Scarlett Savage, Author of “Narcotic Nation”

slide1-img What is your book about?

It’s about an alternative America where all drugs were legalized fifteen years ago. The country is split by this decision, into the Realists, who believe that it’s time to accept things as they are and make a profit from drug use rather than spent trillions trying to stop it, and the Idealists, who believe our new economic stability comes at the cost of our humanity. A rock band, Deus Ex Machina, making its first tour, holds both Realists and Idealists in its ranks—some, like Ashe Brecken (bassist) is one of the country’s most ardent Idealists and hopes to overturn the legalization; others, like his girlfriend, lead singer Raven Lashua, is determined to secretly undermine his attempts at all costs. Her success in this matter forces Ashe to do something more violent and dangerous than he ever dreamed possible… and on whose hands is the blood?

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

I first started dabbling with this idea in college, when I was about twenty. I completed the first draft at twenty-five—that seemed a lifetime back then!! At forty, after fifteen years of trying to publish it, and getting told, “It’s brilliant, but we can’t touch the subject matter”, I decided that eBook publishing was the way to go.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I took a philosophy class in college; some economist had written a paper, saying that if we legalized drugs, the country would go to hell for twenty years, then be the better for it. I thought, “How interesting it would be to write about that twenty years.!!”

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Jessie is very much like me; I had a traumatic childhood, so I never really got to be “innocent”; therefore, my psyche held onto my innocence much too long. When I DID “grow up”, I delved into all kinds of things I had no business doing. Like Jessie. Later on, I became very much like Raven—all-knowing, all-seeing, very protective of my friends.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Probably Bryce. He doesn’t judge. He would never have sought out becoming a rock star—he’d planned on a more reliable future—if it hadn’t been thrust upon him. He knows he’s not the best looking thing on two feet; he knows that kids get all excited about a band, but it doesn’t mean they’re the best thing in the world. He’s realistic about his celebrity; he doesn’t expect it to last forever. But he’s also very much, in his own way, looking for true love.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Chase. Chase is one sick puppy. He’s based on a truly evil guy I once knew; probably the only truly evil guy I ever met.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

Because they all hope. They all want something that’s out of their reach. Fame and fortune doesn’t give them everything they want; it isolates them, so they have to depend on each other, and they don’t always get along—like any family.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Very little. I knew that there would be the Legalization; I knew that Ashe would be based on a guy I went to college with. I knew that Jessie and Raven would be both parts of me. That’s it. The rest just came along.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I talked to a lot of detox/drug rehabs, to find out how someone would act when they were whacked out of their heads on coke, because at that time I didn’t know anyone who’d ever done it. That changed later!! I spoke to a couple of different economists and sociology professors about how the Legalization would effect the country—and it should be noted that while not all of them were for it, they all (reluctantly) thought it would be good for the country, long-term.

What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The bond between the characters. The fact that they’re rock stars. The fact that it seems to answer questions they’ve always wondered about our country.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I based them on people I knew. Ashe is based on a guy I went to college with; Bryce is based on a guy I knew after college. Chase was originally based on a very, very good friend of mine, but then, in the second draft, he became this horrible sexual predator. That hadn’t happened in the first draft, and it came out of nowhere. I love it when that happens—when your own characters surprise you.

I always “cast” my characters—I imagine people I know as the characters, then they sort of tell me what they’ll say. That’s just how I work.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I want them to really think about whether or not the things we’ve made illegal in this country, is the best thing for the country. Maybe it is, in some cases, but maybe it’s not, in others.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Don’t always accept things as they are. You can fight.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

It absolutely did. I always thought of drug addicts as these low-life people, who just didn’t care. But after talking to a bunch of them, they care a whole lot—some of them too much—which is why they needed the escape of drugs.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Oh, yes. Since age five, when I first read, “Little House in the Big Woods.” It was my first book without pictures, but in the first few pages, I realized something; the words made pictures in your mind. I thought that was about the coolest thing ever. So, being the kind of kid I was, I thought, “I can do that.”

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

The characterizations and especially the dialogue come very easily for me.

My acting teacher, Cate Davis, once told me, “Your character wouldn’t say that, it’s too blatant,” and then I realized, “Wow. We talk in code.”

How do you deal with exposition give readers the background information they need?

I write out backgrounds, hundreds and hundreds of pages, then cut it down to, “What is the absolute minimum needed to get this point across?” The first draft of Narcotic Nation had them all meeting as young teens. It was interesting, but the story didn’t need to be told; it had nothing to do with the plot. It didn’t push the story along.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My website, will tell you everything you need to know!!

