When Wendy Siefken and her son, Charles first sat down to pen the story of “Kai’s Journey” they had no idea it would lead to an opportunity to be entered into the hottest new contest for author’s titled “Writer’s Got Talent” Sponsored by Bruce Goldwell.
To see more about this contest and if you think you have what it takes to participate in the next season of “Writer’s Got Talent” starting in March please go to this site; http://www.writersgottalent.com. The contest site will explain how to vote for your favorite author on Pinterest as well.
This week there is a special treat for all the readers! The first chapters of the remaining contestant’s books are up for your judgment! Here is the readers chance to judge for yourselves whether or not you would like to read more of the story each contestant has submitted. The remaining authors are listed as follows;
Wendy Siefken – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259105265/
Aoife Sheridan – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259105551/
Vanessa Castillo Kimball – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259105255/
Shannon L. Dearing – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259105751/
Dawn Gray – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259105219/
Dominique Goodall – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259105197/
Jim Henry – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259105238/
Clarence Bonner – http://pinterest.com/pin/549439223259109758/
You can check out the first chapter posts on Pinterest at this site where you can like, re-pin, share, tweet and like for Facebook to show your support for the authors!
As Bruce Goldwell says, “Vote for your favorite author, watch book trailers and order a good book by an Independent Author!”
Their book can be found at the link below!
It was with great pleasure that I received an email from Thomas asking if I would write a blog about his and Darrell’s story. I was thrilled to be asked and it is with great pleasure that I get to share their story here. I was intrigued by their story of self-discovery and how they had started their journey and what they discovered along the way. So without further delay, please give a very warm welcome to Thomas and Darrell!
After spending more than 20 years as a journalist, publicist and educator, something told me it was time for a change. Though I searched for something to keep me busy in my middle years, it seemed like doors in the professional world were closed to me. In 2008, when I met Darrell in a Long Beach bar, I immediately knew this kind and thoughtful man would have an effect on my personal life. There was no way of knowing that he would change my professional life as well. He wanted someone to tell his life story. Of course, I knew from dating him that he had multiple personalities. That didn’t faze me, having become used to people changing personalities immediately after they left the stage. As we came to better know each other, I knew what he had experienced growing up with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was a story the rest of the world needed to hear.
1. What prompted you to write Darrell’s story?
As a journalist, I’m always looking to find out why something happened. Most if not all of the DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) literature tells what happened, but never why. I thought for sure there would be an interest in a memoir that went a step further than most. Of course, doing so also made it what some call a difficult read, though I prefer to think of it as interesting.
Darrell had his own reason. He wants parents to be aware that when their child is acting out, there is a reason behind these actions. The parent needs to investigate. His never did.
Over all we just wanted Darrell to get his story out. So did all the kids inside him. Obviously this turned into a bigger exploration than either of us planned for the minute we learned that the man he had always believed was his father was probably not.
2. Has the telling of this story changed you and Darrell? If so in what way?
Not much has changed in the telling of it, though I did learn quite a few things from Darrell and the people inside him that I hadn’t known before and suspect there’s even more the kids inside are keeping hidden away.
Though we were warned when we started that this journey might have an impact on our personal lives, that effect has been positive. We have always been a close couple, but we are even closer now that we have had this experience.
The biggest change has probably been with Darrell. All his life he was searching for his family and for answers about why he was treated so differently and why he felt so unloved. He now knows that those who love him are the family he has today.
3. Your search for answers took you from California to Covington, TN. Do you feel it helped you and Darrell or not?
Traveling to Tennessee really did help us quite a bit. Remember that this entire journey was a search for family. We did meet the Jacksons, his Aunt Bertha’s family, though they weren’t as welcoming as they might have been. You might say they weren’t the family we were expecting, but neither were we the people they expected to disembark from the plane at Memphis International.
The biggest plus for us was getting to meet his Aunt Betty Roland. She recognized Darrell immediately even though she had never seen him. Among other things, she gave us James Darrell (Monkey) Jackson’s original birth and death certificates as well as the photo take of him when he won the money to buy his beloved pickup truck. That photo of Monkey, reproduced in the book, certainly looks a whole lot like Darrell.
