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Author Patrick Parker Talks Suspense Thrillers

Welcome Author Patrick Parker

From GG: There’s no one better to tell a story than someone who has lived much of it. Patrick Parker’s military career took him to Southeast Asia, Europe and Panama. He drew from his defense experience and the many locales where he was stationed and fashioned them into fast-paced thrillers. His wife challenged him to write the his first book, Treasures of the Fourth Reich, and he was hooked. In his second novel, War Merchant, Parker wrote about a woman assassin and weapons broker. Let’s see what else he has to say.

You have written two suspense thrillers, Treasures of the Fourth Reich and your latest, War Merchant. What is your background and how did you come up with these two exciting books?

Author Patrick Parker

Author Patrick Parker

During my army career my family and I lived in Italy for five years and traveled extensively during my off duty time. We spent many hours visiting museums, castles, cathedrals, churches and historical sites in Europe. I was fascinated with the history. The Nazi lootings of treasures became the catalyst for Treasures of the Fourth Reich. I was sent to Panama before the invasion and, while there, I met a fascinating art dealer. She formed the basis for my character Maria in that story.

After retiring from the Army, I worked in the defense industry for fifteen years. I continued to pursue my writing and developed the concept of War Merchant. This story is taken from my corporate experience and coupled with my military background. After retiring a second time, War Merchant came to life.

Neither story is about war but about espionage, deception, betrayal, terrorism, and murder.  All the elements to make a good story coupled with a real world environment.

As a man, what were the greatest challenges in writing your female lead character in War Merchant and why did you choose a female protagonist?

War Merchant is available at Amazon.

War Merchant is available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

Dydre Rowyn, my female protagonist, is a combination of several women I knew from my corporate career.  She was definitely a challenge as I wanted her to be smart, cunning, very attractive, and deadly.  She also had to have a mother’s instinct.  A woman can be more dangerous than a man which I knew.  But it was her feelings, emotions, and knowing just how far a woman would really go to get her son back and protect him.  That was the challenge.

I received counsel from several mothers and from my wife.  I did drive my wife crazy trying to get it right.

In a story like War Merchant, people would typically expect this to be a male protagonist.  I thought it would be a lot more fun and exciting to have a female protagonist.

You used several locales for War Merchant. These included Africa, Europe, Central America and the States. How do the varying countries contribute to the story? You live in the US, but have you traveled abroad?

In the real world of government contractors and arms brokers, it’s a world-wide business. Every country has a military of some type. Countries hire government contractors (mercenaries, trainers or contractors, they are all basically the same) when they don’t have an army large enough to fight the conflict; a government cannot garner the political nerve to answer the call; or simply don’t want to get their hands dirty.

Dydre works for a black arms dealer in Germany.  Clay Zsigmond. Zsigmond, who became corrupted by money and power, is a consultant, supplier of arms, trainers, and services to the countries around the world. He brought a young defenseless and naïve Dydre into his business to do his dirty work. When she finally realized it, she was in so deep she became vulnerable if things went wrong or she crossed him.

I have traveled extensively internationally and believe it adds to the realism to incorporate international locations into the story as that is real world.

How has your military background helped you in your storytelling? Does it add depth to your story through shared experiences with your characters?

Yes, it gives it depth and adds realism. My characters and their environments are based on real places, people and events.  Even my FBI agent is based on real female FBI agents—tough as woodpecker lips.

My military background and defense industry experience has given me insight as to how things really work. I want my stories to be plausible and based on real events.

What do you see as the essential elements of a good suspense thriller?

First of all it should be believable. The details make a difference and must be right.  The protagonist should be faced with some sort of disaster or death and insurmountable odds.  Just as in our real world, all choices have consequences based on current circumstances.  The wrong decision can be disastrous.

I believe pacing is very important, use lots of action verbs and keep the story moving.

I like to use real events in the story.  For example in War Merchant, the assassination of the President of Rwanda which sparked the Tutsi and Hutu war, was a real event.  No one knows who was responsible for downing of his plane. This provides a glimpse of what Dydre does and what she is capable of doing. The action starts immediately.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

In Treasures of the Fourth Reich I used the real events of Nazi looting as the basis for that story. We are still seeing today real stories related to the looting as I have shown in my blog (http://bit.ly/1tTUjjv).

My next book is based on current events, ISIL, terrorists, and a real man-packed nuclear bomb.

Real life can be stranger, more complicated and more amazing than fiction.  This all makes for good story telling.

