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History Is Not Always Pretty

Ed Protzel Author Interview

Ed Protzel Author Interview

Honor Among Outcasts continues the story of the Dark Horse inhabitants that joined the Union Army as soldiers in the Missouri State Militia Calvary. What direction did you want to take this book that was different from book one in the series?

In the first novel of my DarkHorse Trilogy, The Lies That Bind set in the antebellum South, I wanted to debunk many stereotypes and myths about blacks, whites, rich and poor, regarding slavery and gender. Southern literature is generally about powerful aristocrats who make fortunes, and often ignores the slaves who actually did the work or gives them little credit. So I created a situation where the protagonist, Durksen Hurst, a hustler/drifter, forms a secret partnership with a group of escaped slaves to build their own egalitarian plantation in the fictional hamlet of Turkle, Mississippi. But, rather than the white man, one of the slaves, Big Josh Tyler, who had run his former master’s plantation, is the natural leader of the group and is greatly responsible for their enterprise’s success. (Such was often the case, historically.)

Developing the novel into a trilogy allowed me to show the full historical arc and the resultant changes of the time period: from antebellum South/slave society (The Lies That Bind, book 1); to the Civil War years (Honor Among Outcasts, book 2); and end in post-war Reconstruction (Something in Madness, book 3). You see the arc.

Together, the three novels depict the historical developments and their effects on the men and women, black and white, of all social stations.

So to answer your question, in book 2, Honor Among Outcasts, the milieu, conflicts, plot, and themes all had to be completely different from book 1, as will those in the third.

I felt like you did a great job with the historical details and facts. What were some things that you felt had to be accurate and what were some things you took liberties with?

Although I am a big Civil War buff, I didn’t want to write a typical battle-type novel. Fortunately, the guerrilla war in western Missouri was like modern-day Syria, with terrible murders and depredations like the massacre and burning of Lawrence, Kansas, by Quantrill’s Confederate bushwhackers. In Missouri, combatants of both sides took scalps! I felt it important for the characters to face these major events in order to illuminate humanity’s potential for brutality and cruelty.

Also, in the spring of 1863, President Lincoln began to allow “colored” regiments to be formed, but these required a white officer to lead them. Naturally, having the DarkHorse partners form their own regiment was a nice parallel to their dreams of the democratic enterprise depicted in The Lies That Bind.

Throughout Honor Among Outcasts, I tried to remain faithful to the difficulties and unique dangers these regiments and the local populace actually faced. In rare cases, I had to move minor events around to aid the narrative. For example, a train raid massacre like the one in Honor did take place, but at a later date and at a different location. Nevertheless, in writing book 2, the actual history did very much shape the story.

The characters were very well developed in this story, which led to some heartbreaking scenes when some characters met their end. What was your decision process like in deciding who stays and who goes?

Heightened emotions give your themes greater impact. I hated to kill off some of the characters I’d become attached to, but in doing so, the reader is able to feel the senseless terror and cruelty of the time, which required more than the characters merely observing the conflict.

For example, wise Big Josh is the backbone of the DarkHorse partnership, despite the many loses in his past that he carries in his heart. So when his mate, Ceeba, found late in life, is one of the three women killed in the train massacre, the poignancy of the event is increased. Plus, Josh’s emotional state throughout the rest of the novel is deepened. Similarly, in the Lawrence massacre a relatively unarmed colored regiment training there actually was massacred. How could I ignore that in my novel? And with the loss of a favorite DarkHorse character during the Lawrence raid, I hoped to bring out the horror of that event. (I, myself, had to recover after writing that wrenching scene.)

Where will book three in the Dark Horse Trilogy take readers and when will it be available?

In the final novel, Something in Madness, at war’s end the surviving characters return to Mississippi, only to confront new indignities restricting the rights of freedmen in the South.

Researching the Black Codes, lynchings, and other humiliations perpetrated on blacks during Reconstruction made writing book 3 tough, and I expect it will be tough on the reader, as well.

