Interview with Author Bernard Schaffer

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

     I’ve written for as long as I could remember. It probably comes from a deeply embedded love of story. At some point you want the story to keep going, or to have different ideas about a story that you want to explore on your own. From there, you find your own stories to tell. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book series?

     I spent six years as an indie author and publisher. There’s a lot of freedom in that. I explored whatever genre I felt like. Eventually it felt like I’d achieved everything I could as an indie author and I wanted to try my hand at traditional mainstream publishing. 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your books?

     Honestly I don’t write to spread messages or themes. There is no hidden agenda in my work. That being said, any good piece of art can be enjoyed on multiple levels. The casual reader will be entertained by a good story. The ones who want to go deeper will find more to it. I’ve always been a fan of layers and subtext, but that is not for me to point out. They will find it if they look. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

     It’s my wheelhouse. I’m a twenty-year police officer and still a full-time detective. This genre allows me to focus on writing without having to stop and look up certain procedures or terms or do research like I would in others. The background information is baked into my brain. It opens the track up wide. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book series, what would you ask them and why?

     I already know what they’d say. They say it in my head. Anything I don’t know is something I’m waiting to find out later. 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

     Any of the normal sites will do. It’s all in your approach. I keep it casual and post the things I enjoy. I’m not trying to gain new readers via social media. If people read my work and enjoy it enough to seek me out on social media, I’m glad to get to know them. I hope they like hearing about boxing and Star Wars, because that’s pretty much what I talk about on there. 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

     The basic advice is fairly simple. Real authors finish. I see too many aspiring writers pining over unfinished manuscripts. Too many workshopping first chapters. Too many worried about agents and publishers and everything that isn’t important yet. Finish your book. Set it aside. Rewrite the entire thing. Have it edited by someone who doesn’t mind hurting you. Make it something worthy of standing on the bookshelves next to the people you admire. Until you finish and have a completed book, you haven’t done it. If you haven’t done it, forget everything else and go do it. Once you’ve done it, go do it again. 

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

    THE THIEF OF ALL LIGHT paperback arrives this summer. Then, AN UNSETTLED GRAVE, the second Santero and Rein book, comes out July 2019 in hardcover, audio and eBook. BLOOD ANGEL comes out the summer of 2020. What I’m working on now will come out sometime after that. In the traditional world, books are published a year or so after they’ve been written. It gives me plenty of time to plan for the future. 

About the Author

Bernard Schaffer is the author of the Santero and Rein Thriller Series from Kensington Publications. 

Prior to that, he published multiple titles in a variety of genres as an independent author. Schaffer is the father of two children and a full-time police detective in Southeastern PA.

Visit him @BernardSchaffer or www.bernardschaffer.com.

THE THIEF OF ALL LIGHT: A Santero and Rein Thriller 1 (Available Now)AN

UNSETTLED GRAVE: A Santero and Rein Thriller 2 (Summer 2019, Available for Pre-Order)

BLOOD ANGEL: A Santero and Rein Thriller 3 (Summer, 2020)

Social Media Links

Bernard Schaffer’s Facebook Author Page

Bernard Schaffer’s Goodreads Page

Bernard Schaffer’s BookBub Page

Website: www.BernardSchaffer.com

Instagram @BernardSchaffer

Twitter: @BernardSchaffer

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Interview with Author Layton Green

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I decided to write my first novel simply to get a handle on some things in my life, and explore them through writing them down in story form. Before that, I had never written anything creative besides a Choose Your Own Adventure in third grade and a few poems. I did not expect to become a novelist. But during the process of writing that first book, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

This series (Preach Everson) has been greatly inspired by living in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. It’s a fascinating blend of old and new, urban and rural. I think it’s indicative of the modern era in which we live, especially the political and social divisions plaguing America. Add to that, of course, my love of writing mysteries and suspense and brooding, intelligent detectives.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Of the sweet sad rhythms, commonality, travails, and spiritual longing of human existence. Not to be pretentious or anything–ha!

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Mystery/suspense is a genre which I love and feel drawn to write. I’m not sure why! It’s a great way to explore human nature, though, as conflict and questions of good and evil are naturally built in.

5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook

6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read every good book you can get your hands on, write as much as possible, and hire the best editor money can buy.

7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m working on the second novel in the soon-to-be-released Unknown Nine Trilogy – details coming soon!

