Let Me Introduce You To…Kerry Frey

One of the awesome things about owning your own publishing company–especially if you really love great books–is the incredibly talented, but brand new authors I come across. I mean, if you are a lover of books, you know all the big names: Preston & Child, King, Lee Child, Patterson, Berry, etc. And if you’re like me, some of those names you love and others…well, not so much. But the brand new authors….the guys you and I have never heard of…well, wow. Just imagine the potential. The talent and skill that possibly exists out there is limited only to our own prejudices or imagination. Honestly, it’s why I prefer reading independent authors. You just never know what you’re going to get. But since switching to reading almost primarily indie authors, I’ve discovered something amazing…some of the most incredibly gifted writers out there are people you and I have never heard of. Which brings me back to my original statement…it’s one of the most fun things about being a publisher. Discovering new talent.
And tonight’s featured author is one such talent. Kerry Frey, author of BURIED LIE (A Young Ace Roberts Adventure) is someone that you and I will want to be looking out for in the future…especially in the Young Adult Christian Adventure genre. You see, Kerry (in my experience) has three passions in life: Christ, kids, and adventure. So what better way to utilize all these passions than by becoming a writer of young adult fiction? And that’s exactly what he’s done with his debut novel.
Now before you ask, a few disclaimers are in order. Yes, BURIED LIE is unapologetically Christian in worldview. Yes, it is a book that is best classified by the industry term “Young Adult”, meaning that it is geared toward readers in their upper tweens and teens.  But first and foremost, it is a book filled with adventure! Mystery! Nazis. Zombies. Government conspiracies and portals to other dimensions. In essence, it is a book geared for anyone who loves exciting fiction in the vein of the Hardy Boys, Johnny Quest, or any number of young legend tripping fictional adventurers. As in all great Christian fiction, the story always comes first…so if you’re not a believer in Christ. Have no fear! You won’t feel as though you’re being preached at. You’ll simply get caught up in the amazing exploits of young Ace Roberts as he ventures out to save the world from a new Nazi threat. 
Have no idea what BURIED LIE is about? Have no fear! Here’s the back cover description:
Interior illustration by Christian Guldager

Some secrets should stay buried…. 
1961.  For more than fifteen years, a cabal of escaped Nazi war criminals has been scheming in secret to restore the glory of the fallen Reich.  Now they have set their sights on the one man who can lead them to a fantastic secret facility buried in the Arizona desert.  But kidnapping JJ Roberts, Yale Professor of Theology is a big mistake; not because he’s a member of the elite Skull & Bones fraternity, and not because he has friends in the highest levels of the American government.  Kidnapping JJ Roberts is a bad idea because his son is Ace Roberts…. 
Fourteen-year-old Ace is willing to risk anything to get his father back. With his girlfriend Debra and his best friend Brian at his side, he sets out on the adventure of a lifetime.  The intrepid teenagers will face unimaginable horrors as they journey into the desert, and to the very edge of existence, to uncover the truth behind… Buried Lie 

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, I’m not the only person who thinks so! Check out these testimonials from some of the biggest names in adventure fiction today:
Refreshingly original and immensely fun, Buried Lie is a rollicking, clever adventure tale for young adults featuring gun-toting zombies, nefarious Nazis, and a hidden secret of apocalyptic proportions.” Dirk Cussler, New York Times Bestselling Author of CRESCENT DAWN.

Buried Lie is a terrific read. Exciting, uplifting and consistently positive, kids will read it and yearn to be hero Ace Roberts, heading off on a great adventure. And the parents who read it, if they’re honest, will yearn for the very same thing.” Graham Brown, New York Times Bestselling Author of DEVIL’s GATE and THE EDEN PROPHECY.

Well, you guys know how this goes by now. Recently, I got with Kerry and had a chance to ask him a few questions about Ace Roberts, his writing career, and just about anything else I could think of. Here’s what he had to say:

1. Tell us, in your own words, about Buried Lie and about Ace Roberts. What is it about? Who exactly is Ace Roberts? Who are some of the supporting characters we will get to know as we read it?

Another illustration by Christian Guldager 
Conspiracy theories have always fascinated me. You know, that little ache in your brain that sometimes keeps you up at night wondering, “could this have happened?” The fact that there were no known major battles on US soil in World War II was one of those. What if there actually was one, and for the security of this nation, Roosevelt, and later Truman decided to bury it deep in the bowels of history. That is how Buried Lie came about. I wanted to write about the consequences of a decision of that magnitude using the adventure genre as the tool. And when I decided to make the hero a 14-year-old boy, one who is struggling with accepting God because of the loss of his mother to death, then I knew the story had to be centered on faith, and how he and his friends would react to the traumatic jolt of something happening to his father. Buried Lie is about a journey of discovery, one that deals with the reality of a fantastic cover-up and the consequences of it falling into the wrong hands; but at the same time a journey of a young hero gaining the strength and faith he needs to overcome unbelievable consequences.

2. This is your first published novel…though you’ve been in the writing community for quite some time with your work with the Clive Cussler group, etc. Tell us a little bit about your writing journey. What prompted you to get started?

I have always been a fan of Clive Cussler. I have read and re-read all of his novels over the years, and find his early work to be the “Cadillac” of the adventure genre. I discovered a discussion forum at Simon & Shuster that was all about Cussler and his work. I trolled the site for about a year, enjoying the discussion. One day I read where several members of the site decided to sponsor a short-story writing competition. The story had to be original, and could not contain any of the Cussler characters. I mentioned it to my wife, Carol who immediately challenged me to enter. I did, and was fortune enough to win. I later got asked to join the members in taking the competition to another level, so we created The Literary Idol – kind of a writer’s American Idol. That effort caught the eye of the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society. They asked if I might be interested in leading a writer’s workshop at their annual convention, and consider having the competition sponsored by the Society. The rest is history. We are now in the middle of the 3rd Adventure Writer’s Competition, with 26 writers submitting full-length manuscripts, and almost 1,800 fans at our Facebook site. The first two winners – Jeff Edwards and Ian Kharitonov both have successful writing careers. So, through my relationships with the Society, and the friendship of Clive, Dirk, and the other co-writers, I used their encouragement and support to begin my journey in writing.

