#Author #Interview-Tyler Wandschneider’s “LOCKHEED Elite” #SciFi Series

 

Synopsis Short Form:

“After Anders Lockheed unwittingly hires an undercover operative, he takes the bait that draws the attention of the very mastermind he’s been avoiding. Now Anders must flip the military and use them to pull off a monster heist to extract his crew from the heat mounting from both sides of the law.”

Extended:

“Working to pay off a blackmailer who has learned that a certain genius mechanic isn’t as dead as he was made out to be, Anders Lockheed takes his team on their biggest salvage op yet. Unfortunately, Anders has hired an undercover military operative bent on using them as bait to draw out a mastermind who has been attacking the public with deadly mechs. While on the scav op, things go from bad to worse as the crew of Elite One recover an abandoned woman aboard the claim. Now Anders must decide quickly—stay and fight or cut cables and run.

Either way, it’s too late. Someone has other plans for them. The trap has been set, they’ve rescued the woman and taken the bait, and before long Anders and what’s left of his dwindling crew must navigate with caution through the grips of the military and an especially vile outlaw. But Anders doesn’t captain just another team flying the black. With a genius mechanic who uses his ragtag high-tech machine shop to aid them in getting in and out of trouble, they’ve earned a reputation as the best of the best. With Anders’s careful planning, this motley crew must band together and flip the military to use them on a monster heist and dig themselves out from the heat pressing in from both sides of the law.

Fly with them. They are clever, they are fierce, they are Lockheed Elite.”

Tyler Wandschneider is a Seattle-based novelist working in the professional world. He and his wife are expecting their first child in October 2017. It is a girl, and he is delighted to meet her. Lockheed Elite is his second novel, and no, you cannot read his first. You can follow Tyler on some of the usual social media channels, and he has a website for you to check out as well, www.tylerwandschneider.com. Remember to join his mailing list there so you can be a part of all the trouble he gets into. He is also fond of hearing from those who have enjoyed reading Lockheed Elite so feel free to say hi at anytime.

 

 


INTERVIEW

What genre(s) do you write?

So far, I’ve only written science fiction in novel form. I have some short stories that I’ve put together that are speculative and a bit of fantasy.

Why do you write the stories that you write?

I’m not really sure. I think at the core of it, I write what I do because it interests me. I was on Goodreads the other day and happened upon a post by someone who went on a rant about how tacky it is that some authors rate and review their own work. She was really pissed about it and particularly sour that they normally gave themselves 5 stars. I thought about it for a minute and then I realized that I too would give my own book 5 stars and it might not be why you’d think. You see, that person was thinking the author was trying to bump up their rating. While that might be partially true, there is something else going on that she, for whatever reason, was blind to. When someone writes a story, they invariably write a story that interests them enough to spend countless hours working on it. And most writers, the good ones anyway, would only release a book they loved and thought was good enough to rate 5 stars. So, it fits that an author would write the stories they do because they love those stories. The fact THAT they rated it a 5 means loved the story. And they should, they wrote it. Besides, a rating from an author doesn’t really change the average rating at all, does it? I write the stories I do because I love them and I would gladly rate them a 5.

Did you rate Lockheed Elite 5 stars?

Ha. No. I wrote a quick review but I didn’t rate it.

Why not?

I don’t know. Something wouldn’t let me. Then I found that woman’s post and decided to put the internet down for a while and cool off.

Good choice, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote a bit as a kid. Then life moved on and for some reason, so did writing. I’ve always loved stories and movies but one day about 7 years ago I just started writing a story because I felt like it. Then a few days later I put that down because I woke up with the idea for my first novel, Pandora’s Chase. Then after that I wrote Lockheed Elite. Now I’m writing the next thing. Seems like I’ve formed a habit that I love.

Where’s Pandora’s Chase now? Is it published? No.

Why not?

I wouldn’t have rated it a 5. But it is up on Wattpad for anyone who wants to read the novel I wrote to figure out how to write a novel. I love the story but the writing in Lockheed Elite, frankly, is much better.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I work fulltime as a structural engineer, thought I wouldn’t say ‘I like it’. My wife and I like to check out new restaurants in town and go here and there. We’re expecting our first child, a girl, here in October so much of my spare time is getting ready for that. Painting rooms and babyproofing and junk and stuff.