Being abandoned by Bertha Merriman in Memphis, nine or so days short of our return trip to California, also proved a blessing in disguise. We had no money, lodging, food or transportation. Desperate, I phoned Mary Barnick, who I had only spoken to once before. She and her husband Bo Kirgis drove three hours down to Memphis, giving us a place to stay, feeding us and generally acting like the family we had expected to find in the Jacksons.
4. You mentioned you prefer a book to the new e-books, what are Darrell and your favorite books to read?
Darrell tends to like romantic adventures set during the time of King Arthur. Since he was illiterate until his 20s, I think that it’s really good that he finds pleasure in whatever genre appeals to him.
I’m more of a history and sociology buff. I will tend to re-read my Joan Didion collection when I’m not going through the bookstores. I find any book that has received some sort of writing award is a good choice. Anything that has made the New York Times Bestseller list is best avoided. In order to be popular, a book has to be simple especially since most Americans only read an at 8th grade level.
5. Was there any part of the writing of this story that you didn’t like?
The parts about the functioning of the human brain were a challenge because science simply isn’t among my strengths. I had to do a lot of research comparing and contrasting the various findings before I finally realized that there was simply no research about what I was trying to explain.
6. Since the writing of this book, do you feel it has it changed your lives?
Not yet but we’re aiming at just that. Darrell has gotten lots better at the whole marketing aspect, something he’d never done before. On my side, everything remains the same. My family is still after me to find “something to fall back on” and a job where I can “work my way up.” Not bloody likely at age 55 but I just let them talk.
7. Was it hard to write the story about yourself or did you find it therapeutic and liberating?
Writing about me was among the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Because the book had required Darrell to dig so deeply into his own psyche, I felt I had to do the same. Imagine my surprise when it dawned on me there in the Arkansas studio with Bo Kirgis and Mary Barnick that I hadn’t been myself any more than Darrell had ever been himself. It wasn’t about how I was feeling or what I was seeing but rather who I was being. As a result after more than 30 years of portraying the Tom Kidd character who recorded albums, wrote for magazines and taught writing classes, I decided it was time to put him away. That’s not because I dislike him but because I no longer have either the energy or initiative to be him. Therefore “Which One Am I?” is written under my given name.
8. Your books have been published with Amazon, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
The publishing world is absolutely headed to the Internet. There are fewer and fewer book stores out there and, even if they stock a writer’s work, the writer and his company have to deal with returns charged against profits. It’s a silly game but one that was set up long ago and which the powers-that-be will not change.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
We are on a rather extensive blog tour and there will be bits and pieces of the book up at various sites. Right now, the first part of the first chapter is up at http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/10/07/sneak-peek-which-one-am-i/. Readers can also get a taste of the book at our site www.WhichOneAmI.net
10. Do you have any plans for any more personal biographies or any other books?
“Which One Am I?” is about Darrell. The next book will be about me. I’ve found that while there are plenty of research publications available about gifted students, there are virtually no resources for gifted adults. My next book, tentatively titled “Whatever Happened to the Gifted Kids?” will use my own class as a starting point to find out how those with higher intellectual levels coped with life in the ordinary world. This one is in the very early stages of research so it will be awhile before I really get into writing it. Besides, promoting “Which One Am I?” has to come first.
11. If your book were to be turned into a movie, who would you like to play your part?
We have been talking with documentary film makers even before the book was written. As for a fictionalized account, neither one of us has really given much thought to who would play us. I can say that I think Leonardo DiCaprio is a natural choice to play Darrell. DiCaprio was supposed to play Billy Milligan in a big budget film based on the book about his case. I know the actor was already in training for the part so he’d likely have little problem tweaking that training to play Darrell.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
To Jesus: “How do you feel towards all these people who call themselves Christians spreading so much hatred in your name?”
It is with great pleasure to get a chance to interview Ethan for a second time! He has published several books this year and his lates is due out the 9th of October! As a special surprise he will be giving away Arctic Wargames for free October 9th, 10th and 11th! Without further delay here is Ethan!