History is not always pretty. I only hope the DarkHorse Trilogy does its part to see that such cruelty and hatred doesn’t re-occur. Something in Madness is planned for release in 2019.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Honor Among Outcasts (DarkHorse Trilogy Book 2) by [Protzel, Ed]After their harrowing escape from Mississippi, abolitionist Durksen Hurst, his fiancée Antoinette DuVallier, and their friends — a group of undocumented slaves — land in guerrilla-infested Civil War Missouri, the most savage whirlwind of destruction, cruelty, and death in American history. Trapped in a terrifying cycle of murder and revenge, scarred by Quantrill’s cold-blooded Lawrence massacre and the Union army’s ruthless Order Eleven, Durk and everyone he cares for soon find themselves entangled in a struggle for their very survival.

Honor Among Outcasts takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey of desperate men and women caught up in the merciless forces of hatred and fear that tear worlds apart, and the healing power of friendship to bring them together.

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The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park Book Trailer

In Yellowstone National Park, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a girl of mysterious origins is adopted from infancy by Old Faithful geyser, and by a mother buffalo named Bearer of Song. Beloved to all the park, Flower of the Steam Basin grows up with their stories, proverbial sayings and teachings.

In time, having met a child her own age and her parents, trust ripens between families, and Flower of the Steam Basin gains a closely protective circle of human friends. At nine years old, she is brought face-to-face with Retired Lieutenant Ned Halpen of the Yellowstone Cavalry, whose exemplary career embodied the role of protector of Yellowstone’s spiritual and physical heritage.

In the wake of Lt. Halpen’s passing one year later, her sacred vow to continue his legacy brings both reward and mortal danger. And when the circle is breached, Flower of the Steam Basin and her father are forced to choose between her own safety and well-being and the performance of her sworn duties.

This is her story, as seen through the eyes of Yellowstone.

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Outlawry

Dr. Jerry Hammersmith Author Interview

Dr. Jerry Hammersmith Author Interview

Letters to Mary Susan chronicles the life and adventures of a Missouri outlaw that is in prison for manslaughter and is trying to reconnect with his daughter through letters. What was your inspiration behind this story?

The book’s main character, Jim Howard, was one of my father’s boyhood heroes and he’d retained “Jim Howard stories” for over 70 years. I’d promised him, in 2002 to make these stories central to a book with Jim Howard as its main character.

This is a great historical fiction novel that got a lot of the details right. What kind of research did you do for this novel to keep things accurate?

I did a lot of online and library research re: pre-Civil War, Civil War, post-Civil War “outlawry (“guerilla warfare”), Cattle drives, the rise of Montana outlawry and the “Wild Bunch,” Big Muddy outlawry, leading to personal interviews and old newspaper/library reviews regarding homesteading and personal interviews with prison personnel regarding prison characteristics as well as older individuals with recollections of the Prison Chaplain’s, Howard’s lawyer’s and Howard’s daughter’s roles in his release from jail.

What I liked about James’s character was that he held nothing back and didn’t try to cast himself in a good light, just told it like it is. What themes did you want to capture while you were writing his character?

That redemption and a new start is possible for us all.

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

A book of poetry that I hope to have ready before the end of this year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Letters to Mary Susan: From her Outlaw Father by [Hammersmith, Jerry]A historical fiction that draws the reader into the near past

In his historical novel, LETTERS TO MARY SUSAN, Jerry Hammersmith chronicles the life and adventures of a Missouri outlaw, James Marion Howard. The novel is narrated by an aging Jim Howard as he begins to serve a sentence of fifteen years for Manslaughter. His lonely prison cell in the newly built Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert is the impetus to repent and reconnect with his past.