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?

You can find me at Tylerwandschneider.com. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter, though I’m not convinced either one is a healthy way to embrace friendships. Electronic friends are great but I enjoy real people more. I also post once in a while on google plus. Oh and I’m on Goodreads too. I love that place. Great books to hear about and good people too…most of them.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Rogues, Unfettered, Brilliance, Golden Son, The Bible, Leviathan Wakes, The Intelligent Investor and hehem…Lockheed Elite…yes, I read it over now and then.

Do you remember the first novel you read?

  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • White Fang
  • How to Eat Fried Worms

…I can’t remember which came first but I distinctly remember those three.

 

Your Writing Process

What excites you about writing?

I think it’s finding out what I can do. How far I can go and what I can come up with. I love stories and I’ve discovered that I can actually go to these place for a while by writing about them. It sounds weird, I’m sure, but having an intimate memory of the things I’ve written gives me deep memory of them as if I’ve been there. Don’t worry. I’m not crazy and actually think I was there. Sort of. J

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I get up at 4am, make a big ass pot of coffee, shower, and start writing by 4:30. At about 6:30 I head into the office and work til about 4 or 5. Then I come home and spend the evening with my wife.
Lather, rinse, repeat. I’ll write weekend mornings too.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes! Finish every story you start. If you write more beginnings that endings, then your endings will never be as good as your beginnings. (Abandoning outlines that don’t pan out is fine. This only applies to stories that you’ve written a beginning to.)

What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?

This is probably going to sound cliché or even answered the way I’m supposed to answer it but I like them all the best. With my style of storytelling, each one depends on the other in many ways. But if I had to choose, I would say the beginning because that’s where I get to put interesting nuggets like ‘guns on the mantle’ and ‘red herrings’.

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?

Ate pizza in my kitchen while in my underwear. I’m sure I picked my nose at some point last week too. It happens. We all do it. Don’t judge me.

How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?

Pandora’s Chase took me 5 years. Lockheed Elite took me 2. I’m getting better.

Do you have a system for writing?

(smile)Start and finish.

Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?

I track word count but I have a limited amount of time and just do the best I can.

 

Your Books

Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?

Terrified. But also relieved. Excited too. But mostly terrified.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?

Not a ton. I’ll be face deep in promoting Lockheed Elite and writing The Rift in Saela. My newsletter should contain some short stories here and there while we await the next big release.

Oh! What’s The Rift in Saela?

lol

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I discovery wrote Pandora’s Chase and Lockheed Elite. Though I outlined Lockheed’s ending and I’ve outlined the whole of The Rift in Saela. I’ll let you know next year which I prefer.

So, what’s The Rift in Saela, again?

lol

If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?

Amazing. Truly a dream come true!

 

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

From my imagination. But I do steal traits from all kinds of people and characters that I’ve known and make up the characters that I need. I tend to want to make the characters like me but I know that’s bad and I work hard to not do that.

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?

Sometimes but other times they just pop in and they fit. I think I should spend more time on it though and am currently doing so.

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?

No but I do think about them a lot. You know, wondering what they’re up to while I’m away. Hoping they’re not too bored while I’m at work. Sometimes I write myself an email just to get a taste though.

Which of your stories would make a great movie?

All of them. Every single one. Why did you hear something?!?!

Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?

I make all the decisions in my worlds. I am the emperor, the king, the president, the captain and the queen too. Yes, somedays are just that weird. Characters, by definition, are made up. It’s just silly to think they do anything without my explicit instruction. However, one of my favorite things to do is place two characters on a couple bar stools and see what happens. It’s a good way to get to know what I’ll do with their personality.

 

Random Questions

Name one website you visit every single day.

Goodreads.com

Where do you get your daily dose of news?

