Experiment X: Sacrifice is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, fantasy, and action as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The story itself happened organically, but the genre-crossing was planned. I started writing it after reading the Hunger Games and binge-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I had been toying with the idea about a story of super soldiers created in a lab, it just fell into place. I just thought placing people in the ‘real world’ with these elemental powers would be pretty neat.
Karen is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I’m glad you liked her character! She was fun to write. I wanted to show people that they can escape abusive situations. I wanted to show people that you can find family in more than just blood. Despite tragedy you can come out on top and that you’re so much stronger than you think.
The powers displayed in the book were fascinating and used in interesting ways. What were some sources of inspiration for the different experiments?
A lot of it came from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Certain elements of them just came from my boyfriend, Mike, and I sitting down and mulling over what they could do. He’s the one that came up with the Air Elements being able to control/conjure lightning!
This is book one in the Experiment X series. What can readers expect in book two of the series?
They expect more of the inner workings of the Lab, new Experiments/new Subjects. Someone who was dead is alive. Shawn discovers a new power. Not everyone is who they seem and the characters must do whatever it takes to survive.
I lived a normal life until Jack showed up.
He tells me that there’s a government facility that houses an army of super soldiers known as Experiments.
He tells me I’m a key part of it and that they’re after us.
I know he’s dangerous and I know he’s capable of murder, but he’s the only person who can help unlock what’s been hidden inside of me.
Now the only thing that will keep my loved ones safe is to help destroy the very thing that created me.
And even that might not be enough.
A vengeful fire burns deep within in and I must take down the Lab if I want to keep the last remaining strands of my sanity.
I only need to make it out alive.
Imprint Legacy follows detective Miers as he tries to solve a bizarre case while missing a chunk of his memory. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
First I would like to thank Literary Titan for reading and reviewing my novel.
The question I posted myself was how would one react to such an event? I explored some concepts and realities and delved in the realm of science fiction to answer it.
Although I must admit that the premise of this story is not based on a single idea rather a group of ideas and facts, as of the time of this writing anyway.
One of those facts is that the universe is really big and to think that we are the only life form to inhabit it it a little short sighted.
Another fact is that life, at least as it exists on Earth, is very rugged, life seems to always prevail.
Beyond the above mentioned facts, is the reality we live on. Our planet is inhabited by multiple species, each of them are amazing in their own way.
We as humans have taken over our planet and in essence, run it.
It is not far fetched to imagine humans colonise another planet, look at what Space X has in store for us.
Another fact is the reality on the ground, one doesn’t need to go far but turn on the evening news and realise that humans are in constant conflict with one another.
The Caretakers are those geniuses that sometimes get left behind in the shadows, unrecognized. And Earth is full of them.
The Survivors represent the victims in us. Who can blame a victim for behaving the way they do? I certainly can’t.
Robert Miers is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideas behind his creation?
Before I explain about Robert let me say the following.
I love my grandfather, though he has passed away.
A few years ago, my mother sent me one of my wedding pictures taken with my wife. She placed a picture of my grandfather on his wedding day next to it comparing my grandfather and me. The semblance was striking.
Robert is a family man first. A man that is trying his best to do well by them and at the same time do his job.
I hope we’re not giving away spoilers here, but I found the mystery behind this story to be one of the most original I’ve read this year. Was this planned or did it develop organically while writing?
About thirty percent of the mystery behind the story was planned, the rest evolved as the characters interacted with each other.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
Many of the beta readers and readers who purchased this novel expressed their desire to know more about this world.
The next novel happens in the same universe and it will address a few questions about how we shape our reality and our future and what could happen if we get distracted.
I am currently writing as much as I can, editing will begin sometimes around summer with a tentative release sometimes at the end if this year.
Detective Robert Miers is in trouble. His partner is missing, he’s suspended from work, and he’s got a gap in his memory that he can’t explain. Uncovering the truth means plunging into a bizarre new reality far beyond his comfort zone, an inescapable reality where memories can transfer from body to body, secret factions fight for control, and human life extends far beyond Earth. Is taking sides worth the risk-to his job, to his family, and to himself?
