So, THE GAME anthology is live and available everywhere (in all kinds of formats: print, Kindle, Nook, Sony, iStore), so the time of introducing you to The Game’s authors is now over. So what do I have in store for my loyal blog readers in the upcoming weeks? Well, for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be introducing you to a few brand new authors that I really think you should get to know. Then, in a few weeks, I have a very special surprise in store…I will be writing a book online, chapter by chapter for all to see. But this won’t be just any old piece of fiction. I will actually be writing a How-to book for authors entitled “Tripping Over Your Corpses: A Writer’s Guide to Forensic Death Investigation”. Don’t worry, it will be a relatively short book…but very instructive and I think everyone will enjoy it (whether you’re a writer or not). Simply put…even if you’re just a fan of mysteries or CSI, you’ll definitely want to read this book. But, like I said, that’s a few weeks away still.
There’s much to share before then…and how better to get started than by introducing you to a fantastic thriller author that I think you’ll really enjoy. Let me introduce you to Paul Byers, author of ARCTIC FIRE and CATALYST.
ARCTIC FIRE is Byers’ newest thriller and features an “Everyman” hero going up against a wealthy megalomaniac bent on world domination…using an iceberg on its way to New York City. Intrigued? You should be! It’s an amazingly fun concept. Here’s the product description for the book:
Wealthy entrepreneur Nigel Cain has devised an efficient new way to bring the earth’s most precious resource – clean water – to the masses by transporting massive man-made icebergs from the frigid arctic and delivering them literally to the doorsteps of millions.
Gabriel Pike works in a small engineering firm that has been handed the chance of a lifetime – they have been chosen to give the final safety approval to pilot the gigantic block of ice into New York harbor. A consummate showman, Cain has built a fabulous 5-Star hotel and casino high atop the iceberg so his celebrity guests and media elite can cover this news-breaking event from beginning to the end. Pike is whisked away and dumped in the lap of luxury where he is expected by all too simply rubber-stamp his inspection.
A brutal winter storms ravages the iceberg and only through Pike’s quick thinking are they able to survive. But the storm reveals more than Pike’s ability to think on his feet, he makes some disturbing discoveries and has serious doubts about the safety or the real intentions of the project. A grisly double homicide on the ice puts the inspections on the back burner and Pike’s life is suddenly spiraling out of control as he is accused of being the jealous murderer in a lover’s triangle.
But Pike soon discovers that there is far more than just his life on the line. He uncovers a conspiracy more heinous than anything he could have imagined – a plot that will level a city, change the political face of America and whose shockwaves will be felt around the world. Now, if only he can only survive long enough to stop it.
PRAISE OF ARCTIC FIRE:
“A new twist on a classic battlefield ploy finds an iceberg controlled by a megalomaniac on a collision course with NYC. A provocative blend of fact and fiction that explores issues surrounding a critical natural resource, fresh water, Arctic Fire is bound to leave readers thirsty for more.” – Rick Chesler, author of kiDNApped and WIRED KINGDOM.
“Audacious and ambitious, Arctic Fire burns with action, and chills with the possibilities of what the future may hold. A thriller not to be missed!” – Sean Ellis, author of INTO the BLACK.
“A madman’s insatiable quest for power could level a major Ameri-can city and kill thousands, ushering in a New World Order. Arctic Fire is a thrill-ride that will leave you breathless.” – Jeremy Robinson, bestselling author of INSTINCT and THRESHOLD.
See? Told you it sounded amazing! But I’ll let Paul tell you more about it in a minute or two, as well as let him tell you about his other book, a WWII thriller called CATALYST (which I personally can’t wait to sink my teeth into!). Here’s what he had to say:
1) Your newest book Arctic Fire is such a cool concept. It sounds part action/adventure, part sci-fi, and part murder mystery. Where did the inspiration for this story come from? What was the stories genesis and how did it develop?
First of all I just want to say thank you to you, Kent for having me on and to you the readers, for taking the time to stop by and have a look.
Don’t laugh at this but the genesis, the original concept for Arctic Fire and sequels came from a Warner Brothers cartoon in the 1990’s called Pinky and the Brain. It was about two genetically altered lab mice who tried to take over the world. The opening credits were always the same:
Pinky: “Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”
The Brain: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky—try to take over the world!”
The threat of nuclear holocaust, invasion from aliens and bio terrorism, while done right is exciting and action packed, has been done over and over again. Like the Brain, I was looking for new and creative ways to take over the world. I wanted to take ideas that at first sound totally out there, and with science based facts and a little imagination, create an exciting story that will leave the reader wondering where the facts end and the imagination begins. To prove my point, take a look at the example below. Does this story idea sound like it’s a little farfetched?
A spaceship travels back in time to capture two whales that are now extinct and brings them to the future where they can talk to an alien probe that is destroying the earth.
Sound a little crazy? A little familiar? This is the basic plot for Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home. It sounds crazy on paper but it made a good movie. That’s why my ideas may sound crazy on paper but after reading the book you’ll nod your head and say “Yeah, I can see that happening.” I can’t say too much more about my story without giving things away, but let’s just say that the Brain would approve of the plot and there is real science behind it. For this specific end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story, I got the idea from a program on The History Channel.
I also wanted to create a series with the same believable hero and recurring characters that are thrust into situations they could not have imagined. I plan to start the sequel to Arctic Fire early next year where Pike is once again flying by the seat of his pants and saving the world again.