My iPhone

1 Comment

Filed under Interviews, Science Fiction, Writers and Writing

Filming for #Winnetou-My Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor: Ojibwe Playwright, Author & Filmmaker’s Documentary

Ojibwe playwriter, author & filmmaker Drew Hayden Taylor is visiting Germany again, filming for his upcoming documentary on the continuing Winnetou phenomenon, stereotyping…and playing of “Native” by Germans and other Europeans. I was interviewed for a segment in the eventual production, on why I’m in Germany and also making a film, but mine is more on why it’s time to Forget Winnetou, due to the German societal issues of racism, neo-colonialism and stereotyping directly contributing to strife and intercultural turmoil. Afterwards, we walked to a local café and had casual conversation and coffee with the crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Drew’s bio: Taylor is a prolific author and playwright with over 27 published books and numerous writing awards to his credit. He was born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario Canada and still lives there. Learn more about his current trip here.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, Documentary, Films, Germany

#Author #Interview – Charlie King on Debut #Mystery Novel “The Lyons Orphanage”

My name is Charlie King. I am an independently-published author from Croydon having just published my first book, The Lyons Orphanage, and I intend to write more including a sequel.

​I have had an interest in English and writing ever since I was young and it has stuck with me throughout my education. I have a BA Hons in Journalism with English Language from the University of Portsmouth.  When I finished university, I found that Journalism was no longer for me but I still loved to write so instead I tried to find a non-Journalism related writing job. When that didn’t happen, I went through a stressful job in retail before working where I am now in an administrative role in a law firm.

Being content with my job, I found myself motivated to write a book. It had crossed my mind many times over the years; I even tried to write a book a long time ago around the age of ten/eleven but it was terrible and lucky not seen by any eyes other than my own.  The thought of that book put me off from thinking I could write a decent book. However, now I am happy to say that I’m pleased with my debut novel. I was surprised of how the ideas flowed into my mind as I was writing it and it was the same for planning the plot of the sequel.

Ideally, I’d have loved for a publisher read it and deem it good enough to be published but, in reality, just seeing a book with my name published on it was the main motivation. I’m realistic enough to not expect huge sales, especially working as my own marketer, but if only several hundred people read it and the majority like it, that’s all the vindication I need.

Author website: www.charliekingauthor.com

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon.UK, Waterstones, Kobo and Barnes & Noble Nook

 

 

About the Author

  • Why did you choose the mystery genre for your debut novel?

In my teens moving into my adult years, I began watching more and more detective/mystery television shows which I mainly saw because my mum was a big fan of these shows. The reimagining of the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle for Sherlock Holmes on the BBC is probably the most mainstream example. Everybody knew the name Sherlock Holmes before but I thought it was refreshing to see it in a modern day setting. The build-up of what you think will happen, the red herrings along the way and what actually happens is a great experience when you are genuinely surprised. I wanted to capture all this in my book so I went with the mystery genre. It was enjoyable for me to make things seem one way when really it was another by inserting misleading information just to throw the readers off.

  • When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’d probably say I wanted to be a writer since I was ten. That’s not to say I seriously considered I would do it but if you asked me to pick one skill I had at that age that I could apply to a future career, it would be writing. Around this time, I tried writing a book but there were too many flaws to count. I couldn’t pace the story right; big events that should have taken up several pages took up half a page and the general story was a bunch of clichés thrown together. It made me realize I didn’t have any original ideas so even if my writing had been perfect, the idea was still lacking; this put me off the idea of writing for a long time. Sometimes, in my teens, I would mention the idea to people casually and a few years later, they’d ask if I’d started writing yet. It was just a couple of years ago where I began to think maybe I could write a book but I still had no ideas of what to write about. I would say I was destined to finish writing a book at some point but that wasn’t to say it would be a good book.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, my time is spent by what I’d consider to be escapism hobbies. Reading books, watching film and television and playing video games have been my main hobbies throughout life; I’ve never been the outdoors, athletic type of person. When I can mix these hobbies with spending time with my friends, that’s the perfect balance for me

  • What types of books do you like to read?

