Posted by G G Collins
An Interview with Dydre Rowyn,War Merchant Protagonist
Character interviews are so much fun. We get to see how authors and their protagonists interact. They can be lighthearted or dead serious. Today, meet Dydre Rowyn, Patrick Parker’s lead in the War Merchant. I wouldn’t turn my back on her! GGC
by Patrick Parker (Copyright 2016)
War Merchant is a suspense-filled novel that crosses the globe in a world of corrupt politics, a ruthless greedy opportunist, terrorists, and a pawn with deadly skills. First a little about Patrick.
Patrick says his goal is to entertain you. He wants you to be thrilled and on the edge of your seat all the time, wondering what is going to happen next.
After retiring from the Army, he worked in the defense industry for fifteen years. Now writing full-time, he draws from his military and corporate experience to write fast-paced, suspense novels. Inspired by authors like Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, John le Carré and, of course Tom Clancy, his books will keep you on the edge of your seat.
His previous title, Treasures of the Fourth Reich, is based on actual events that occurred at the end of World War II.
- What is life really like in your line of work?
Hmm. That one is a bit hard to explain. I deal with some of the world’s worst people. I want out of this business. It is a bit tense at times and you have to be as tough as woodpecker lips, if you’re going to survive. Other than that, I live on the edge, not knowing sometimes if I’m about to take my last breath or not. I travel all over the world, often at a moment’s notice. Most of the people I deal with would just as soon kill me as look at me; I only meet with them on my terms and from a position of strength—I have something they want. I don’t like doing business with the fanatic Muslims and they don’t like doing business with me. Most of the others I deal with are dictators, thugs, and terrorists. There’s not much difference in any of them, actually. I look forward to a long hot bath after I meet with those slime balls.
- You’ve given your business title as international business development consultant. I know Zsigmond took you in but how did you wind up doing his dirty work?
I needed some kind of title and that one doesn’t raise eyebrows. It started out very benign. At first, I just made phone calls and ran errands for Clay. That increased to a few simple meetings in low threat environments. Although most of them were in third world countries and the people I met with, you probably wouldn’t invite them to Christmas dinner. It wasn’t long until Clay was quite busy and wanted me to do more. The next thing I knew he was hiring people to train me in weapons, explosives, as well as escape and evasion techniques. I was young and it was a bit of an adventure. The money is damn good. I’m very accomplished in jujitsu, you know. That, in itself, gave me a lot of confidence. I had a lot of instruction in hand-to-hand combat, too. I didn’t realize how dangerous it was until it was too late.
- Do you always wear a disguise? What’s that all about?
Yes, usually. It’s about staying alive. In school, I was very active in the theatre and learned a lot about makeup and disguise for the stage. I got the idea during one of the escape and evasion classes. Intel agencies around the world use disguises, so I applied the same technique. Early on, when Clay sent me out in the field, I was quite naive but smart enough to conceal my identity. I knew several people who wound up dead because of miss communications, something didn’t go just right, or wanted out. Most of the cockroaches I deal with would track you down and kill you. So, I disguised my appearance and identity. I even kept my house in Italy a secret.
- Zsigmond kept a dossier on you? Would he really turn it over to Interpol?
Yes. Clay changed after his wife, Johanna, died. I loved her like a mother. I tried to quit and suffered Clay’s wrath. He threatened to kill David, my son, if I tried to leave. He made it very clear to me that if I did manage to break free from him, he would send my dossier to the authorities and hunt me down. He’s crazy. I knew he would.
- You’ve worked with many notorious and ruthless people. What was the scariest situation you’ve been in?
The scariest? Good one. There were a few. I guess it was when Clay screwed things up with the terrorists and told them I betrayed them when the Ranger devices didn’t work. I had to convince the terrorists I was going to fix the problem. I really thought I was going to die. If I didn’t address the issue, they would come after me. If we didn’t fix those devices, I was dead. Honestly, I didn’t have much faith that we would fix them.
- Why did you kill Mac? Didn’t you have feelings for him?
Mac. I liked Mac. Ruggedly handsome guy—a professional and no-nonsense. Unfortunately, he was a loose end. He was the only one, outside of Clay, that could tie me to the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda.
- Ludwig Stäbler set you up. Didn’t you see that coming?
No, I didn’t. I’ve known Ludwig for a long time and he owed me. Besides, he didn’t care for Clay. Looking back, I might have been too focused on getting David. Ludwig is a soldier of fortune, and money talks.
- Did you sleep with Anthony Mangiano? Are you involved with someone special?
I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss whom I may have slept with. I might ask you if you slept with someone; would you tell me? Next question.
- Are there any romantic plans in your future?
I hope so. I want to have a family and be like normal people—David, me, and a father for David.
- You seem fearless. What scares you?
A lot of things. Clay, Muslim fanatics, and, believe it or not, Anthony. He can be cold and is always one-step ahead of me. Silverfish and lima beans, well they don’t scare me, I just don’t like them.
- What does the future hold for you? Will we see you again?
That is a very good question. I understand a number of people want to see me again. Patrick has talked to me about it several times. It is possible. I do think he likes me.
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Posted by G G Collins
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?
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?
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.
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.
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