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About the Author

Layton is a bestselling author who writes across multiple genres, including mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and fantasy. He is the author of the popular Dominic Grey series, as well as other works of fiction. His novels have topped numerous lists (including a #2 overall Amazon bestseller) and have been nominated for major awards, including two finalists for an International Thriller Writers award. Layton is also the co-editor of International Thrills, the online magazine of ITW (International Thriller Writers).

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade (even though he still resents having cut his hair for that first interview). He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door-to-door phone book deliverer in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there. Currently based in Durham, North Carolina, Layton has traveled to more than sixty countries, lived in a number of them, and has a burning desire to see every country, city, beach, moor, castle, cemetery, twisted street and far flung dot on the map.

www.laytongreen.com

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An Unsettled Grave (A Santero and Rein Thriller #2) by Bernard Schaffer Review

After hunting down a demented killer, a newly appointed detective finds herself delving into a decades old cold case filled with haunting secrets, and discovers a shocking connection to her mentor in author Bernard Schaffer’s novel, “An Unsettled Grave”.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

After hunting down a demented killer, a newly appointed detective finds herself delving into a decades old cold case filled with haunting secrets, and discovers a shocking connection to her mentor in author Bernard Schaffer’s novel, “An Unsettled Grave”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

In this brilliantly chilling follow-up to The Thief of All Light, veteran police officer Bernard Schaffer digs deep into the past–and the haunted psyches of the detectives who search for truth . . . at any cost.

“There’s a thousand scavengers in these woods.”

Before being promoted to detective, Carrie Santero was given a rare glimpse into the mind of a killer. Through her mentor, Jacob Rein–a seasoned manhunter whose gift for plumbing the depths of madness nearly drove him over the brink–she was able to help capture one of the most depraved serial killers in the country. Now, the discovery of a small human foot buried in the Pennsylvania woods will lead her to a decades-old cold case–and the darkest secrets of her mentor’s youth.

“Nobody trusts an animal that tries to eat its own kind.”

Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing. A police officer was murdered. Another committed suicide. The lives of everyone involved would never be the same. For three agonizing decades, Jacob Rein has yearned for the truth. But when Detective Carrie Santero begins digging up new evidence, she discovers some answers come with shattering consequences.

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The Review

This is the perfect follow up to the series began in The Thief of All Light. Author Bernard Schaffer continues to bring his expertise in the field of criminal investigation to bring a sense of realism and relatability to the genre, while still providing an engaging and entertaining thriller like no other. Detective Santero shines through in this story, providing a more confident and seasoned investigative mind to the case while still showing her honest and no nonsense personality that allows her to showcase her strength as a protagonist in this tale.

Yet it is the shocking connection to seasoned detective and Carrie’s mentor Rein that makes this story shine, as readers are given a rare glimpse into the history of Jacob Rein and the events that made him into the brilliant detective that he is. A case from his past highlights the events that led to his descent into darkness, swimming amongst the monsters of this world in order to capture them. Jumping between the past and the present makes this story feel more personal and intimate of a story than the first book, cementing the protagonists Santero and Rein as true thriller heroes that are here to stay.

The Verdict

This is a must read summer 2019 thriller. With the book’s release due in July of 2019, the fans who fell in love with Santero and Rein will be thrilled to watch this story unfold. Filled with heart and emotion, humor and brutal honesty, and a story that feels both cinematic and real all at once, this is the perfect read for anyone who loves the thriller genre, and leaves readers eager for a third book in this exciting and developing series. If you haven’t yet, pre-order your copy now or grab your copy of An Unsettled Grave by Bernard Schaffer on July 30th, 2019. 

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Bernard Schaffer is the author of the Santero and Rein Thriller Series from Kensington Publications. 

Prior to that, he published multiple titles in a variety of genres as an independent author. Schaffer is the father of two children and a full-time police detective in Southeastern PA.

Visit him @BernardSchaffer or www.bernardschaffer.com.

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Social Media Links

Bernard Schaffer’s Facebook Author Page 

Bernard Schaffer’s Goodreads Page

Bernard Schaffer’s BookBub Page

Website: www.BernardSchaffer.com

Instagram @BernardSchaffer

Twitter: @BernardSchaffer

The Thief of All Light (A Santero and Rein Thriller #1) by Bernard Schaffer Review

A young police officer working her way towards her first investigation discovers a gruesome killer unlike anything the police world has seen before has made their way to her town, and only with the help of a seasoned yet haunted detective can she hope to stop the killer in author Bernard Schaffer’s incredible thriller “The Thief of All Light”.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young police officer working her way towards her first investigation discovers a gruesome killer unlike anything the police world has seen before has made their way to her town, and only with the help of a seasoned yet haunted detective can she hope to stop the killer in author Bernard Schaffer’s incredible thriller “The Thief of All Light”. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

“Tense, fast, and excellent–I loved this book.”

