Mercedes Fox ~ Author

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Tag: Thriller (Page 1 of 5)

Meet Author David Halvorsen

Hello! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author David Halvorsen

Dave is a pastor that loves to write. He lives in Mount Vernon, Washington with his wife, Trisha, and their three kids—Anayah (6), Autumn (4), and John David (1). For fun, the family loves to travel, eat, explore nature and read a good book together.

Book Sample:  Hush, child

Genre: supernatural crime thriller

Synopsis:  Judah Greer is an alcoholic without the will to sober up, that is until his long lost daughter reenters his life. When Mara becomes the twenty-fifth victim of a serial kidnapper, he launches out on a frantic quest to save her. Aided by a mysterious young girl who may or may not exist, and a detective with a vendetta of her own, he tumbles down a rabbit hole and into a world where nothing is certain and no one is safe. The spiritual clashes with the natural in this supernatural thriller as events spiral out of control toward an ending prophesied from the most ancient of Holy texts: “Behold, I will send you the spirit of Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Excerpt: “We have to go, Cora.”

Dazed, Cora lifted her head. “It’s too early,” she countered.

Mara scowled. “I need to be there early.”

Cora closed her eyes. “You already had a practice run.”

Resentment flashed over Mara. “I know that. This is different, because we’re in the stadium for the first time.”

Cora pulled the sheet over her head.

Mara waited for a response, but to no avail. Slamming Cora’s door, she snatched up her purse and bag and stormed out of the condo. Pulling out her cell, she called a cab, and plopped down in a huff on the front step to wait the fifteen minutes.

She presently loathed her mother more than she had in a long while. Cora had always been indifferent and taciturn, but this was a new level of cruelty that Mara hadn’t yet seen. Maybe it was because of Judah. She didn’t know. Even if it was, that didn’t license Cora’s selfishness.

The cab rolled up. It was from a company she didn’t recognize. Mara approached as the driver rolled down his window.

“Need a ride?”

Mara frowned. “I called for a Yellow Cab, but you’re…” She swept her gaze over the flaked lettering but was unable to make it out. “Are you with them?”

The man bore a full head of grease-coated hair that appeared to reach his lower back. His square jaw was peppered with scruff, except in the vicinity of three jagged scars that yawned from his cheekbone and stretched down his throat. She was transfixed, and didn’t hear his response until he repeated himself: “They’re busy and called me to fill in,” he explained, his smooth voice resonating, reminiscent of the tune of a cello.

She shook out of her daze and, with an apologetic glance, opened the back door and slid in.

“Where to then?” he asked, while bringing the car out onto the main street.

“I told them,” she reminded him, becoming increasingly apprehensive.

“Must’ve been lost over the frequency.” He tapped the radio with a knuckle.

“Right, okay then, to University Stadium. I’m graduating today.”

“And at seventeen; that means you’re clever,” he added with a smile as he glanced at her in the rearview.

She returned his smile with a taut press of her mouth, and couldn’t shake the impression that something was askew. He kept to himself for the remainder of the ride, but compensated for his silence by studying her. Each time she caught sight of his eyes in the rearview, a shiver slithered up her spine. She sighed with relief as they pulled into the stadium’s lot. Peering between the two front seats, she saw that the tab was for forty dollars. Jumping from the cab, she rounded to his open window, and grimaced when seeing that she only had a crinkled five-dollar bill.

“Um, look, mister, do you mind that I only have five?”

He offered a flamboyant grin, which caused his scars to twitch. “That’s all right. I’ll wait here. Maybe your mommy can give you the cash when she comes.”

She sprinted into the stadium. “Creep,” she muttered between gasps. She’d make sure to avoid him like the plague.

The following thirty minutes flew by as she floundered to and fro, searching apprehensively for her graduating class. They were filing into the auditorium when she saw them across the fray. Embarrassed, she managed to slip into her gown in stride, and donned her cap as she took her allotted seat.

“Margaret Abernathy,” the spokeswoman called over the PA system.

During the proceeding hour, her mind wandered in a daze. She hoped Cora would show; both she and Judah.

“Michael Palmer.”

She snapped to—they were in the P’s. Her row would soon stand. She swept her gaze over the reserved seating, and smiled when seeing Cora hunched over her cell. Twisting around, she played her eyes over the uninterested faces, and was about to give up when a flicker caught her attention near the exit. Judah was waving both hands. Her chest fluttered and her smile returned for a second show of affection.

A rustle on both sides caused her to swivel back around. The usher was motioning for her row to join the swiftly moving stream of soon-to-be graduates.

Christopher Pratt was announced. Mara was next. Cora pried her attention from her smart phone in time to see her mount the stage.

Mara shot her gaze into the back of the stadium—looking for… she grinned when her eyes connected with Judah’s.

“Mara Pretz.”

Mara marched across the stage with a heartwarming smile. She again glanced toward Judah and then at Cora, and what she saw caused her throat to contract. The principal was pumping her hand and setting a diploma into her other, but she understood none of it. Her mind was steeped in a fog. “Well done, Mara,” the superintendent congratulated though she was elsewhere, with wide eyes riveted to her mother’s retreating back.

Nausea snaked into her belly as she progressed offstage and back into the swiftly moving brook of new and cheery graduates. The remaining names were monotonously announced. Forbidden catcalls and whistles of overzealous family and friends droned on. It was an opaque blur that passed overhead. In contrast, what she vividly grasped was the memory of her mother’s back facing her moment of triumph, striding away in a fit of indignation.

The band played the last song. The auditorium stood in unison. Mara was marinated in confusion, while her classmates flung their hats towards the vaulted ceiling. After the momentous euphoria fizzled, the throng dispersed in pursuit of their loved ones—all except the dispirited young lady who wept into unsteady hands.