Rose Gordon, Author of “Her Imperfect Groom”

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

Absolutely. I have a folder on my desktop (screen, not my physical desktop) where I keep an ongoing list of plot ideas, complete with possible character names, titles for the books and a multi-paragraph synopsis.

Do you keep a pen and notepad on your bedside table?

Beside my bed. On the coffee table. In my purse. In the glovebox in my car. Two years ago I was on a camping trip that turned bad and we had to stay at a hotel one night. When we went to leave, I swiped the pad of paper and the pen from the desk and the next night, by the light of the campfire, penned the first chapter of my second book on a little 5×5 hotel pad. It was after this that I started stashing pads in every room.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

A lot. I tend to hide my traits in each of my characters, male or female. Good characters or villains. They all have at least one personality trait in common with me. I just can’t help it!

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

In some books, yes, but in others no. It really just depends on the book, but most of them do have a deeper meaning or have a theme I’d like them to walk away with other than, “Oh, that was entertaining.”

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

Of course. The most inconvenient times of the day seem to be when I have the most ideas just suddenly flood me. Time to cook dinner, BAM! An idea. Time to go to sleep. BAM! An idea. Time to pick my kids up from school. BAM! An idea. I’ve learned you cannot force a book, so if you just let the idea come to you and have one of those many pads of paper handy, I can still capture it well enough for the moment and finish it later.

Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?

YES! My husband doesn’t believe me on this, but I have several renegade characters who I want to act a certain way, but then they do something completely different.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Alex Banks. He’s a bit odd as he’s a total geek, which is rare for the time period I write in. He often says the first thing that pops into his head—whether appropriate or not and is obsessed with science. But he’s also extremely loveable as he’s rather naïve and innocent in a worldly way.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

No schedule exactly. I just try to hit a certain amount of words each day. Some days I want to get a lot of words in and get past a major part of the book and other days, I have a lot of errands and stuff and just shoot for 1,000 words, just enough to keep the story going where I don’t get out of the habit of writing.

What was the first story you remember writing?

I was in third grade and wrote this 2-page story about a girl who ate garbage… Since I’d given the girl in the story the same name as the girl sitting next to me, I got into A LOT of trouble and didn’t write again until I was 7th grade and wrote a story where I personified an eraser.

Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

Jaded housewives, young ladies who still dream of nights-in-shining-armor coming to their rescue, and anyone who has an open mind about characters who don’t fall into all of the same patterns that are so commonly written about.

Where can we learn more about your books?

From my author page at Second Wind Publishing: Rose Gordon

Jayde Scott, Author of “A Job From Hell”

Welcome Jayde. What is your book about?

A Job From Hell is about a young woman, Amber, who takes a summer job in the Scottish Highlands in order to save some cash for college. Once there, she unknowingly enters a paranormal race and promptly wins the first prize. This prize is wanted by many, including a few creatures of the night who would do anything to get it. Now Amber has to decide who to trust. The hot boss who’s a vampire but claims to share an ancient bond with her? Or maybe the Shadows, an immortal group of Shaman warriors? Or the devil’s daughter, Cassandra, who always seems a step ahead of everyone else?

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

About ten years during which I finished several drafts, tossed them all out only to start again with new characters, new twists and more action than in the previous version.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

My favourite character is Kieran because of his stunning blue eyes and his bad boy attitude. I love bad boys. They’re fun and handsome, but they can break your heart in an instant. Kieran has had his share of conquests and is yet to meet his soulmate. But even once he does, I doubt he’ll lose his bad boy attitude completely. No bad boy ever does.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Definitely the devil’s daughter, Cass. She’s psychotic with a short temper and very cocky. She has a horrible sense for fashion and likes to crack jokes about herself and Kieran, but she has a huge heart and likes to help everyone else out. However, she wouldn’t be the devil’s daughter if she didn’t have a few vices like telling the odd fib and thriving on chaos and drama.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Not counting the previous drafts, I’d say a little more than a year during which I wrote, rewrote and edited about 25 times before I was happy with the end product. It was a long process that taught me how to edit as I go along, meaning I now know better than to take a year to write a novel.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I usually have the title before I start writing, then brainstorm the major plot, characters and twists. After that, I come up with new developments as I go along and I like to let my stories guide me in whichever direction they want to take. So I’m very flexible in that sense.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I did a lot of research on Shamanism and rituals, on twin flames and the afterlife. Particularly the new book, Voodoo Kiss, needed a lot of research on black magic and performing rituals. I mostly read books and articles on the matter, but I also visited forums and talked to people with real experience.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

When the story is told and I feel I don’t have anything else to say (in this book). That’s when I usually write THE END.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

I usually write about people with faults, people who make mistakes. I want my readers to know that one can be beautiful and flawed at the same time. For example, Amber hangs onto her abusing ex even though she has a new hunk on her arm. It takes her a while to realize a pattern in her previous relationship. I want my readers to experience her transformation into a confident person who isn’t emotionally dependent on someone treated her badly.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Finishing it. I had never finished a book before. Besides, it’s such a huge book with so much plot that I thought I’d never get it done.

