Duty and Betrayal is a political thriller following the intertwining stories of international spies and war criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
I suppose the inspiration initially came from my childhood, listening to my mother and grandma describing their experiences of living in London during WWII, and in particular, the fear engendered toward the end of the war by Hitler’s so-called VI and V2 “vengeance weapons.” They were in effect jet propelled rocket torpedoes, capable of killing thousands of people at the press of a button, and technically, way in advance of anything the Allies could counter.
Jack Stein and Spencer Hall are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some ideals you wanted to explore with their characters?
Since the war Stein and Spencer’s lives had moved on inexorably, just as their world had moved on around them. But whilst they had their own agendas, their own remits and loyalties to their respective organisations (the CIA and British Intelligence), at heart there existed between them a kind of unwavering, undying bond and trust that can only ever be truly borne out of fighting for your lift in the midst of battle side by side.
I enjoyed the history and backstory used in this book. What research did you undertake to get things right?
I spent a year, or more, researching the background, not only the technical stuff, but some of personalities involved, including former Third Reich experts like Wernher von Braun, who eventually worked on the Apollo mission. I guess it’s an often forgotten aspect of WWII, that post-war, both the US and Soviet rocket programs coveted the expertise of their respective former Third Reich scientists and engineers. Many of whom found themselves at the heart of what would ultimately become known as the “Space Race.”
Everyone has a different agenda when a former Nazi scientist and a current NASA rocket expert arrive in 1960s London for a conference. International spies and war criminals alike are still looking to settle old scores from World War II.
Monitoring the conference are Spencer Hall of MI5 and Jack Stein of the CIA, top agents who became fast friends while fighting side by side for their lives. They’ve been called to protect their nations’ vital secrets, but one of them harbors his own plans for revenge. Meanwhile, Bernard Zimmerman, the NASA scientist, wants everyone to forget his past work with the Third Reich so he can create a new life in America. Unfortunately, both the Soviets , Mossad, and the Germans remember him all too clearly While Stein will stop at nothing to protect him, his loyal friend and intelligence source, Spencer Hall is consumed with a personal vendetta.
Ariawyn the elven princess of Lathai, daughter of Queen Aramaris, and last of the line of the Demon Queen. It is said that Lathai must be ruled by someone from the Demon Queen line or else the land will be destroyed. The problem however, Ariawyn does not want to rule. She feels unprepared and unfit to rule a kingdom she has not spent any time in since she was a child. Ariawyn does the only thing she thinks she can, she runs away. Her cousin Luthitan and Rune plan to take over the Lathai throne, not believing in the curse of destruction if Ariawyn does not rule. The magic, deceit, and mystery surrounding all will lead to a bloody end. Can Ariawyn save the kingdom she was born to rule.
Camryn Daytona brings to readers a new take on the elves and dwarves races in her novel The Last King of the Mountain. This is the first book of the series and sets up an epic tale that will capture the interest of fantasy readers new and old. In the first few pages you may feel like this is a retelling of the same old stories we all know of the battle between elves, dwarves, and the mortal races. After the first chapter or two though you see Camryn Daytona’s unique perspective come forth. It is nice to see some common trends among the races that fantasy readers have grown to expect but the overall story line and plot is unique. Ariawyn’s back story is filtered through the main story line and you learn more about her past and how she ended up sheltered in Ellahil rather than Lathai where she is to rule. The novel is long, over 400 pages, but it is not filler or overdone long monologues. All the descriptions of the cities and details about Din Mehidnar are used to enhance the story line and move the character development along. Nothings feels like it is added just fill pages, Daytona is careful about adding the right amount of detail at the right time to keep readers interested and asking questions.
My favorite parts of this novel were watching Ariawyn go from the persona of a shy quite teenager that wants nothing to do with responsibility into a strong woman ready to take back her kingdom. Siveril is a close second to me in character development. He is a cranky sorcerer that is blind with a soft heart for Ariawyn but you don’t understand why untill you get through the novel. Illimon is another character that goes through huge growth through the novel, and I’m interested to see how he develops as the series continues. I didn’t find the politics of the novel overwhelming like some fantasy novels do, nor is the magic so absurd that you can’t realistically engage with the characters. This is a great beginning to a quest for returning Lathai to its proper ruling with dark moments and light moments that will leaving you smiling.