Through Jim’s reflections and letters to his long-estranged daughter, Mary Susan, the novel becomes a chronicle of the life of a Missouri outlaw who fled post Civil War America, leaving behind his wife and family and seeking escape from the law by racing across the western states, robbing stage coaches, trains and banks, until a posse chases him across the 49th parallel and into the newly formed Saskatchewan, Canada. He finds a new life and becomes a citizen of Canada after fulfilling the homestead requirements and establishing a new identity there.

As Howard recalls his outlaw past, Hammersmith leads the reader into the saga of the American Civil War, the tragedy of post war devastation and the flight of an insurgent guerrilla on the run to homestead in the ‘promised land’ of Canada. The surprising identity of that outlaw and his place in the small community of Teddington, Saskatchewan provides a tale of adventure, mystery and passion.
The twists and turns of this amazing story offer a glimpse into the ravages of the Civil War and the aftermath of the brutal and senseless vengeance that stole the lives of many young men. It leads the reader to an understanding of the path of a man’s choices and the hope that redemption is possible for us all.

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Donovan’s Bride Book Trailer

Lilly Donovan is ready to escape the misery of her abusive marriage to billionaire playboy Shane. His drinking and cheating convinced her that she has no choice but to leave. Before Lilly can get a divorce, Shane suddenly dies of a heart attack, leaving her a wealthy widow, with a tract of very expensive real estate as her nest egg. Owning the land means she’ll be financially well off…and most of all…free of all things Donovan. Until older brother Grant steps into the picture, threatening to awaken her damaged heart.

Grant Donovan fell in love with Lilly the moment he set eyes on her. Unfortunately, she was already his brother’s wife, so he had no choice but to keep his distance. Now that she’s a widow, he won’t lose her a second time. He pulls out all the stops to win Lilly’s love, but she has her own ideas about her future. She fears Grant only wants to marry her so he can get his hands on the property. Now, Grant must convince Lilly that she is the only treasure he wants. Can Lilly find love and healing in the arms of another Donovan brother, or will she turn her back on a chance at happiness?

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End of Knighthood Part III: Ballad of Demise – Book Trailer

The resistance fighters have suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Chancellor Venloran. With many of his enemies dead or imprisoned, the Chancellor is ready to move to the final phase of his scheme: The International Summit. The historic event is just hours away, drawing leaders from all over the world to the United Nation Headquarters in New York City. Venloran believes peace through dominance is at last at hand.

At the same time, Will is hell bent on launching an assault on that very night, though the remaining troops are weary and few in number. The renegade cyborg has the help of tech experts Alex and Bri, along with pilot Gabriella, but the opposition may be more than they can handle. Awaiting any threat are the Chancellor’s deadliest soldiers, among them the cyborg hunter Aliss Howard and Will’s very own former superior officer, General Kane. Looming in the back of Will’s mind is the reality that innocent people will have to die to see his vengeance finally realized.

As both sides prepare to collide, none are aware that an unscrupulous politician, Secretary General Vanzetti, is eager for the bloodshed to begin.

Check out the finale of the End of Knighthood Arc and prepare for a thrill ride. The Reverence Series transcends the science fiction genre and will entertain readers of horror, war, fantasy, and even the western.

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Exporter of Popular Culture

Linnea Mills Author Interview

Linnea Mills Author Interview

I Spy with My Little Eye analyses and discusses our changing behaviours as a society. Why was this an important book for you to write?

This book was important for me to write for three different reasons. First, on a personal level, researching and writing this book has helped me think through a number of concerns that have been in the back of my mind for a while about the direction in which our society is heading. As a result of this process, I’m more convinced than ever that I, as a parent, need to make active choices that go against some of today’s societal trends if I’m to provide my children with a sensible worldview and a solid starting point in life.

Second, I find it worrying that there isn’t greater debate about the values and norms underpinning our society. I think we need to acknowledge and perhaps rethink many of our behaviours if we wish to solve some of the symptoms of ill-health that are plaguing our societies, such as stress and anxiety, financial indebtedness and shallow aspirations. It’s difficult to change course if we don’t know where we’re heading. Acknowledging the problems is therefore a good start. I raise a lot of issues for discussion in this book and it’s my hope that it will be used for spurring debates in schools, book clubs and other places.

