Thursday, February 2, 2012

Global Book Blast: Thursday Interview

Global Book Blast: Thursday 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?
Justice Rules was inspired many years ago by the OJ Simpson murder trial. After the acquittal, I saw an interview with Fred Goldman, the father of Ron Goldman, the man OJ "allegedly" killed. The frustration and anger was evident in his body language and on his face. To know who was responsible for the death of his son and not have any recourse to find justice had to have felt terrible. His options were very limited and short of walking up on the court house steps with a gun, he had no place to turn. If anything were to happen to OJ after the trial, every law enforcement agency in the country would be on Fred's doorstep in an instance. Then I thought, "What if it wasn't OJ? What if it was just some guy who hurt you or your family and then got away with it due to one judicial snafu or another? How far would you go in taking justice into your own hands and giving the assailant what he deserved?" This train of thought led me to wonder how to kill someone and get away with it. But, I thought, "How would you exact justice without paying to the very justice system that had failed you?" It was this string of questions that led to Justice Rules. The ultimate question that is addressed in the novel is, "How far can you go before justice becomes revenge?" 

At the end of the day, Justice Rules is a novel about victims and how they survive life after they have survived a brutal and violent attack.

GBB:           Many writers do research or construct outlines before writing a story, given the kind of story that is, what kind of research did you do?  Take us through the process you used before you started writing.
I did a lot of research into victim's help groups. I found a wide range of programs, all designed to help the survivors of a violent attack to carry on with their lives. As a society, the victim's plight has been homogenized for our own survival. We hear on the news that a child was "molested." That is all we really want to hear, we want to be able to imagine those details rather than hear the specifics. No one wants to hear about anal rape and savagery every bit as heinous. Consequently, we have become a bit immune to these tortures. In the book, I try to let the reader see these crimes through the eyes of the victims and allow the victims to decide how they are going to respond over the course of their lives. Some adjust and go on, others live in constant fear and then there are those who are not willing to sit back and live the life of a victim, they want justice wrought by their own hands.

GBB:           How did you come up with the title?
The original title was , "For Lack Of Evidence". One day I was describing the plot to a friend and told him that these people operated with their own rules of justice, their Justice Rules. He stopped me and said, "There's your real title." He was right.

GBB:           Tell our readers what the setting or backdrop is for your novel.
The story takes place in the Pacific Northwest, centered around Spokane, Wa. The lead character, Brian Wylie, is a transplanted Los Angelino and has had a tough time adjusting to the rural environment that he found himself in. Being a transplant myself, I was able to relate many of the frustrations I felt when I first moved here. It offered a chance at comic relief as well as help paint the environment from several different POV's.

GBB:           Without giving too much away, can you give us some background on the major characters?  Do you have a favorite character?
The lead character, Brian Wylie is a top FBI profiler who was heading up the office in Los Angeles. He is highly respected and extremely effective in his job. His ex-wife moved to Spokane, WA with their daughter and, unwilling to become a two-weeks-in-the-summer dad, Brian transfered to the Spokane office. The now erudite and worldly Brian Wylie is immersed into a small town, right wing world "...where people's idea of dressing up is wearing a ball cap free of sweat stains." Additionally, Brian has a deep seated fear of the woods. Naturally, the first murder that occurs in the book is in the mountains north of Spokane and Brian must trek out into the wilderness. I imagine my main focus was on keeping him lighter than he would be expected to be, never forgetting that he has a sense of humor and making him extremely good at his job. I use the "fish out of water" situation to my advantage and am able to show the reader both sides of these lifestyles, the simple, slow paced life in Spokane compared to the sophisticated and worldly nature of Brian. Brian is an excellent father, capable of being a terrific friend and has a light and engaging personality and yet he has few friends and spends most of his time outside of work by himself. This is a result of his situation and environment which do not necessarily combine in a cohesive manner

GBB:           Can you give us a brief summary of your book?
Here's the blurb that describes my novel:
How far can you go before justice becomes revenge? FBI Special Agent Brian Wylie investigates the murder of an ex-con in Eastern Washington. This single murder leads to a vigilante coalition that wreaks its own brand of justice. Wylie's investigation unravels an intricate and complex plot that involves a victims help group, a best friend's treachery and his teenaged daughter's well-being. 
Basically, Justice Rules is a book about victims of violent crimes and their struggle to regain some sort of balance in a life that has been shattered by an unprovoked attack. Experiencing something that horrific is hard enough but it becomes unbearable when the perpetrator goes unpunished. How far would you be willing to go to attain justice and how far can you go before justice becomes revenge? Justice Rules deals with these questions in an in depth and up close manner.

GBB:           Do you have a favorite part or chapter?
I think my favorite part of the book is the opening sentence of Chapter One. When I moved to Spokane the biggest frustration that I had were the local drivers. I have travelled many places and driven in almost all of them and I can say without hesitation that the drivers in Spokane are the worst in the country. Twice I have almost rear ended someone who stopped at a green light to let someone turn left in front of them. In the first drafts I peppered this frustration throughout the book, to the detriment of the story, I might add. Finally, I realized that I was just venting and these driving horror situations did not add to the story so I went back and cut them all. However, I was able to satisfy my need to expose this vehicular aggravation in a single sentence: "The pale, green Spokane County SUV traveled a steady five miles per hour under the speed limit, in the left hand lane." Need I say more?

GBB:           Are there any anecdotal stories pertaining to writing this story that you would like to share?
I learned an immense amount from writing this book. First off, how damn hard it is. Second, I learned that the journey is what is most important, and most exciting. Letting the story veer off into weird tangents and twists that sometimes never lead anywhere or produce anything of value allowed me to discover things about the characters and the story that ended up being vital to the final product. The most surprising thing for me was how i learned what the phase, "The characters wrote themselves" meant. Now, I am not a true believer in that necessarily, but, there were several times through the course of writing this book that one character or the other stood up and said, "Hey, I'm the one you're looking for. I'm the one that you were talking about in the beginning. Write more of me." There are several characters who were minor, ancillary parts in the first versions that turned out to be a very important part of the story; my antagonist actually developed in this manner. I love sitting down and heading off in a direction and seeing where that train of thought takes me. Often times I have to double back and toss the whole thought out but one thought leads to another and it may be the next thought that takes you where you need to go.
Keeping this plot moving was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The analogy that I use to describe it is from Stephen King's "Tommyknockers." A woman is walking in the woods behind her home and stumbles over a small piece of metal protruding from the ground. Out of curiosity, and an morbid desire that eventually consumes her (it is Stephen King after all), she discovers that the small piece of metal was the tip of the rear tail of a space ship. That is how I approached this story. A murder in the woods - leads to the identity of the body - that leads to victims that the dead man had attacked - that leads to a world of intrigue, suspense and surprise. And of course, whenever I was stuck, someone had to die.

GBB:           With all the new genres out there today, what categories and sub category would you say your novel falls into?
Justice Rules is a murder mystery, detective novel. It has been described as more than that as well. Writer's Digest said "…it was filled with gripping suspense and a look at humanity from all sides." To me that says, that while it is a murder mystery it also has something more valuable to offer that may move it into another category or two.

GBB:           On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the most difficult) what is the reading level of your novel?
The most common comment I have received about Justice Rules is that once it is picked up it cannot be put down. I would have to assume that the reading level is a 1, very easy to read. That makes me smile because that is what I always wanted to accomplish. Matter of fact, several readers have commented that they read it in a day. That doesn't thrill me quite as much. I worked for several years to write it, at least savor it a bit. I tell them thanks and promise I will spent the next three years trying to fill another afternoon for them down the line.

GBB:           What well known author would you compare your writing style to?
Without a doubt, Stephen King. The accessibility of his writing has always impressed me and I have tried to accomplish the same thing. I always feel like he is sitting in front of me telling me a story. I have followed Mr. King's career for many years and have read most of his work. His non-fiction book On Writing offered me the best and most concise piece of advice I have yet to receive as a writer. He says that if a writer creates a sentence such as "The sunset was indescribable," he needs to find another line of work because it is his job to describe the sunset. There is not a day of writing that goes by that I do not hear that phrase run through my head. It makes me stop and truly examine what I am trying to say and then find the best way to put it on paper.
GBB:           Other than your current novel what other books short stories etc. have you written?
I have several short stories that have been published across the net as well as involvement in several plays. Justice Rules is my first novel.

GBB:           Are you working on any new projects?
I am just about finished with my second novel called The Siren's Song. It is a horror mystery set in an abandoned mansion on the cliffs in Santa Cruz, California.

GBB:           Is there a sequel or a prequel for Justice Rules somewhere out there in the future?
There is a sequel to "Justice Rules" in the works. A little teaser, in "Justice Rules", Brian Wylie dealt with the Violent Crimes element of his title. In the sequel, "Everything In Sight", he will be dealing with the terrorist side. A lot of twists and turns in this one as well.

GBB:           Do you have any media or book signing appearances coming in the near future?
None scheduled. I did a reading at a local bookstore here in Spokane called, Aunties. They carry "Justice Rules" in stock.

GBB:           Awesome that a local book store not only allowed you to do a reading, but they also carry your book as well!   Is there anything you would like to say to your fans or potentially new fans?
If you have read "Justice Rules" and liked it, tell your friends. The biggest challenge for new authors, particularly self-published authors, is marketing. In most cases there is no budget and the only way that they can have any success is word of mouth. So, when you read something you like, please tell the world. Post it on all of your social media sites and tell everyone. You are the only means most of us have at continuing to do what we love to do so much. You can make a huge difference in the careers of all of us. So please, tell your friends. I have a web site, On the site are many items of interest that include an expanded biography, a blog, some insights from my life and other bits of information. You can also link to the book from there.

You can find Justice Rules at .

I love writing. It is the perfect lifestyle for me at this point in time. Creating these stories and allowing them to come to life intrigues and energizes me in a way that is hard to explain. People get satisfaction from many different sources, for some it's a pay check, for others it's an athletic endeavor and still for some it's their family and friends; for me it's the creative process. All through my career I have been fortunate enough to work in circumstances that have allowed me to be creative. I have written and directed plays and videos, I have created themed meetings for corporate America and I have written novels and screenplays. Sometimes there is money that comes with these endeavors, which always amazes me, and sometimes there is not. My wife often reminds me that doing the ones that offer money is preferable. But, it is the act of creating that satisfies me most and in performing that act I am fulfilled. So even if no money comes at the end of my writing sessions, I still feel that I have been productive and that makes me happy.
Thank you.

Thank you for your time.  Justice Rules sounds like an intriguing read from a perspective not often written about.  We wish you much success with your novel.

Please visit Aunties to support bookstores who support independent authors!

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