapse of this scale? What would I do differently from the protagonist? Would I fortify my home, or leave?

If I were Brendan, I don’t know what I’d do. Maybe that’s part of the fun.



Survival image MTW



What are your favorite type of books to read?

I read a lot of non-fiction. But when I read fiction it’s sci-fi thrillers like Jurassic Park or technothrillers like The Hunt for Red October. But I read across genres, too. Right now I’m reading Stephen King’s Pet Semetary and David Benioff’s City of Thieves. I just finished Ken Follett’s Whiteout yesterday evening.




Books image MTW



Name a few things you struggle with as a writer.

What don’t I struggle with? I have trouble finding time to write. It’s difficult to manage publicity, book signings, marketing and outreach with the ticking clock of my next book deadline. Not to mention the obligation and joy of family time, taking my kids to school, spending time with my greater family, my friends, and my wife.



Do you follow a method for writing or are you more intuitive?

My method is to write flawed characters, end every chapter on a cliffhanger, have every scene advance both plot and character, and never write anything boring. And I usually have a broad idea of plot, even going into the first draft.



What are you working on next?

Book two of The Cyber War series is coming along nicely. It picks up right where book one left off.




Sam boush



Sam Boush is a novelist and award-winning journalist. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, journalist, and owner of a mid-sized marketing agency. Though he’s lived in France and Spain, his heart belongs to Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, Tehra, two wonderful children, and a messy cat that keeps them from owning anything nice. He is a member of the Center for Internet Security, International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, and Cloud Security Alliance.


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All Systems Down




Don’t miss Mystery Thriller Week beginning April 12-22nd 2018! 


MTW Thin Banner April 2018

Blog Tour: His Third Victim by Helen H. Durrant

His Third Victim



Hello book lovers!  I’ve had an great opportunity to participate in a  blog tour for His Third Victim, which I’m still reading. However, I did get a chance to interview the author. Check it out below!



Book Description

HIS THIRD VICTIM by Helen H. Durrant


A man is shot dead and his body is dumped on the moors. Hisarm is stamped with the Chinese symbol for sorry.

There have been five unsolved murders with the same hallmark. The police can’t find any motive or connection between the victims.

Bella Richards was close to the murdered man. She lives with her five-year son and has begun a new life in the local area.  But although clearly grief-stricken, she is not telling the police everything she knows.

Detective Talbot Dyson wants his most trusted inspector on the case. But DI Matt Brindle is out of action. He was badly injured and his sergeant was killed in a criminal ambush.  He is drawn into the investigation and must decide whether he wants to go to back to his old life.

What is the real connection between the victims and who will be next?

This is a detective mystery full of twists and turns, with a stunning edge-of-your-seat ending.



Interview with Author Helen H. Durrant



helen durrant




Author Bio

OVER 500,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series 

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled. 


I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else! 


I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is. 









Name three things that led you to write crime novels.

I have wanted to write since I was ten years old. Had no idea what though. It began with the name ‘Calladine’ and an idea – (which I have never used!) Crime novels are almost all I read – it’s been that way for years.



What kind of work did you retire from?

I was a lecturer at a local education college. The subject – Computing. I had come from a programming background, so mostly taught a language called ‘COBOL’. Since the advent of ‘Windows’, COBOL is not as popular. We are going back to pre DOS times.







Was it difficult retiring from a full-time job to writing full-time?

No. I was ready to retire. I’d worked at the college for twenty years or more. Although I loved the job and the students, it was time to go. Writing was still something I might get round to. The name ‘Calladine’ was still messing with my head. Eventually I knuckled down and got on with it. No one is more surprised than me at the speed I turned out those first three books in the Calladine & Bayliss series, or at their popularity once I was taken on by Joffe Books.




Hello I Am Retired Words Nametag Sticker Older Person




What was your process writing the plot for His Third Victim?

I got the name first – Matt Brindle. And I knew where I wanted him to live. I don’t plot everything in detail. There are times when the characters forge their own way ahead. The house – Brindle Hall, is based on a real place. It is a house with gardens and petting farm that I have taken my grandkids too frequently. So we have been a couple of times this summer while I’ve been working on the book.



“There are times when the characters forge their own way ahead.”




Why was this book a standalone? 

I wasn’t sure how it would be received. But …. Things seem to be okay at this point, so – I am already thinking about a second in the Matt Brindle series.



Name some positive experiences writing this book.

The days out with the kids and wandering around the villages of west Yorkshire – endless teas in cosy tearooms!