The scent of cheap cologne wafted over her, and she heard the adjacent chair creak under someone’s weight, followed by a sturdy hand that rested between her shoulder blades. “I’m sorry, Mara,” consoled Judah’s raspy voice.

Without looking at him, she leaned into his arms and rested her face against his chest. She was sniveling, and only peered up after regaining her composure. “Thank you,” she said with a wearied smile.

He looked at her empathetically. “Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

She believed him.

“I’ll take you home,” he intoned.

She stood compliantly and, without fully understanding her actions, slipped her hand into his. Neither spoke during the ride home. After he pulled onto her street, he let the engine idle, reached into the back, grabbed a brown parcel, and offered it to her with a comforting expression.

She was surprised, not having expected a gift from him other than the fifty bucks.

“Wait till you get inside before opening it.”

She looked at him for an explanation, but he only smiled.

“Oh, right, almost forgot. And here’s your blood money.” He slapped a single bill into her hand.

A smile broke past her despondency. “Thanks,” she offered.

“No problem, kid.”

Reaching over, she pecked him on the cheek, but hopped out before he could respond. She scurried to the front door, turned to wave with another smile tipping up her lips, and then slipped inside.

She traipsed into the family room and collapsed into the loveseat. What a strenuous day, she thought, but then smiled as she held up the parcel; he had wrapped it in a paper bag. She ripped off the paper and found herself staring at a leather-bound Bible. Cute, she thought. She placed the Bible on the coffee table, rested back, and closed her eyes to thoughts of the depressing day.

~蘑

A violent wind awoke her. The front door slammed, adding to the banshee-like wails. Mara struggled out of the loveseat, forced the window shut, and then poked her head into the hall. Cora was climbing the stairs, and stopped mid-step when spotting her daughter.

“So, you finally came home,” Mara scolded.

Cora cleared her throat. “Do not speak to me with that tone, young lady.”

“Where’d you go, then?”

“None of your concern. You have Judah to attend to you.”

So this was it then—the reason for deserting—Cora hated Judah to that extent. “You’re being selfish.”

“Don’t think you can rebuke me, you little traitor.”

“If he’s as bad as you make him out to be, then why did he come to the most important day of my life…and…and you value your disdain for him more than your love for me?”

“You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?” Cora descended the stairs and, standing toe-to-toe, glowered at her daughter. “You don’t know how twisted he is, do you? Let me ask you a question. Perhaps it will put something into perspective.” She chose her words carefully. “I was seeing Thomas while still married to him.” Her scorn deepened. “He didn’t know how to accept the fact that I didn’t love him.” Ire bubbled behind Cora’s eyes. “And now, after all these years—he still hates me.”

“How do you know that?” Mara interjected.

“Because of the facts.” Cora placed her hand on Mara’s shoulder. “You impudent brat. If you had half a brain you would have listened and stayed away from that man. Now look what you’ve done.”

“What do you mean?” Mara asked, confused.

“Judah isn’t your father.”

“What do you mean?”

“Exactly what I said.”

Mara was miffed. “Did you ever tell him?”

“Of course. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s what forced him into lunacy!” she spat. “He’s a crazed buffoon who couldn’t take no for an answer, and the thought that he wasn’t the father of my child pushed him over the edge.”

“If he knows, then why’s he treating me like his daughter? Why’s he acting like my father?”

“That is precisely what I am asking. Look what you have done—you’ve gone and opened Pandora’s Box. You’ve allowed a delusional man into your life. You’re no longer safe—not while Judah’s prowling in the shadows. Before your senseless brain understands, you’ll be fastened to the bedposts for months on end as he gets a sadistic kick from seeing you writhe.”

With that, Cora turned and strode up the steps.

Mara was speechless. She didn’t know what to think, or how to think. Why would Judah deceive her? Why would he be so kind, let her into his home, let her vent on his shoulder, attend her graduation, give her a gift, and embody all of the traits that she had ever envisioned in a father? She didn’t know, and needed to understand.

After collecting her nerve, she climbed the steps and rapped on Cora’s door. Cora didn’t respond. She pressed it open. The lights were on in the attached bathroom. Padding over, she opened the door without knocking and stiffened at what greeted her: Cora was in mid-stroke of slicing her thigh with a razor. Streaks of blood smeared her hand and trickled down her leg. Countless white scars, reminiscent of a pond of maggots, spackled her thigh. Numerous emotions flashed over Cora’s face: fear from discovery, irritation, and lastly, acute vehemence leveled at Mara. “GET OUT!”

Mara wanted to run; instead, she stared dumbly and in dismay.

“GET OUT!” Cora roared, jabbing her finger at the doorway. She then advanced and slammed the door in Mara’s horrified face.

Mara ran. Tripping down the stairs, she rushed into the family room, grasped her purse, and dashed from the condo and into the howling wind. She needed to pace, and to think, and to cry, and to pray.

Blinded by uncontrolled emotion, she didn’t notice the taxi pull out from the shadows and pursue her from behind.

She dug for her phone and dialed a cab. A raindrop slapped her nose. Determined to tough out the inclement weather, she trudged down the block.

Cora needed help. In a strange way, she was thankful that she saw her cutting. Cora’s narcissism had suddenly become more complex. Deep-seated issues forced her behavior. Knowing this, Mara found it more difficult to scorn her.

At any regard, she needed to leave, and could think of only one person to run to—Judah. However, the nagging detail that Judah was an imposter convoluted things. He owed her an explanation.

About ten minutes had elapsed since she had called the cab, which was why after rounding the street corner, she was surprised to find an advancing pair of headlights. “They’re early?” she muttered.

