Realistic Flaws

Kevin James Breaux Author Interview
Kevin James Breaux Author Interview

What was the initial idea behind Blood Divided and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

I wanted to continue to show how the world I built is full of shades of grey. These people are doing what they must to survive. The good guys do bad things, and the bad guys do things that, depending on which perspective you view them, may not be so bad.

BLOOD DIVIDED was always meant to be the story of the next generation. How will they grow and move forward when a time of peace is jeopardized? Four children with four different desires and goals. I found it fun to grow with them in each edit of the book. I am incredibly happy with how it all turned out for this, the newest version.

What was one of the hardest parts in Blood Divided for you to write?

Some of the back story in the beginning. It was hard to write it without it being a little too much “telling”. I would have loved to have had a prologue, but my editors and publishers always advise against them. LOL.

Other than that, it was smooth. I had it all very well imagined before I started writing it and I feel confident I conveyed the messages I wanted to.

The characters in Blood Divided are complex yet relatable. What is your process for creating such deep characters?

Although I write in fantasy, urban fantasy, and horror, I always try and write characters with realistic flaws. I have always believed that it is our flaws that make us relatable.

When I was young, my uncles would always call and brag to my dad about my cousins’ accomplishments; they all had good grades all the time. In turn, my dad would tell my uncles all about my trials and tribulations. I did not get good grades. I did not like school and was often bored and unmotivated.

So, when I was a child, I did not gel with my cousins and my parents never realized why.

When I was in college, I felt like I was the only one in the family people truly related to. Why? Because they knew the building blocks of the foundation of the person I had become.

Who were my cousins? They were the people with good grades. I never knew much more about them. Did they struggle to pass their driver’s exams? Did they have health issues? Surgeries? Migraines? Did they all go to their number-one-pick colleges? Did they ever fail a class? Have a bully? Win or lose a physical fight? Who knows? So, to me, my cousins were mostly one dimensional and uninteresting.

I learned for this experience, which is one reason why I write my characters the way I do.

(FYI- I grew to better understand some of my cousins over the years. I even like a few of them. Okay, maybe two. LOL)

Where does the story go in the next book and where do you see it going in the future?

The next book takes place a few years later with two of the characters returning to Illyia and Kel Tora. I do not want to spoil who, but one is returning for honor and the other for family. These two have had a very eventual time away. And they are returning in much different roles then they left with.

The book is written, and it is so big I had to break it into two. So, the original three book series is now four books long. I can’t wait until the publisher puts out the next one. It is tentatively called: HEART BOUND.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

There exists an ancient elven proverb, dating before the time of man. Life and death, like day and night, meet at a point where they blend into one. It is that moment when anything is possible. There was a time when four sparks of life burned brighter than the sun itself. Megan was born with power, Lucien born with station. Autumn was born full of life, while Nathan was entwined with death. Peace had come and gone. The conflicts of old returned—rejuvenated and driven. This is the beginning of the end. The children will shape the fate of Illyia. Will they join forces, or with blood will they be divided?

So, where does truth end and fiction begin?

D.M. Coffman
D.M. Coffman Author Interview

The Hainan Conflict is a superb follow-up to book one in your The Net thriller series. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?

There were several ideas that I wanted to include in The Hainan Conflict. Interestingly, they were all based on elements of truth. The very first chapter hits on one of those elements: A female Russian virologist developing biological weapons and selling them to various countries and/or terrorist groups, along with the deliberate release of a deadly strain of smallpox in Kazakhstan in order to test its potency.

The next factual element I wanted to include was the mid-air collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet in airspace over the South China Sea, resulting in the US spy plane’s forced landing on Communist China’s Hainan Island. This actually occurred on April 1, 2001, and set into motion a highly charged political situation of top-secret US intelligence possibly getting into China’s hands. A lot of research went into the characteristics of the planes involved, the base where the US plane had originated from, etc. to make the story as believable as possible. My husband and I were living in Southern China at the time (we had even vacationed on Hainan Island) and we were (naively) surprised at how different the news accounts were between US and China sources. It was at that point that I realized that having a free press doesn’t guarantee the truth any more than a government-controlled press. I think that is something we as Americans take for granted, and wrongly assume that our news isn’t editorialized.

The next factual element was Hainan Island itself. It is just as beautiful as described in the book. And, here again, truth proved stranger than fiction! The descriptions of the resort/beach area, Wild Boar Island, the unusual military training camp on the beach, the primitive village with female leaders bearing facial tattoos, the hidden caves, even the modern computer in a plastic tent, were all facts based on personal experiences there. And, the island’s history of a native women’s group defeating the government’s army is factual. A dear Chinese friend was kind enough to research that information for me.