–Lee Child

From veteran police detective Bernard Schaffer comes a powerful new thriller that crackles with authenticity, page-turning suspense, and spellbinding glimpses into the criminal mind . . .

“It was one thing to fantasize about evil, to reach into the darkness and play with it a little . . .” 

Rookie cop Carrie Santero has always been fascinated by serial killers. As a teenager, she wrote a letter to Charles Manson in prison–and received a chilling reply. Then she came face to face with a child murderer in her small Pennsylvania town, an encounter that haunts her to this day. Now, as a detective in training, she finally has her chance to make a difference; to hunt down a psychopathic sadist who embodies the very nature of evil itself.

.” . . but it was something different when it knew your name.” 

The killer draws inspiration from the most twisted minds in modern crime. Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Ed Gein. The Green River Killer. As the body count rises, Carrie and her boss, Chief Bill Waylon, realize they’re dealing with an unpredictable “omnikiller” who cannot be profiled. Their only hope is to enlist the help of Jacob Rein, a brilliant but tarnished former detective who has plumbed the darkest recesses of the soul. Who has seen the heart of darkness. And whose insights on evil could lead Carrie to the point of no return. 

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The Review

What an incredible, heart-pounding read. The novel does a marvelous job of drawing the reader deeper and deeper not only into the investigation, but the lives and backgrounds of the protagonists of the story. Detective Santero is a strong police officer who faces the challenges any strong woman working her way into a male dominated field must deal with, and despite her inexperience shows a determination and strength that speaks of a realism not often captured in the genre.

What really shines through however is the attention to detail the author brings to the investigation, shedding the Hollywood cliches of police investigations with brutally honest interactions between officers and the reality of the crimes committed by horrendous offenders, all while providing an engaging plot that brings to life a haunting new killer. The investigation brings an emotional turn that readers will be shocked to discover, and will give the heroes of this tale a more invested role in the hunt for this illusive killer, a killer most other officers believe is nothing more than a myth. 

The Verdict

The Thief of All Light is a must read introduction into a fantastic new thriller series. Between the author’s real life experiences as an investigator lending a realness to the plot and characters, and a cast of protagonists many can relate to and antagonists that haunt our nightmares, the best aspect of this story is exploring the dark depths investigators must delve into in order to find the criminals they are hunting, and the consequences of going to those dark places. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of The Thief of All Light, the first in the Santero and Rein series, today! 

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Bernard Schaffer is the author of the Santero and Rein Thriller Series from Kensington Publications. 

Prior to that, he published multiple titles in a variety of genres as an independent author. Schaffer is the father of two children and a full-time police detective in Southeastern PA.

Visit him @BernardSchaffer or www.bernardschaffer.com.

Mother’s Day Promotion @ eBooks.com Save $5 on $40 purchase. Use code MOTHER$TREATcp. Valid until May 31, 2019

Social Media Links

Bernard Schaffer’s Facebook Author Page 

Bernard Schaffer’s Goodreads Page

Bernard Schaffer’s BookBub Page

Website: www.BernardSchaffer.com

Instagram @BernardSchaffer

Twitter: @BernardSchaffer

Guest Post: Anatomy of a Thriller by Author Linda Lee Kane

Anatomy of a Thriller 1

The Black Madonna,
A Pope’s Deadly Obsession

The Hanged Man

“Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.”

~ Pope Innocent III

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Toulouse, France 1209

Guilhelm de Montanhagol, a Knights Templar knew his death was imminent. Few who entered the halls of torment emerged whole in mind or body. For six years, Bishop Folques had kept him imprisoned in a small cell in Toulouse. Condemned as a heretic, he’d suffered the agony of the rack on several occasions.

He reflected on the last time Folques visited him in the dungeon. He had been splayed on a board, tied down at the wrists and ankles. Rollers at each end of the board slowly turned, pulling his body in opposite directions until every joint dislocated. He could no longer sit or stand. He slept, ate, and wasted away in his own filth. His once fine kirtle and linen shirt were just rags wrapped around his body for warmth.