3. Buried Lie is a young adult adventure novel. What is it about an adventure novel that you think captures everyone’s imaginations? Why do you think we’re drawn to them so much?

I asked this very same question at that first writer’s workshop I conducted at the Cussler Society Convention several years back. The answer I got was consistent. As an adult, everybody wants to read about an adventure that they are either unwilling or incapable of undertaking themselves. For instance, I suspect many would love to read about the challenge of climbing Mt. Everest, but few (if any) would actually undertake it. Most of us are physically and financially unable to do the things that writers put their characters through in an adventure novel. But kids, well they don’t have the burden of adulthood yet to clutter their minds on things like common sense and fiscal responsibility. Their minds are unlimited to what they think they can accomplish. Everybody remembers reading Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, and the Young Indiana Jones novels (I tried to capture several generations in those choices) as kids and how it made us feel. I want to recapture that feeling with the Young Ace Roberts adventures, and at the same time teach Christian values through a role model that parents can support.

4. Your book has Nazis trying to make a come back about 15 years after the War is over. In the book (without giving spoilers away), we see zombies, ghosts, portals to other dimensions, etc. Basically, everything awesome in an adventure story you can possibly have. What are some of your inspirations for your adventure story?

The first adventure of any novel character, or tent-pole movie must have the entire kitchen sink thrown in to be successful. Without a doubt, the most successful usage of that old adage is Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you know your movie history, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg sat on a beach in Hawaii so Lucas could escape his fear of failure of the first-week’s box office results of Star Wars. While they sat there, Spielberg told Lucas of his desire to direct a James Bond movie. Lucas told him he had a character better than James Bond, one that would be based on the format of old Republic serials of the 30’s that had a cliff-hanger each week. His Indiana Jones character would have the entire kitchen sink thrown at him with a multitude of cliffhangers in the course of the two-hour movie. That was my approach with Buried Lie.

5. What’s next for Ace and pals? What’s next for you as a writer?

Another illustration by Christian Guldager
I’m about a third through the first draft of Ace’s second adventure titled: Shadow of the Flag. I don’t want to give too much away, but in this adventure we will explore Native American spirituality, time-travel, and a fictional adventure novelist of the late 1800’s based on Jules Verne. We’ll do this while tying the Civil War with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. A little known fact of the war, the Russian fleet assisted President Lincoln and the Union in the blockade of the South; a tactic that Kennedy turned the tables on back in October 1962. Ace and his pals will get wrapped up this history in an amazing, and unbelievable way.

In October, I will hand Clive Cussler the envelope with the winner of the 2012 Adventure Writer’s Competition at the annual Clive Cussler Collector’s Society in Scottsdale, Arizona. He will announce the winner culminating the process that started last October with the submission of the 26 manuscripts.

6. When you’re not writing, what else do you do? Hobbies? Joys and passions?

I am a paid staff member of Southwest Christian Church, functioning as the Children’s Minister. I did this on a volunteer basis for 23 + years while I worked at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth. But when I retired in December 2011, it opened the door to come on staff. I love Jesus and children; so working to help educate the next generation of Christians is my main passion. The biggest joy I have in life is watching these kids grow in their walk with Christ, and taking that forward to their own spouses and kids later in life. I love to play golf. I even have a putting green (Bermuda-tiff for those that care) in my back yard. It is a lot of work to maintain, but a joy on my short game! I love movies, a passion that I was able to pass off to my son. He now works in the industry as a producer/technical director of several weekly TV shows; including the Best-Doc’s Network in DFW, Houston, and Nashville – and Tailgate Rivals, a college football centered show sponsored by Bud Light. My main joy is retired life with my bride of 28 years, working in the yard and sleeping in late when we can!

7. If you could only give one piece of advice to aspiring writers out there, what would it be?

It’s cliché, but very true and appropriate when you look at the history and journey I undertook with Buried Lie. 

Never give up – keep writing- but find a competent person to critique your work! 

Buried Lie went through a ton of changes before it finally got published. My first attempt at the novel had the character as an old man – who explained his adventures as a younger adult to a captured audience. It was critiqued and ripped apart (rightfully so) by New York Times Bestselling author Jack Du Brul as part of one of the writing competitions. Jack said, despite my flaws and mistakes, that I had the makings of a good story – and a demonstrated skill to overcome these handicaps. Another writer, Sean Ellis, saw some of these same abilities in me several drafts later and recommended my work to Kent. 

My advice, keep writing and find someone who is capable to critique your work. Make sure they are not too much of a friend that they would temper their critique, and not give you the honest constructive feedback you need to succeed. Once you have that, keep writing!  
Thanks, Kerry, for such great answers! And good luck with Buried Lie and your future writing endeavors! And friends…blog followers…strangers off the street…treat yourself. Pick up a copy of BURIED LIE today. If you have teens, heck…buy it and say it’s for them and sneak it out and read it when the kids go to bed. You’ll love it too! I promise. 
Here’s the link to Amazon:
It’s also available for ebook in all major formats (Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, Sony, etc.). And it will also be available as an audiobook in just a few months! So there’s no excuses! Get a copy soon. 

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