So, where does truth end and fiction begin? I leave that for the reader to figure out.

The relationship between Yi and Sarah was consistently intriguing. What were some ideas that informed their conflict?

The characters of Yi and Sarah are composites of the best qualities in some of the friends and judges we knew in China. Such qualities included a fierce loyalty to family and country, and a dedication to seeing China rid itself of poverty and corruption. However, some of the characteristics of the average Chinese man were not so charming. These included excessive smoking, spitting, and a tendency to treat women as second-class citizens. It was not uncommon to see a man step in front of a woman in line–simply because she was female. (This infuriated me, and I tapped a few men on the shoulder to point out their error!) The conflict between Yi and Sarah certainly comes from the issue of his being American and a spy (and therefore unable to confide in Sarah his true identity and purpose). Adding to the conflict and intrigue, Yi’s character had to be different from the average Chinese male. So, he regularly does things more typical of an American. This confuses Sarah. The fact that he’s an attorney by profession rather than a spy gets him into trouble on several occasions. Plus, he misses his life in America. Much of Yi’s conflict stems from Sarah’s life in Tibet with Buddhist/vegetarian traditions being so different from his Christian American ones. Yet he is fascinated by her beauty, her brilliant legal mind, and her strong female personality. He struggles with the distraction of falling in love, while being in an uncomfortable situation that could cost him his life.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

The main goal was to be true to the facts. I researched and tweaked the story until I could fit it into the timeline that the facts dictated. That was not easy!

What can readers expect in book three of The Net thriller series?

 Although book 2–The Hainan Conflict–is more standalone than book 1 (which was written as an introduction to the series, its intertwining stories and character development), book 3–The Panama Contagion–continues the story of the Net organization’s attempts to secure world power, the vendettas between the evil characters and our hero Yi, and the romantic struggles between Yi and Sarah. As readers of book 2 know, the Net acquired bioweapons from a Russian virologist. The use of these weapons culminates in book 3 by way of unsuspecting travelers on two cruise ships returning to the States after a trip through the Panama Canal. A pandemic ensues. Also carried over from book 2 is the Net’s plan to disrupt international shipping channels by destroying parts of the Panama Canal. The question is, can Yi stop the Net’s destruction while fighting off a psychopathic killer, and trying to mend his relationship with Sarah, all while the CIA is ignoring his warnings? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

What is inside the mysterious hidden cave will take a stealth military conflict to stop.

Peaceful island vacation? Not when the island holds secrets of an evil organization. The Hainan Conflict is a political suspense thriller with edge-of-your-seat adventure, fast-paced action, and a touch of romance. Filled with vivid descriptions and fact-based events.

Undercover US attorney Yi and Tibetan judge Sarah vacation on exotic Hainan Island in the South China Sea while Sarah recovers from a brutal attack by a corrupt judge who believes Yi is a spy. Pursuing clues that involve a letter with a web-like symbol, a sophisticated computer system hidden in a primitive island village, and a mysterious exiled tribal leader, Yi discovers the Net’s operations center and bio-weapons lab in an underground cave.

When he uncovers their plans to attack, a stealth military conflict is unleashed requiring US-Sino involvement (based on the factual US spy plane mid-air collision and forced landing on Hainan Island).

But Yi and Sarah must deal with their own conflict as she discovers he is not who he says he is.

Book 2 in The Net thriller series. The story can stand alone but may be more enjoyable if read in order of the series.

The YOU beyond you: The knowledge of the willing

The YOU beyond you: The knowledge of the willing by [Ramzi Najjar]

In The You Beyond You, Ramzi Najjar offers advice that can help one change their perception about life, boost their self-esteem and improve their personal habits. The author is engaging and his words are thought-provoking. The author talks about life experiences, and the lessons one should take when they fail. This book has rare truths, some of which are painful and agonizing to read about. The author however uses a friendly tone and captivating words that enable the reader to keep going. The You Beyond You is not just a self-help book but a personal guide for anyone who would appreciate reading encouraging words before they start their day.

I enjoyed reading the chapter ‘Letting the Right Memory Run our Life,’ because of how great the author expounded about the mind. I learned about pure memory, being positive, and how prepared we should be psychologically. Some of the things we do subconsciously are a result of the energy around us. Other chapters that I immensely enjoyed reading about were those that spoke about body pollution, mind pollution, and getting imprinted with the correct memory.

In this book, you will learn that there are solutions to most problems if you are committed to look for solutions. The author advises that as an individual, focus on being a better person before trying to be helpful to the next person. The energy you carry in you will be reflected in your actions. Every human being has feelings and the author writes that there is nothing wrong with expressing one’s feelings.