Pages: 399 | ASIN: B07YQF1Q5J
The Warramunga’s War is a book that follows the Australian Army’s advances in the Middle East and Egypt. The main character, Jamie, is saved by an officer Jacko, who’s half aborigine warramunga. The book leads the reader through an adventure with Jamie and Jacko in the forefront, as they conduct counterespionage and work with real historical figures. They form a close friendship and work together to solve various missions. During their stay in Cairo, Jack and Jamie manage to work against German spies and continue the war effort onto their home turf after their job is done in Egypt. Jacko’s skills come into play near the final leg of the duo’s journey, needing to track down two wartime German Agents in West Australia.
The author describes events in vivid detail throughout the book. Greg Kater ensures the reader is taken through an action filled adventure full of twists, turns, and suspense with lighthearted moments throughout to provide moments of respite. One of these moments was at the beginning, where Jamie was unconscious and had a humorous moment with Jacko and a French nurse. The author also shows ample character development with our duo, showing how they evolve both in strength of friendship and their synergy with each other. They grow as friends and evolve to become better soldiers as well, and this evolution was something that was consistently interesting to me. I felt the part where Jamie develops a romance with someone added depth and emotion to an already well developed character. They seem to gain some level of experience from who they work with as well. Speaking of those people, the author’s level of dedication to research shows as well, with many areas being accurately described. The people he represents in the book are true to their original character and accomplishments.
While I enjoyed the narrative and the characters, I felt that the pacing, was inconsistent and sometimes abrupt. There is a part in the book where we’re zoomed into the future, which threw me off. Other than that small issue, The Warramunga’s War is an amazing read which shows a lot of spirit and has a unique take on old events.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B07NJZFVJX
Realm follows young Roxanna as she becomes the wife of Alexander the Great and is swept away by history. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional story?
I have wanted to write her story since I was sixteen and first saw Roxana mentioned in a history book about Alexander the Great. A professed history geek, Alexander has always fascinated me, but it was her story I wanted to tell. She lived beyond him, saw the breakdown of power, and in the end was a victim of his conquests and fame. She was forgotten by history, but I believe her role in his life, and the war of the generals, was important. I wanted people to know that Alexander was married to a woman who I am sure had to have remarkable fortitude and courage to not only travel with his army, but survive his generals.
Roxana is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?
She developed out of years of study of Alexander. This was a man who had women, the powerful daughters of kings, diplomats, and wealthy men, thrown at him, but he never married any of them. He took the hand the daughter of a mere chieftain, and instead of setting her up in a palace, as was the custom, Alexander took her with him across the world. I wanted to highlight her strength and intelligence, qualities he must have admired, but also show her powerlessness in a world where women had no voice. She must have been frustrated at not being recognized because of her sex, but I wanted her to rise above her limitations and influence the most powerful man in the world. I do not subscribe to the fact that she was a non-essential wife as many historians believe. I wanted to make her a unique woman who could have changed the course of history.
I enjoyed the portrayal of Roxana and Alexander’s relationship. Was their relationship planned or did it develop organically while writing?
The ups and downs in their relationship were built around the history of his campaigns, and how hard it must have been for her as a woman loving a man and competing with his army, his generals, and his other lovers. I also had to factor in how women were treated in ancient Greece, along with Alexander’s great respect for women. The rest developed organically, but like any relationship that goes through great hurdles it either gets stronger or falls apart. I like to believe theirs got stronger. After all, Alexander died when she was seven months pregnant with his only heir. It was also nine months after the death of his dear friend Hephaestion. For me, it was obvious he turned to her in his grief, and that told me a great deal about where they were at his end.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is a thriller and the first in a new series, called The Secret Brokers. It is about Dallas August, a man who runs an organization of elite spies for hire who steal secrets and sells them to the highest bidder. He is blackmailed into going on a mission to steal an important secret from an unsuspecting woman and ends up in the middle of a war between two powerful kingpins. The Secret Brokers releases 4/7/2020.
A WOMAN UNLIKE ANY OTHER, SHE WILL CONQUER THE UNCONQUERABLE AND BE LOVED BY A MAN WHO IS WORSHIPPED AS A GOD.
Based on a true story.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain–is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
Experiment X: Revolt finds Dr. Thaddeus bombing landmarks and vilifying Karen and her friends. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books?
I simply wanted the battle to move outside of the Lab and to show how easily war can appear in someone’s backyard. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but it could.
Karen’s narration was exceptional in exploring the anxieties and discomfort she felt. What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
First off, thank you. So, you know when Tony Stark has a panic attack and he has to deal with anxiety? Well, for some reason, seeing a super hero go through this helped me a lot with my own struggles. I wanted to give my readers the same thing. Knowing that having anxieties, fears, discomforts, etc. doesn’t make you weak can be a powerful thing. If these super soldiers can feel this, then why can’t you or I, right?