The glare of the headlights prevented her from noticing the man’s scarred face until she was peering through his window. “Where to this time?” he asked jovially.

Her throat clamped into a knot. She wasn’t going anywhere with this man. “Um, I called a different taxi service,” she managed to squeak.

“That’s true. They radioed me again. So happens that I was in the area—it’s nice when things line up, isn’t it?”

She shook her head. “I changed my mind. I don’t need a cab anymore. Thanks though.” She turned and trekked back towards the condo.

The sound of his engine revved from behind and he pulled alongside her. “Come, come, little girl—I won’t hurt you.”

She broke into a run, but he accelerated to maintain her speed. The porch light of her condo was on down the street. Not far, a minute away. She heard the car accelerate further; then it struck her from behind. Sprawled on the wet tarmac, she tasted blood. Leaping back to her feet, she sprinted. The quiet click of an opening car door cracked against her ears, followed by the chilling slap of her assailant’s boots. She ran harder—breath ragged—emotions frenzied. His hand landed on the small of her back. She left the ground for a moment, suspended, and glimpsed her reflection on the wet pavement before landing facedown. In the process of screaming, she sucked in a mouthful of water. It sprayed into her trachea. Her body lurched. She gasped and sputtered, and was unable to raise her voice above a whisper as he grabbed her around the waist and dragged her towards his cab. He threw her into the back, reached over, and snatched a coiled cord from the floor, where he gagged her, bound her, and struck her on the side of the head. She blanked out, but before her mind dissolved into a fizzing cacophony of static, she heard the roar of the engine and felt the nauseating motion of the car as it peeled from the neighborhood.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  I started writing my first book at twelve, which was 1995, and finally finished and published it in 2011. The book that’s getting published now, Hush, child took only five years in comparison. Lol. My goal going forward, and I think I’ll achieve it, is to write a book a year.

Why do you write?  I love creating. And I also love it when the characters and story come to life and begin creating themselves. I think the pull for me is to listen to what they’re telling me and to try and pass on their message to whoever else that wants to listen.

When did you decide to become a writer?  I think this happened subconsciously at twelve, that age when I first started to write down that cursed story that never seems to die. We were a missionary family living in Ireland at the time. I was enrolled in the local country school—40 kids grades kindergarten to their version of twelfth grade, and two teachers—at any rate, I wrote a short story for literature and the Principal complemented me on a verb usage. I think I said that a driver of a truck poked his head through the window. The Master, as the Irish lads and lasses call their teachers, apparently thought this to be more descriptive than what I could have otherwise used. Who knew that this would’ve been inspirational for me? Ha! The small things in life can have substantive impact, I guess.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  My imagination can’t help but create complex characters that journey through strange and daring worlds. It’s in me and the most natural outlet for me is to put it in story form. I suppose others compose music, and others paint or draw, or craft, or what have you; for me it’s to write.

Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured?  I take a couple hours a day. Complete silence—no music, no kids, no wife, just silence. I then enter into the zone and write what comes.

Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  Both. I can see the general plot, the north star so to say, but on the journey the characters seem to develop life of their own. When this happens, I let go of the reigns and wait with no little sense of expectation to see where they take me.

Where do your ideas come from?  The heart. Maybe God, at least this is what I hope for. I write for him most of all. He’s my passion, the one that I dedicate my work to. MF: I believe it is from God. He did give us freewill and imagination.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?  Doing it when I’m not in the mood. I’ve never struggled with writer’s block. I’d even be open to having that just so I could see what it’s like. My struggle is with buckling down and just doing it when I don’t feel like it.

What is the current book you are promoting?  Hush, child. It’s about a recovering alcoholic that’s hunting for his estranged daughter that’s been kidnapped by a person who calls his or herself Satan’s prophet (that felt like it was a mouthful). The story’s about the fractures that happen between parents and their children, and the power that’s to be had with restoring the family. The book is gritty in parts, and controversial in others, but a powerful read, if I don’t say so myself 😉

There ya have it folks! For more about Dave, his work, and to get yourself a copy, follow the links below:

Amazon / Facebook

Meet Author Simon Michael

Hola! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat featuring author Simon Michael

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister (trial lawyer), Charles Holborne.  Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.  The 1960s was the “Wild West” of British justice, a time when armed gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds.  Simon weaves into his thrillers genuine court documents from cases on which he worked and the big stories of the 1960s.

Simon was published in the UK and in America in the 1980s and returned to writing when he retired from the law in 2016.  The first books in the Charles Holborne Series, The Brief and An Honest Man, garnered strong reviews for their authenticity and excitement.  The third, The Lighterman, is due out on 8 June 2017.  in Simon’s theme is alienation; Holborne, who dabbled in crime and in serious violence before becoming a barrister, is an outsider both in the working class East End where he grew up and in the privileged Temples of the Law where he faces daily class and religious prejudice.  He has been compared to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, honorable men surrounded by corruption and violence, trying to steer an honest course.

Book Sample:  The Lighterman

Genre: Historical crime thriller

Synopsis:  Charles Holborne (ne Charlie Horowitz), one-time criminal and boxer, is now a member of the establishment, a successful trial lawyer with a gift for representing the underdog.  But he has made powerful and dangerous enemies.  Ronnie Kray, one of the psychotic gangster Twins running 1960s London, has put Charles on his “List” of people to be disposed of.  How best to get at a canny and vigilant trial attorney with unusual skills?  Answer: find him a client charged with murder and facing a certain death penalty, a client who can’t be hanged twice, and make him an offer he can’t refuse.