As a kid, my preference was always towards fantasy novels. Harry Potter is an obvious choice for many to say it was one of their favorite series of books but for me, it’s certainly true. A less obvious choice, the first series of novels I remember reading, was The Edge Chronicles by Stewart & Riddle. This book was the first book I read which was set in a fantasy world and I couldn’t wait for the next in the series each time for at least the first five books.

  • What would you like readers to know about you the individual?

I am a man of few words, to say the least. I don’t say any more than I need to and sometimes I don’t even say everything I want to say. I’m certainly much better at it than when I was a child; I can freely talk to friends and can get through a conversation with a stranger without many awkward pauses. If you asked me in person to tell you about my book, you probably wouldn’t buy it. If I had to dictate every line of my book instead of typing it, the book would be a lot shorter.

 

Your Writing Process

  • What would you like readers to know about you the writer?

I am a writer of many words, to say the least. I can write everything I plan to write and sometimes I write more when ideas suddenly pop into my head. I’m certainly much better at it than when I was a child; I can add depth to the book, its characters and I can set the scene. I can write to my friends about the book for support and I can display confidence in my book when writing to strangers. I invite people to read the blurb to learn about the book because I feel the blurb I wrote will do the story justice. When writing my book, the initial story can grow and grow and grow.

  • Why do you write?

As mentioned earlier, I like a lot of escapism and writing comes under this. However, the real reason I write is because I consider it to be my one creative outlet throughout my life. At school, I was a good all-rounder for the serious, matter-of-fact subjects like Mathematics and Science but not so good at art and craft subjects. That left English as the one subject where answering questions wasn’t a case of right or wrong, there was a lot of interpretation involved. My job is an administration job so it is simple with matter of fact tasks. That means my time is split between work and writing which gives the same balance of  serious and creative tasks as when I was in school.

  • Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?

Speaking of my work, it requires me to do a lot of the menial tasks around the office like gathering up all the plastic waste. So the most unglamorous thing I’ve done this week is have my hands smell of sour milk almost first thing on a Monday morning

  • Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

In terms of coming up with the story for your book, I’d suggest you type up any initial ideas you have about the basis of my book. Like I said, my initial idea for writing a book was about mind-reading but I didn’t have anything else in mind other than that. If you have several ideas, put them all down on the same document. Think about what you’re writing about. For me, the first thing I did with my idea was to list the clichés surrounding the concept, the genre, heroes and villains, storytelling in general. List them and then think of ways to turn the cliché on its head and build from there. Think about: Who is your main character? Where are they in their life? What kind of people they’d be associated with? How did they get to be in that position? Are they happy or sad about their current state? What can they do to change their life? (if they start the novel in a bad place) What can happen to them to give them difficulty in life? (if they start the novel in a good place) If you have several ideas, see how far answering these questions take you, I imagine you would suddenly find one of your ideas to have expanded a lot further than the others and that should be the idea you go with as the idea for your first book.

  • What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?

Definitely the ending. For The Lyons Orphanage, I had written the final two chapters first. I was excited by this because the book has a gradual buildup of the story which leads to a dramatic final few chapters. So the ending of my book is where most of the action takes place. It allowed me to think of ways to foreshadow what would happen later as well as insert information to mislead both the characters and readers.

  • Is there any other genre you have considered writing in? 

My original plan for my book, The Lyons Orphanage, was for it to be a fantasy novel. I came up with the idea of mind-reading thinking of it like a super power. I decided soon afterwards that it would actually be more interesting to write about it in a normal setting and that led to me writing it as a mystery novel. My enjoyment of fantasy novels means that I would like to write one myself but I decided that wouldn’t have been the best course for my idea of mind-reading.

  • Do you track word count or write a certain number of hours per day?

I mainly plan to write a certain number of pages in a day or to write a chapter in a week but those plans usually change. One day I had planned to write a few pages of a chapter but found myself continuing, managing to finish a whole chapter in a day of writing. Other days, I had written the target number of pages for the first few days of the week to set me on course for finishing the chapter but sometimes the writing inspiration would suddenly dry up and the chapter wouldn’t be finished until much later. In an ideal scenario, I’d write an average of three pages a day and have the chapter finished by the end of the week.