His thoughts turned to his lover, Esclarmonde. Thinking of his her comforted him in his last hours,. Esclarmonde’s skin was the color of alabaster, her shimmering blonde hair, highlighted with wisps of silver, cascaded down her body. She favored floor-length, loosely fitted gowns, usually of blue. He longed to thread his hands through her hair one last time. Her emerald -green eyes shimmered with love for him. Esclarmonde was strong. She would get the codex, written by Mary Magdalene, safely away.

Guilhelm was at peace in this knowledge. He was ready to accept his impending death. His tormentors had beaten him down mentally and physically. Esclarmonde was gone. His brother’s in the Knights Templar were dead and gone. There was no hope, only the desire to die and end the suffering.

Soldiers came, stripped him of the last of his ragged clothing, then dragged him from his meager cell. He had been wearing the same clothes he had worn since Pope Innocent III had him thrown into this God-forsaken hell. They hung him upside down by one leg, creating the sensation of a crucifixion. In time, this posture would inhibit and exhaust the muscles required for breathing. They stretched him in one direction, while gravity and his body weight worked against him. Exhaustion would eventually set in, and he would die. They do this to traitors, he thought angrily, but he was not a traitor. He was a Knights Templar and had sworn an oath never to kill a Christian. The pope believed if one was not of the Orthodox Christian faith, then that person was a heretic and should pay for his crimes against the church. Today, Folques, dressed in monk’s attire, came to offer Guilhelm a last salvation if he would only give up his lover’s secret, the treasure hidden by the Cathars, people who practiced a religion the pope had declared war against in 1208.

“You must be getting desperate, Folques,” Guilhelm whispered weakly. “I have not seen you in years. Have the Cathars escaped with the secret that you want so desperately so you can protect the pope and the Roman religion?”

“Guilhelm, tell me where the treasure is hidden, and I will spare you from being tortured further,” Folques coaxed, while nervously shuffling a deck of cards in his hands.

“I believe the end is near, Bishop. I have nothing to gain and everything to lose in telling you anything. I would lose my soul if you were to extort that from me,” Guilhelm proclaimed defiantly.

Folques held out a card for Guilhelm who strained through blurred vision to see its face. He saw what appeared to be a young woman holding open the jaws of a lion., He’s discovered cards, he thought. He blinked back the salty sweat rolling down his face, trying to see more clearly.

The image faded and he saw a Roman pontiff holding a staff, crowned by the Yellow Cross of the Cathars. The next card Folques pulled from the deck displayed a burning tower with its defenders leaping to their deaths. Visions of the cards floated past Guilhelm with greater speed, a blur of scenes he could barely distinguish through his battered eyes. Did this mean that -Esclarmonde plan had worked? His mind leaped with joy as his body grew weaker. God bless Esclarmonde.

“Who is this woman?” Folques demanded again.

The question roused Guilhelm from his anguished thoughts. The guards yanked his head back by his hair. He saw Foulques displaying a card with a hand-painted miniature of his beloved Esclarmonde.

“We found these playing cards being copied and passed from city to city like holy relics by gypsies. What is their purpose?” Folques demanded.

Guilhelm suddenly turned away, realizing which card Folques was holding—the one that depicted the seated priestess. She held a scroll bearing the letter’s tarot. Esclarmonde created these cards to preserve the teachings of the Cathars for future generations. The scroll protected by the High Priestess would one day turn the world upside-down, but only if the truth was known.

Two burly guards cut Guilhelm down and let him drop hard to the ground. Grabbing him by his arms, they picked him up and gripped his head, turning it to face the pyre. He felt the intense heat and smelled the smoke. He envisioned Esclarmonde calling out to him.

He had withstood more pain than most men could have. Completely worn out, he longed only to be with his lover one day in the Hereafter.

“Tell me, Guilhelm, now,” ordered Folques.

Guilhelm forced a slight smile on his dry, cracked lips, knowing that, one day, the truth about the Cathars and the treasure would be known.

“Your god is waiting for you and every other Cathar,” Folques spit out with disgust. “I will find the treasure of the Cathars if it takes killing every one of you.” He turned to the guards. “He might as well burn. He is useless to me.”