Sample: Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann releases his bombs at 03:45 hours.  His Dornier 215 is in the middle wave of the attack and although several of the escorting Messerschmitt 109s have been shot down, the approach has been easy.  The cloud cover as they crossed the Channel had melted away, and the bomber squadron had simply followed the meandering line of the Thames, deviating slightly every now and then to avoid the puffs of smoke from the anti-aircraft fire and then returning to its course.  Ahead of Schumann clusters of incendiaries continue to rain onto the city, dropped by the leading bombers in his formation.  As each new cluster falls there is a dazzling flash followed by a flame soaring up from a white center, turning the underside of the barrage balloons silvery yellow and throwing up great boiling eruptions of smoke.  And as each burst of black smoke clears in the breeze, the great river reappears, a black snake in a brightly-illuminated landscape of uncontrolled fire.            As he releases his payload, Schumann is able to look down and obtain a perfect view of the U-shaped bend in the River Thames known by the Britishers as The Isle of Dogs.  He watches the bombs drop, becoming tiny black dots before they are swallowed up by the great orange and yellow tongues of flame which leap hundreds of feet into the night air, as if making futile attempts to lick the belly of his Dornier.  The Port of London is burning to the ground, and to Schumann’s eye it is both terrible and beautiful.

It takes the 1000 kg bombs 42 seconds to hit the ground.  This is what happens on the ground during that period of 42 seconds:

Hallsville Junior School, Agate Street, Canning Town is heaving with over 600 East Enders – men, women and children – awaiting evacuation.  Almost all of them are homeless, their houses and schools having been destroyed in the first few days of the Blitz.  Some have gathered together a few treasured possessions; some have a cardboard suitcase or two; some, recently dug out from collapsed buildings, have nothing but the nightclothes they stand in, their modesty covered by borrowed blankets, soot and building dust.  Almost all have lost family members and the majority carry injuries; the walking wounded of working class London.

New dazed families continue to arrive at the already overcrowded building but, despite all, spirits remain reasonable for much of the day.  Then, as the hours pass and the promised transports fail to materialise, muttering turns to anger and anger to shouting at the hopelessly overrun authorities.  They are sitting ducks, they protest, with no air raid shelter to protect them and another bombing raid inevitable.  By early afternoon a blind eye is being turned to the dozens of East End servicemen who desert from nearby postings to slip into the school and spirit their families away.

The unrest turns to barely-contained panic when the air raid starts.  Children shriek with terror and cling to their mothers’ legs as the bombs scream down, shaking the ground with each impact, and the drone of the oncoming Luftwaffe planes goes on, and on, and on, wave after wave, dulling the senses, making it impossible to think beyond the thundering engines and the rising hysteria.

40 seconds.

Harry Horowitz, tailor and furrier, lately of British Street, Mile End, and his wife Millie Horowitz, milliner, huddle at the very end of a corridor at the back of the school with their boys, Charles aged 14 and David, 12.  Despite the noise of the German planes, the bombs raining down all around them which shake the entire building, and the thick dust-laden air which catches in her throat, Millie’s lifelong debilitating anxiety is focused mostly on David.  Her younger son had been running a fever when dragged out of their damaged home two nights earlier, and he now lies in her arms, sweating and shivering uncontrollably.  Crouched next to them on the floor of the narrow corridor are four other families, one being that of Millie’s best friend, Sarah, who along with her husband and three girls had arrived earlier that afternoon to claim the last remaining floor space just inside the door leading out to the playground.

30 seconds.

Another bomb – one in fact released by the plane preceding that of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann – screams down towards Agate Street and for a few seconds every adult in the school building holds their breath and falls silent.  It lands with an almighty impact and the entire building shakes violently, but it misses the school, destroying instead the row of buildings on the opposite side of the road.  Pieces of masonry and shrapnel ping off the cobbles of Agate Street and several heavy pieces of debris crash into the school roof at the front of the building.

‘That’s it,’ announces Harry.  ‘We’re leaving.’

Harry Horovitz is a short, dapper man, always perfectly turned out in a three-piece suit, a watch chain across his slim torso.  He works long hard hours in his little East End factory which produces high-quality fur coats, stoles and hats for the carriage trade.  When he returns to the family home, invariably late and tired, he speaks little, preferring to sit in his armchair by the coal fire in waistcoat and shirtsleeves and read the newspaper from start to finish in silence.  Everyone knows that Millie, sharp-featured and sharp-tongued, wears the trousers in the Horovitz household.  However few realise that on the rare occasion when Harry put his foot down, Millie always complies without a word.  She stands and lifts David to his feet, turning to her friend.

‘You coming, Sal?’

Sarah looks up at her husband, who nods his assent.

The nine East End Jews grab their pathetic suitcases and shoulder their way through their terrified neighbours and friends, shouting their apologies over the drone of the aircraft and the explosions all around them, and emerge through the door into the playground.

15 seconds.

‘Run!’ shouts Harry, as he leads them across the playground.

10 seconds.

Charles hesitates, looking back down the corridor as the rest of his family hurry outside into the orange tinted, dust-filled, cacophony of the air raid.  Further down the corridor, into the bowels of the school and just outside its combined gymnasium and hall, is another East End family.  The Hoffmanns live only 30 yards from the Horowitz household and their house had, like that of the Horowitz family, been almost completely destroyed in the raid two nights before.  The two families often queue together with the same ration books; eat the same sparse food; speak essentially the same language in their respective homes, and have much in common besides.  But they never speak beyond an occasional nodded greeting.  The Hoffmanns, although refugees from Hitler like many in the surrounding streets, are not Jewish, and Millie and Harry Horowitz’s social circle simply does not include non-Jews.  Their lives simply revolve around their home, their business and their synagogue.  The Hoffmanns are, simply, “goyim” – of “The Nations”– and accordingly outside the circle.  But the Hoffmanns have a daughter, a slim, fair and blue-eyed girl of fourteen, named Adalie.  Unknown to either set of parents, while walking back from school every evening Charles Horowitz and Adalie Hoffmann have become friends.  They have shared their thoughts on their teachers, their homework and on Hitler.  And at Adalie’s instigation, they have shared several sweet, chaste, kisses.