Did it turn out the way you envisioned it?
Yes, I think it did.


Do you have any favorite quotes?




What are you working on next?

Currently – DI Greco 4. Followed by Calladine & Bayliss 8 and then the next Matt Brindle. They are all WIP. Most of Greco 4 is complete, C & B – three chapters in and Matt Brindle 2 is in my head!




Young man with Work in progress mark over his head





Connect with Helen!


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Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour! 




Into the Dark Frontier with Author John Mangan

Into a Dark Frontier



Only 0.99 on Amazon!



Editorial Reviews


“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is cut from same cloth as the best of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, a story written with authority and military authenticity. It’s a harsh look at a continent-wide battlefield, waged not only for land but also for the heart of freedom. Timely and exciting.” ―James RollinsNew York Times best-selling author

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is a powerful, realistic, and daringly unique international thriller. Its near-future plotline is as brilliantly crafted as it is dark and foreboding, and the action scenes are visceral and utterly thrilling. Tormented but able Slade Crawford is a perfect anti-hero to root for, and Into a Dark Frontier is a surefire winner of a debut.” ―Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“A riveting imagined what-if so real you wonder if it might even be possible. Tense, intelligent, harsh, and surprising, this thrill ride is drum tight in its execution.” ―Steve BerryNew York Times best-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is an international thriller of rare depth and complexity that would make the likes of John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum proud. But John Mangan goes both of them one better by injecting into the mix a loner hero with a gunfighter mentality fit for taming continents as well as frontiers, with Africa subbing for the Old West. A vision splendidly realized and tale wondrously executed.” ―Jon LandUSA Today bestselling author

“Mangan’s debut reads like he couldn’t get the words out and onto the page fast enough, which translates into a…blazingly fast and fun action thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier plunges the reader into the chaos of an African continent where anarchy reigns. A near-futuristic scenario, one that could really emerge. Expect an overdose of action and danger that careens off the scales.” ―Robert K. TanenbaumNew York Times best-selling author

“Its relentless opening chase sets the tone for Into a Dark Frontier, a winner for fans of techno-action novels. After eight deployments as a combat rescue pilot, its author knows what he’s writing about and does so with speed and insider details.” ―David MorrellNew York Timesbest-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is a hell of a debut novel with a terrifying plot and relentless action that made sure the only time I wasn’t turning pages was when I was looking over my shoulder.” ―Joshua Hood, author of Clear by Fire and Warning Order







What made you venture into writing?

Initially, it was simply a love of story telling, but as my novel
developed it was the feeling that came from creating complex
characters and the environment that drives them. I think that the only
way to create an authentic story is to study yourself, your
relationships, and the human condition in general. People are what
drive a good story, and so you have to become an observer of
people. The pleasure of writing doesn’t just occur while sitting behind
a keyboard, it also comes from watching the world around you,
grabbing little tidbits of dialogue, vignettes, or interesting human





storytelling word in wood type




Do you have any favorite books or authors that influenced you
early on?

As a boy I loved the Jack London stories where life has been
distilled down to its most base, uncivilized components, where a
man’s fate is decided by fire, food and fang. In Jack’s world, that’s
where you find out who you are.
My novel starts off with our protagonist living squarely in the
modern world, surrounded by gadgets, technology and civilized
mores. But by the ending he has descended into a world that has
more in common with the bronze age than any other, a place where
the day is won by the strength of a man’s will and his willingness to
harness medieval savagery. Perhaps Mr. London would approve…



How long did it take you to finish Into the Dark Frontier?

The creation of the story wasn’t linear, with a precise beginning
and ending. Imagine dozens of seeds scattered across a garden, and
over several years the sprouting seedlings are gradually bound
together, trimmed away, uprooted and replanted until 6 years later
they have been woven into some semblance of a story. Then spend 4
more years pitching that mess to agents, re-writing, editing and
eventually hacking out 60K words. So to answer your question, it was
about 10 years.






Describe some challenges writing your first book.

One of the biggest problems was settling on a point-of- view.
Initially, I chose Third Person Omniscient and the narrator rotated
between the intertwined, converging stories of the Hero, the Sidekick,
and the Villain. This seems to be the most popular format in modern
thrillers but I couldn’t get it to work. The story always kept collapsing
back down to Slade and the peripheral stories always became
lackluster and fell apart. Eventually I realized that this was because
the story belonged to Slade and Slade alone, it was about his
journey. I started over and confined the narrator to Slade’s head and
his immediate surroundings, so the reader lives the story entirely
through his eyes. The advantage of this technique is that it makes it
very easy to generate a sense of mystery and spring surprises on the reader.