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

I mostly write in the night when my noisy neighbors from hell have finally gone to bed. I hope I’ll finally be able to move soon and start writing in the morning like I used to before I rented this place.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

Coffee (preferably with chocolate cake or cherry and chocolate muffins – yum). Coffee is my vice and I drink way too much of it.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on the fourth book in the Ancient Legends series, following A Job From Hell, Doomed and Voodoo Kiss.

A Job From Hell on Amazon 99¢
A Job From Hell on Barnes & Noble 99¢

Jim Magwood, Author of “The Lesser Evil”

What is your book about?

THE LESSER EVIL is the story of the world staggering under uncontrollable crime and an evil that pervades every part of our society.

In 2008, I published my first novel, SANCTION, about a secretive group of men trying to take over complete control of the world. Another group of civilians and government agents gradually learns of the conspiracy and works to stop it. This novel, THE LESSER EVIL, isn’t a sequel to SANCTION, but it’s the same type of story looking at the question of what is going on in our world today? What is happening, and why?

A group of “vigilantes” campaigns to stop the spread of the evil and the question becomes, “Is the group right in what they are doing or are they just another evil influence themselves?”

Computers and bank accounts are raided and criminals are left destitute. Cayman Island banks are raided by computer and lose billions in secretive client funds. A missile attack wipes out a rogue country’s nuclear facilities and stops a threat to destroy Israel.

Is the fight an essentially good, though illegal one, that will drive the evildoers out and which should be continued, or is it essentially evil itself—and who makes that choice?

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’m an avid reader of just about everything that comes out, especially dealing with world events today. The more I see of the world, the more I look at the question, Why is this happening? What I want to do is put our daily news reports into a good, suspenseful novel that will get people thinking about that same question. The same world conditions Rand described in her novels are in effect today and are driving us into the chaos we observe daily, and my mind continually comes up with story ideas that incorporate the world events.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I’ve “been there, done that,” as they say, but the stories aren’t about me. They aren’t history, so to speak, and they aren’t science fiction. They are “today.”

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?

My main characters are taken from around the world, people who get together more by chance than plan. Jacob Asch is an ex-Mossad agent from Israel who still has his contacts in the underground network. He meets a Canadian computer expert who works with him to try to follow these vigilantes. They work with some CIA and FBI agents and several government leaders as they all try to unravel what is happening.

As in our world now, there are people from all walks of life who are either on the right or wrong side of things, and I want to highlight them all, not just concentrate on one hero or villain.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I started writing THE LESSER EVIL almost within minutes after SANCTION was published. My mind started whirling again, and another story just started coming out.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

As I said earlier, I watch events around the world constantly and so many of them inspire new ideas for novels. I have another one finished and in my own heavy editing phase and another half a dozen already started in my computer. I don’t have a full story, just a concept. As I work on it, I flesh out the ideas.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I’ve been very acquainted with some events in my stories, but I do a lot of research as I begin. So much is available on the Internet today, whether it’s medical techniques or weapons or names of heads of state. I want things in my stories to be real. I want people to say, “I just read about that,” and maybe look things up to see if I know what I’m talking about. I do love the research, whether it’s talking to people or digging into the ‘net.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

So far, I have had a basic theme I want to deal with, maybe a beginning and several possible scenes, and a rough idea of how I want to end. From there I just start writing and see where it all goes. I’ll write most of the book, then start chopping and re-writing until I finally see the story as I somewhat envisioned it. Once basically finished, I’ll pass it around to a few “reader” friends and get their ideas and criticism. After that, it’s read and re-read with the nasty red pencil. Move chapters, re-write events or characters or scenes, change dialogue and so forth until it comes out the way I want.

I’ve written a 40+ page mini-book entitled “So You’ve Written a Book. Now What?” in which I try to advise writers how to put their book together and then market it. The ideas all come from my own experiences working in this crazy writing world and it touches the ideas I’ve just mentioned. It’s available free to anyone, by the way, from my website, (

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I want my writing to reflect what is actually happening in today’s world. Data theft; political intrigue; espionage and conspiracy; the people acting like sheep. I would hope that some would really see the truth of events taking place through what I’ve written and maybe even decide to do something about it.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

The main one is time. Time to write in and around household chores, community events and so on. I would say generally that if you are going to seriously write you have to make the time. It won’t just give itself to you.