So Charles lingers for a second or two, trying to catch a last glimpse of Adalie, and as a result very nearly loses his life.  The rest of his family have stumbled across the rubble-strewn playground and are disappearing through the rear gates of the school.  Outside on the street the air glows, backlit by orange flames on all sides; the fires of hell.

The shriek of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann’s bomb fills the air as Charles, having given up his quest, races across the playground after the shadowy figure of his mother, the last of the party to disappear through the school gates ahead of him.  Charles reaches the gate and takes two steps up Agate Street.

Impact.

The 1000 kg bomb scores a direct hit on the school.  Charles is blown off his feet and finds himself sailing eight feet into the air, the explosive pressure drop making him feel as if his eyeballs are being sucked out of their sockets.  He lands in an adjoining garden, destroying the rhododendron bush which breaks his fall, and suffers a bruised back and a cut to his scalp from a piece of flying masonry from the school wall.  Everyone else in the family is unscathed.  Although winded, Charles manages to roll back onto his feet in a single movement and continue running.

Harry Horowitz, soft-spoken East End tailor, has saved the lives of his family.

Later that day the government places a “D Notice” on the event, preventing accurate reports of the number of casualties to avert a collapse of morale in London.  Officially 73 people died.  Locals know that of the 600 or so men, women and children in the building, over 450 were killed instantly, many more in the hours thereafter, and almost all of the survivors suffered injuries.  The Hoffmanns were blown to unrecognisably small pieces.

Four days later the Horowitz family members unfold stiff limbs and climb down the steep steps of a bus in the centre of Carmarthen, and are introduced to the farmers who are to take them in.  Four weeks of regular enforced chapel attendance later, Charles runs away and jumps on a Great Western milk train to London where he spends the next, and best, years of his life, running wild on the rubble-strewn streets of London and the one artery the Luftwaffe never managed to close: the River Thames.  He never forgets the beautiful Adalie.

When did you decide to become a writer?  Like many writers, I suspect, I have always written, because I am driven to write.  I have no formal training in creative writing but I wrote short stories at school, sketches, plays and the beginnings of novels at college, and my first completed manuscript 30 years ago.  I have a box of scraps of paper which I have compiled since I was a teenager with ideas, snatches of dialogue, sometimes simply three words overheard on a train, which fired my imagination.  So, I don’t think I “decided” to become a writer.  It was part of who I am.  I decided to try to be published, which is different.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  I have tried, and failed miserably, to structure my day and this is a lifelong problem for me.  I know writers who are incredibly disciplined.  They get up at 6 am, write creatively for 5 hours, and then turn to social media, emails, marketing et cetera.  By mid-afternoon they are ready to make an evening meal, clean the bathrooms or pick up the kids from school.  I am in awe of such people.  I flit from task to task, often only starting to write in the early evening and continuing until midnight.  But I make sure that, when I finally get down to writing, I write no less than 1000 words per day, often achieving 4000 or 5000.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I started writing legal thrillers because that’s what I knew.  I worked as a trial attorney for my entire professional life and I had literally hundreds of interesting cases and plots to use.  I also know and love historical London.  And it is true what they say: write what you know.  But as the books have evolved I realise that I am as much interested in the psychology and family dynamics of my characters as I am in the thriller elements.  Reviewers comment that the books focus on real, ordinary people who are placed in extraordinary situations.  When I have finished this series of books I may branch out into more general fiction, perhaps under a different name.

What have you written?  In terms of what I have written that has been published, I wrote three novels in the late 1980s, published by Grafton Press, WH Allen and St Martin’s Press here in the States.  Although I continued thereafter to write in my spare time, I didn’t try to get anything published for another 25 years as I was concentrating on my legal career.  Since returning to writing I have written three in the Charles Holborne thriller series, and a fourth and the fifth are both part-written.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?  I have been on a lot of marketing and social media courses for writers, and many do have useful tips (and many, often the most expensive ones, do not!).  However the single most important thing I have learned is: build your mailing list.  If you have 1000 people on your mailing list, all of whom have signed up willingly because they like your work, you have an immediate audience as soon as you launch a new book.  And the only way I have found to build the mailing list is to offer something in return for people’s names and email addresses, usually an earlier book in the series.  It’s not impossible to write another Great American Novel (or in my case, Great British Novel) which goes straight to No 1 on the bestseller lists, but that sort of success is vanishingly rare and the vast majority of us have to build our audience slowly, often with little or nothing to throw at marketing.  So a free gift has proven invaluable.  And that means you have to have a backlist – at least one other novel, or perhaps a novella – which you’re prepared to give away free.  The more books you write, the easier this becomes. MF: I’ve heard ‘mailing list’ before and I agree. I’m trying to get mine built up. My struggle lies in writing a story or short story to offer in return. Still working on that.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?  Yes: write.  Every day, without fail.  You can’t afford to wait for the muse to strike you.  We all love those purple patches where the words flow like a sparkling stream, sometimes a torrent, and all you can do is get out of the way and let the characters speak and act as they will, but that doesn’t happen every day.  Sometimes it doesn’t happen for days on end.  But you have to make yourself write every day.  Even if you discard most of it the next morning, it is infinitely easier to amend and refine an existing piece of text than it is to create from scratch.  And you learn the discipline of writing every day so it becomes second nature.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  Charles is largely based on me and my family history.  My family were immigrants to London, arriving in 1492, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition.  For the next 450 years they were East End Londoners, poor and undistinguished.  When I qualified as a trial lawyer in the late 1970s, I was an outsider.  My religion, appearance, accent and social class were all wrong for the ivory towers of the British establishment.  But I had left behind my East End Jewish roots, “married out” and no longer fitted in there either.  I was also devastated to discover that the criminal justice system I had joined was riven with corruption.  Joining the institution of the Inns of Court, becoming part of the “Establishment”, crusading for justice – doing some good – had been a lifetime dream.  Instead I found that London was controlled by gangs of violent criminals carving out their illegal profits from prostitution, pornography and protection rackets, and the Metropolitan Police, institutionally corrupt, worked hand-in-hand with them.