The downside of this technique is that it leaves a lot of unfilled
space in the story line, and readers will begin to fill that blank space
with their own preconceived ideas. Overcoming those preconceived
ideas can be extremely difficult, and if not overcome, can lead a
reader to misinterpret what the author is trying to communicate.
For example, IADF devotes only a few paragraphs of backstory
to illustrate Slade’s time in prison and subsequent decision to jump
parole. Recently, a professional review of IADF came out and they
mentioned how Slade had busted out of a “black-site” prison.
It sounds interesting, but unfortunately there was no black-site
and no thrilling jailbreak. The reviewer had filled in details that didn’t
actually exist. It’s only after you have feedback from a broad
audience that you can begin to see where you left holes for readers
to fall through. Actually, feedback like that is priceless, it shows how
much I have to learning about crafting a story.




The 3d guy got over the challenge






What did you enjoy most?

When the characters began to say and do things that surprised
me, or they took the story in an unexpected direction. Once that
happened I began to feel like it was their world and I was just a visitor
to it. After that I wasn’t creating the characters or their story, I was
just a novice painter struggling to draw them properly and my
greatest responsibility was to make sure they weren’t



What motivates Slade Crawford?

Slade is a tragic character torn by competing and irreconcilable
instincts. First and foremost he is a wolf, with a wolf’s passion for the
kill. But he also has a sense of duty to his country, family and those
that depend upon him. Unfortunately, his killer instincts compel him to
return to the fight again and again, leading him to forsake the very
people that he claims he is protecting. Fighting is what he does best,
but a wife and child don’t need a fighter, they need a husband and
dad. So, he fails them, bigly.
Slade is also entering the autumn of his life and has begun to
look back on, and examine his failures. His doubts concerning his
own morality, and his need for atonement become central to the
story. In order to explore this side of his character I surrounded Slade
with a supporting cast chosen for their varying moral codes, ranging
from devoutly moral, to ambivalent, to amoral and then downright evil.
Watching Slade interact with these different people was one of the
most rewarding aspects of writing the book. I painted this facet of the
story with a very light brush as I did not want to come off as preachy.
If I was successful then I think that an attentive reader will experience
something a bit deeper than a straight action novel.



What was it like crafting a character like Slade?

It became extremely personal, as Slade is an amalgamation of
myself and several people that I know. Slade’s internal struggles are
not fiction, they come from the life stories of people that I care about.
The central tragedy that haunts Slade was taken from the real

experience of a soldier that I befriended a few years ago. I asked him
if I could use his story and he eventually gave me permission. I was
hesitant to use it, but in the end I was hoping that if my buddy could
externalize the tragedy, see it happen to somebody else, then
perhaps he could gain a healthier perspective on it.
So to answer your question, it was not easy, I felt like Slade’s
actions and responses had to be true to the real people that he



Lead us into your decision to choose Africa as a setting. 

I wanted to create a modern story in the tradition of the classic
Westerns, and a Western requires two things: #1, a lawless land that
nobody controls, and #2, a place that settlers (pioneers) would
actually want to emigrate to.
There’s lots of places in the Middle East that fit the bill for
characteristic #1, but I can’t picture anybody packing up and
emigrating to Yemen. Conversely, Africa has the right combination of
political volatility, simmering violence, fertile lands and untapped
resources in which I could create a believable story.




Africa map with African typography made of patchwork fabric text




Have you ever been there?

No, it’s one of the few places I haven’t been yet. For research I
read extensively about the Victorian explorers of the 1800’s and their
exploits in Africa. Much of the story’s sense of wilderness is based

upon what they experienced. I also spent a good bit of time doing the
ol’ Google Earth research expedition.

Describe your experience writing about action scenes versus
being out in the field.

I found that actual combat is far different from how it is depicted in
most thriller novels. Modern combat scenes are typically very detailed
and they portray combat as a series of discreet, separate events that
the subject is aware of and in control of; “He turned 45 degrees to his
left, raised the glock 9mm, aligned the sights on his targets center of
mass then squeezed trigger until…”
This technique builds a picture of what is happening, but it’s like
trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you’ll
end up understanding what goes where, but you will be completely
clueless as to the human side of the experience.
The authors that I tried to emulate, and who best describe the
fear, confusion and altered-state reality of combat are James Salter,
Cormac McCarthy, James Frazier and Anthony Loyd.