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About the Author

Linda Lee Kane is an author of fantasies, thrillers, and contemporary fiction works. She is the author of Death on the VineChilled to the Bones and an upcoming re-release of the The Black Madonna ‘A Popes Deadly Obsession’. She lives with her husband, two dogs,  and seven horses in California.  “Whether I am writing for adults or children, the war between my days and nights is reflected in my books. Although the tendency to acknowledge the light and dark sides of life is often disguised in my work, it’s always there, lurking just out of sight.”

You can find Linda at her website: https://www.lindaleekane.com/

You may also follow her on Twitter at @llkane2152.

You may also follow her on Amazon and GoodReads.

You can follow the author’s blog tour using the dates and links below! 

— Blog Tour Dates

April 1st @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Come by today and celebrate the launch of Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obession. Read an interview with the author and also enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com.

April 2nd @ Break Even Books

Make sure you visit Erik’s blog today where you can catch Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about heroes and villains.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

April 3rd @ Words from the Heart

Rev. Linda Neas will be reviewing Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession. 

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

April 5th @ Words from the Heart

Stop by Rev. Linda Neas blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about heroes and villains.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

April 8th @ Jennifer’s Deals

Visit Jennifer’s blog where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://www.jennifers-deals2.com/

April 10th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Stop by Bev’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

April 11th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book

Visit Erin’s blog today where she shares her opinion about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/

April 12th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s bookworm blog where you can read author Linda Lee Kane’s post about creating suspense. Plus, be sure to check out the interview with the author as well!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

April 13th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog where you can read her interview with author Linda Lee Kane and hear more about this interesting writer!

https://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.com/

April 15th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post about finding the idea.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

April 16th @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog where she reviews the exciting historical fiction book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession by Linda Lee Kane.

https://amandadiaries.com/

April 19th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

April 19th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Jill’s blog today where author Linda Lee Kane talks about finding the idea.

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

April 20th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog

Stop by Madeline’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about life as a writer.

http://madelinesharples.com/

April 21st @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s exciting thriller, Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

April 22nd @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on research.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

April 23rd @ Joyful Antidotes

Come by Joy’s blog today and find out her thoughts on Linda Lee Kane’s exciting book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://joyfulantidotes.com/

April 24th @ Bring on Lemons

Stop by Crystal’s blog today where you can read her review of this exciting historical fiction book, Black Madonna.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

April 25th @ To Write or Not to Write

Visit Sreevarsha’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting thriller Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

April 26th @ To Write or Not to Write

Make sure you stop by Sreevarsha’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s fascinating blog post about the anatomy of a thriller.

https://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

April 27th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Visit Ashley’s blog and check out what she has to say about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

May 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Be sure to stop by Anthony’s blog today where you can read his opinion about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

May the 4th be with you on this day! Be sure to visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on the anatomy of a thriller as well as an interview with this incredible author.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 6th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession. Plus you can also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

INTERVIEW WITH TIMOTHY JAY SMITH, “THE FOURTH COURIER”

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I wrote my first stage play when I was ten years old. It was set during the Civil War, and one-by-one, a group of slaves, sitting around a bonfire, snuck off into the night while they sang Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.  Two years later, I started my first novel and showed what I’d written to my mother. She told me it was dirty. (A young couple was having a picnic on a blanket in a park when WWII bomber jets flew overhead? Dirty?) I didn’t know what my mother exactly meant, but I knew dirty wasn’t good, and that rather crimped my writing habit for some thirty years.

During that time, I grew up and had an exciting career. I definitely wasn’t a frustrated writer working hated day jobs. Instead, I was traveling all over the world working on projects to help lower income people (through such organizations as USAID, the World Bank, and the UN). My last job before deciding to become a full-time writer was to manage the US Government’s first significant project to help Palestinians following the Oslo Accords and the start of the peace process.

At the end of that contract, I felt that I had done what I set out to accomplish in my career. I was only forty-six years old and had time to do something entirely different. I had observed and experienced the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from multiple perspectives, and I wanted to tell that story. That’s when I wrote my first novel, A Vision of Angels, in which a suicide bomb plot sets into motion events that weave together the lives of an Israeli war hero, Palestinian farmer, American journalist and Arab-Christian grocer.

After writing that first book, I’ve just kept going.

2) What inspired you to write The Fourth Courier?

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and Solidarity won the first free election in Poland in over sixty years. In the same year, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced new cooperative laws in the Soviet Union, which was an area of my expertise. I was invited to the Soviet Union as a consultant, which led to my consulting throughout the former Soviet bloc, eventually living for over two years in Poland.