And does he even get to choose anymore?
Max Happiness captures the inner thoughts and emotions of a schizophrenic person. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It doesn’t matter in terms of awareness of a mental condition, what matters is the brilliance of the visionary experiences and how it matters to the whole world for the whole world to know about. This is what compelled me to write the book.
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I hope readers have found my book interesting to read.
Do you plan on writing more books? If so, when will they be available?
I am not planning to write any more books, but that’s not to say that my journey ends here.
Lion – Escape from Russia follows 5 strangers that attempt a risky prison breakout and must face the consequences. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I love prison break stories. Right from the get-go, I decided the 6th thriller would have a fantastic prison-break as one of the key plot elements. The other element I would not compromise on was a ‘non-NATO’ hero. I think we’re all aware of what’s happening in Syria. I thought to myself, I’m certain there are every-day people in Syria, who are heroes, and I must capture that aspect in the story.
This is an exciting prison break story that seemed to revel in the details. What research did you undertake for this book to make things seem authentic?
For any of my research, Wikipedia is a starting point. Then I branch out. For the prison element, I watched documentaries on prisons in South America, Russia, the USA; I read news articles on prison atrocities and stories of members of a Russian pop-band, who were incarcerated. Found a couple of ‘top 10 worst prisons’ lists. I familiarised myself with the design elements of prisons (I love the word ‘panopticon’), found reference schematics for solitary confinement and prison cells, read up on security measures, and then drew my own prison, made it as impregnable as I could… and then decided what I needed to break somebody out of it. A logistical nightmare, good thing I write fiction. 🙂
For the Syria, Turkey border crossing and Russian atmosphere, there was more news article reading. The controversy of the chemical weapons in Syria and the conflicting reports interested me. I couldn’t work it entirely into this book, but it’s coming in the next book in this series. I use Google Maps a lot to familiarise myself with streets, layout, perspectives. The part about the Russian mercenaries getting duped upon arrival in Syria is based on a real incident. To get my facts about mercenaries correct, I read a book which explains how mercenary companies function. I think the Mil gunship is an intimidating helicopter. Without giving away too much, I watched flight sim videos, got a helicopter-fanatic-friend to run me through the rudiments of flying the thing and then put my spin on it. Every vehicle – including the Russian vehicles used in the prison – are real.
You have a knack for creating varied and well-developed characters. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this batch of characters?
I wanted to capture the strife in Syria. There are so many actors in the war, its terribly confusing and I’m certain Syrians know the original reason for the rising is lost in ulterior motives played out by the US- and Russian-led factions. I wanted my hero to be a political fugitive, and at death’s door. I wanted him to just be fed up with the war… and then, bring him back to the war… for his own objectives. This is because I think the people affected by the War are really doing anything they can to just survive. And that’s the underlying driver for any of the sequences in the book.
Mercenaries have always fascinated me. They’re portrayed as rogue soldiers with tons of attitude when they are employees for a company that needs to show profits. Well, and their job entails doing things regular armies cannot do for violating conventions and so forth. I wanted to bring out the for-profit facet of a mercenary company and focus not only on the boots-on-the-ground but the CEO and his advisors. I also wanted to toss out certain stereotypes. When you read the book, you’ll see my guys are not prone to killing but do their best to avoid it… unless it’s absolutely necessary. That’s why I even showed a merciful terrorist in the first chapter.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The next book is SPECTRE. It’s Book #3 in the Kirk Ingram action series. I can tell you, I’m pretty excited about it. It ties in everything from Haunted (2011) and Diablo (2015) and takes Ingram to a mind-blowing trilogy. I intend to release it in January 2020 – the anniversary of my debut novel, Haunted, back in 2011.
The Syrian War has spilt into its sixth year. The bloody contest between the Syrian National Army and the Free Syrian Army is confounded by rebel factions, terror outfits, fundamentalists, unscrupulous businesses… and a proxy war between the United States and Russia.