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
I wanted to keep it as realistic as I could. This isn’t a story that’s meant to be set in the future, but the present. It’s merely the beginning of a potential dystopia, a sci-fi world placed directly into our own.
What plans do you have for the series in book four of your Experiment X series?
There is no book four as of yet. However! There will be a prequel trilogy to the series told from Jack’s point of view. This trilogy starts when Jack is about eighteen, and it dives deeper into the horrors of the Lab. You’ll also learn things about the Subjects that they don’t talk about in the original trilogy. Plus, you’ll get to meet more Subjects from Experiment A.
Nothing will stop Karen Turner this time. Doctor James Thaddeus is attacking her once peaceful hometown; he’s bombing beloved landmarks, killing hundreds of innocent people, and smearing the names of Karen and her friends. Karen now has complete control over her Fire Element powers, and she is more determined than ever to burn the infamous Lab to the ground once and for all!
Jack Cortex, her best friend and mentor, once again steps up to the plate, splitting a large group of the super-powered Subjects into teams with a plan to finally gain their freedom—and keep it. Karen knows that if the Lab—and Thaddeus—aren’t destroyed for good this time, the other Subjects of the Experiments will continue to be abused and tortured until they take their last breaths. Doctor Thaddeus thinks he’s safe, but she’s coming for him.
Not everyone will make it out alive.
The hunter will become the prey.
The Adventures of Jules Khan – A Teenage Muslim Superhero introduces a new superhero that changes how teens & adults consume faith, fiction & entertainment. What was your inspiration for this idea?
Almighty God and teenagers are the inspiration…
‘Bring the lost souls to me…through youth entertainment’ seemed to be the inspiring message I was imagining…
As I began writing I was sipping on Starbucks Christmas Blonde Coffee ( that’s where the idea of a Blonde blue eyed Muslim Superhero was conceived – can you imagine? ) located on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, I would happily visualize teenagers across USA and the world gathered together reading ‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ as they busily chewed pink bubble gum, smiling, laughing and thoroughly enjoying reading the comic book or paperback or watching the movie or playing the Electronic Arts game of Angelina, Boris and Jules getting chased relentlessly while searching world Museum’s for clues…
Jules Khan is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove the character development?
A modern day blonde blue eyed teenage muslim superhero – who would accept that? Changing the judgement narrative was one idea…Is Jules Khan the next new Avenger in the Marvel series or a Superhero in the mega entertainment world? Could he bring a ‘cool’ factor to young Muslims, Jewish, Christians and all faiths? I am hoping so…Could the characters in the book be as slick as the characters in a Hugo Boss commercial? So many ideas….
This book did a great job of blending faith with modern action comics. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your book?
Theme number uno: Marvel Studios crashes into the 3 monotheistic faiths was a main theme that would appeal to teenagers and adults; maybe a theme creation of a new acceptable way to learn more about other cultures and faiths in a safe, fun, entertaining and modern non-judgemental environment…
What is the next project that you are working on and when will it be available?
The Comic Books, The graphic novel, the adult novel, the movie, the electronic games, the merchandise…so much to do and so little time….
Somehow after receiving a winner recognition through the Canada Book Awards 2019; New York City Big Book Awards’ for young adult fiction – Distinguished Favorite 2019 recognition, Literary Titan Gold Medal Book Award plus between 4 and 5 star reviews it has given me the confidence to develop
‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ from a simple commitment of a book into keeping this amazing project under development into the future…
The Comic book should be out in 2020…
New York City Big Book Awards’
What would you do if you held the power to help the entire world? It sounds intimidating, but one teenager, Jules Khan, embraces his destiny for the good of all mankind and all faiths. Jules takes you on a narrative adventure that spans the globe, which is already raging from WWII, racing against the evil National Weapons Association and their followers. With Mother Nature given superpowers and some surprising and formidable friends, can Jules find out the truth about his family and his future in time to save the world?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Teenage Muslim Superhero, action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Karim Kassamali Devji, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, The Adventures of Jules Khan, writer, writing, young adult
In Dark Times Michael Gerhartz explores the delicate yet sadly relevant organ trade problem. In this fascinating novel readers get a glance into the complicated and cruel organ trade business. The narrative is constantly changing its perspective, from the lucky recipient to the doomed donor while following the incredible adventures of the engrossing main character, Natascha.