Finally, as I see it, questions around morality have too often been outsourced to, and monopolized by, organized religion. What I want to show by using the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues is that being religious is not a precondition for being concerned about, and engaging in discussions around, morality.

This book uses a combination of statistics, quotes and recent topics to illustrate various points. I thought the research was outstanding. What was one thing that surprised you while you were researching this book?

On the whole, the data I used in the various chapters supported the hunches I already had about the issues I raise. In that sense I wasn’t particularly surprised by what the data showed. That said, I was still horrified to have my suspicions confirmed, especially when it came to statistics concerning children, such as the large amount of time they, on average, spend in front of screens, and the little time they spend outdoors.

This book looks at some of the problems affecting Britain s society today. Is there a problem that is unique to Britain? What is a problem that is shares with the world?

Although I’m drawing on material mainly from the British context, the issues I’m discussing are applicable to many more countries than the UK. I would argue that much of what I write about are trends found across the Western world. For example, in the first chapter titled Pride I discuss how today’s ‘celebritisation’ – the increased celebration of celebrities – affects the aspirations of young people towards careers that come with fame and glamour. This trend is far from unique to Britain. Seeing, for example, that the reality TV series Keeping Up with the Kardashians is apparently aired in 167 countries, I would say this issue is rather widespread.

Also, the role of the West as a predominant exporter of popular culture and information means that the norms and values we experience today in Britain may well be the norms and values experienced across the developing world in the years to come, if they aren’t already.

I think it would be a worth-while exercise to organize cross-cultural debates around the issues I raise in this book. For example, it would be interesting to set up panel debates at universities for students from different countries to discuss commonalities and differences in how they perceive values and norms playing out in their respective societies.

I understand that you currently live in London, but you’ve also lived in various other countries. How has this affected you as a citizen?

I was born and raised in the Northern Swedish countryside and I have moved many times as an adult, both within countries and across countries and continents. For over a decade now I’ve called England my home; starting off in London, moving out to the Essex commuter belt, and more recently setting up shop in rural Devon.

These moves have naturally altered the mirrors in which I see myself in relation to other people and cultures. Each time these contextual mirrors have changed I have had to step out of autopilot mode and take stock. In that sense, I think the many moves have made me wiser and more understanding as a person. They have also added a comparative perspective to my societal observations. For example, I think I have a better grasp of American politics because I’ve lived in both Montana and Washington D.C. And, I think I understand European geopolitics better because I’ve called Sweden, France, Spain and the UK my home.

On the other hand, I would probably have exercised a louder societal and political voice if I had stayed in my home country. Being an immigrant comes with a natural wish to blend in, and to be accepted. Especially after Brexit, I have sadly found myself adding things like ‘my husband is British’ or ‘I’ve been in England for many years’ when I meet new people simply to justify my existence in this country. I must also admit that I’ve had a fear when writing this book that people will think ‘who are you to come here and judge us?’ I sincerely hope the book won’t evoke such feelings.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

In my next book I highlight the Western world’s evaporated trust in politics, business, and international institutions and argue that we need to tackle this lack of trust through greater focus on integrity and honesty in public life. I shed light on a number of the mechanisms believed to induce integrity through interesting (and hopefully amusing) cases from around the world, including whether Donald Trump’s fibbing can be stopped by naming and shaming, and if FIFA’s culture of corruption is finally an issue of the past. My intention with the book is to re-package academic research into an approachable format and let interesting cases bring the theories to life.

The book is only in its research phase so it won’t be ready for publishing for quite a while still.

