Pandora’s Gardner follows a harmless gardner who finds himself between two deadly factions fighting over a piece of tech in his possession. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The inspiration is drawn from multiple sources, but the main one is the Alfred Hitchcock film, North by Northwest with Cary Grant as the advertising executive Roger Thornhill, who is inadvertently drawn into a web of intrigue through a case of mistaken identity. Other inspiration was the Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. In both instances, the protagonists are on the run, and getting by on their wits, not knowing who to trust. Other sources were from Saturday morning matinee and the serials from the 1930’s – I always enjoyed the way that at the end of each episode there was a unresolved question or a jeopardy, and you had to come back to find out what happened next.
Concerning the technology, I was reading an article some years ago about someone who, in desperation, waded through the local waste dump looking for a disk drive that he had thrown out. He thought it was worthless, until he realised that it contained a Bitcoin key, apparently worth a fortune. I wondered, what if it had contained something other than a Bitcoin? As technology is ubiquitous and all looks the same, how easy would it be to hide something valuable in plain sight?
Other inspiration was from early childhood and a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the “Brave Little Tailor”. The story starts with the tailor, preparing to eat some jam and when flies settle on it, he kills seven of them with one blow. He is so proud of this feat that he makes a belt inscribed with “Seven at One Blow”. This leads to various adventures where people assume the “seven” are men, and he rises to various challenges by using his wits. I liked the idea of this misinterpretation of ability driving events.
John is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
I didn’t want John to be some kind of invincible figure, I had other characters that could fulfil that role, but similarly I didn’t want him to be a wimp who miraculously transforms into a heroic figure as the story continues. He is an everyman, albeit someone who has kept himself in shape and has a sharp brain. I wanted someone who could be put in a situation, and then readers could say, “what would I have done?” rather than thinking, “well – he can do that because he is . I made John a gardener as it was as far as I could get from ex-detective, bodyguard etc A gardener embodies good honest labour, unlike some characters in the book.
The other key thing is that John isn’t entirely comfortable with the idea that some women fancy him, although he always considers women equal, (as it should be). This allowed for interesting dynamics between him and the female leads.
I enjoyed the mix of action and humor in this book. Is this indicative of your normal writing style or something you tried for this novel?
It’s the way I write. Escapism is incredibly important to me, there is more than enough of the real world to go around. When I write I need both action and humour as otherwise I could end up with full on action, (which would wear me out), or a total gag-fest which would end up being forced and not funny. For me humour and action complement each other, it’s like salt and vinegar. Too much of one can leave an overpowering taste in the mouth. I enjoy what I call the “gear change”, to be able to move between serious and humorous prose, and attempting to do it without jarring, although sometimes it’s fun to use that deliberately to keep the story varied.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
It was my intention that Pandora’s Gardener be a standalone adventure. The problem with sequels is “second album syndrome”. How do you follow up, what if the next book is worse than the previous? That said, jotting down idle notes the other day, I realised that there is still more of the story to be told, (without over contriving or forcing it), and I was curious as to how it would end. Therefore, there will be a sequel to Pandora’s Gardener. I’m sketching out the plot at the moment. As to when it will be available, that will be a couple of years I’m afraid. The writing is the relatively quick bit – the time is in the rewrites – I do a lot of them. I’m sure with practice it will improve.
All I can say is that I’ll be expanding some minor characters to cope with an ongoing mystery of Pandora, and John is unwillingly roped in…
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, david mason, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, Pandora's Gardner, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Caught follows a mermaid who is captured by a vengeful pirate and finds that she may not want to escape his embrace. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I got my inspiration from the Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides. That’s where the idea of mermaids attacking a pirate ship came from also the Disney movie Sinbad where the water sirens’ were attacking the ship gave me the idea for establishing a difference between mermaids and sirens.
Lorelei is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I wanted her to have a strong connection to her family the ones she loves. It’s what drives her actions.
I appreciated the careful development of the mythology of this world. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your story?
I wanted to show how even through one’s intentions might be pure in the beginning, if you’re not careful power can easily corrupt.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Claimed, Storm’s book which is book two in the series is next. It is currently in the editing process, and will be followed by Captivated Book Three which is Jewel’s story.