Michael Gerhartz creates a globe-trotting and energetic crime drama that is full of unexpected twists and deadlt turns. I felt that there was a focus on painting the bigger picture while discounting the details. The overall plot was engaging and stimulating, but at times I felt like the characters were acting against their own principles because a certain act was required to propel the plot. While Natascha was a stand out character to me, she was so well constructed that other characters felt underdeveloped in comparison. The personality that is exhibited by the characters is exceptional and authentic but I wanted to see more of it. This story reminds me of Pulp Fiction, where many smaller plots and character stories all interweave to make one complex story. Although this keeps the tension high and kept me flipping pages, it could be hard to follow at times. I enjoyed the way in which the author portrays security companies and the human face he gives to people working in Masad.
I can confidently say that I had a great time reading Dark Times by Michael gerhartz. The story is perfect for readers who like to follow clues to solve intriguing mysteries. Dark Times reminds me of Tom Clany’s Jack Ryan where agents embark on clandestine and deadly missions to overcome a terror menacing the world. Perfect for readers who embrace a bit of romance in their action adventure stories.
Pages: 738 | ASIN: B07MTQ9YWC
The pieces are on the move. As one moves against the other, readers may wonder who is pulling whom and to what end? Does divinity mean the essence of purity or simply the chalice overflowing with power? Cries Of The Foresaken by Kristopher Jerome is a story full of twists and turns that will keep you hooked from beginning to end!
Normally I am very particular about fantasy worlds as many books start well but fail to keep it coherent throughout the story. That is not the case with Cries Of The Foresaken. Even though I realized a bit later that this is book one in a series, I didn’t mind it for two reasons. One, the story started strong and it kept me glued. Two, the author did not try to place undue focus on the background but kept the story well bound to a few characters. As I progressed through the book, I was not disappointed with the turns and twists that I never saw coming. The book is consistently engaging and sometimes there were twists where I didn’t even expect there to be one.
The other thing that I liked about this book was that the author did not try to make it a colossal work like the Tolkien series or the ones by George RR Martin. I prefer a book which does not conform to the stereotypes and is different from the rest. While Cries Of The Foresaken has room to expand, it’s not forced.
I felt that some of the characters were too rushed and I had to turn back to see previous pages. Some things get explained in the course of the series and characters are fully developed, but in this book alone, I felt, the characters were a bit hollow. One thing that I thought slowed the pace was a pause in the middle as the characters were pursuing side missions. Lastly, I felt that the ending was a bit too rushed, leaving too many open threads to tie up. This being part of a series I expect these will be tied up before the series finale, but I still felt the this novel on it’s own did provide me with a satisfying ending.
Cries Of The Foresaken is an exciting and riveting book that is an entertaining read and definitely in the top 10 books that I have read in 2019.
Pages: 299 | ASIN: B07YLC6JNY
The Reefs of Time is a classic science fiction story about the adventures taking place in a distant cosmos. The novel starts out with our protagonists, John Bandicut and Co., feeling restless and ready for action after the end of a successful mission. Ik, Bandicut’s friend, manages to get ahold of Julie Stone, Bandicut’s ex-girlfriend. In his quest to bring her back to their world, he messes up and suddenly, the gang finds themselves in a strange new place. The portal has messed up and communication is becoming tougher. When the threat of the Mindaru looms over them, the group is split up to take care of this danger. Interesting new characters and a lot of gripping adventures follow and lead to a tremendously exciting ending.
The Reefs of Time is rich in character development, which I found refreshing for a science fiction novel. The characters were not always what they seem, but they were drawn with enough depth and sensitivity. I could empathize with nearly every single one of them. Although I felt that some elements of John and Julie’s relationship were left unexplored, their dynamic was super fun and interesting.
Shipworld was a glorious and imaginative place. The history and elements of this universe were very well-detailed. I felt immediately absorbed and captivated by this new, futuristic world. The story was also about Shipworld as a whole, not only focused on the lives of protagonists. It often hinted at a deeper picture at play, a sinister and nefarious plot that was puppeteering all of their actions. Even some of the well-intentioned were misguided in their behaviour. At times, I was confused about who I should root for, but I believe that’s a mark of a well-told story. Some of the scientific and futuristic jargon alienated me at times, but it was never too much. After all, who knows what the future really holds. The starstream is almost poetically depicted, lending a surreal nature to the whole deal.
The story is chock-full of action and adventure, pretty much guaranteeing an edge of the seat experience from start to finish. It’s definitely an innovative and thrilling universe and I would love to return to it.