Blurb from his book:
Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor, Canadian Intelligence Service Agents, find themselves in lawless North Africa on the trail of an assassination plot. The target is the US President, and the hit is scheduled to take place during a G-20 summit in Libya’s capital, Tripoli. But the source of their information is the deceitful leader of one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the area. Ambushes and questionable loyalties turn an already difficult mission into a dark maze of betrayal and misdirection.
Forced to return to Tripoli, Justin and Carrie dig up new intelligence pointing to a powerful Saudi prince bankrolling the assassination plan. What’s worse, Justin and Carrie realize something crucial is very, very wrong with their plan. The summit is only forty-eight hours away and they still have to stop the Saudi prince, dismantle the assassination plot, and save the life of Tripoli’s target.
Tripoli’s Target promises to take the reader through a great story as it becomes the next international bestseller. Fans of David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, and Daniel Silva will love this high-octane spy thriller.
Q. Now that you have published more than one book, Congratulations by the way, have you changed any of your writing habits?
A. Thanks for the congratulations. I have started to be more organized, in the sense of dedicating a certain amount of time to writing, editing, promoting and marketing my works. In the past, I would go in campaigns, focusing on one aspect and forgetting the rest. Now, I work on making little progress in all fronts at the same time.
Q. What part of writing do you find the most fulfilling?
A. The brewing of the plot in my mind and the beginning of a new novel is always very exciting and very fulfilling. Then, the hard work begins, the writing of the whole book.
Q. Are you going to continue in the self-publishing route or do you also submit to agents or publishing houses?
A. I love the self-publishing route, the freedom, the flexibility, the possibilities. I’m going to continue to publish my works independently. Of course, I don’t know what the future holds, so if an agent comes knocking things may change.
Q. If you could play any part in your books, what part would it be? (Think Stephen King who played parts in some of his books to movies)
A. I’ve never thought of that. I would play a minor role, perhaps of the secondary characters.
Q. What have you done to help build your platform as an author to let others know of your works?
A. I use my blog as a place to connect with my fans, along with my Facebook page and my Twitter. I’m active on various writers’ forums as well and have approached bookstores and libraries for author presentations.
Q. What started you on the writing path? When did you decide to become a published author?
A. I wrote short stories when I was a teen. Then I went to university and had no time for writing, other than exams. After law school, I continued graduate studies and received a Master of Laws degree. A 150-page thesis was the product of my research. Once I finished it, I decided to try to write more stories, this time the ones that I wanted to write. I was blessed with time to work on Arctic Wargame and other novels.
I shopped Arctic Wargame around in 2009 and 2010. Those were not good times for the publishing industry. I got great feedback. A few agents asked for a partial manuscript and two or three for a full. Upon the suggestion of a good friend, I dusted off my work, revised it and now everyone can enjoy it and my future novels.
Q. Who is your biggest supporter in your writing career?
A. My wife is very understanding and supportive. I must also thank God for the talent, with which He has blessed me.
Q. Do you have any more stories ready to come out? Do you plan to keep writing in this genre?
A. I’m planning to continue the Justin Hall series with more installments. In Fog of War, the third installment in this series, Justin infiltrates Iran to help extract a defector, a nuclear scientist who can provide information on Iran’s uranium enrichment program and its plans to build a nuclear bomb. Then Justin and Carrie will have to continue their investigation in some of the most dangerous regions of the planet, including Somalia and Yemen, the hotbeds of terrorism in the making. The release of Fog of War is tentatively planned for early summer 2013.
Q. Where can we find your books and sites at? Links?
A. The first spy thriller in the Justin Hall series, Arctic Wargame, can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084FH6M8
Second spy thriller in the Justin Hall series, Tripoli’s Target, can be found here:
My blog: http://ethanjonesbooks.wordpress.com is the place to learn about my future works, to enjoy exclusive book reviews and author interviews.
Follow me on Twitter: @EthanJonesBooks
My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ethan-Jones/329693267050697
I love readers’ feedback. They can get in touch with me via e-mail at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org I promise to write to each and every one of them.