Matriarch by Adam Wing is a tale full of magic and lore. Ayla Merrill lays in her hospital bed and decides to tell her great-grandaughter Cass a story. The story is of the epic adventure of how Ayla met her deceased husband, Ollie Merrill, but this isn’t your typical love story. Ollie Merrill wanders across Turkey in search of something, but he doesn’t know what this something is. Until, of course, he has an exhilarating adventure and comes across a magical being that helps lead him to his destiny. Three wishes, unrequited love, and a magical bracelet create a whirlwind.
Talk about an emotional adventure! Adam Wing has a gift in the art of writing! This story and his writing reminded me of being a young girl and listening to my grandmother tell stories from her childhood. He immerses you into the story immediately. Even in the moments of magic and mythical mayhem, he has a way of making them feel realistic.
The world and character building are five out of five stars, especially for it only being a novella! The way he has Ayla tell the story keeps you captivated while not leaving out any significant details. Most authors struggle to do this in 300 pages, let alone 57!
Wing delves into the topics of fate, destiny, and doom. He discusses them through Ayla and Ollie’s story, showing how they work into the cycle of everyone’s lives. His poetic but comprehensible writing style gives you the ability to delve deeper into the topics while still allowing you to escape into his magical world.
A natural consequence of his exquisite world-building abilities, this book, even in its darkest moments, gives off a feeling of coziness and familiarity. This is in part because of his strong matriarchal character, Ayla. When I was reading this, I would curl up into the corner of my couch and escape into a magical land that I feel like I had been to before.
Adam Wing’s Matriarch is a wild adventure and heart-wrenching tale, with many twists and turns. This story, in particular, reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia in the way it immerses you. Part of me wishes this book was longer, just so I could spend more time within the story’s world!
Pages: 144 | ASIN: B08193V6FG
The Witch Hunter General is a story of fear, manipulation, betrayal, and deceit. The book begins with a man named Victor who lets his wife die, alone and frightened because she was accused of being a witch. He is miserable, guilty, and angry at himself for what he has done. Over time, he has managed to avenge his sweet Elizabeth, but can’t stop hunting down dark forces and witches due to circumstances during his grief. Living another two thousand years, he hunts with a team of faithful sidekicks. A complex man, and an imposing one as well, Victor makes sure that you know who’s the boss and who is willing to take charge.
Mace Berry has delivered an exciting dark fantasy novel. From the beginning this book is an intense read. At times the scenes with brutality were a little hard to get through but I realize the events were meant to propel the story, and the book would not have the excellent tone that I looked forward to if the author had not done so. A great example is Elizabeth. When the story opens, she is wrongly accused, and her town turns against her because of their superstition and fear. As you continue reading the story, you begin to get drawn in by these deep characters that are marred by events brought about by fear, superstition or betrayal.
I enjoyed the energetic and tense fights to the death which were skillfully executed. I thought Victor was going to die and empathized with him throughout the story. In my opinion, the author’s measure is how they make you think and feel throughout the story. In the first few chapters, I went from being horrified, saddened, to angry all in the span of mere pages. Mace Berry is a great author skilled with language that is emotive and moving.
Each character in the book had such a strong presence that I didn’t have a favorite character because I enjoyed reading about them all. I have read other books where the main character has a team to help him because, in many aspects, the evil is too much for one person, and in this case, he has three. Magnus, Arten, and Scarlett. If you love supernatural stories with a twist, you would enjoy this epic fantasy novel.
Pages: 256 | ASIN: B088Q1RYD4
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, Mace Berry, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, The Witch Hunter General, thriller, writer, writing
Sophia and her father aren’t exactly what you would call close. Between the drivers, the maids, and the high profile job, her father doesn’t have time to devote to the daughter who aches to once again have his attention. After losing her mother, Sophia wishes for nothing more than a normal father-daughter relationship–one where she can talk about her day and ask him about his. When her father makes plans to explore his new island together, Sophia decides this is the perfect opportunity to connect with him. But is her father’s newest business venture going to stand in the way once more? And will the rumors surrounding the haunted island prove to be more than just talk?
Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain, by T.X. Troan, is the story of one young girl’s adventure on an island her grandfather claims is haunted. When Sophia’s inattentive father takes her to visit, she quickly loses her way when she ventures off on her own to explore. She soon finds herself in quite the predicament, facing a variety of forest creatures unlike anything in her wildest imagination.