Will this be a standalone or part of a series?

It’s set up to be a series. I’ve got the second book plotted out
but I am waiting on reader reactions to the first book before I make
some big decisions. I can reveal that Book 2 will focus on the
character Elizabeth and her response to what happened in Book 1,
but how I will tell her story is still in doubt. I don’t know if I’ll keep my

narrator confined to Slade’s head, share time inside Elizabeth’s head,
or shift over to her entirely. To be honest I’m terrified of trying to
represent what’s going on in her head, I’m pretty sure I’ll make a hash
of it and end up getting loads of female hate mail. We’ll see…






Into a Dark Frontier


Amazon | Goodreads



Mystery Thriller Week begins Feb. 12-22, 2018. Sign up HERE.


Don’t miss the 3rd MTW 2018 Brainstorming session this Saturday 9/9/17 11am-12pm EST. Click HERE  to attend.



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About the author:

Lt. Col. John Mangan is a decorated combat rescue pilot, novelist and coffeehouse poet. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, was an instructor at the Survival Escape Resistance & Evasion (SERE) school, and is currently an HH-60G, Pave Hawk instructor pilot. He has deployed to the Middle East eight times and has commanded the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His actions in combat have been documented in the books Not a Good Day to DieNone Braver, and Zero Six Bravo. He has flown combat missions with PJs, SEALs, Delta, Rangers, and the SAS. John has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor twice, The Air Medal twelve times, and the 2009 Cheney Award.






Introducing Ted Galdi and An American Cage


An American Cage





Expected Publication date: October 16th 2017


An American Cage



First Chapter Preview









Ted Galdi




Ted Galdi broke out with his debut novel, Elixir a bestseller and winner of Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and Silver Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. His second novel An American Cageis due this Fall.






How long have you been writing?


Ever since I was a little kid, doing stories in crayon. “Professionally” since 2014, with the publication of Elixir, my debut.








Are you a plotter, panster, or a little of both?


A little of both. I won’t start chapter one until I have an outline. I make sure not to go into too much detail on this initial outline though. In my opinion, your idea of plot can’t be fully baked until you really know your characters, and the only way to really know your characters is to start writing. Needless to say, my outline evolves as I get through the first draft.



This is your second book. Compare your experience between the two.


I learned a lot along the way with my first, Elixir. That isn’t to say I didn’t learn a lot with An American Cage, but with your first everything is so new that you don’t even have a sense of your “rhythm.” You know, your way of approaching it all…conceptualizing, outlining, writing, self-editing, etc. AfterElixir, I knew what worked for me and what didn’t, and approached An American Cage through that lens. There was a lot less rewriting and deleted scenes the second time around, which saved me a headache or two.



Name at least three things that influenced you to become a writer.


Like I mentioned above, I’ve been doing this in some form since I was a little kid. I really enjoy it. Nothing was needed to “push me” toward me. You asked for at least three things here and I technically gave you zero. #QuestionFail



Do you write up character arc for your characters?


I think the character arc is one of the most interesting elements in fiction. Danny, the protagonist in An American Cage, definitely changes through the book. The entire story takes place over a twenty-four-hour period, which was a lot of fun to write, but presented a bit of a challenge in terms of arcs. Getting across a major change that happens in just a day was tricky.



Who is Danny Marsh and what does he want?


Danny Marsh is a twenty-four-year-old graphic designer who never committed a crime in his life. Then an incident of bad luck throws him into one of Texas’s toughest prisons. He wants to get out, get to Mexico, and start afresh with a new name and new identity.



What motivates him?


He’s an upper-middle-class kid with no crime experience. Obviously, he doesn’t fit in very well at a maximum-security penitentiary. Being inside psychologically tears at him. Not to mention, he’s had a few horrific run-ins with other inmates. He feels he won’t be able to survive there much longer, either mentally, physically, or both. Escape is the only answer for him.



What is your creative process for characters?


Like I’m sure most other authors do, I start the character-creation process with my protagonist. I start the book-creation process, however, with my theme. I’ll have a solid idea of the book’s theme before I begin with the characters. It’s critical for the protagonist’s arc to mesh with this theme. The supporting characters I consider “forces” that push the protagonist in directions relevant to the theme. Once I have a general idea of the main arc and the supporting forces at play, I then try to think about these characters as people. I do a lot of this off of feel. It’s not really a formal process. However, like I said before, it isn’t until I actually start writing, giving characters a voice and having them interact with each other, that I believe I really “know” them.



Tell us a few things about the setting for American Cage.