Why did you publish an e-book first instead of paper? What do you enjoy about self-publishing?

Once I received my manuscript back from the editor and finalized, it was very easy to publish as an e-book. The paperback edition required a little more work getting it into the format and the back cover completed.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich was first published by a royalty paying publisher. I didn’t have control and things I was promised never materialized. The publisher talked a big story and delivered a small package. Self-publishing gives me the freedom to do things that need to be done to market my books. If something isn’t done it is my fault and I have fewer frustrations.  Although I am a lot busier, I am a lot happier. I am getting more done and making better progress now as a self-published author. My royalties are much higher as well.

For more information and updates, please see:

Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1izsnBH

Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1pnfAoM

Twitter https://twitter.com/pparkerntx

Google + http://bit.ly/1xQof6e

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1pnLth0

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Does Adventure Die With Childhood?

Adventure Fantasy: Why I Write

When I began writing fiction I was certain that mysteries were what I wanted to write. I’d read all of Agatha Christie’s books as a child, but by contrast, I read a lot of Stephen King as well. I just swear too much to fit into the cozy genre. I know very little about guns which kind of places the police procedural or crime drama out of reach as well. But I can’t get enough of paranormal anything and everything so I went for a paranormal mystery. And yes, there is a mystery in “Reluctant Medium” in that Rachel’s father died mysterious. Was it an accident? Was it a murder?

Windsurfing Adventure Public Domain

Windsurfing Adventure
Public Domain

After publishing, I even placed the book in the mystery category, but as I wrote the next in the series, “Lemurian Medium,” things took an even stranger turn. It has to do with the lost continent of Lemuria (also called Mu). And Rachel has to learn to travel the astral plane—reluctantly of course—to get there. And she will have to ride a dragon to escape. Okay, so we’re definitely getting into new territory, unexplored parts.

My wonderful, supportive Florida friend, I’ll call her Cherie, is a voracious reader. She introduced me to some of her favorite authors: Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton. Then I discovered Patricia Briggs, Debora Geary, Jim Butcher and Elizabeth Hunter. Oh my, yes, good company indeed.

I did some research—something I love to do—and discovered the genre of fantasy, which is actually a subgenre of science fiction. It has a paranormal sub-subgenre and I went for it.

And here’s what fantasy is all about. Somewhere around the time we say “I do,” we take on a mortgage, a lawn and begin painting our house as a hobby. All that adventure we thought we’d enjoy as an adult evaporated. Most of us will not see the world, visit the space station or explore the Amazon rain forest. We’ll be too busy paying bills, doing laundry and oh yeah, painting our house, to be that adventurous person who lives deep inside ourselves.

Hiking the Inca Trail Bridge, Wikipedia Commons

Hiking the Inca Trail Bridge, Wikipedia Commons

We yearn for that incredible discovery that long-distance hiking or third-world travel holds. And while we may not want to dive out of an airplane or bungee-jump off Victoria Falls that thirst for the incredible journey won’t go away.

Which leads me to why I write fantasy. When I write this kind of story I can explore continents that may never have existed—but what if they had? What if there were dragons and we just haven’t found their remains yet? What if there is an astral plane and we can travel it? Where else can I fight (through my character) an ancient MesoAmerican deity that snacks on humans?

Rachel Blackstone can certainly do cynical, sarcastic and funny. She can also swear with the best of them. And on occasion, she and her friend Chloe smoke a bit of pot. And after dispensing evil spirits, Dracs and self-important (and hungry) antique deities, with the help of her spirit wolf and dead shaman friend, Rachel goes home, curls up with her psychic cat and writes her latest assignment.

Space Station, NASA Wikipedia Commons

Space Station, NASA
Wikipedia Commons

The answer to our lack of adventure is fantasy. The truly wonderful part of this book-writing thing; I get to go along too! We take this adventure together.

I hope you’ll share this trip with me. “Lemurian Medium” is due out September 1, 2013. It’s a fun story with a bit of fact and a bit of mythology—at least we think it’s mythological. What if it’s not? Hmmm.

Copyright G G Collins Available at Amazon

Copyright G G Collins
Available at Amazon

Read the adventures of the Reluctant Medium from the beginning.

“Atomic Medium” is already in the works. It will include alternative history, time travel and a space alien or two. After that, well, I feel a vampire story coming on. Maybe I can research that at a blood bank—or maybe not. One thing is certain, it will be fun.

— G G Collins

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