Dark Traffic follows a retired DEA agent who is protecting a woman whose life is in danger while investigating a sex trafficking organization. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
I read a news article on my homepage about the L.A. Police Department and INS agents raiding a home that housed sex trafficking victims, and it reminded me of what happened to two of my aunts. In the 1920s or early ‘30s, two of my aunts were sex trafficking victims; they were sold to the traffickers by my grandmother. Border Patrol Agents intercepted them at the Alaska Border and sent them back to Colorado. Why they were allowed to live with my grandmother, I was afraid to ask, but when they returned, my grandmother was so upset, she shoved one of my aunts down the stairs where she broke her hip and after that she always limped. Both of my aunts were barely in their teens.
What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story; where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?
Outlining the story, and keeping track of where the story is going without alerting the reader what is going to happen next. I try to use the individual characters’ mindsets to guide me to what happens next. When I can, I use my own past experiences in the Marine Corps and later in life with my own brushes with death, to hopefully keep the action scenes believable and honest. I also do a lot of freewriting. I let the character take me where he or she wants to go and see if it fits into the novel. I do love all of the characters in the novel, even the bad men and women. Having been an actor for so many years, I develop a reason why the bad people are bad. It’s the same with the screenplays I’ve written. In the movie Judge Me Not, which I wrote and directed, and won a best picture award, and is available on Amazon Prime for rent, I didn’t come up with the ending until we were almost finished with the film. The ending fooled everyone, even law enforcement, lawyers and mystery buffs. Unfortunately some viewers didn’t watch the movie until the end because they thought they knew the ending.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
What I would like the reader to glean from the novel, which is that there is a difference between evil people and people who are guided by their own doubts, fears and desires and their need to protect what they have and wish for redemption and forgiveness.
Is this the first book in the series? If so, when is the next book coming out and what can your fans expect in the next story?
This is the second novel in a series of four. Two are ready for publishing and I’m currently writing the fourth novel with the same leading character and some of the other main characters found in the first three novels.
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