The whole book takes place in Texas. It opens in East Texas, then works its way west across the state. The cities in it are a mix of the real and fictional. It was important for me to make sure the setting felt authentic, so in cases where a town is fictional, I tried to give it the spirit of its region. I grew up in a New York City suburb and have been living in Southern California the last seven years. I’ve been to Texas a few times, but am no resident. I put a nice amount of time into setting research so I wouldn’t screw anything up.



What are some things you learned during your research?


Austin has kickass bars. That’s one of the Texas cities I have personally been to. Barhopping is a very high-end form of literary research in case you didn’t know.



What’s next?


I’m on a first draft of another thriller. I’d be happy to come back and talk about it when it’s ready.



Ted Galdi

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter



Chatting with Author Allison Brennan & her new book Shattered






Please welcome an awesome writer,  Allison Brennan. She’s a New York Times and USA today bestselling author who’s penned over a dozen thrillers and short stories over the years.  Her new book Shatteredwill be released Tuesday August 22nd as the #4 book in the Max Revere series. I’m reading this title now and it’s absolutely stunning.




Shattered Alison Brennan







Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?

That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her―they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.

Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure―so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law― Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth―but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.

Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family―and herself―the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling―with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.

Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.





A wall clock with Tick Tock face design in pink and gold isolated on white





*Who is Maxine Revere and what makes her tick?

Maxine Revere spent the first ten years of her life traveling the world with her mother on the whim—Martha Revere never wanted to put down roots. Shortly before Max’s tenth birthday, her mother left her with her very wealthy, very traditional grandparents and then disappeared—sending Max occasional postcards until they stopped after Max’s 16th birthday. Her mother lied to her about her father—she still doesn’t know who her father is—and Max still doesn’t know what happened to her mom.

When Max was a senior in college, her roommate Karen Richardson disappeared while they were on spring break. There were signs that she had been murdered—a lot of blood—but no body was found, and no evidence to convict the playboy Max was certain killed her. Max hounded law enforcement for a year, and finally wrote a book about Karen’s disappearance and the police investigation. She found she had a knack for gathering information and a skill for writing about crime. She ended up writing four true crime books and numerous articles, mostly about cold cases and missing persons.

Now, Max hosts a monthly newsmagazine on a cable television network, highlighting cold cases (think an in-depth America’s Most Wanted, but where the suspect is an unknown.) She is driven to solve crimes for others because she’s never been able to solve the mystery of her own life. Max is abrasive, intelligent, independent, and never gives up.

In SHATTERED, Max is compelled to look at evidence from three cold cases of young boys kidnapped from their bedrooms and murdered. She thinks there’s a connection, though the police haven’t put it together. Once Max is convinced she’s right, she isn’t going to stop until she solves the case.

I really like Max Revere’s straight-forward personality. Her determination and intensity truly shines. She’s not afraid to step on toes to get what she wants. 


*What motivates FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid?

When Lucy was seven, her nephew and best friend Justin was killed. It changed her and her family forever. Her older brothers and sisters changed their career focus and all went into some aspect of law enforcement or the military. She didn’t realize how much these events impacted her, until after her own tragedy when she was eighteen—she was kidnapped and raped live on the internet, and would have been killed if not for her family tracking her down.

Now, nine years after that horrific event, Lucy has realized her dream of becoming an FBI agent. She’s on the second year of her assignment to the San Antonio field office. She is recently married to private investigator and security consultant Sean Rogan, and has grown tremendously from an insecure trainee to a confident investigator over her now 12-book series.

Lucy is motivated by justice—to help victims by catching those who prey on the innocent. She has a keen insight not only in victim profiling, but in criminal profiling.

I love Lucy! She’s a very interesting character, especially the whole Kincaid family. Seeing what motivates characters and what they want is very satisfying.



*Explain the relationship dynamic between Maxine and Lucy. 

Max and Lucy meet in SHATTERED. Justin Stanton is the possible first victim of an unknown serial killer. Justin’s father, long-time D.A. Andrew Stanton, agrees to help Max in her cold case investigation on the condition that Max work with Lucy. Lucy is more than willing to take time off of work to solve a crime that has pained her and her family for so long. Max doesn’t like working with cops for many reasons, largely because they have rules they must follow that she doesn’t. Lucy is intrigued by Max’s theory, and reminds her that without her, no one in San Diego will cooperate. They don’t trust each other, and when Max starts digging into Lucy’s past, Lucy threatens to cut Max out of the investigation completely, which infuriates her.