Author Links: GoodReads | LinkedIn

I Spy with My Little Eye: A journey through the moral landscape of Britain by [Mills, Linnea]Which direction is our society heading in? Does it provide a good enough nurturing ground for the next generation to flourish? Is it time we took a good look at our values and behaviour and changed course? Dr Linnea Mills offers a frank discussion about the prevailing norms and values in today’s Britain, interpreted through the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues. She tackles head-on topics as diverse as celebrity culture, work-life balance, immigration politics and economic divisions. This is a book for anyone with a keen interest in society, philosophy and politics. Get inspired and join the debate.

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A Deal With God: The Power of One

A Deal with God: The Power of One

A Deal With God: The Power of One, written by Michael Haden, tells the tale of two sweethearts Rebeccah Johnson and Leon Samuels who fates are intertwined after a romantic summer night. But tragedy is to strike the family, leaving the three children without a mother and a broken husband who feels lost and alone. A deal struck with God means a beautiful woman, Deana Murphy, will enter their life; destined to help the family in their darkest days. Faith, love and admiration will blossom as Deana helps the family in ways they would least expect.

A Deal With God is a love story unlike no other as it delves into the complexity of families, grief and having faith in God’s plan. Prepare to fall in love with the characters as you laugh, cry and experience their accomplishments right by their side.

Matthew, Mark and Luke are Rebeccah’s and Leon’s sons. A premonition about their son Mark sees God sending a woman by the name of Deana Murphy to enter their lives. We learn about Deana’s life and her hardships at the beginning of the story which builds a beautiful persona for the reader. Deana has experienced suffering and pain that only few could endure and in a twist of fate, makes a deal with God to save her life. Through her everlasting endurance and commitment to her faith, Deana begins her life and recovery in the town of Dothan, Georgia. Her faith is inspiring as she takes on incredible responsibilities and weaves her way into a complicated life.

The themes in the book can be quite emotional and complex at times, creating a sense of urgency to find out what happens and whether the characters recover from their trauma. For these reasons, prepare to sit down and read the entire book in one sitting as it is easy to read, like a “I must know what happens” kind of story. The plot line is fast-paced but still stops to describe delightful outfits or luscious food that will leave your mouth watering. It also details sporting events, pulling it away from the romantic plot line and giving the reader a sense of adventure and energy.

A Deal With God explores the different dynamics that occur within families and how different people respond and react to death. It will push the reader to consider how their family dynamic may be affected by death and grief, or how you may feel when a wonderful stranger mysteriously walks into your life. The book is based on the traditions and beliefs of Christianity and I appreciated the real-life experiences the characters endured and how they continued their faith regardless of the tests that God threw their way.

Pages: 345 | ASIN: B006L9LG7U

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Desire Does not Equal Righteousness

Joshua Landeros Author Interview

Joshua Landeros Author Interview

In Ballad of Demise resistance fighters have suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Chancellor Venloran who has one more trick up his sleeve. What themes did you want to capture in this book?

I tried to encapsulate many, but probably the most important for me was that desire does not equal righteousness. No matter how much Will and Venloran believe they are doing the right thing, I wanted there to always be a call back to reality. Both of them struggle to come to terms with this, as men of great power often do. This also ties into the importance of the past, namely the mistakes of history. Even though they are each other’s respective nemesis, Venloran and Will have tried to outrun their sins by doing what they see as good. The weight of their actions, however, always comes calling home.

Super soldier Will Marconi continues to develop and surprise me with his depth. How have you seen this character change throughout the series?

Will is so interesting for me to writer because he is caught in-between his past and new life. He’s still trying to grapple with the value of life, something he’s forsaken for a very long time. What I really enjoyed in this one was that we see that Will has some desire for normality, but he’s given up on it. In Reverence he was a cold-blooded killer and that part of him still clings to him like a leech. Fighting that urge is the new connection he’s made with Gabby, Jacob, Alex, and especially Halsey. He’s no longer isolating himself and has begun to see humans as equals.

I felt that this book transcended many genres including science fiction, military and even western. Was this a conscious effort or something that happened organically?

