Thursday, November 10, 2011

Global Book Blast: Arleen Alleman Interview


GBB: What was the inspiration for you to write this story?  What was your motivation to complete it?  Were there defining moments that helped you along the way?

The book is the second in my Darcy Farthing adventures, so I was highly motivated to complete or continue the story that began with Currents Deep and Deadly. As I was writing, I began to get some very positive comments from readers on the first book and this really spurred me to complete the series. The overall inspiration for the story is the real world problem of crimes committed on cruise ships and my love of travel by cruise ship.

GBB:  Many writers do research or construct outlines before writing a story, take us through the process you used before you started writing.

I do construct a loose outline, which I expand into short chapters as I write. My best tool is an old fashioned white board where before I begin writing, I flow-chart the plot and subplots and describe the characters involvements and relationships.  My many years working as an analyst for the Government Accountability Office, which was a lot like investigative journalism, was great training in making sure the facts and timelines, and plot interactions are accurate.

GBB: How did you come up with the title?

I wanted to continue the feel of the first book, which plays on currents flowing through a person’s life and the obvious ocean currents and undercurrents of violence encountered on the ship. This book has the same underlying issues with a completely different set of circumstances and story. It focuses on what can happen when vengeance becomes a person’s primary motivator.

GBB: Tell our readers what the setting or backdrop is for your novel.

The story takes place as the main characters are struggling to overcome the trauma of their cruise, even as they are still meeting with violence close to home. Their lives and the story unfold in Colorado Springs, Las Vegas, and Washington, DC. Then, they return to the Sea Nymph with a business agenda that quickly turns into a second cruise nightmare.

GBB: Without giving too much away, can you give us some background on the major characters?  Do you have a favorite character?

Darcy Farthing is a beautiful woman obsessed with fitness, who holds a degree in biochemistry and works as a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company. As the story continues, she is switching professions to become an author (of the first two books in my series). She is a self-described atheist who is still struggling with her own beliefs.

Mick Clayton, a GAO manager, lost his wife to cancer and his parents to a bizarre accident within six months. He was just recovering from his grief when he was almost killed on the first cruise. Now he is suffering from a depression that is taking its toll on his relationship with Darcy.

Tom Smythe is becoming my favorite character.  In his 50s, the dowdy former L.A. cop is making significant changes to his life and seems to keep coming to the rescue of Darcy and Mick. The three of them have become very close.  I think he has blossomed into a more interesting and appealing character since he was fired from his security position on the ship and has become involved in a crusade to address crime on cruise ships.

GBB: Can you give us a brief summary of your book?

Darcy and the daughter she recently rediscovered accompany Mick and Tom Smythe on a second cruise where they are conducting a GAO/FBI investigation of crimes on cruise ships, and attempting to solve a murder for hire plot. Darcy loves Mick, but is tiring of his apparent loss of interest in their relationship. Her handsome and wealthy ex-husband has surfaced, and is bringing confusion and temptation into her life.

Instead of a relaxing vacation, the travelers meet with several manifestations of violence wrought by very disturbed passengers seeking revenge on a personal level. At the same time, Mick succumbs to a depression that has been building since the first cruise where he narrowly escaped death, and Darcy’s daughter becomes a target and victim.

GBB: Do you have a favorite part or chapter?

Chapters 11,12, and 13 describe an attack on Tom Smythe using a “biological agent” of sorts and I like the science and links to real world research that I’ve included there.

GBB: Are there any anecdotal stories pertaining to writing this story that you would like to share?

My husband and I had a very rewarding and fun experience while I was writing the book.  We went back on the same cruise around South America that is described in the book.  Onboard, I had book signings for the first book and a fun interview with the cruise director, which is on my youtube channel. Talking with passengers who were reading my first book at the time, chatting with them while I was writing, and being in the physical environment of the story was quite a unique experience.

GBB: With all the new genres out there today, what categories and sub category would you say your novel falls into?

I have finally decided that my books are general fiction and I describe them as an adventure series. They just don’t seem to fit into murder/mystery, thriller, or romance novels, although they have all those elements.

GBB: On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the most difficult) what is the reading level of your novel?

Two. I think this one is easier to read than my first book.

GBB: What well known author would you compare your writing style to?

I still don’t have an answer for this.  I aspire to write books that are similar in a way to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, only on a smaller scale.

GBB: Other than your current novel what other books short stories etc. have you written?

Other than numerous non-fiction reports to the U.S. Congress on a diverse array of topics, which I wrote and helped write over my twenty year GAO career, I once wrote a little book of bad poetry and that is it, until four years ago when I decided to fulfill the life-long dream to write a novel.

GBB: Are you working on any new projects?

The third book in the Darcy Farthing adventure series is underway. This book, Current Assets, is a little different in that it takes place primarily in Florida and deals with corruption in Sheriff’s departments and the U.S. Marshals with respect to disposal of valuable assets they seize from drug dealers and other prisoners. The story has a terrorism component and a small cruise ship is involved.

GBB: Is there a sequel or a prequel for Currents of Vengeance somewhere out there in the future?

I have a fourth book in the series planned, which will take place on a cruise to Hawaii and Australia. After that, I might move on to some other topics and new characters.

GBB: Do you have any media or book signing appearances coming in the near future?

The end of October I will be in NYC for an author pitch fest with ten Hollywood producers. One hundred-fifty of us will each have two to three minutes one-on-one to explain why our story would make a good film or TV show. This ought to be fun regardless of what comes of it.
I will be having a book signing in my local community next month.
My books and jewelry designs will be featured in a January issue of “Eyes In” Magazine.
My books will also be shown at the upcoming Colorado Association of Libraries conference

GBB: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans or potentially new fans?

Thank you, first. I love to hear from readers and they can contact me through either of my websites, as well as purchase signed copies. The best thing a reader can do, if they like my books, is to put a little review on or I’ve learned that there are many ways to use these reviews in promoting my work. They are a great help.

GBB: Thank you for your time.  We wish you much success with your novel.

Thanks, I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss my work.

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