However, Max and Lucy are both driven by the need to see justice served—that the truth needs to be uncovered at all cost. That tentative bond can be strengthened or severed … it was very fun and satisfying for me to challenge these two strong women.

Seeing these two clash and work together on the page is quite explosive. Very entertaining to say the least. The tension is palpable. 

*What did you enjoy the most in writing Shattered?

Putting Max and Lucy on the same page. At first I was really nervous about it because I wasn’t sure how they would work together. They are both so clear to me, they are both so well-defined in my head, that I was afraid that they would absolutely detest each other and not work together. There is a lot of distrust and even some misinformation between them, but as they worked together they gained a mutual respect.

You might be on to something here, Allison. These two are dynamite!


*What were some challenges writing Shattered?

Figuring out the logistics of what happened to Justin and the other boys. I was never going to solve Justin’s murder unless I knew why he was killed. When I figured out the why, I thought it was going to be “easy” to solve the crime. But I was tied to some information I’d released in earlier Lucy Kincaid books, and I had to make sure I was consistent in this book. It took a lot of thought and choreography to make sure it worked! But once I had the motivation of the killer understood, it fell into place.

Your’e motivations are great! The plotting has been spectacular. Your choreography paid off 🙂


“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”



*Will Maxine and Lucy partner in future books?

I don’t know — I would like to put them together again. I might bring Max into a Lucy book. (SHATTERED is technically part of the Maxine Revere series though Lucy plays an equal role in the story.) It would be fun … but I’d have to have the right idea for them. I’ll never say never!

Well, I certainly hope they team up again in the future. They have a wonderful chemistry about them. Even their resources, backgrounds, colleagues are ripe for a collaboration. Guess we’ll wait and see what happens!

Partnership 3d Word Collage Team Association Alliance

Thanks Allison!!

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads



Allison Brennan
SHATTERED coming August 22, 2017

RT Top Pick!

PW: “Intricately plotted … psychologically complex characters … heart-pounding.”

Interview with Historical & Contemporary Romance Author Maggi Andersen



Introduction message on Paper torn ripped opening




Please welcome Maggi Andersen, historical and contemporary romance author from New South Wales, Australia. She has a BA and Master of Arts in Creative Writing, loves local wildlife, and pens the Regency, Baxendale Sisters, and Spies of Mayfair series.  And she has an AWESOME WEBSITE. Please check it out,




Maggi Anderson



Now, let’s learn a little more about our friend, Maggi…



*What’s it like living in Australia?

It’s great! Australians are known for their easy-going attitude to life. I grew up close to the beach and my childhood was all sun, sand, and sea. My brother and I roamed free in those days. Now I live in a bustling village in the Southern Highlands near Sydney, where the spring and autumn are glorious and it sometimes snows, but lightly and rarely! It’s wine country, with rolling green hills, some covered in vines, horse studs and farms. The highlands has many endangered bird species and a large koala population. Old inns, and their ghosts, still operate in the historic villages nearby where the stage coaches once passed through during the 1800s. When I feel I need to break out of my self-imposed writer’s cocoon, I head to Sydney for a writer’s conference or Melbourne to visit family.


This is great. Would love to visit there one day. My wife has a cousin, uh, somewhere over there. Sorry memory fails me at the moment. 





Location Australia. Green pin on the map.




Here’s some additional pics…



Australia 2



Australia 3








*What led you to read the books of Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt?

My mother loved them, and she handed them on to me. We reread them many times over and had lengthy discussion on each one. It was a special thing to share with her, with lovely memories now that she is no longer with us.

It’s lovely to share the joy of books with others, especially another family member. 



A book is a gift you can open again and again. -Garrison Keillor



*What do you love most about the Georgian and Regency worlds?

There is so much to write about. The history, manners, culture, fashions, gardens, mansions, and food aside, there was also the extravagant and extraordinarily self-indulgent Prince Regent, plus the lengthy Napoleonic wars. There was also the pulsating underworld where crime and vice of every kind flourished. The colorful Georgian era was less mannered, but equally as fascinating. Some of the people who existed in these eras seem larger than life, like Beau Brummel, who was a profound influence on men’s fashion and their bathing habits in the early 1800s. He was befriended by the Prince of Wales, but was always on the verge of poverty, which was then labeled ‘dun territory’. He lost the Prince’s friendship and left England a broken man. Young gentlemen were dangerously idle. Great gamblers, there are many instances where huge estates and wealth were lost at the gaming tables and the races.