When I started the Charles Holborne series I decided to use some of the cases in which I had been involved as the basis for the plots (I include actual court documents not usually seen by the public) but place Charles back in time to the early 60s when the situation was even worse.  He is surrounded by venal, corrupt men but, like Philip Marlowe with whom he has been compared, still tries to steer an honest and honorable course.

What is the current book you are promoting? The Lighterman is the third in the Charles Holborne series, and it is due to be launched on 8 June 2017 (available for preorder now on Amazon!).  Like the others in the series it is set on the streets of 1960s gangland London but because the antihero, Charles, was born in 1925 and was a teenager during the war, there are several flashbacks to the 1940s during the course of the book when he lived and worked in London during the Blitz.  It is still however a legal and crime thriller based on a murder case where I was instructed for the Defence.

Many thanks Simon for stopping by! For more about Simon, his work, and how to get your copy, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / AmazonUK / AmazonUS / BookTrailer

Meet Author Casey Bartsch

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Casey Bartsch

Casey spends a lot of time in a small shed that he has converted into an office. That is where he gets his thoughts, inspirations, and intense frustrations. If it wasn’t for the office, he would probably be a much happier person, but then, there wouldn’t be any point anymore.

He has a wife that understands him, so he has already won life. Everything else is just sprinkles.

Enjoy this sample: Strawberries

Horror/Thriller

Strawberries is the name he has been given. When they let him out, they had no way of knowing what he was. A psychopath. A killer. The body count is at twenty already, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Agent Harry Bland can’t see one anyway. He doesn’t have a single clue to go on. It doesn’t help that his mind won’t focus. His heart just isn’t in it anymore. Half way across the country, Sylvia is in a different state of mind. When she isn’t selling sex to the rich, she is doing her best to disappear. She lives a life of assumed names, one night stands, and a constant stream of narcotics. Sylvia has heard of Strawberries. Of course she has. So has everyone who has turned on the television or surfed the net. Yet, she has no way of knowing just how much his life will affect hers.

Seedy hotels, cross country truckers looking for the meaning of life, homemade pie, a reporter with her own secret agenda, obscenely expensive champagne, and plenty of spilled blood await our cast. But make sure to read fast…..Strawberries has killed number 21

Why do you write?  It’s cheaper than liquor, less painful than exercise, and less permanent than suicide.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  The first took a couple of years, with 3 re-writes. I am about 5 months into the second, and I feel like I may finish more quickly. But, I have thought a lot of things that weren’t true.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I tend to have a basic idea, then just start right in. About halfway through, I’ll make a quick outline just to make sure I have a path to follow.

The best stuff comes at random, as my fingers click.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I designed my own, but the girlfriend of a good friend of mine tweaked it to make it more likely to fool people into thinking that a professional wrote the words inside.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Many people will tell you to sit and write every day. This doesn’t work for me. If it isn’t there, it isn’t there, and the only thing that can come from staring at my computer is depression.

What you need to do every day, is think. Don’t let a day pass without considering an idea.

Which writers inspire you?  McCammon, Barker, Palahniuk, Robbins, Mellick III, Ketchum, Vonnegut

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  My new novel is about a man with serious power, yet infinite confidence issues. He also may be slightly insane. He kidnaps some people and puts them through hell – the usual.

What is your next project? Novel. Title – Behind the Red Curtain

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  Sure, but it is vanishing. Mainly with the rise of digital. People have a million book choices at their fingertips for cheap. The heavy readers just consume, they don’t care where it came from. At first glance, you can’t tell on Amazon what is Traditional or Self-published – as long as the author has done the work to manufacture the illusion.

Tell us something unique about you.  Um…I’m blind in my right eye. Glaucoma when I was 2 years old.

There ya have it folks! Many thanks Casey! For more about Casey, his work, and to get your own copy, follow the links below:

Blog / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon

Meet Author Larry “Animal” Garner

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Larry “Animal” Garner

Larry Garner is a Colorado native, a US Navy veteran, and a life-long gearhead with a knack for story-telling. Taught at an early age to read, Larry is an avid reader and a published author of two crime thriller novels. The first novel in the Hammer series, D-E-D, DEAD, was a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards in 2013. DED Reckoning: Vengeance takes a road trip is the second novel in the series, and was recently announced as a finalist in the 2017 Colorado Book Awards.

The nickname “Animal” came to be during Larry’s time in the Navy, and it stuck. He is known by that nickname world-wide for his writing, charity work, and involvement in motorcycling and hot rodding events.

Larry lives in southern Colorado in a valley on top of the Rocky Mountains with his wife Marcia and three dogs of dubious parentage.