 

Your Books

 

  • What was your first published work and when was it published?

The Lyons Orphanage is my first and only published work so far. It was published 8th March 2017.

  • When your first book came out, were you nervous about how readers will react to it?

I was incredibly nervous especially because my book was independently published. I tried to get a publisher to take my book on but those ideas were rejected which meant that I had to put faith in my own ability that my writing was worthy of being published. Anybody with the money could become independently published so I didn’t see it as special that I had released a book, even if the people around me did. I had friends and family telling me that this was a great achievement but they hadn’t read the book at this point, they were just being supportive. I was nervous that people I knew were now committed to saying they liked the book because they had given it so much praise before. Even if people you know genuinely like the book, the nerves don’t settle until you have strangers, people with no obligation to be nice to you, speak well of your book. I’m putting confidence in my own ability by going down the independent publishing route and that leaves your confidence there to be shattered if people don’t like the book. I know publishers get thousands of requests so the book getting good reviews wouldn’t be a case of proving the publishers wrong, it’s more a case of proving my ability to myself and others. It would show that the book belongs to be up for sale with all the other books in the world rather than it being made available because I paid for it to be available.

  • What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?

The sequel to The Lyons Orphanage is underway. Progress was coming along nicely but it has just stalled over the last couple of months but not to worry; it will be finished by the end of this year. The book will be a mystery, mainly involving the same characters, but set ten years later.

  • Do you outline your books or just start writing?

For both my books, The Lyons Orphanage and its sequel (not published yet), I have planned out every chapter beforehand. I set out the basic idea of what will happen in the chapter and I even give an initial prediction as to how many pages it will take up. Guessing how many pages it will take up can be a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because you can have that initial idea of how many pages it will be and you might find yourself writing more which makes you feel like you’ve added more depth to your book. However, sometime the chapters end up falling a bit short so you might feel down about that or you might end up desperately trying to stretch the chapter to reach the length you initially planned. Although, planning out the total number of pages you think your book will take can help with these issues. If you plan the book to be 200 pages, you’ll most likely find that the chapters which you made longer than you intended will balance out the chapters where you fell short giving you a similar final page count.

  • How does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover? 

This was my main motivation for writing a book in the first place. Just seeing a physical copy of my book gave me an enormous sense of pride, even if it was published at my expense rather than a publisher. If I had written the book, published it online only and had next to nobody reading it, it wouldn’t have had the same feeling. Even if the book was still read by very few people, the physical copy would have still meant more to me than the online version. To be able to show friends and family the book, to hand them the book and see them physically reading it is a feeling that can’t be replicated by them telling you they are reading it on their e-reader. There’s also that hope of sitting across from a stranger who is reading it, something you’d never be able to tell if they were reading electronically.

 

Your Characters

  • Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

In terms of appearance, I try to make the characters similar to people I know. The names you see in my novel are a combination of the first names and surnames of my friends. So, I usually try and base the character’s appearance on the first name I have given them. This isn’t always possibly though with my friends being in the twenties when the novel is based around young teenagers and old adults so it’s not always possible. I may include a few of their mannerisms but overall the way they act is based on their imagined role in the story rather than how the real life person might react to the situation.

  • Would The Lyons Orphanage make a great movie?

I’d like to think it would. I feel like the book would play out well on the screen with plenty of emotions for the characters to portray and plenty of situation for suspenseful music to be played over the top of the scene. An added bonus is that it would be a relatively cheap movie to make. My only concern would be that the main character, Sam, is the first person narrator and his thoughts make up a large portion of the book so I wonder how well that would translate to screen.

  • Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?

The majority of my characters were written with a clear direction of how they would act and what they would be doing. For the plot to unfold, I knew I needed people working in an orphanage and orphans so that set a lot of characters in their place straight away. I knew how I wanted the adults to act but the children were more open to deciding for themselves, even Sam. When I started writing, I knew Sam would have a curious mind when it came to the adults but I wasn’t sure how he would interact with the other children. Likewise with his friends, Gareth and Natasha, I wasn’t sure if they would both be talkative or if one was shy or if one was serious and one was witty.