Here is an excerpt from Joe’s book.
“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat
an army of lions led by a sheep.”
“It is better to die in revenge than to live on in shame.”
May 13, 6:15 p.m. local time
Satam, the driver of the fifth suicide truck bomb, turned onto Ar Rashid Street, merging with the warm evening traffic. He rubbed his sweaty palms against his short khaki pants, his gaze glued to the silver BMW Suburban in front of him. He heaved a wheezing sigh and tapped on the brake pedal. A red traffic light halted the five-vehicle convoy.
A stream of cars rushed through the intersection leading to the business district of downtown Tripoli. Tall skyscrapers rose over most of the city’s old colonial-style buildings. The green and gold banner of Jacobs Properties—one of the major British real estate developers in Libya—beamed from atop the glass-and-steel façade of the newly finished Continental Hotel. The same logo had been painted hastily on the left side of the BMW packed with Semtex explosives. Walid, its driver and a Jacobs subcontractor, had exchanged his blue coveralls for a business suit and the promise of martyrdom.
A glance at the dashboard clock told Satam the synchronized explosion would take place in ten minutes. The thought of the coming carnage drained the last drop of courage from his heart. He rolled down the window, but the humid air—blended with the aroma of fried falafel, onions, and lamb donairs from a nearby street vendor—made him nauseated. He gasped for air, sticking his head out of the window. He coughed and struggled to catch his breath. The drivers in the other vehicles shot him curious glares. Behind the truck, the driver of an old Mercedes honked his horn twice. Satam swallowed hard and wiped the sweat off his narrow forehead. He waved at his audience to show them he was doing all right.
“Satam, what’s the matter, brother?” the radio set on the dashboard crackled. He recognized Walid’s gruff voice.
Satam looked at the BMW. His watery eyes met the reflection of the driver’s face in the rear-view mirror of the Suburban. The driver’s usual wicked smirk stretched his lips, revealing his large buckteeth. Walid waved his hands wildly. Satam could not see behind Walid’s black aviator shades but assumed his eyes were ablaze with rage.
“Nothing’s wrong. Just needed some air,” Satam replied over the radio.
He rolled up the window before Walid could scold him with another howl.
“Great. Now that you’ve closed the window, open your eyes!” Walid barked. “You’re not a coward like the infidels, are you?”
Satam shook his head.
A third voice came on air before he could say anything.
“Cousin, I pledged my honor so you could be a part of this mission. Don’t you back down now!” Satam’s cousin said. He was driving the Toyota at the head of the convoy.
Satam sighed and paused for a couple of seconds. “I’m not backing down. You can trust me. I will not disappoint you or the brotherhood.”
“That’s my flesh and blood who is soon to be a martyr,” said the cousin in a relaxed tone. “Our families will be proud of us, and our reward will be glorious.”
“It’s easy for you to say, since tonight you’ll be welcomed to paradise,” Satam said.
He noticed the traffic lights changing and stepped cautiously on the gas pedal. The truck jerked forward a few inches before the ride turned smooth again.
“Won’t take long before you join us there,” Walid said.
“Yes, but not before being dragged through the secret police hellish cells…” Satam’s voice trailed off.
“Allah will give you strength, cousin, and soon he’ll take you home.”
“He will, brother, he will.” Walid revved the BMW’s twelve-cylinder engine. “For sure, I’m going to miss this ride.”
“There will be plenty of rides up there to keep you and everyone else busy,” the cousin said with a quiet laugh. “Now may Allah be with us all. Over and out.”
Walid nodded and turned left toward the Continental Hotel.
Satam’s destination, the Gold Market, was to the right. He steered in that direction. He zigzagged through a few crooked streets and slowed down when reaching the Old City. The blacktop disappeared, and the uneven gravel crackled under the tires. Old cars, horse carts, and pedestrians came into view, along with whitewashed stores selling gold and jewelry. The streets narrowed into barely a single lane.