At the time, there was a lot of smuggling across the border between Russia and Poland, giving rise to fears that nuclear material, too, might be slipping across. While on assignment in Latvia, I met a very unhappy decommissioned Russian general, who completely misunderstood my purpose for being there. When an official meeting concluded, he suggested we go for a walk where we could talk without being overheard.

I followed him deep into a forest. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted. Finally we stopped, and he said, “I can get you anything you want.” I must have looked puzzled because he added, “Atomic.”

Then I understood. In an earlier conversation, there had been some passing remarks about the Soviets’ nuclear arsenal in Latvia, for which he had had some responsibility, and apparently still some access. While my real purpose for being there was to design a volunteer program for business specialists, he assumed that was a front and I was really a spy.

I didn’t take him up on his offer for something atomic, but I did walk away with the seed for a story that germinated years later when I decided to write a novel set during that period in Poland.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I wrote The Fourth Courier wanting to portray what life was like in Poland at the end of the Cold War, which officially ended Christmas Day 1991 when the Soviet Union was legally disbanded. (The Poles had actually managed to cast off communist rule two years earlier, but for plotting purposes I set the story in 1992.) The Poles had lived for forty-five years under Soviet domination, the last few years under a harsh military regime. The country was broken and communism’s inefficiency left them destitute. In the two years that I lived there, I developed a tremendous respect for the Polish people and their struggle for liberty. I hope my readers close the book with a better understanding of what that meant.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I write what I like to read, and that’s relatively fast-paced stories but not all action, which have depth and verge on literary. Suspenseful plotting with good writing and good character development: that defines a literary thriller. I also like my novels to bring some awareness to an issue of social importance. So I take an event or threat and examine what it means through the eyes of the people it involves.

In The Fourth Courier, through a nuclear smuggling operation, I give the reader an insight into how ordinary families in Poland coped with the country’s collective hangover from communism. In A Vision of Angels, I look at how the lives of four families become interwoven by a suicide bomb plot in Jerusalem. Cooper’s Promise is the story of a soldier’s redemption through a tale about human trafficking.

I don’t think another genre would let me entertain and enlighten in the same way.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

It would definitely be Basia Husarska, Director of Poland’s Bureau of Organized Crime. She’s an enigmatic character with hints of a colorful past. I’d like to know the details of her past.

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6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

You’re not a writer unless you write.

Learn the craft.

Write some more.

Share your work, listen to criticism, and don’t be defensive.

Write some more.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have two new novels underway. I’m working on the penultimate edits to Fire on the Island in which an arsonist threatens to burn down a Greek island village, which will put out of commission a Coast Guard station vital in the rescue of refugees crossing a narrow channel from Turkey. To try to prevent that, the FBI sends a Special Agent to investigate, who finds himself in a village wracked by conflicts, some dating back a hundred years, and any one of which might make someone want to destroy the village. I expect to deliver the final draft to my agent in mid-May.

I’m well into a new novel, The Syrian Pietà, set in Istanbul. In it, the CIA recruits a Syrian refugee to go deep undercover to— I’m going to stop myself there because the idea is too good to share until it’s written. I already love this book and character.

I actually have two styles of writing: a story told from many perspectives, or a story told entirely from one character’s perspective in which the reader knows nothing more than the character. People have different names for the two approaches. I know them as an open mystery (the reader knows there’s a bogeyman in the next room but the protagonist does not) and a closed mystery (the bogeyman is revealed only when the protagonist encounters him).

The Syrian Pietà is a closed mystery, as was my novel Cooper’s Promise. It’s an enormous challenge to write a closed mystery because you have only one character to reveal information. Of course, the temptation is to tell instead of show, which is no challenge at all. In the movie world, one of the best examples of a closed mystery is Chinatown. Jack Nicholson is in every scene. In a novel, it’s a great way to get into a character’s head.

About the Author

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that saw him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a “devil’s barge” for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

These experiences explain the unique breadth and sensibility of Tim’s work, for which he’s won top honors. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of AngelsKirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His screenplays have won numerous competitions. His first stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. 