  • What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

Leading on from the end of my previous point, the interactions between Sam, Gareth and Natasha are the key to providing chemistry between them. At any given point, they can all be serious or witty or cheeky. They can talk to each other no matter what mood each character is in. I think you have to mimic real life with these characters. It can happen but you don’t often see people who are always happy or always angry; it depends on their mood on the day. If these three characters were in the same mood all the time, it wouldn’t make for an interesting dynamic between them nor would it be interesting if they each had one characteristic and stuck to it. Another important part of that is adding information to the conversation that seems unimportant or irrelevant. Friends don’t speak to each other just to give each other the headline news and then move on; the conversations will usually go off in a tangent where friends may mock each other and then come back to the point. It may not seem like one character mocking another has anything to do with progressing the plot and you’d be right but it builds up a more realistic relationship between the characters.

  • Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?

There’s a minor character, called Ben, in the book who is essentially me when I was a young child. Ben made a couple of friends and didn’t make anymore. Once he made these friends, he didn’t feel the need to make more friends so everybody else sees Ben as a mute. In general, Ben is quiet but he shows his personality when he is around his friends; it is a different side of him that came up but he isn’t comfortable with this side of him shown to the other kids or adults.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Interviews, mystery

Documentary Trailer Selected for Film Festival Screening

Pleased to announce our Forget Winnetou- A Documentary Film trailer selected for screening at Avanca Film Festival, 26-30 July 2017!

To view our first official trailer, you can do so here.

“What does a world that respects Indigenous peoples look like, that’s working towards ending racism, colonialism, and other intersecting oppression on a global scale?” -Andrea Marcos

Most films about Native Americans focus exclusively on Native experience in North America, however stereotypes of the original peoples of Turtle Island have spread around the world even as more Natives are living or working abroad. And Germany has one of the most notorious and beloved, sometimes fiercely defended symbol named “Winnetou”, a stereotypical American Indian created by German author Karl May in the late 19th century.

Decades later, despite its inherent racism and colonial nature, the heavily Eurocentrized  fictional native and his pseudo Apache tribe are still recreated in films spreading misinformation to new generations. Although surely not the intention, it is still culturally abusive practices that deliberately ignore Natives and others who object, and minimize and/or dismiss multiple research studies on the harm of such behaviors to everyone in society. This must end.

“Just because it’s fiction, doesn’t mean it’s harmless.”

“Reeducating the resistant.”

 Recent promotional interviews:

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, Films

#Author #Interview Michael Bernhart- Psychological #Thriller Series The Max Brown Novels

Description. How Existentialism Almost Killed Me: Kierkegaard Was Right is the fourth and final novel in a series that tracks the life of Max Brown as he grudgingly matures. Provisionally dubbed a philosophical thriller, this novel finds Max Brown and his wife Sally staring down middle-age and an empty nest. In an ill-advised attempt to restore meaning to their lives, they allow themselves to be herded into a trivial assignment as CIA contractors. This morphs into a real and dangerous assignment taking on remnants of the Khmers Rouges in Cambodia and Thailand who are producing and selling counterfeit drugs. The battle is waged on elephant back, in a Thai brothel, in Cambodian minefields, and in the strongholds of the KR in western Cambodia.

The author ran a healthcare program in Cambodia; one of the challenges was fake drugs. A positive consequence of this experience: the context and problem are faithfully portrayed.

The series. The novels track the life of a man who earnestly wants to avoid trouble but whose behavior, or circumstances, repeatedly drops him into it. He becomes a smartass as a defense against a pretentious name, Maxwell Smythe Brown IV; this trait – which he doesn’t seem able to shed – keeps him in hot water. But there’s also depth: an enduring obsession with the paradox of a benevolent creator presiding over a universe chock full of wickedness.

The series has two running themes. The first is the above-mentioned life-stage progression; each novel finds Max dealing with a new set of issues common to men his age. The second running theme is the nature of evil, and, conversely, God. A different face of evil is examined in each novel. In the fourth it’s the Khmers Rouges, and they can do evil like no one else.