2) Can you tell us about a few of the characters in the story? Who are they? What are they?
Our hero is Gabriel Pike and I wanted him to be the “everyman hero.” He isn’t ex-military, a Kung fu master or a super hero; he is an ordinary man put into extraordinary circumstances. He is not a wimp by any mean as he flies a Korean War vintage F-86 Sabre jet. Pike is an engineer so he sees thing just a little bit differently than the rest of us and even though he’s used to running out structural calculations to five decimal points, he lives by the simple motto that there are few things in life that can’t be fixed with a bigger hammer or a roll of duct tape!
Our villain in the story is, Nigel Cain. Cain is a self-made man and is one of the wealthiest men on the planet. And being wealthy, the press thinks he is prone to being eccentric with his latest stunt, but there is method to his madness. His passion, devotion and his vision of the future are his greatest assets… but our greatest threat.
3) Now you have another book, Catalyst…which sounds like a fantastic read! (I honestly have it on my Kindle awaiting to be read and can’t wait to read it). For people who don’t know, tell us a little about Catalyst. Describe it in your own words.
Catalyst is WWII spy thriller inspired by true events; the fact that the Germans were formulating a plan to bomb New York. Catalyst is not alternate history, just my take on how things might have happened, and as the cover suggests, there’s a lot of action with twists and turns. All the aircraft and gadgets used in the book are real, even the flying wing on the cover. I created a companion website, www.catalystwwiifacts.com
that has some interesting facts about the planes from the book and WWII in general.
One little teaser I’ll throw in. In the book, our hero, Captain Griff Avery works for the OSS (the forerunner to today’s CIA) and he is picking up some money to send to his resistance cell. What they do in the book is what they did in real life to age the money so as not to give the agent using it away to the ever lurking Gestapo. Strange but true.
4) What is it about Nazis, do you think, that make such fantastic villains (I mean, besides the obvious)? Frankly, I see a story where Nazis are the villains and I automatically get excited to read the story. Even after all these years, why do you think they hit such a cord with us?
I think there are several reasons why we love to hate the Nazis. In WWII and for that generation, the Nazi Swastika personified evil. When a Nazi SS officer walked into the room with his black uniform, you knew you were in trouble. Today, the lines are more blurred between good and evil, there is no clear face of the enemy like there was with the Nazis.
For those who aren’t history buffs let me compare them in a more modern day setting, and work with me on this one. The Nazis were like the Borg from Star Trek. They were cold, calculating, methodical and just kept on coming. They took everything, your way of life, belongings, your home, your very life at times, but often they took who you were and changed it forever. That is why we hate them and that is why we love to see them beaten.
I also want to make a quick note here. In writing a story about WWII and Germany, I try not to vilify the German people or the German army in general. Most were just doing their duty like we were. It was the Nazi party and SS who were the true evil and not only did we suffer from it, but the German people did as well.
5) Besides writing, what other things to you enjoy doing? Hobbies, etc?
You mean there is something besides writing? When I’m not pounding on the keyboard, I’m pounding the enemy into submission over the skies of Europe or the Pacific. I enjoy playing a WWII flight simulator (Warbirds) that I’ve been playing online for over 10 years now. I also enjoy building model planes and ships, never got into model cars though. Nothing terribly exciting like one author I know who practices throwing tomahawks, and she’s good at it.
6) What authors out there are some of your biggest inspirations? Who would you say you most emulate in your writing style? Who would you like to be compared to? Why?
One of my biggest inspirations is Jeremy Robinson. Not so much in his writing style–don’t get me wrong, he has some great books that are fun and exciting to read–but because of what he has done after he’s written them. In Arctic Fire, Cain is the consummate showman. In reality, Jeremy is the consummate marketer.
He has broken new ground in marketing with video campaigns, contests and just plain hard work. It has taken him about 10 years to become an overnight sensation. I’ve got 4 years in, so I’m well on my way!
As for writing styles, I don’t have one author that I can point to that I like to copy, so to speak. I like Clancy and again Robinson for their shorter chapters that are mini cliffhangers that keep the reader interested and Dean Koontz for his descriptive writing. There are, of course, other writers I’ve read and tried to take the good from to make myself a better writer, but if I had to name one overall, I’d have to say that I want to be like Mike! Some of you will get that reference.
Michael Crichton has written so many great books with fantastic storylines that there are just too many to mention. He’s clever and imaginative and bases his stories in facts with equal amounts of imagination, something that I am striving to do with my books. I have some big shoes to fill and a ways to go, but I’m up to it!
7) I ask this question of all my guests, but always enjoy the answer. If you could offer only one piece of advice for aspiring writers, what would that one piece of advice be?
The number one thing I can pass on and would hope to instill in anyone who wants to write is simple; just do it! Wherever I go, I run into people who say they’ve always wanted to write a book but never got around to it. I always try to encourage people to write, telling them that I am the perfect example of just getting down and writing. I was published at the young age of 50!
It took me about three and a half years to finish Catalyst and two for Arctic Fire. A long time yes, but I finished it. If I can do it, so can you; whether it’s the great American novel, poetry or just dear diary. Getting it down on paper, or in this day and age, into a computer file, is the first and most important step; everything else will come later.
Just do it and keep at it! A writer writes!!
Thanks Paul, for the great interview!!
And readers, I highly encourage you to check out Paul’s books. Here are links to Amazon to make the search easier for you: