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Are They All Heartless

Author Interview
Steven. B Clegg Author Interview

Blood in the Medicine Bowl is a riveting story exploring the consequences of poaching and kidnapping. What was the inspiration for your story?

My story has its origins in my desire to do something concrete to protect the poaching of wild animals, specifically in the context of South Africa. There has been a very tragic demise of the rhino population due to the greed of criminal syndicates. The more I read and heard about it, the more distressed I became. I wanted to write about this tragedy, but I realized that this ongoing story of plunder, smuggling and greed was well-covered in the worldwide news media. I wanted to go deeper than the news articles and television reports, I really wanted to penetrate the thinking of the criminals involved. I asked myself a question: Are they all heartless, greedy and savage gangsters? Or are some just uninformed traders who view elephant ivory and rhino horn as I would see a fillet of salmon on my dinner plate? So, I began my research into rhino-horn poaching. I realized that I empathize strongly with game rangers, conservationists and police. I came up with a list of possible characters that would be necessary to make this kind of story work. I found that I needed game rangers, detectives, poachers, crime-syndicate kings and even diamond smugglers. I wanted to focus on South Africa, but I also needed to include characters and events in Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The characters in the story are interesting and well-developed. What are some of the driving ideas behind your characters’ development?

If you are writing a crime story, it is crucial to have lovable crime-fighting heroes. So I developed a game ranger who had an almost fatherly, human affection for his animals. Next I fashioned two more characters. These were two steely detectives who are dead set on success in their careers. These detectives are passionate about their jobs and work relentlessly to put crime-kings behind bars. As my story has its heroes, so its villains are equally vital. I spent a lot of time crafting these characters, in a way that readers would despise their wickedness but also marvel at their prosperity and trickery.

What are some of the themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

For me justice is a really key issue. For wildlife and environmental lovers, it is heart- wrenching to read our daily news reports about the smuggling of animal parts and destruction of habitats. We want to hear of successful breakthroughs against the perpetrators. For the game rangers and activists who work hard everyday to protect and conserve species and environments, I want them to see victories. Another important theme is about redemption for the bad guys. Yes, most people want to see justice, but equally I want to hear that criminals see the error of their ways then turn around and become reformed. Does religion play a part? My novel explores this too.

What is the next book you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book is a children’s book for learners at Elementary School, Grades 1 -4. I am co-authoring this book, Arnie and the Space Rock, with Joshua Adams. We are expecting it to be published by December 2021. This book is an endearing story that will appeal both to children and adults as a modern moral fable. I believe that this book’s USP (unique selling point) is that it combines a good story with environmental education. It is written in the context of global warming, climate change, environmental destruction and various other stresses on our planet.

Author Links: Good Tree Fruit Media | Facebook

Blood In The Medicine Bowl Book Review

Blood In The Medicine Bowl

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Blood In The Medicine Bowl, by Steven Bryan Clegg, is a book that contains two pivotal stories, and both need to be told. The first is about the importance of awareness of poaching rhino horns for money, and the second is about the alertness of crime against humanity with the kidnapping of children. The story’s main setting is South Africa. A rhino having been poached is unlawfully sent to Vietnam to be prepared for illegal sale. The horn is boiling in a pot at Mr. Bui’s home when his 10-year-old son accidentally cuts his finger, the blood dripping into the boiling pot. Meanwhile, Detective Elizabeth Beyes works feverishly to track down and capture a kidnapper of children. Her search leads her to a magician who also steals rabbits called Magic Pete.

Author Steven Bryan Clegg begins his riveting story with a barrage of scenes and characters to setup his novels theme’s of the crime and consequences of poaching and kidnapping. His setting begins in South Africa, shoots to Vietnam, then to China, and back to Africa where he delves into the second plot involving Detective Liz Beyes and her partner, Detective Zahn Lin. Each scene is captivating, the locations are vivid and seem exotic. At times I found the introduction of so many characters a little overwhelming, but the story does a great job keeping the storylines separate, although I felt that it was hard to tell which storyline took priority. By the end of the novel, the story had come full circle and ends leaving the readers feeling satisfied. The dialogue is paced well and I enjoyed the conversations between characters in the story, which showcases Clegg’s talent of character creation. I found many of the characters to be relatable.

Blood In The Medicine Bowl is an intriguing story that dramatically explores the consequences of poaching and kidnapping in some creative and stirring ways. The combination of dual storylines ensure readers are consistently engaged with the story.

Pages: 297


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