Ramzi Najjar is a great motivational writer. His book has wisdom that can be helpful to teenagers, young adults, senior citizens, and anyone going through personal struggles. Being in the right state of mind will enable you to make better financial, career, and even romantic decisions and that is why this book is a must read for every reader. One good thing about Ramzi Najjar’s writing style is that he is easy to understand. The phrases he used are easy to comprehend and the examples given in the book are relatable. I would recommend The You Beyond You to anyone who is looking for an inspirational book for personal growth.

Pages: 474 | ASIN: B08DRR383Y

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The Little Book of Greatness

The little Book Of Greatness introduces us to a man named David who seems to have given it all up. Sitting on a cliff, David is troubled. He has not accomplished his dreams and everything seems to be crumbling down. David is thinking about life, wondering why he is in his current situation. Lost in his thoughts, a man appears from the woods. Little does he know that this stranger would give him something that may enable him to hold on for a little longer.

Ari Gunzburg speaks to everyone through David’s story. He speaks to his readers, and makes them feel like they are not alone. I like the comforting tone used throughout the book. When giving advice, the author uses a tone similar to that of a therapist. He is encouraging and offers hope to the hopeless. This book is meant for those that are about to give up. Things may appear like they make no sense, but the author assures everyone that we are destined for the best. You cannot help but admire how amazing Ari Gunzburg is with his moving words. Through his words you not only learn more about yourself as an individual, but also get enlightened about life in general and how our thoughts shape our destinies.

Chapter 12 is one of my favorite chapters. In this chapter, the author focuses on putting it all together. I enjoyed reading the conversations between Regina and David in this chapter. Major lessons in this chapter are rearranging our priorities and focusing on what is important in life. The writing is incredible and the text is engaging. Ari Gunzburg is a great narrator and captivates his audience.

The Little Book of Greatness is a motivational book but it does not feel bland like some books in the inspirational genre. The author wrote distinctively, narrating stories of scenarios that happen in real life as he incorporates important lessons in the story. I recommend The Little Book of Greatness to readers that would love some encouraging text that will cheer them up and help them become better people.

Pages: 185 | ASIN: B08GH63H75

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Random Summer Storms: Book Three – Family


Dee is a surfer who has lived an eventful youth. Managing to survive one dangerous scenario after another, she has pretty much experienced it all. From swimming with Orcas to experimenting with drugs and trying to outwit known criminals, Dee and her friends knew no boundaries. Her summers were filled with one breathtaking encounter after another. She recalls these times fondly and describes the thrill associated with each of their close-calls with an unmatched level of nostalgia. As the years passed, Dee’s family grew and her family meets with their own challenges and successes. Theirs is a life many would look upon with amazement.

Random Summer Storms, by Denise Ann Stock, is the third book in contemporary fiction a series. Main characters, Dee and Ian, have a past rooted in turmoil. They have known nothing but drama since their youth on the coast of California. Wishing to leave their past behind and begin a new life, Dee and Ian set their sights on Florida for their fresh start.

Stock’s third book in a series is, by and large, a narrative. With few exchanges between characters, Random Summer Storms reads more like a memoir than a story with a clearly-defined sequence of events. Dee, the narrator, relates a detailed description of every family member’s activities and challenges. From her own husband and children to her extended family members, she paints a clear picture of each one’s celebrations as well as their business dealings, legal or otherwise.

Random Summer Storms is written in a unique style. While I prefer more dialogue in my realistic fiction, I enjoyed the feel of the memoir. I would have appreciated a little more organization to the story as I felt like it was a bit aimless at times, which left me with questions. This family fiction story felt as though it contained a little bit of everything, there was a motley collection of striking dilemmas and curious conflicts.

Random Summer Storms has the potential to be a truly engaging story, but I felt like the characters are not given an opportunity to flourish in a well-developed plot. Had Random Summer Storms been touted as memoir-esque and edited to read in a more diary-type narration, it could have been quite a fascinating piece of literature.

Pages: 252 | ISBN: 1952269474

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Stone Fever

Stone Fever: Erebus Tales Book 1 by Norman Westhoff is a captivating adventure story full of inspiring narratives! In the story, we follow Keltyn, a geologist who is exploring a now defrosted Antarctica. Keltyn is trying to find iridium around Mount Erebus, a volcano that the local Onwei tribe has predict will erupt soon! While on her mission, Keltyn makes friends with two teens from the tribe; Luz and Joaquin. While on their adventure, the trio grows, learns, and discovers the ulterior motives of a certain Oscar Bailey! Keltyn must find a way to stop Oscar before it’s too late!