A little bit of both. In my case, it’s just me following the age-old advice of “write what you love”. From the addition of swords to a future warzone to the classic Western-style stare down, I’m just writing what I know would make me sit back as a reader and say “This is just awesome!” Initially I was worried my series wouldn’t have enough flying cars and aliens, and maybe someday I’ll write stories about those, but I firmly believe the Reverence series is a blend of my childhood fantasies and adult realizations, and I think it connects with readers because of it.

With this being the last book in the End of Knighthood trilogy what story are you working on next? Will we get to see Will Marconi in any other stories?

My curse is a plethora of ideas. As hinted at the end of Ballad of Demise, the next arc will be a prequel. Like the End of Knighthood books, it will be a three part series. It’s going to focus on Will’s wife and daughter and how they got entangled in this whole ordeal. Since it takes place before Reverence, readers will get to see plenty of familiar characters like Dr. Robert Neeson, Chancellor Venloran, Halsey, and Will as well. The Marconi family will be the focus, along with plenty of new characters. Beyond the prequel arc, let’s just say I have a ton in mind. There will definitely be an arc that answers a lot of the questions raised by the finale of Ballad of Demise.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads

End of Knighthood Part III: Ballad of Demise (Reverence Book 4) by [Landeros, Joshua]

The resistance fighters have suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Chancellor Venloran. With many of his enemies dead or imprisoned, the Chancellor is ready to move to the final phase of his scheme: The International Summit. The historic event is just hours away, drawing leaders from all over the world to the United Nation Headquarters in New York City. Venloran believes peace through dominance is at last at hand.

At the same time, Will is hell bent on launching an assault on that very night, though the remaining troops are weary and few in number. The renegade cyborg has the help of tech experts Alex and Bri, along with pilot Gabriella, but the opposition may be more than they can handle. Awaiting any threat are the Chancellor’s deadliest soldiers, among them the cyborg hunter Aliss Howard and Will’s very own former superior officer, General Kane. Looming in the back of Will’s mind is the reality that innocent people will have to die to see his vengeance finally realized.

As both sides prepare to collide, none are aware that an unscrupulous politician, Secretary General Vanzetti, is eager for the bloodshed to begin.

Check out the finale of the End of Knighthood Arc and prepare for a thrill ride. The Reverence Series transcends the science fiction genre and will entertain readers of horror, war, fantasy, and even the western.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Resulting Blood Shed

Kwen Griffeth Author Interview

Kwen Griffeth Author Interview

In Vengeance is Mine Sam is determined to become the man he believes he was meant to be and fights for a life that leaves death and violence behind. How did you identify those things that were core to Sam’s belief and how did you set him on a path to find them?

Sam was raised like many young men, believing if he worked hard, did the right thing and believed good things would happen to him. Through the course his life took into combat and the resulting blood shed all those things were lost to him. Sam is a mix of several men I was lucky enough to meet while working as an alcohol rehabilitation counselor in the military. Many of the problems the men faced could be traced back to the horrors of war, which they were not prepared to face.

I felt that this novel took a more personal look at Sam’s character? Did you always have Sam’s character mapped out? Was there any surprises in his character development in this third book?

Originally, there was too be only one book. It was not until I got into the first book that I began to know Sam and the other characters as well. What I started as a typical western, more or less, became the story of a man finding his way back to himself, then reestablishing contact with others, and lastly making peace with his creator. It felt, at times, that Sam was telling me the story and I was to record it for him. Some people will read the story and say, “Sam and Laura got married, I knew it all along. But the real story is Sam finds his way to be worthy of marriage.

What is your writing process like? How do you set about creating such in depth characters?

I write as if I was on a land navigation course. I have a starting point, a few way points that I have to find and the ending point. To help me I have a map in my head that helps keep me on track and a mental compass that keeps me in the right direction. I allow the characters to tell the story as best I can. My characters are the backbone of my story. When asked what genre I write, my answer is I write people stories. I write and rewrite until the character becomes as real to me as my neighbor.