Enjoy these book samples:  D-E-D, DEAD   Crime Thriller

D-E-D, DEAD is the tale of a man whose conscience makes him take on his
Motorcycle Club for their manufacture and sale of Crystal Meth, coupled with
their use of young girls to fill their pockets with cash. His efforts leave the Club
in disarray, members hiding from the law and each other.

It’s 1990, before cell phones and the internet. Leaving Virginia with a vague
idea of hiding out at a friend’s house in southern Tennessee, he’s on the run,
hiding from the Club, the Cops, and the Feds, he uncovers a plot to upset the
balance of power in the northern Alabama/southern Tennessee Meth trade.

Joined by his old Navy buddy and a small group of locals, including a pair of strong, capable women, our protagonist is
once again plotting ways to dismantle the Club’s illegal empire. This time, he
has help!

Join in as this crew hits back at those who have ruined the lives of many of
their friends, neighbors, and family.

One thing is certain; someone is liable to end up dead, D-E-D, DEAD!

DED Reckoning: Vengeance Takes a road trip   Crime Thriller

DED Reckoning: Vengeance takes a road trip is the highly-anticipated sequel to D-E-D, DEAD. This new novel follows Eric “Hammer” Thorrsen as he heads west from Alabama in search of distance between himself and the mayhem he initiated, as well as the woman whose heart he broke.

Riding into the San Luis Valley of Colorado in search of a long-postponed visit with his great-uncle Sam seems to be just the ticket for some peace and quiet. The secluded mountain valley is split by the Rio Grande, lush with farms and surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. But there is also evil in these mountains, as he soon discovers. The deadly scourge of methamphetamine has taken root in this beautiful Alpine valley, and Hammer discovers a childhood playmate is at the heart of the problem.

While settling into his new home, Hammer finds out that one of his band of Alabama meth busters is missing and volunteers to help find him. The resulting search leads Hammer to some startling revelations concerning his old playmate. There is plenty of action, interspersed with sexy shenanigans and snarky humor.

DED Reckoning: Vengeance takes a road trip is one man’s crusade against evils real and imagined, propelled by high-octane fuel and gunpowder. Join in the action as Hammer and his new band of brothers and sisters once again takes on those who profit from the misery of others.

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?  I use my name along with my nickname as I felt it might attract some of my former shipmates, friends, and acquaintances who never knew my “real” name.

Why do you write?  I started writing to see if I could do it. I’d been a story-teller for decades, and wanted to see if I could translate my style of story-telling to paper. I now write because I love it and need to do it.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I feel my writing is becoming tighter and more compelling as I write more. I also feel I am becoming more attuned to the readers’ view, as opposed to the mindset that everyone knows what I know about the locations, characters, and events.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  I listen to music as I write, mainly to set a mental “attitude” for the scene or chapter I’m writing.

What have you written?  I wrote some features in the high school newspaper, have written articles for numerous motorcycle magazines, but my two novels listed above are by far the best writing I’ve done.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I do not use an outline or have a plot in mind when I begin writing a novel. I start with a vague idea of what is happening and let the story and the characters fill me in on what happens from there. I tell people that it is like watching a movie in my head and writing down what I see.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I had the cover design crew at CreateSpace design my first cover, and was very happy with it.

I designed the cover for the second novel myself, and really enjoyed the experience. I will probably design my covers from here on. I have been contacted by a few people about creating covers for their books, and may consider doing that.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  Eric “Hammer” Thorssen, the protagonist in book Hammer novels, is an amalgam of many people I’ve known, ridden motorcycles with, and observed over my lifetime. He has his own set of rules, chief among them the rule that you don’t mess with his family. Of course, he neglects to realize that he has pretty much abandoned his parents because of family issues.

Hammer hates methamphetamine, its manufacturers, and its dealers and distributors because of the wide-spread damage they cause to the people in his community. And his community is large, as he is constantly on the move. He also will not tolerate the use and abuse of young women to fill their tormentors’ pockets with cash.

He is fully comfortable with being judge, jury, and executioner of those who find themselves in his crosshairs for whatever indiscretion they may have committed.

He knows he’s no saint, knows he is the cause of much pain and sorrow for his victims’ families and friends, yet feels his is a righteous cause. He knows he may die today or tomorrow, but is firm in his quest to rid his community of as many demons as he can before his destiny catches up with him.

Where do your ideas come from?  I have been riding motorcycles since 1968, spent six years in the US Navy, and was a dyed-in-the-wool madman for many years in my past.

I have known many people involved in drugs, prostitution, and many other shady endeavors and have seen the damage done by these behaviors to both the perpetrators and their victims.

When I decided to write, I decided to use some of those experiences and characters as inspiration for a new set of fictional stories that have the ring of truth to them.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  I have no training in creative writing, and at this point in my life will probably not pursue any.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  Absolutely. Let’s face it… there are many self-published books that are poorly-written, full of typos and grammatical problems, etc. That is one reason self-published authors have such a hard time being taken seriously.

Another reason self-published writers have trouble being taken seriously is that the huge majority of them don’t have access to the marketing and advertising that a publishing house is willing to do on one of their author’s behalf.

Many people won’t buy a self-published book, period. There are thousands of very good books available that are better reads than some of the drivel published by some publishers, but will never have a large readership because they are by someone unknown who has no huge marketing budget behind them.

It is what it is, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon to any great extent. I accept it. I didn’t start writing to get famous or make a boatload of money. I had no illusions about becoming a national best-selling author. The odds are stacked against me to a nearly impossible degree.

My main complaint is that I can’t reach as many readers as I would like. I write my stories to be read, period. I only wish I could reach more readers in order to share them with.