I was immediately struck by the relatable storyline in the opening chapters of Troan’s book. Young readers who find themselves with preoccupied parents will sympathize with Sophia. Her desire to bond with her widowed father is strong, and readers will root for a happy ending to Sophia’s story.
Admittedly, I didn’t immediately see the book taking a turn toward fantasy. I assumed from Sophia’s grandfather’s comments about a haunted island that readers would be treated to a mystery. The quick move toward fantasy was surprising yet refreshing. The illustrations depicting the creatures throughout Troan’s work are nothing less than phenomenal. I found myself lingering over them and can see younger readers losing themselves in the imagery.
The only human on the strange island, Sophia faces interactions with one unique being after another. The plot moves quickly, and there are plenty of mini action sequences to keep younger readers engaged and invested in Sophia’s storyline. Her relationship and the way she is forced to question her father’s true intentions is an underlying factor throughout the story. Even on the island surrounded by magical creatures, Sophia must face the truth about her life.
Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain is a quick read, appropriate for tween readers, and contains a highly engaging fantasy plot. Between the stunning illustrations and the battle between good and evil that permeates the plot, Troan is handing young readers a story to remember.
Pages: 144 | ASIN: B07Q1F1SGL
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humor, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain, story, survival story, T.X. Troan, teen fiction, writer, writing, yound adult
Patch Man opens with bombs going off in the war torn country of Summia. One of these bombs injures a one armed child that the Patch Man heals with his magical patches. The ensuing events propels Patch Man and this child on a whirlwind adventure. They accumulate a band of intriguing companions on a treacherous quest into the depths of a dangerous labyrinth where they seek the key to ending the war.
The thrill of reading Patch Man does not stop even as the reader digs deeper into the book. Rick Stepp-Bolling has written a science fiction adventure novel that hearkens back to the classic fantasy epics of the 70′ and 80’s. The flow of the story is compelling and gets to be exciting with the revelation of every new plot twist and new character. I keep wanting to compare Patch Man to other epic fantasy novels because it captures that same feel while remaining within the science fiction genre. Reminding me of the movie Mad Max which is able to accomplish this same balance.
Patch Man and his young female companion have been prophesized to end the war, but even knowing this did not keep me from second guessing their ability to pull it off. While on such a nail biting adventure it is easy to overlook the prophesy and only see the danger ahead. Patch Man was an impressive character. His patches give him a unique ability I have not seen in any other fantasy novel. His skills made him feel like an original character, even within the confines of some fantasy tropes. The other supporting characters in the book were equal parts alluring and compelling. Each added a new ability to the group, and a new personality that added depth to the overall story.
The action oriented plot and the heavily detailed world makes this a book that is easy to get lost in. The story line had me hooked from chapter to chapter as the events continuously build tension. Patch Man is a great book for readers who enjoy science fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B0759F9WDH
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, Patch Man, read, reader, reading, Rick Stepp-Bolling, science fiction, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Ellinor Olysha Rask is a feisty warrior on a mission to avenge the murder of her beloved husband, Misho. She holds two parties responsible for the tragedy; the real perpetrators, a bunch of rogue androids, and her former employer, Cosmin, a powerful mafia boss. Her pursuit of vengeance hits a snag when Cosmin abducts her and forces her to take on one last task. She must deliver a coveted magical creature to another mob boss or lose her magical powers forever. Now having to work with her former team she walked away from years ago, Ellinor’s mission is turned on its head when mutiny erupts within the squad. She soon finds herself having to make a difficult decision. Should she complete the task and inch closer to getting her pound of flesh or walk away and learn to live again?
Resistor by C.E Clayton draws its essence from both sci-fi and fantasy genres, but it leans more towards fantasy. Tantalizing fantasy, I must say. The fast-paced, action-packed story is set in Eerden, a fantastic world with intriguing features. The planet’s weird creatures, alongside the fusion of magical and techy stuff, add a burst of color to the story.
The story is one of those “kick ass now, ask questions later” types, and the action is just gripping. At the end of the book, Clayton talks about getting some help from a video game designer, and the book reflects it. From the weapons the characters wield to their combat skills and battle maneuvers, you could tell a true initiate had a hand in creating them. These features are only rivaled by the banter some of the characters often engaged in.