Aslan ‘The Lion’ Terzi, a political prisoner incarcerated at the notorious Tadmor Prison, is near suicide when a Daesh commander inexplicably gives him a new lease on life. Disillusioned by the depravity of the War, he chooses to flee Syria. But, a chance encounter at the border draws him back… for the love of a woman.
Goldline Solutions is the security contractor of choice for Sheikh Akhmed bin Rashid. When the disappearance of Goldline client, Leonid Rashnikov, threatens a lucrative multi-billion-dollar deal, CEO Samuel Goldsmith will put everything on the line to restore the sheikh’s confidence.
Russian FSB agent Illiya Pushkin sanctions an illicit operation in Syria. With a vindictive colleague on her trail, she finds herself complicit in a crime that propels her into the FSB’s most-wanted list.
Five strangers. Working on assumptions. No elaborate plan. No inside help. They will attempt the most audacious supermax prison breakout ever attempted on Russian soil.
In an imperfect world, the singular human instinct of survival is all that matters.
And there will be a heavy price to pay.
Doves & Crows is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a mystery, supernatural, and drama as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
My biggest influence has always been Stephen King, whose books I have been reading since I could lift them up. As such, the novel was always destined to have a supernatural theme, perhaps with elements of horror (though nothing gratuitous; that’s not for me). The drama and mystery elements wrote themselves into the story; I had no idea how Alice actually died when I set out. What was peculiar was that the main antagonist, Big Jim, was so named way back in 2008, when I began the novel, only for the same name to be used by Mr King himself, some time later, when he wrote Under the Dome. I didn’t steal it. Honest.
What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
Continuing the Stephen King theme, it was his short story The Road Virus Heads North that proved to be the catalyst for my tale – that and The Mezzotint, by M.R. James. After reading those, all I wanted was to write a story about a picture that changed by itself. So I did. I also needed the picture to reveal the plot, which proved to be a good deal more difficult than I first thought. My second novel will be (a bit) more straightforward, I hope.
How did you create Susan and Richie characters in a way that contrasted yet still supported the characters development?
Susan and Richie were two more elements that simply ‘worked themselves out’. Whatever their good points, it had little to do with me. If I did anything, it was to try to maintain the mother-son relationship and not get too distracted by everything else.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I have provisionally titled my second novel ‘Passenger‘. This one has more of a sci-fi theme and begins when an alien craft carrying a biological weapon for sale to the highest bidder comes down in the woods on the outskirts of a small Norfolk town. I hope to finish the book by the end of the year, with a release in late spring/early summer 2020.
Richard Carter’s grandparents enjoy a holiday in the country every year, but this time they return with more than just memories. Take that necklace, for example, the one his grandmother found in the high grass and now wants to bury. The old woman dies soon afterwards, but not before she has given it to him. Bad things begin to happen. One school bully ends up in the hospital, Richard’s estranged father, in the ground, and as the necklace works its dark magic, Richie’s mother, Susan, decides they must run, to the very house her parents loved so much.But what became of the family who lived there, and who is that girl in the upstairs window? Now, after the big man in the hat comes to call and the body count starts to rise, Susan Carter will wonder if she and Richie have made the worst, and last, decision of their lives.
The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
It’s OK to be Different by Sharon Purtill
Silver Award Winners
Alexander Adler, an investigative journalist from Berlin is sent to India on a fact-finding mission to write an article about child pornography and human trafficking, while his two best friends, Matt and Julian also join him. Following the social worker and activist, Amrita’s instructions, they visit several brothels in Delhi and Mumbai in order to discover the local human-trafficking network and save many innocent children’s life at the same time. On their adventurous journey, they become familiar with the colorful Indian culture and the amazing Indian cuisine, and plenty of times they find themselves in life-threatening situations that put both their will power and their friendship to the test.
Wings at Dawn by Marie Balustrade is a gripping story about three adventuresome men who decided to fight against human trafficking, pedophilia, child pornography and slavery in India. I am completely amazed by the way Balustrade merges real social issues into a novel that touches your soul. With the long descriptive passages, the reader gets an insight into the Indian society and culture. The story is eventful, interesting, rich in cultural elements and despite the serious subject, it contains some humor as well.
The novel has a wide range of characters, all of them are well worked-out. The three main characters Alex, Matt and Julian have contrasting personalities due to their different origins, pasts, and habits that make their dialogues entertaining. However, they share the same enthusiasm, helpfulness, and stubbornness. My favorite character is Matt because I liked his colorful personality, he is a real gourmand who is always hungry and could eat all day long. Thanks to him I got to know more about the Indian cuisine and I learned that in India “the fewer the buildings, the better the tea”, which means that the tea is always more delicious further from the big cities. While reading about the innocent children’s distress, I felt really emotional, especially the little boy, Abdul Hakim’s and a father, Norbu’s story touched me.
The only thing I did not like is that it contains too many foreign words and expressions, after a time I stopped going to the end notes to look up the words as I found myself doing it often. Otherwise, Wings at Dawn is a very valuable and emotional novel that I would heartily recommend to anyone who interesting stories set in exotic locations.
Pages: 376 | ASIN: B07Q6ZS72B
I didn’t realize how much I missed my friend Loren MacKenzie until I picked up One Fire Burns Out Another’s Burning by Sarah Butler Zalesky. It may sound clichéd to refer to the protagonist of the Wheeler series as my “friend,” but over the course of the three Wheeler novels, I truly feel as if I’ve gotten to know Loren as a close friend. This third installment picks up where the second, Wheeler in Darkness, left off: Loren recently experienced a painful trauma and death and is struggling to cope with this recent trauma as well as the trauma of her childhood that has resurfaced. Combine those experiences with her high-stress career as a professional cyclist and status as the girlfriend of a famous celebrity and you have Loren MacKenzie, my friend. As in her first two novels, Zalesky packs a ton of action into the novel’s 270 pages, though the story never feels rushed. Rather, the pages feel as if you’re flying along on a bike with Loren, never knowing what’s around the next corner but looking forward to the adventure.
One Fire Burns should be read after completing the first two Wheeler novels, as Zalesky spends a modest amount of time recapping the action of the previous books. Repeat readers will be thrilled to find the return of familiar faces in Loren’s close-knit cycling teammates, the ever-charming actor Graham Atherton, and other supporting characters. But, Zalesky also adds in a few new intriguing characters, as well as deepens the character development of her existing characters.
Where Zalesky shines in this novel, though, is through her development of Loren. She skillfully develops Loren as a more mature and multi-faceted character. Though Loren has always been complex, this time she is finally able to tackle some of her metaphorical demons that have plagued her throughout the earlier Wheeler books. Loren’s romantic interest, Graham, also receives some well-deserved attention from Zalesky. He’s still the same Shakespeare-quoting heartthrob, but I finally felt as if I got to know Graham beyond his gorgeous exterior. As Loren and Graham develop, so does their relationship into a more serious and meaningful one.
Zalesky also brings back the thrilling, nail-biting race scenes in One Fire Burns, as the novel takes place in the spring racing season. Though I am not very familiar with the ins and outs of professional cycling, I love Zalesky’s electrifying play-by-plays of the cycling competitions. She skillfully pulls readers along the race track with Loren, explaining the strategy involved in cycling while also making the competition relatable to readers who may have never been on a bike. There is something universally thrilling about competitions, and Zalesky taps into this with several key cycling races this season for Loren.