I love what you’ve done with your historical series. It not only brings history alive, but it also transports you there in many ways. 




Vintage compass lies on an ancient world map.



*If you could send yourself back to those time periods what would you do?

Marry a duke of course. 🙂  Seriously, I would hope to be a member of the ton, the Upper Ten Thousand in society. Life could be very hard for the lower classes. If I was born without money or family, I’d be an actress, I always wanted to tread the boards.

Splendid! I always enjoy the answers to this question. 


*What are your top three experiences writing about these times?

Creating the three books in The Spies of Mayfair Series. A Dangerous Deception, A Spy to Love, and A Secret Affair. They were enjoyable to write, I loved the heroes and heroines, and researching interesting historical facts which included Napoleon’s escape from Elba, The Peterloo Massacre, and the famous Hope diamond, the blue diamond of the French Crown, stolen from King Louis XIV in 1791.

Awesome! Can’t wait to read all of them. 



A Dangerous Deception



A Spy to Love



A Secret Affair




*Tell us about your new release, The Baron’s Wife.

My new release The Baron’s Wife has just hit an historical mystery bestseller list on Amazon! Another of my favorite stories to write, it’s set during the late Victorian era, teetering on the brink of the 20 th Century, when so much was changing. Women were fighting for their right to vote, to gain access to university degrees and have other freedoms allowed to men. It would take many years for these things to be realized. My heroine, Laura Parr was involved in the Suffrage movement when she met her hero, Baron, Nathaniel Lanyon. She puts these dreams on hold after he sweeps her off her feet, marries her and takes her to his home, an ancient abbey in Cornwall. Laura soon discovers all is not as it seems in her new home. There’s a mystery surrounding Nathaniel’s first wife’s death. Nathaniel had been confident he could offer Laura a happy life, but the past comes back to claim him.

This sounds like an intriguing story!



The Barron's Wife



*What was a courtship like at the time of Laura Parr and Baron, Lord Nathaniel Lanyon?

For a strictly raised young lady such as Laura, her future marriage partner, and her courtship was often chosen and managed by the parents. Her father must first approve of the suitor and her mother would make sure she was chaperoned until the wedding. Many couples were virtual strangers when they married.

Wow. That’s amazing. The thought of my parents choosing my spouse makes me cringe.



*Is this a standalone or part of a series?

The Baron’s Wife is a standalone novel. It’s my third Victorian mystery romance. The first two are The Folly at Falconbridge Hall and The Diary of a Painted Lady.

I already downloaded this one!



*What else are you working on?

At present, I’m working on a new Regency series, The Kinsey Family, Unmasking Lady Helen, Book One. The story is filled with mystery, suspense and romance, Ancient Egyptian tombs, and art forgery. I hope to have it published by August. Also, my contemporary romantic suspense novella Finding Daniel is part of a boxed set coming in February 2018.

Sounds great, keep us posted. 



Thanks Maggi!




A Baron’s Wife:

Amazon Author page:


Twitter: @maggiandersen


Website: http//




Interview with John D. Bethel Author of Blood Moon


Blood Moon




J. David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue that is receiving praise from a number of Washington opinion leaders




“Truth is stranger than fiction”…Mark Twain



“This was a story well worth telling.”- Benjamin Thomas




Questions and Answers for Mystery Thriller Week


How did you come across this story and what compelled you to tell it?

The details of the crime came to me from Ed DuBois.  Ed runs a security firm, Investigators, Inc., and had been brought into the case by a mutual friend of Marc Schiller, the victim.  Ed read my novel Evil Town and enjoyed it, and when he wanted to explore the possibilities of having a book written about the crime, he contacted me.

Initially, Ed wanted a true crime book written to counter the treatment the real story was getting in a movie that was being made of the crime, “Pain and Gain.”  Ed was serving as a consultant on the movie and grew disenchanted with the “black comedy” slant being applied to the script.  I wrote a treatment of the book but when it became apparent a true crime book could not be written and published in time to provide a balance to the movie, that project was abandoned.

I had become intrigued by the crime, especially by the courage of the victim, Marc Schiller, and Ed’s determination to get the “bad guys.”  Schiller’s survival of 30 days in captivity during which he was brutally tortured, and had every single penny of his substantial estate extorted, was a story that was too compelling to ignore.  My wheelhouse is fiction so I went to Ed and Marc and asked if they’d mind if I treated the story as fiction, hewing close enough to the real events to convey the true horror of what Marc endured and how Ed worked skillfully to solve the crime.