Satam rolled down the window for sideways glances to avoid brushing against planters, chairs, and vendors selling all kinds of junk. A stomach-churning stench from days old fish, fried grease, and sweat overwhelmed him. Satam felt his head grow heavy, and he hit the brakes.
The street vendors lost no time peddling their wares. A crowd of young boys swarmed his truck. He yelled and shoved away a few of the bravest salesmen waving handfuls of souvenirs in his face. He kept brushing away the hagglers, when suddenly a pointed metal object was shoved against his forearm. Startled, Satam withdrew his arm inside the cabin. He glanced at one of the boys holding a string of scimitar replicas, the sword tribesmen in North Africa carried in ancient times. The curved blade was dull with a rounded point to prevent accidental stabs. Still, the swift jab at his forearm summoned awful visions of the future.
He saw himself hanging upside down in a dark, grim dungeon, tied to the ceiling beams, while three secret police agents “interrogated” him. They would use various methods to “jog” his memory and break his psyche. Sleep deprivation and intimidation by police dogs were just the welcome package. Other techniques included breaking fingers and simulated suffocation with plastic wraps and water boarding. I will tell them everything right away before they even touch me. He struggled to wipe the vivid images from his mind.
Satam slammed on the truck’s horn to clear a path through the crowd. The blaring horn startled him more than the boys and the occasional onlookers. He glanced at the dashboard, realizing he had less than two minutes to reach the busy marketplace square five blocks away. It will be impossible to make it on time.
He blasted the horn again and stepped on the gas. The truck moved slowly, and Satam wrestled to make a left turn. The alley grew wider. The truck sped up, its wheels dipping and climbing in and out of the potholes. He rushed straight ahead, inches away from oncoming taxis, their honks protesting his unsafe speed. A few sidewalk vendors dove out of the way, their overflowing baskets of bananas and grapes spilling all over the place. Tires screeched as he turned right, jumping the curb and narrowly missing a large bronze planter outside a soap store.
The Mediterranean Sea was now visible to his right, through palm trees, coffee shops, and fruit vendor stands. Satam stared ahead at the wide square, one of the busiest markets in El Mina, the ancient city. The bazaar rumbled with vendors squabbling over a few dinars with tight-fisted tourists. I made it. Yes, I made it. He turned his gaze to the left, toward Tripoli’s skyline, and slowed down before parking the truck in front of a small restaurant. He took a deep breath and dabbed at his forehead with the back of his hand, wiping off a sea of sweat.
The dashboard radio crackled and he picked up the receiver.
“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” The loud voice echoed over the radio. Satam recognized Walid’s shouts.
A second later, a loud explosion rocked the entire square. Satam’s gaze spun toward the business district, where a cloud of grayish smoke billowed around the Continental Hotel. Chaos erupted among the street vendors who scattered and forgot about their produce and the evening’s clients. The patrons of coffee shops rushed to the streets, staring in disbelief at the sight. Cries of hysteria overtook the growing crowd. Elderly women beat their heads and chests with clenched fists. Young men pointed and shouted, their bodies restless. The sharp siren of an ambulance sliced through the cacophony of terror.
With a quick movement of his wrist, Satam consulted his watch. Just as the digits registered 6:31, another explosion shocked the crowd. This time, the bomb hit closer, much closer, merely five blocks away. From inside his parked truck, Satam looked at the bright yellow glow of the blast. High flames leapt at a ten-story office building. A thick cloud of black smoke began to swallow up the tower. The crowd broke into smaller groups. People scurried in all directions. Some ran back to their shops and apartments. Others simply circled the area, perhaps unsure of the safe way out.
Satam knew his time had come. He revved the engine and stomped on the gas pedal. The truck arrowed toward the vendors’ tables. The market was mostly empty, and the truck crashed into crates of fish, baskets of grapes, and barrels of olive oil. Produce scattered everywhere as the truck rampaged through plastic tables and chairs.
A police truck zipped toward him. Satam steered around, not to escape, but to meet the approaching vehicle. The two policemen in the truck ignored Satam. They were going to drive past him, but Satam swerved hard. The right fender of his truck smashed into the left side of the police truck. The police truck jerked to the other side. He pulled over and stopped less than thirty feet away. The other policeman rolled down the window. Satam stared at the muzzle of an AK-47 assault rifle.
“Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot,” Satam shouted and opened his door.
A quick burst of bullets sent him ducking for cover in the front seat. A shower of glass shreds fell over his head.
They’re going to kill me before I even have a chance to open my mouth. Or one of the bullets will blow up the truck. I can’t let that happen.
He looked at the back of the truck. Thirty pounds of Semtex explosives wired into a homemade bomb were stored inside the seat compartments. He noticed the cellphone on the floor mat by his left hand. He reached for the phone. All it would take for him to set off the explosives—and pulverize himself and the policemen—was to tap three preset numbers. His fingers hovered over the phone, but he remembered his family’s honor and the reward waiting for him in paradise. He dropped the phone to the floor, buried his head in the seat, and locked his fingers behind his head.
A minute or so passed before the shooting stopped, but the screaming continued. At some point, he heard the distinct thuds of combat boots marching down the street. The police were approaching his truck. He looked up slowly as a policeman pulled open the driver’s door of his truck and aimed an AK-47 at his head
“Don’t move!” the policeman ordered.
Without a word, the policeman juggled the rifle in his hands and slammed its buttstock hard against Satam’s head.
Ethan Jones is a lawyer by trade and the author of Arctic Wargame, a spy thriller available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback. He has also published two short stories: Carved in Memory, a prequel to Arctic Wargame, and The Last Confession, both available on Amazon as e-books. His second spy thriller, Tripoli’s Target, will be released in fall 2012. Ethan lives in Canada with his wife and his son.
Bio provided by author
Canadian Intelligence Service Agent Justin Hall—combat-hardened in operations throughout Northern Africa—has been demoted after a botched mission in Libya.
When two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters, Justin volunteers for the reconnaissance mission, eager to return to the field. His team discovers a foreign weapons cache deep in the Arctic, but they are not aware that a spy has infiltrated the Department of National Defence.
The team begins to unravel a treasonous plan against Canada, but they fall under attack from one of their own. Disarmed and stripped of their survival gear, they are stranded in a remote location. Now the team must survive the deadly Arctic not only to save themselves, but their country.
Excerpt from newly published “Arctic Wargames”
We were very fortunate to have Mr. Ethan Jones contact us and feel very privileged to be asked to do an interview with him regarding his debut novel, “Arctic Wargames” Ethan is a private person who works very hard at all things he does whether it be as an attorney, writer, husband or father. So please give a very warm welcome to Ethan!
1.What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
Arctic Wargame, the first book in Justin Hall series, opens with a scene where the main character, Justin, is in jail, waiting for the right moment for an escape. This hooks the reader from the first moments they pick up the book; the subtle conflict and intrigue, the need to know how the escape will take place and whether it will be successful and if yes, what will happen next.
The first lines are extremely important. They should offer the reader a foretaste of what the novel is all about, a sample of the best that your writing can give them, the promise that if they buy your book, they will be rewarded with a great entertaining story. Tripoli’s Target, the second book in Justin Hall series, opens up with this line: Satam, the driver of the fifth suicide truck bomb, turned onto Ar Rashid Street, merging with the warm evening traffic.
My spy thrillers are in a sense inspired by current events. Not a dramatized version of true stories, but an imaginary development of a ‘what-if’ scenario. What if an Arctic power decided to take some unilateral military action in that sensitive area of the world? What if an assassination plot happens while the US President visits one of the rogue states of the world?
Another driver of my storylines is the desire to entertain the reader, to take them away from the ordinary and into an imaginary world where they can follow a great story and take a break from their daily routine. If I have accomplished that, my job is done.
2.Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I wrote Arctic Wargame and Tripoli’s Target without an outline. I just planned the main storyline in my mind and went on writing. There were a couple of places where I really stumbled and had to think hard to come out with ideas and solutions. I learned my lesson and now I make charts, with the characters’ names and their traits, in order to have a clear picture of who’s who and how they relate to one another and the story.
