Friday, September 24, 2010

Global Book Blast Interview: No Greater Sacrifice

Title: No Greater Sacrifice
Author: John Stipa
ISBN-10: 1449543502
 ISBN-13: 978-1449543501
Genre: Fiction
Price: $16.95
Kindle Edition: $3.99

GBB:  What time and place does the story take place?
No Greater Sacrifice opens with the murder of a parish priest in the south of France in 1917. Three men are framed for the crime planting the seeds of a mystery that lies dormant for nearly 100 years. The mystery resurfaces when descendants of the framed men return to modern day Europe to clear their family names.
GBB:      Who are your favorite characters in the story and why? Who were the most enjoyable to write about?
When I announce to myself that I am going to spend some time with Renée and David (either writing them or reading about them), it’s easy to see they are my favorites. Why? Because Renée has such a zest for life and David a sense of honor, two qualities I hold in high regard. So talented, yet so troubled. Developing that balance was an enjoyable challenge and what makes them so endearing. The adventure/mystery aspects of the story provided the vehicle to explore their fears and internal strife. To make them “real” and foster empathy for their cause, I burdened them with trials, like Reneé’s cancer and David’s guilt. Their contrasting personalities spark conflict and sexual tension. Where she is dangerously impetuous, he is steady and cautious. Where she is outgoing, he is introspective. Her over-confidence is countered by his crippled self-esteem.
Despite these differences, R&D share several important character traits. They are intellectual equals, each with a sly, witty sense of humor, each in desperate need of a partner. Both are cut from the same cloth of decency. Both carry a burning desire to chase away the ghosts of their deceased parents that, along with life’s other challenges, have contributed to their individual shortcomings. As the suspense builds and the bad guys close in, Reneé and David must confront their mutual stubbornness and realize trusting in each other is the only way they will survive. That lowering of emotional defenses, no matter how agonizing, of taking that risk, that leap of faith in someone else, is a defining moment for each. It is here I pray the magic takes over. That wonderful connection to characters that causes us to engage with their struggle that is secretly our own. Hopefully, that is where I reach into the reader’s chest and grip them. Where the reader roots for our heroes to understand they are better together than they are apart. To be into it. To care.
GBB:      Are there any twists in your book?
Several, including both plot and character. In the first chapter, the reader is shown how nothing is as it seems even though always in plain sight. There are revelations on family skeletons and possible explanations to classic myths. There are decoys and disguises, spies and lies. The cover itself provides clues to the final solution.
GBB:      If your novel is ever turned into a movie who would you cast as your lead characters?
Evangeline Lilly as Renée. Clive Owen as David.
GBB:     What kind of readers would this novel appeal to?
Anyone who likes Indiana Jones, James Rollins, Clive Cussler, or Raymond Khoury will like NGS.
To quote one review: “No Greater Sacrifice has something for everyone: adventure, romance, archaeology, history, puzzles to be solved, some mysticism, lightening-speed travel jaunts across Europe, faith lost and found, good versus evil…”
GBB:      What writers (if any) would you compare your writing style to?
John Sanford, James Rollins
GBB:       What are the main themes of your story, what is the reader getting into? 
On the surface, No Greater Sacrifice is an Indiana Jones-like treasure hunt complete with puzzles, mythology, cave-ins and booby traps. But NGS is also a study of the delicate balance of opposing forces in nature. Loyalty and betrayal, of benevolence and evil, integrity and passion, sacrifice and redemption. It’s about relationships and the barriers we build around ourselves, of life’s challenges and how we deal with them. Ultimately, the reader is faced with this question: what exactly is faith? Is it what we’ve been told, or what we come to discover and embrace for ourselves?
GBB:       Are you planning a sequel or series?
I have several installments planned. Renée and David will appear throughout, sometime as main characters, but not always as I develop other interweaving story lines.
GBB:     On a scale of 1 to 10 what is the reading level? (10 being on the level of Toni Morrison)   

No Greater Sacrifice is a light, fast-paced read, but there are many metaphors and references to mythology, literature and history that requires enhanced knowledge so I rate it a 6 or 7.

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