Is this the last book in Sam and Laura’s story? Or will there be more?

Several of the Sam and Laura fans continue to ask me to continue the series. For the couple, the story is complete, but there are several stories yet to be told with other characters. Johanna, Sam’s sister is a story rich in history and character. Hack Baskins and the other Texas cowboys, as well as G.W. Lincoln. I have other projects but I would like to round out the Sam and Laura universe.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Twitter

Vengeance Is Mine: Resurrections (Sam and Laura's Story Book 3) by [Griffeth, Kwen D]“The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. That means he must use violence every day of his life if he wants to eat and live another day. He can never wake up one morning and say to himself, “I no longer wish to eat mice and snakes; I want to eat seeds and nuts like the cardinal. No, he cannot do this and why? Because he was created in the image of a hawk.”

“I don’t see…”

“Sam, I know your father taught you this, but you have forgotten. The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. What image were you created in?”

Sam whispered, “God, I was created in the image of God.”

The Amish elder smiled, “Yes, you were created in the image of God and as such you were granted the ability to choose. You can choose to do right or wrong, good or bad, be peaceful or violent. You can even choose to eat mice and snakes if you like.”

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Passing Allusions

Ken Cressman Author Interview

Ken Cressman Author Interview

Becoming Samantha Colt is book 4 in the Larkin and Colt series. What did you want to accomplish in this book that pushed the series into interesting places?

When I began this series, I developed a detailed backstory for the main characters of Larkin and Colt. It was just for myself, so I would know who these people were, where they came from, and how they got to be who they were. Over the course of the first three books, I made passing allusions to some of the things in their past, like Larkin mentioning that Colt grew up homeless, their team being wiped out on a botched mission, things like that. Larkin also occasionally mentions some of the missions they’d done, if it happened to relate to something that was happening in the present. I never intended to write a detailed account of their pasts, but eventually it became inevitable. I felt the need to tell Sam’s story from her point of view, in her own words, to more fully explore the character. It was also an opportunity to fill in some of the details of things that had been mentioned in passing.

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

Through the process of writing the other books, the character of Colt became clearer in my mind as I found out more about her. In the end, she wanted to have her story told, and I just had to do it. Once I started, the story almost seemed to write itself, as if she was telling it to me and all I had to do was write it down. I had the starting point and I knew where she ended up, so what I had to do was fill in the details of how she got there. With this book the story comes full circle, as the final chapter is identical to an early chapter in the first book, but this time told from her perspective.

Samantha is a strong character that is meticulously developed. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?

Many people who have read the books have said they were intrigued by the Samantha Colt character. Some have even said she was their favorite and wanted to know more about her. I had deliberately kept her sort of in the background, to make her more mysterious, and to keep her personality somewhat ambiguous. She was the main hero’s partner and sidekick, but there was always the sense that you weren’t quite sure what she would do. I think it made her seem just a little bit dangerous.

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

I am currently working on a book entitled Intrepid. It’s a sequel to my previous book Pegasus, which is set about a hundred years in the future. In the previous book, the crew of Pegasus traveled to the moon and back. This time they’re going to Mars, and when they get there things go horribly wrong. Then they’ve got to figure out a way to get their crippled ship home before their food and air run out. It’s kind of a cross between The Martian and Apollo 13, and it should be out sometime in the Fall.

Author Links: Amazon | Twitter

Becoming Samantha Colt (Larkin and Colt Book 4) by [Cressman, Ken]A nameless, homeless girl grows up on the streets of Baltimore. From a painfully young age she must learn to take care of herself, feed and clothe herself, and defend herself from those who would do her harm. When she’s arrested for shoplifting as a teenager she’s recruited by a mysterious organization, where she meets David Larkin and everything changes. He becomes her teacher, her mentor, her partner and eventually her best friend. This is the fourth book in the exciting Larkin and Colt adventure series, this time told from her perspective, in her own words, as she learns who she is, what she can do and who she can become. 

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