Buy: ebook and trade paperback available at: https://www.amazon.com/author/michaelbernhart

Hard cover available at: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/michael+bernhart

Author website: http://www.houghpublishing.com.

 

Interview

What genre do you write?

The (pretentious?) label I’ve co-opted is philosophical thriller. These are not the first novels to mix philosophy with chase scenes, but a conscious effort is made to weave larger questions into the narrative and structure of the books.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?

Like many others, I started writing as an outlet when I was in an unhappy situation. Also like others, the product that one generates under those circumstances projects deep bitterness. It takes a lot of reworking to convert that raw material into something a reader is willing to spend time with. Yes, authenticity is a wonderful thing in literature, but do you really want to immerse yourself in 400+ pages of thinly disguised self-pity?

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I have a vintage airplane (Mooney 20E) that I use to bore holes in the sky. A magical machine. It brought me through severe thunderstorms just yesterday to a safe landing. In fact, I think I’ll take a break from these questions and go up to the airport and give that venerable bird a hug.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

John le Carré, Garrison Keillor, and Bill Bryson used to be my favorite authors. Bryson for his easy and infectious humor, coupled with wonderful nuggets of information; Keillor for his insights and beautifully crafted (and clever) short pieces; and le Carré for his meticulous research and gripping structure. I say they used to be my favorites. Now I get depressed when I read them; how do they do it?

Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.

I am a considerate, creative, and indefatigable lover.

 

Your Writing Process

What excites you about writing?

I like to lie. I’m too old to enter law school and become a lawyer and too thin-skinned for politics; the only other profession left open to a congenital liar is writing.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I advance the plot during the evening when I’ve had a few. In the cold, harsh, sober light of day I clean it up.

Then I rewrite ad nauseum, especially after publication. An unheralded revolution in publishing is the potential for the self-published indie to improve a novel forever. Thanks to the permissive policies of CreateSpace, Nook, etc. an author can revise and re-upload infinitely. If the author’s paying attention to constructive feedback, he or she can steadily work toward a decent book. The traditional publishers, in contrast, are stuck with the original version until the last Remainders table has been cleared.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Hell yes. Scram, vamoose, get! The industry is choking on an excess of books. Three thousand new novels every day. I don’t need any more competitors.

Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?

Romance. I find it cloying to the point of nauseating. Could I do that? No, but the challenge is intriguing.

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous.

Most people are wrong.

What would you like readers to know about you, the writer?

I am a considerate, creative, and indefatigable lover.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“Stay away from that woman, Mike. She’s trouble.” Advice that went unheeded.

 

Your Books

 

What story haven’t you written yet but would like to? A NY Times bestseller. Is there anything holding you back from writing it? A shortage of talent.

What kind of research do you do for your books?

This question merits a lengthier reply. Thanks to the efficiency of internet search engines, an author can lard up a novel with excruciating detail in an effort to lend the work verisimilitude. You’ve seen it: the make and model of the gun the hero/perp/bystander is packing. Maybe some ballistics info is included. A note to those authors: it isn’t working.

Perhaps this is why we hear the repeated refrain, ‘Write what you know.’ I’ve had the good fortune to live and work in many parts of the world – some of them pretty dismal. That broad experience doesn’t ensure a readable novel, but it protects your work from the patent artificiality that undermines much of what we find on the shelves today.

 

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Half and half. I wonder which half comes across as more credible? Reviewers are fond of noting that my characters are “over the top.” Almost no one of my circle of (dull) acquaintances is over the top. In fact, few of them are even likeable, a requirement for inclusion in a readable novel.

Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?

Ronnie the redoubtable Scot in the fourth novel. Everyone likes him. I may have made an unwise decision re Ronnie.

 

Random Question

Do you have any final comments you would like to make?

The great lover bit. Did you catch that?

 

Other Fiction by Michael Bernhart

How I Made $3,200,000 from My Hobby

How Ornithology Saved My Life

How Speleology Restored My Sex Drive

How Existentialism Almost Killed Me: Kierkegaard Was Right

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Interviews, Thriller