Timothy Jay Smith Social Media Accounts 

● Website:

● Facebook:

● Twitter:

● Instagram:

About Arcade Publishing Arcade has been an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing since 2010. We continue doing incredible work discovering, publishing, and promoting new and brilliant voices in literature from around the world. Arcade has published literary giants such as Samuel Beckett, E. M. Cioran, and Leo Tolstoy, alongside new voices such as Ismail Kadar and Andrei Makine. In 2012, Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, an exciting achievement for Arcade which had published five of his novels. 

THE FOURTH COURIER by Timothy Jay Smith Arcade * April 3, 2019 * 320 pages * $24.99 ISBN: 978-1948924108 * Hardcover Please visit http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/arcade-publishing 


Interview with Author Joseph Amiel

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been a writer since Fourth Grade, when we were required to hand in a story every week.  I loved it. Even while working as a lawyer I continued to write.  An agent read three chapters of my first novel, now titled STALKING THE SKY, and sold it to a top publisher within ten days.  Magic!

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I had an idea for a short story, a murder mystery, and put aside what I was working on to write it.  I found I loved the form: Completing a novel could take a year or two, but I had finished the story in only a few days.  It’s the second in my new collection DEATH CAN DELIGHT: A TRIO OF MYSTERIES.  Almost immediately an intriguing title for a new story popped into my head, THE GIRL WHO SPOKE VENTRILOQUISM, but I had no  story.  While agonizing over possible characters and plot and getting nowhere, inspiration came in the form of a sudden recollection of the trip I and my family had made the year before to Ireland.  I have no idea where that unexpected recollection came from, but instead of dismissing it, I was aware enough to realize my subconscious had just presented me with the structure I had been searching for.  The third story was suggested by an incident involving Donald Trump: He was alerted by his lawyer that the pre-nuptial agreement with his new wife was about to expire and any divorce after that could be far more expensive.  His shocked wife soon received divorce papers. That story, the last of the three, is titled DEADLINE DIVORCE.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I’m a story teller, someone who writes to entertain and perhaps enlighten an audience of readers with an engrossing tale.  I named this collection DEATH CAN DELIGHT: A TRIO OF MYSTERIES because my purpose in writing the stories was to entertain my readers with wit, humor, drama, and surprises; as the title says, to delight them.  Their reaction and the book’s reviews suggest that the stories do that.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

The stories in the collection are murder mysteries.  I think almost every fiction writer plants mysteries of some sort in his/her work to keep the reader turning pages.  Murder, the whodunnit or whydunnit of that drastic act, provides the material for the most engaging mysteries with the highest stakes for the characters–and the reader–which is why book-stores shelves are packed with murder mysteries, All of my novels have a mystery at their core, several indeed murder.  My initial idea for JUDGEMENT DAY, about a judge everyone in town would kill if they could, led me to write it and then the other stories in the murder-mystery genre.  I don’t doubt I’ll be writing more stories in the same vein.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

 If I could sit down to converse with any character in the book, it might be Kyra, the sixteen-year-old high school student who narrates JUDGEMENT DAY.  I would want to know if the outcome of her and her family’s action against the judge, whom she had hated for a year, brought her satisfaction.  I have no doubt that what she ultimately did with that narration in the story’s surprise ending had to leave her “delighted.”

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Although I’m on Facebook [Joseph Amiel Author] and now Instagram [josephamiel9087], I would have to say that being able to communicate so quickly with my many followers on Twitter has been the most effective of the social media formats [@JoeAmiel].  Also I would guess that being able to get out the word, rather than waiting for people to find what I’ve posted, suits my personality.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

We live in an age when a neophyte author without an agent or an established publisher can put his/her work on Amazon and hope to develop a readership.  Crucial to continuing to write is believing that your work can be seen and not deposited in a desk drawer.  My advice about the actual writing is to do it, every day if possible.  One friend said he had a novel in him if he could only come up with the right first line.  I told him to start with the second line and just start writing–he would be rewriting everything anyway, probably even his precious first line.

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Full review on my website. Link in the bio.

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

As long as senility doesn’t set in, I’ll continue to write novels and short stories.  Story tellers have to tell stories.

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About the Author

Joseph Amiel is a novelist and screenwriter, as well as a lawyer. His novels include: HAWKS, BIRTHRIGHT, DEEDS, STAR TIME, and A QUESTION OF PROOF, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His screenplay GAMES has recently been honored at several film festivals, as has his comedy series for the web AIN’T THAT LIFE.

He was graduated from Amherst College, where he studied English and creative writing, and from Yale Law School. He is married and has two children.

http://www.josephamiel.com/