With resources like Marc and Ed, and a story of human will and courage, how could I go wrong?  Marc agreed to add another layer to the book by writing the Foreword and Ed wrote an Afterword.








What was your first reaction after hearing what happened to Mr. Schiller?

Astounded. Dumbstruck. Horrified. All of which grew into admiration and respect for the courage that Mr. Schiller displayed is surviving the ordeal, and for Mr. DuBois who was like a dog with a bone until the case was solved and the perpetrators brought to justice.



“Sometimes the wheels of justice grind slowly.” -Terry Waite




What was it like working with him?

Marc Schiller and Ed DuBois were very giving of their time and very open about their experiences. Without their cooperation Blood Moon would never have been written. I am in their debt.

Marc Schiller has written a first person account of his experience that readers can find at: Pain and Gain- The Untold True Story





What was different writing this book compared to your other novel?

The books are different genres, Evil Town being a political thriller.  Other than that, there really wasn’t much of a difference in the writing or the creative process.

For Blood Moon, I worked with a story line that had some markers for me to follow since I was inspired by a true-to- life crime.  I also had some traits I could instill in the main characters by studying the ways Marc and Ed dealt with their challenges.  Developing the characters of the antagonists was a little different since I don’t think like a psychopath.  Putting myself in the shoes of Dario Pedrajo and his cohorts was disturbing.  But by playing them off against the courage and actions of Suarez and Stevens, and having the antagonists react in the extreme opposite of civilized, empathetic human beings, I think these characters are believable as multi-dimensional human beings, if very evil human beings.

For Evil Town, I mined my 30-plus years in politics to add dimension, reality and, hopefully, to create a compelling story that takes a look behind the curtain at how Washington and the political system work.  My experience provided me with markers along the way much in the same way as did those I followed in writing Blood Moon, thereby allowing me to create believable scenarios and characters.  A former member of Congress, Jim Lightfoot put it this way in his review of Evil Town:  “For those of us who have been there and lived the political life it is easy to attach the names of people we know and/or have known to David’s characters. I think you will find that part of the fun when you read his book.  Perhaps you will also pick up a little understanding of the high stakes poker is played with your life and income by thousands of faceless bureaucrats and unscrupulous politicians whose only goal in life is re-election.” 








Is there a certain theme employed in Blood Moon?

If you’re referring to a “message” or “takeaway” that I intentionally incorporated into the novel, then “no.” I had a compelling story to tell and I told it.

That said, Blood Moon – simply in its telling — is an account of good versus evil. There is evil in this world; evil that most of us will never have to deal with and cannot possibly imagine. There are also people like Marc and Ed (as represented by Recidio Suarez and Nolan Stevens, respectively, in the novel) who are courageous enough and good enough to stand against it and defeat it.

At any time Schiller/Suarez could have succumbed and said “to hell with all this pain and indignity” and laid down and died. That, believe it or not, would have been the easy way out for him. DuBois/Stevens could have given up when the authorities wouldn’t cooperate with him to find the psychopaths, and he could have gone on to another case, but he refused. He put himself at risk and stayed on it until his efforts forced the police to do their job.




Justice on Wooden Piece Arranged by Businessman




Are all your books based upon true stories or current events?

To date my novels have been based on true stories or current events. The novel I am currently working is not; however, it is told around events occurring during the final days of World War Two. For more on this see my answer to the final question.



Why did you decide to write fiction?

The novels of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald entranced me and demonstrated how brilliantly-written fiction could gobble readers up and transport them to another place and time. And the storytelling ability of Stephen King showed me that a good tale could pull the reader into the story, increase their heartbeat, cause them to perspire with fear and anticipation, and come out the other end invigorated.

Plus, I have an imagination that plants stories with me that I feel compelled to write about. I’m cursed with a very active imagination.




Conceptual Light Bulb (Set) - Imagine




What are you working on next? 

I am working on a novel set in a small Midwestern town during the final days of World War Two.  The gruesome murder of a local family starts an investigation that opens a door onto the national stage of politics and treason.



I wanted to thank Marc Schiller for his courage, Ed DuBois for his service, and John D. Bethel for taking the time to tell this story. It is truly a story of survival, hope, and justice.

-Benjamin Thomas



If you haven’t done so already, purchase Blood Moon on Amazon or add it to your Goodreads account. 




Interview with Professional Narrator Madeline Mrozek


Please welcome Madeline Mrozek professional audiobook narrator and voice over artist!

Continue reading “Interview with Professional Narrator Madeline Mrozek”