Pages: 474 | ASIN: B07R3D5WZL
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is set in a war torn medieval world where the convictions of two unlikely allies are tested. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
In this particular story in the Dál Cruinne Series, I wanted to write a character with this world’s version of a superpower, asking the questions of what would someone give to obtain the advantage, what has it really cost them, and how do they reconcile within themselves the life they lead because of that power? And of course, I threw in the unpredictability of the human heart when the chemistry called attraction is involved.
My goal as a writer was to finally commence a story that has been in my head since the mid-1990s. Long before I even contemplated being a writer. I love fantasy and wanted to try my hand at it—as so far, I have written dystopian/romance/time travel. And yes, I do tend to mix my genres. I’ll do the same with this series as the next books are an inter-world fantasy.
I enjoyed the relationship between Vygeas and Leyna and thought it was well developed. What character did you enjoy writing for?
I enjoyed writing Vygeas. I always seem to identify the most with my male protagonists. Maybe because I was a tomboy.
I loved writing the fight scenes. I used to do martial art but not much with weapons and never a sword, but I always love watching a good sword fight. Also, I’d love to ride a warhorse. And who doesn’t want a special gift that gives you the advantage over almost everyone?
Writing Vygeas’ tortured, convicted soul on the verge of great change was a journey through the darkness, looking for the light. Something I feel we all experience, and so I could identify with him, and I hope the readers do too.
And I enjoyed the way Vygeas’ taciturn personality bounced off Aiden’s talkative, open, oops-I’ve-said-too-much, honesty.
The depth of the backstory and world-building is something that was well executed. How did the idea for the world start and change as you wrote?
The fantasy world of Dál Cruinne is more like an ancient Gaelic/Celtic world than a medieval European one. Hence the Gaelic words in the title and the place names, and landscape very much like Scotland. As the series progresses the reader will find many more differences, such as how kings, their righ, and high kings, ard righ, are chosen in this world.
I didn’t purposely set out to make a non-European fantasy world, but I do feel it’s been done enough in this genre. I have a love for Scotland, its history and geography. I’m fascinated by the Celts in Britain and the history of the Gaels in Ireland. My ancestry is from both. And I love the sound of the Gaelic when it’s spoken. So, to me, an ideal fantasy world has shades of all of these—and castles of course! I took my inspiration from these cultures but haven’t based it exactly upon them.
I’m not too sure if anything changed as I wrote, as I had worked on the type of world I wanted before I began. The main thing that surprised me in the writing was the amount of magic that came out in this particular story. It probably isn’t anything like Druidic magic, but as I said, this world has shades of those cultures and isn’t a carbon copy.
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is a novel in the Dal Cruinne series. Do you plan on writing more books in this series?
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is sub-titled as A novel in the Dál Cruinne Series and isn’t book one as such. It is an introduction to this world and there will be other stories, which run serially (to themselves and not necessarily to Murtairean), but Murtairean is a first glimpse and, hopefully, an enticement for the reader to stick around for more. I’m sure Vygeas, Leyna and Aiden will turn up in the other stories. Lord Ciaran certainly does.
I have a duology/trilogy in the planning with the first draft of book one almost completed. The series will be Arlan’s Pledge (Arlan means pledge in the Gaelic) and the first book is Trastaidh. The Crossing. The main character, Arlan, is the son of current Ard Righ of Dál Gaedhle (the large western kingdom of Dál Cruinne), who finds himself transported to our world, to Scotland, and meets the attractive Rhiannon. Will he find his way back to Dál Cruinne, or, after spending time in Rhiannon’s comfortable western culture, does he really want to?
Leyna, a warrior woman and high-end thief, turned her back on her title of Lady Leynarve of Monsae after her parents’ murder. Bent on revenge, Leyna travels to a hit where assassins gather, intending to find and kill the one who ruined her life.
Vygeas, a mercenary and assassin, has the gift of heightened perception, enabling him to sense his opponents’ emotions and anticipate their every move. Sickened by the warmongering, Vygeas awaits execution for desertion. But he’s given one final task to win his freedom…kill a mark and avoid the gallows.
Unaware of Vygeas’ trade, Leyna hitches a ride with this handsome sell-sword with exceptional abilities. Vygeas realises he has encountered the beautiful and capable Leyna’s family before…on a previous hit.
While pursued by a powerful sorcerer-mage, they combine their skills to thwart his attempts to capture Leyna and destroy Vygeas.
Fighting their joint foes without, and battling their torments within, Vygeas and Leyna discover the truth that could destroy their newly forged relationship.
Will their past define them, or will they discover all they could be?