Speaking of characters, I really liked Ellinor, but Kai was the one who simply stole my heart. He’s this big, sweet giant with a tender heart. Think of Hagrid in Harry Potter but with a bigger funny bone. You’d love him.
You could really tell that a lot of effort went into making this book as vivid as possible. While Clayton pays almost obsessive attention to detail, you still only get to know what’s necessary. And her choice of words pulls you in. It brings you closer to the action as she tells a tale of love, betrayal, revenge, loyalty, and heartwarming camaraderie.
Resistor is a well-told story for me. I’d recommend it in a jiffy to lovers of action-packed fantasy, and I genuinely look forward to the sequels.
Pages: 298 | ASIN: B08FBMXP29
The Panama Contagion follows an attorney who must stop an international terrorist organization from killing people. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
Many strange experiences occurred while my husband and I worked in China with Chinese university students and judges. When China received upgraded trade status with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States helped with training China’s judges to learn and implement the WTO’s legal requirements including the Rule of Law. One reason why the US did this was because American companies doing business in China were losing millions of dollars from counterfeit products–they were competing against poor-quality knock-offs of their own products. My husband and I were teachers in that judicial training program, working with China’s judges–some as high as their Supreme Court. From my being hospitalized with early SARS (when China was still covering it up), to a mysterious news editor who appeared at our door professing a terrorist group in Southern China targeting Americans, to touring a primitive island village and finding a modern computer inside a plastic tent on an island filled with hidden caves, to hearing the judges complain about the corruption in their judicial system and how hard it was going to be to implement the Rule of Law, it didn’t take much imagination to create The Net thriller series.
Jason Yi is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
When the US stepped in to assist China in implementing the Rule of Law,one major barrier to overcome was the existing customs and practices in China. For example, legal decisions weren’t always based on the law–some were determined by who paid the most money to the judge or who had the best family connections, etc. This was deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. Yet the Rule of Law requires that the written laws be followed,interpreted uniformly, and that no one is above the law. The WTO and the US could send in teachers to train the judges, but only by changing the culture and eliminating the corruption could the Rule of Law really be implemented. Of course, it was purely my imagination but I accomplished this in the story by sending in a few undercover Chinese-American attorneys to serve as judges, ferret out corruption, and sway other judges to follow the Rule of Law. Jason Yi is one of those undercover Chinese American attorneys. How he becomes involved is introduced in book 1–The Net Conspiracy. As for ideals behind his character development, there were several: Judges in China are young–some right out of college. The average age is 35. So, Yi would have to be about that age, fluent in the language sand in Chinese and American law, be honorable and trustworthy, and have a sense of adventure in taking on the risk of undercover work. And it never hurts that the protagonist is handsome!
I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Was this planned before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
I outline when I write and know pretty much where I want a story to go.However, as I wrote The Panama Contagion, the story moved in its own direction–much different than I had planned and it surprised me. I thought the story would be heavy into the virus and the resulting impact on society. Instead, it played out more about the interaction between the characters and their personalities. The Foreigner (bad guy)took on a much more psychotic nature, and a secondary character (Bao) became more involved than I had originally planned. As it turned out,this made for a better ending and segue into book 4, The Harbin Connection.
This is book three in The Net series. What can readers expect in book four?
The terrorist element of The Net organization has pretty much been thwarted, but the vendetta between the Foreigner and Yi (evil and good)will peak in book 4–The Harbin Connection. Where The Panama Contagion dealt with a deadly virus, The Harbin Connection will deal with human sex trafficking. (If you remember in book 3, Bao owned numerous massage/sex parlors that specialized in Caucasian children–acquired through kidnapping and sold off when no longer useful; sold and lost into other markets through the arctic city of Harbin, China.) Bao and Sarah (Yi’s love interest) will play strong roles as The Net targets Sarah to be kidnapped and sold at Harbin. Other evil ploys will prevent Yi’s ability to save her, and her survival will come into question. Yi’s honor and belief in the Rule of Law will be challenged as he comes face-to-face with taking the life of the man he despises. As with the other books in The Net series, book 4 will be filled with international intrigue, suspense, and fast-paced action adventure, without the use of offensive language, graphic sex or extreme violence.