3.What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I have a full-time job, so I do not have a normal writing day. I try to write wherever and whenever I can. At times, I wake up in the morning and put in a few hours before heading to work. Other times, I write well after midnight. Depending on the day, it could be thirty minutes or eight hours. I try to get about 1000 words per day, but that is not always possible.
4.Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
John Grisham was one of the writers I read when growing up. I also read books from David Baldacci and Daniel Silva, as well as many other spy thriller writers. They have inspired me to write stories with a lot of twists and turns, face-paced plots, clear and concise language, and overall quite entertaining for the readers.
5.It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
The middle of the novel does not come as easy as the beginning or the end. After the fast beginning, the introduction of the characters and of the plot, the middle seems to be quite laborious. I don’t want it to be boring or slow, as readers may lose interest. So, I need to work extra hard to make sure the quality of the middle parts is as good, if not better, than the beginning, and, of course, the rest of the story.
I also dislike rewriting and editing. Once the book is finished, I let out a sigh of relief and celebrate. Then I realize that my work is not done. I have to rewrite and edit, make changes, cut entire paragraphs and add new sentences and phrases here and there. These are required steps in order to have a great novel that readers will love.
6.Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
Reading is important for every writer. It helps one understand the market and the competition. It helps sharpen a writer’s skills while learning what works and what doesn’t work in other fellow writers. Reading supports the industry and my colleagues and overall it entertains and it relaxes me.
At the moment, I am reading Deception by Adrian Magson, a great spy thriller. Next on my list is The Bourne Imperative by Eric Van Lustbader.
7.What drew you to writing about the fictional spy genre? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
Growing up, I liked reading adventure stories and watching action movies. My dad, who worked as a radio technician for the Army, wanted me to attend a military school, but that didn’t work out. I still like reading suspense and thrillers. Since I know the genre, I thought I could learn how to write stories that fit what I like.
I am not a spy or a secret agent, but I have read a lot of literature on the subject and made use of extensive research.
8.Your book is being published by Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
Yes, no doubt about it. Many publishing companies offer their books on Amazon, as well as in the traditional book stores and other distribution channels. The cost is lower, the delivery almost instantaneous, no storage or transportation costs. It makes economic sense.
9.Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
I run http://ethanjones.blog.com – a blog updated daily with exclusive author interviews, book reviews and more. My blog also contains exclusive excerpt from my works and news about upcoming events, giveaways and future novels.
I would love your readers’ feedback. They can get in touch with me via e-mail at this address: email@example.com I promise to write to each and every one of them.
My blog – http://ethanjones.blog.com – is the place to learn about my future works, to enjoy exclusive book reviews and author interviews.
I’m also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ethan-Jones/329693267050697
Follow me on Twitter: @EthanJonesBooks
10.Do you have any more stories in the works? After the trilogy will you branch into other types of genre or will you stay with the spy genre?
I’ve finished two short stories, Carved in Memory––which is a prequel to Arctic Wargame and explains an important aspect of Justin’s background–– and The Last Confession––about justice coming to a dying NY mobster during his last confession to his priest. They are released along with Arctic Wargame.
I’m revising Tripoli’s Target, the second book in Justin Hall series. This time, Justin and Carrie are sent to meet with the Sheikh of the largest terrorist network in Northern Africa, to receive some high-value intelligence. They learn about an assassination plot against the US president, which is to happen during a G-20 summit in Tripoli, Libya. Justin and Carrie inform the US Secret Service about this plot. Then new intelligence comes in, and they realize something is very, very wrong in their plan. Against all odds, they must stop the assassination before the summit forty-eight hours away. Tripoli’s Target will be published in the fall of this year.
I’m also working on Fog of War, which is the third book in Justin Hall series. Justin and Carrie infiltrate some of the most dangerous spots in the planet. Iran, Somalia and Yemen, the hotbeds of terrorism in the making. Fog of War will come out in spring of 2013.