What do your readers mean to you?  Readers are why I do this. As I said before, I write to share my stories with others. I give away digital copies to gain readers, not money.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others?  I always recommend one book to people when we are discussing books we’ve read. MINE by Robert McCammon is the book. It may not be the best technically written or most fundamentally classic book I’ve ever read, but it is the most memorable.

Is there anything else you would like to add?  Please support your local independent authors and bookstores!

There ya have it folks! For more about Larry, his work, and to get your own copy, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / CreateSpace / Trailer / Smashwords

Meet Author Joannes Rhino

Hallo, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Joannes Rhino

Joannes Rhino was born in Indonesia, and educated at the local state school until graduation in 1998. After finishing study in hospitality university, he was then employed by a financial company in his hometown. Having been working the same routine for years, he started to write novels to kill the time.

His first book, Etzhara, published in 2008 with Gramedia – the biggest traditional publishing company in Indonesia. Like most of authors, the first book is always related with personal life. Etzhara made him to be one of the best young writers under thirty at Khatulistiwa Literary Award in 2009.

Book Sample:  The Unseen Face

Psychology/Thriller

James Maddox must face the demons of his past and question everything he thought was real; even his own memory.

James was used to living without emotion after losing his Emilia unexpectedly; he gave up on happiness the day she died. His plans for their future, of marriage and kids, died right along with her. He preferred feeling numb, rather than feeling the pain of losing his dreams. That all changed the day he received an anonymous letter in the mail with just three words: I am innocent.

James began dreaming of Emilia that same night. However, his dream quickly becomes his nightmare as she haunts his sleep, demanding he knows the truth, that he faces the unseen. And what is hidden threatens to change James’ life forever.

Why do you write?  I write because I used to have problem in delivering what’s inside my head. I used to be afraid to speak up or to give opinion about someone or something. During those times, writing was my form of communication to others. But now, I write because I simply want to be heard. I want people to understand the way I think about certain things in life. I want them to feel exactly the way I feel about something. I want to spoil them with my imagination. But the most important thing, writing keeps my life in balance.

When did you decide to become a writer?  I actually didn’t know I had that in me until my high school mate spotted that talent and advised me to give it a shot. Well… I guess as a Cancer myself, imagination and creativity always sticks in my blood.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  Honestly speaking, the writing process doesn’t take that long. No more than 6 months I normally get it done, roughly. However, the editing process takes a lot of time, money and efforts. The hardest part in making a book is how to make it a page turner right from the first page.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  Normally memories and feelings. I mean, I am the kind of person who keeps track of what happened in the past.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  When it comes to write, I keep myself organize, and commit to write every night between 12AM until 4AM.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I am a good listener, and therefore people tend to enjoy sharing things to me. By things, I mean secrets, the ugly truth about something, their deepest thoughts, or anything. And with all this information stored in my head, it triggers my creativity to mix it up between one problems to another.

What have you written?  I have written psychology/thriller novel, collection of poetry, music lyrics, and thousands of commercial articles for travel/food/properties/activities.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  Some of my books are designed by the publishers’ graphic designer. But my last self-published book, The Unseen Face, was designed by Rachael Isaacson.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?  I don’t have any specific technique to promote my works. I let the publishers do their job. I only give contribution in spreading words to my surroundings and social media.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Be yourself! Write only with your own writing style, not others. There is no bad writing. There’s just that, writing. Everyone has own style! Don’t be afraid to share what’s inside your head.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  All the characters in my books are related with me. They could be myself, my friends or someone I know in real life. Having said that, it is easier for me to feel the emotions of each character.

Where do your ideas come from?  A mix of my own personal experiences and my friends’

What is the hardest thing about writing?  The hardest part is how to make the book a page turner right from the first page, because most of the times I got carry away by telling something so detail which is not important for the readers to know.

Which writers inspire you?  Sydney Sheldon, Paulo Coelho & Rhonda Byrne

What is the current book you are promoting?  The Unseen Face, and I am in the final stage of publishing a new collection of poetry.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  I have been working on this “special” book about religion since the last 4 years but unable to get it done due to still waiting for the perfect momentum. Realizing that I’m still living in the third world country where religion does matter and the majority of people here are narrow minded, I think the wisest thing to do is to wait a couple more years until I move to New Zealand.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  I don’t have any formal education in writing. Writing is in my blood, as simple as that. However, I am planning to take my master in creative writing. We’ll see.

What is your next project?  I am in the final stage of publishing a collection of poetry. This collection is a sequel of “As The Rest Come To My Heart”. It is centering in my feelings when I lost my mother 15 years ago, and the struggled in order to move on from the pain.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why?  My mom. I never had the chance to tell how much I love her, and I just want to say it. MF: That’s beautiful. She knows 🙂

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  I always want to give proper education to the people in the remote area.

Who inspires your writing?  Everything and everyone around me.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? I have a German Shepard, a Labrador and a Rottweiler.

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite?  Paulo Coelho with “The Alchemist” and a motivational book by Rhonda Byrne “The Secret”. Those books really changed my perspective about life.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Because it gives impacts to the world.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  Never limit your imagination. Let it flows naturally.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  There are pros and cons for sure. But to be honest, I prefer having a traditional publisher to publish my books. The reason is simple, really. If they want to publish your book, means that they like it and they know the right market for your book. All you have to do is just sit and write. Shouldn’t that a writer is supposed to do?

What do your readers mean to you?  Readers equal feedback, and I need a lot of it to be better.

Tell us something unique about you.  I am a writer who doesn’t read much. I read only when I need to research about certain things to support my writing.

There ya have it folks! For more about Joannes and to get a copy of his work, follow the links below:

Website1 / Website2 / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / CreateSpace / Smashwords / Instagram / YouTube / Google

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