In One Fire Burns, Zalesky offers readers a unique and magical blend of thriller, romance, and sports. As before, Zalesky gracefully handles the sensitive issues that Loren experiences, including emotional and physical abuse and harassment, creating a thoughtful and complex novel for readers.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B07SG73LH9
The world of Telbyrin is no stranger to the high fantasy wonders of, Elves, magic, legends, and lore. The story unfolds as our two heroes strike out on a pilgrimage turned epic adventure. No sooner do they leave the confines of their beloved farmland do they quickly run into danger left and right. A fearful evil rises once again in Telbyrin threatening the peace and all its inhabitants. At the same time, the Eternal Flame is found extinguished throughout the land causing panic and dread.
From reading Br. Benedict’s book, I can spot his fantasy influences as well as his admiration for the genre. The plot is straight forward but with that Br. Benedict’s builds an elaborate world that is deftly created with care. The author has clearly spent a good amount of time developing and establishing name and traits for each concept presented in The Flame of Telbyrin. With so much effort gone into creating such a rich world, I would have liked to experience more substance in the writing. The story moves quickly and I quite enjoyed the fast pace of the novel. It added tension and suspense to the plot. But with that came less time to evoke a well-crafted setting and character development.
The Elves, Orilin and his wife Larilyn carry the plot as they traverse the land of Telbryin in search of an answer and hope to the fast-approaching Meldron, an arch-nemesis to the Elvish population. The black and white portrayal of morals between Elves and Meldron sets the reader up for a clear choice of who to root for. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is among the first of a few books Br. Benedict’s has written. The novel keeps the quest like adventure and characters simple and rarely deviates from the commonly used fantasy tropes.
It is evident that Br. Benedict loves the genre deeply and enjoyed developing and building the world of Telbryin. I enjoyed reading this book with the knowledge of Br. Benedict’s hard work and dedication to the novel. The Flame of Telbyrin is brimming with potential to become an epic fantasy novel with intriguing characters. I look forward to Br. Benedict further cultivating his ideas and giving us a fuller view of his imagination. The Flame of Telbyrin was a joy to read and I recommend it to any fan of the fantasy genre that is looking for captivating characters inhabiting an intricate world.
Pages: 171 | ASIN: B07HKT4441
The Tattooed Cat follows Charley on a hunt for the person that abused a cat, but finds more than she expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to this novel?
I have been an animal lover all my life, and the slightest thought of animal abuse upsets me more than any other imagined thought. It was no surprise to me several years ago when I read a study that documented the connection between childhood animal abuse and adult violence. Research has proven that all of the infamous serial killers tortured animals in their youth. I am especially fond of cats, and it was painful for me to write about the torture, but I wanted to connect animal abuse with human abuse—they are both horrible and no punishment is too severe.
Charley is an interesting and deftly developed character. What were some ideals you wanted her character to embody?
Charley appeared in my head three years ago. I envisioned a smart, strong, independent woman who, at the same time, is flawed—a woman who has been tested and punished, a woman who can be the best friend ever or the worst enemy ever. She is the first to risk everything to help those who deserve it and the first to punish those who deserve it. The scars on her body speak for themselves.
I felt like this novel was able to capture both the darkness and beauty of humanity. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
I’m glad you saw both sides of the actions and characters. Loyalty is definitely one of the themes that accompanies Charley in every book, and I’ve found that readers respond strongly to the characters who have become part of her “team.” Justice, a theme that is generally attached to crime novels, provides both satisfaction and confirmation—whether delivered by the legal system or by a beautiful blond woman who often creates her own system.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
The fourth novel in the Charley Anderson Crime Series if tentatively titled Homegrown Heat. It should be available within a year—Charley’s not a patient character and trouble has already found her.
“What begins with a cat ends with a corpse. Rescuing a maimed cat thrown into traffic on New York’s Fifth Avenue is just the beginning. As Charley hunts the torturers, she discovers layers of abuse and corruption that reach an ocean away.
Maybe it’s the ca, maybe it’s the fact that Charley is so determined to unravel the mystery. . . that makes The Tattooed Cat by Natrelle Long so interesting. Once your attention is grabbed there is no escaping the desire to read every single word and find out…how the cat and the nefarious deeds of a single man are interconnected…This is a book you won’t regret picking up.” Literary Titan