Besides spy thrillers, I love mystery and suspense novels. I have started a murder mystery set in the US, called A Complicated Justice. A Court of Appeals judge goes missing and the detectives are trying to find him, the reasons why he has disappeared and the whole truth. I have no date in mind for the release of this novel, perhaps it will be published late next year.
11.Who would be your first choice to play Justin Hall from “Arctic Wargames”?
I haven’t really gives that much thought to this question. It takes a lot of time for a book to turn into a movie. Since Arctic Wargame is a Canadian spy thriller, it would be great if a Canadian author could play Justin. Ryan Gosling, for example.
12.If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Oh, time travel. I am a Christian, so naturally I would like to meet Jesus. First question would be: Why would you suffer and die for mankind, when so many deny you even existed?
13.How much research went into the writing of the “Arctic Wargames” Trilogy?
I spend about nine months writing Arctic Wargame and about the same time revising it. Tripoli’s Target took about the same time. I do extensive research, since that’s necessary for the spy thrillers. The setting of the places needs to be true and factual. The same about weaponry, gadgets and other equipment used by the characters. I learn about the geo-politics of a certain region, the main players and the relations between the different countries. I explore the background of current and past developments in that area, so that the storylines I create do not appear in a vacuum and do not come across as contrived.
A friend of mine recently told me I should write a blog and write from the heart. I have always been a very private person, not letting anyone get too close to me. I have kept people at arms length if not more. I can relate to a lot of people’s pain whether it be from abuse or a painful past or even surgeries. I don’t talk about my own much but am willing to talk to others and help them with theirs. I let them know that I have been there too so can understand. I used to talk when I was young but found no one really cared. One person even said, “the further in time you get from the incident the less people care.” So I stopped talking about it.
Now flash forward a life time with kids and getting them raised and again I find myself talking about something I never figured anyone would want to hear about. My son, Charlie who has learning difficulties while in school, people want to know about! Charlie has dyslexia and cross modalities. Together we have written a book called “Kai’s Journey”. We are indie authors and have come a long way. I found that people wanted to know more about Charlie’s struggles and how he overcame them and still graduated high school. When we were querying agents I was told by an ISU professor to not share too much. Less is more. So I stopped telling the agents about Charlie and his struggles to become an author. Now that we have joined the MasterKoda site on facebook and gone onto a few of their parties and talked, People want to know about him!
The local school has contacted us asking if we would talk to a student about how to become an author. The AEA is wanting to talk to us also to maybe help set up a new way of teaching for kids who don’t learn in the “normal” way. As the principal Mr. Kozak stated, “teach outside the box” by incorporating their pasion with the lessons needed to be taught. To go along with that, I have also contacted the guidance councelor to talk about doing presentations to schools concerning some of the perils to watch out for when walking the road to getting published. I have found that here in Iowa,even authors who have been published for a long time really dont’ want to impart much information as for the ways of getting published. I want to let those kids know that while it is something to strive for to be careful out there and question everything!
I am by far an expert on any one thing in regards to getting published, but I am learning everyday new things and new ideas. I hope to pass that knowledge on to new and upcoming authors from Iowa. We may not have Chicago, or New York here but I am here and all it takes is one snow flake to start an avalance! I am quoting a friend there. Just because we are out in the boonies doesn’t mean we can’t help others find their way. While we don’t know how this will all come about we are pro actively reaching out to others to possibly help out aspiring authors and poets to realize their dreams. I realized long ago, no one is going to come knocking on my door asking for my knowledge or to ask us to speak. I am taking the initiative and going out to our local school and using them as a pilot to see how it goes and how we could improve if needed. We are still working on stories but also trying to start other venues in our area too.
Our journey to getting published wasnt’ just us writing a story, it was a group effort. Our local school helped us, friends helped us. Our local newspaper took an interest in us and helped us. Our local library was a great resource for information we were looking for. No matter how outlandish it sounded. Even our local vet helped us too! We hope to repay all those people who have helped us by paying it forward and helping others who are also looking to reach their dreams. So to sum all this up. You never know who does want to hear your life’s story, good or bad. You never know who you can help until you try. Most important of all, if you have a dream, never give up!