Despite the hardships found within this story, Westhoff has managed to create a heartwarming tale that I could not get enough of! He touched on so many relevant topics, including colonization, global warming, and cultural diversity!

The character development was spectacular and a particular focal point of this novel. We watch Luz grow emotionally from a naïve young girl to a fierce young woman by the end of the novel. I must say, I really enjoyed Luz’s relationship with her mother in this book; it strayed away from the typical nuclear family unit.

The world-building was fantastic! Westhoff took a risk using the real-life issue of global warming as a plot device and world-building tool, but he handled it with grace and elegance. His portrayal of the issue left me with a hopeful outlook, despite it being fiction.

Westhoff’s storytelling abilities are also praiseworthy! He can keep you hooked from page one all the way to page 299; it is incredible! There was never a dull moment; wait until you get to chapter 13; you will not be able to put the book down!

The writing style also captured my attention. It’s simplicity made the story easy to follow and a joy to read. There was never a moment where I had to go back and reread a passage due to intricate text, which can be a common issue amongst indie authors. The chapters where Keltyn was narrating were my favorite!

Stone Fever: Erebus Tales Book 1 is a thrilling adventure story that touches on important topics while always entertaining the reader.

Pages: 386 | ASIN: B085YF4RWG

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Taking Time

The last person you’d expect to take on the role of time travel pioneer is Marshall, who is not your typical hero. Rail thin, six foot three, and not the least bit athletic, he’s hardly inconspicuous. Nonetheless swayed by the perks that come with working on a top secret new project, Marshall is nervous and insecure in his new role. But he’s far more concerned about the necessity of travelling through time naked than he is with the situational ethics of doing so. Mike Murphey’s Taking Time: A Tale of Physics, Lust, and Greed is part science fiction, part thriller, and part light comedy. The work treads the line between something more scientific, with discussions surrounding the theories and laws related to time travel, and almost slapstick humor, mostly derived from the characters appearing in front of each other naked. 

The characters are well developed; all thrown together into a strange environment early on in the book; tightly integrating their relationships and inner conflicts and allowing the reader to get to know them more. Sudden flashbacks dramatize the otherwise smooth narrative, while the explanations of the concept of time, of dark matter, and physics more broadly, eventually give way to the stark reality that the project Marshall has been hired to work on is being used by both governments and large corporations for their own ends. 

Taking Time is a fun book that blends lite versions of the science fiction, thriller, and comedy genres without fully embracing one. You may find yourself chuckling in parts, and enjoying the entertaining twists and turns, if you’re able to suspend your disbelief for a few short hours. Taking Time kept me sufficiently entertained with its charm and humor. 

Pages: 358 | ASIN: B087PP8DPL

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Rough Way to the High Way

Rough Way to the High Way by [Kelly Mack McCoy]

All Mack wants to do is deliver a truckload of swinging meat to Chicago and forget about his troubles. After the tragic death of his wife, he hands over his ministry to a junior preacher and returns to his first job as a truck driver. But things take a dangerous turn his first time back on the road. Someone is hell-bent on ensuring Mack doesn’t make it to Chicago in one piece. His adventure is further complicated when he picks up a mysterious hitchhiker. To make matters worse, he appears to be caught in the middle of some agribusiness hanky-panky involving top government officials and an imprisoned crime boss.

Rough Way to the High Way is Kelly Mack McCoy’s first novel, and I could hardly tell. McCoy writes with poise and fluency that pulls you in and keeps you captivated. This Christian fiction novel takes you on a journey along the highways while looking through the lens of a preacher-turned-trucker.

McCoy’s delightful mix of colorful, humorous conversations, light-hearted banter and a twist laden plot did an excellent job of keeping me engaged. Not to mention that there was this mysterious hitchhiker that kept me guessing about his actual identity all through the story.

McCoy also provides a rich reading experience with his choice of words and how he strings them together. The man genuinely has a way with words. This is visible in how he describes metaphysical scenarios using figures of speech and analogies that bring those elements to life and turn them into vivid images. I also loved how he offered faith-based insights, enlightening stories (I was very touched by Horatio Spafford’s story) and philosophical toppings.

The author zooms in on several issues, with one being the pain of losing a loved one. He shows that after such tragedy, our strongest anchors, including our faith, can be jolted by the tremors of grief and despair. McCoy also reminds us of the possibility of learning life lessons from the unlikeliest of sources.

Rough Way to the High Way is definitely one for your virtual and physical bookshelves if you are a fan of thought-provoking and exciting Christian fiction.

Pages: 268 | ASIN: B07MQS9819

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