How has your background influenced your writing?

I’ve lived a few of the things I write about, but more than that I’m naturally inquisitive and love researching. I naturally “think” stories and often “talk” scenes to myself. (I do try to be careful about who might be listening as I’m talking, though.)

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

No, I don’t try to write a number of words. I write as the scenes play out in front of me. I don’t have a schedule as to when I must finish the novel. When it gets there, it gets there. I do try to write a lot every day, though. Ultimately, the only way to get a story written is to write, so that’s what I do. Early morning, late night. Just keep on writing.

What are you working on right now?

My next novel, finished now and in my own editing phase, is entitled COP. It’s the story of a Washington, D.C. detective who is dedicated to living The Job, as they say, but who is also trying to live a normal life. Any law enforcement agent will tell you that this is likely the hardest part of their job and where they most often lose their way.

The story is about a series of terrorist events taking place all over the city and how he is thrown into them. It also tells how the events and the fear he so carefully tries to hide begin to affect him and how he struggles through life.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Generally, people who want a really good suspense novel but who want it “real.” While my novels are fiction, I want everything possible in them to be real people, places and things that we see in our news every day.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

So far, I’ve had a theme in my mind for the stories and a possible way I want to end. (I don’t give a traditional ending. As I say in my little book on writing, consider killing off your hero at the very end and leave the readers screaming. Haven’t done exactly that yet, but…) Trying to fill in the scenes to get to the ending, while also trying to keep the book “real,” is usually the hardest thing for me.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

Without a doubt, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

For me, the story needs to be “real,” and get people to think that way. Even if it’s science fiction, the characters should act and emote like real people would. Events and actions need to have people “living it” rather than just reading it. My first editor gave me some advice that I’ll never forget. He said, “Don’t tell people about the action. Give them the story line and let them live it themselves. Don’t tell about the story; tell the story. Make it real.”

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

From my little mini-book on writing:

“Inside many of us is a story that is crying to be delivered. There are many people who will give you many reasons why you should NOT consider this venture. However, there ARE many people out there who are waiting for your story—looking forward to it. Whether you make money on it, or thrill your family and friends with your story, or just feel the satisfaction within yourself when you finally say, “I did it,” you need to write that story. There will be naysayers—turn your back on them. There will be scoffers—smile and keep typing. There will be rejection letters—read them, file them, and send out more proposals.

Never give up. Keep on writing.”

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

“Let me count the ways.” You name it and I’ve probably tried it. I don’t have money to throw at this, so almost everything I’ve done has been basically no charge stuff. I have my own website, ( I put together a site to showcase authors for almost no charge called The Author’s Inn ( and, of course, I’m in it. I write articles and blogs that I’ve had published and syndicated. Any place that will have me as a writer or speaker (thank you, Pat), I’ll be there. There is no easy and sure-fire way to market your work, but you have to try everything and anything. And keep on trying.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Some goals are so worthy that even to fail is glorious.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My books are both in Amazon and Kindle, but you can best learn about them and me, and even purchase the books direct, at my website, (

Malcolm R. Campbell, Author of “Sarabande”

I am delighted to be able to introduce Malcolm R. Campbell and his newest novel “Sarabande”. Malcolm is so very generous to other authors, it’s great to be able to return the favor. Besides, he’s a damn good writer who pens powerful tales. If you haven’t yet met Malcolm, what are you waiting for?

So, Malcolm, what is your book about?

“Sarabande” is the story of a young woman who leaves her alternate-universe home via a portal hidden in the Rocky Mountains in search of the once-powerful Sun Singer. She wants him to return to her mountain home and help her rid herself of the ghost of her sister Dryad who has haunted her for three years. The journey itself turns out to be worse than Dryad’s taunting and haunting. The ordeals of the trip across the Montana plains will force her deep within to discover her true strengths and greatest challenges.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

This novel is a sequel to my earlier fantasy “The Sun Singer,” so the story was on my mind for many years before I wrote it. I had never written fiction from a woman’s point of view before and avoided working on “Sarabande” until I was finally ready to confront the story.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

“The Sun Singer” is about a young man’s solar journey. I wanted to look at the other side of the coin, so to speak, and write about the lunar-oriented ordeals of a young woman. Sarabande, my protagonist first appeared in “The Sun Singer.” However, I have written her story so that it can be read as a standalone novel, a woman’s story that could be whole in and of itself.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Sarabande’s sister Dryad is a nasty temptress. She tried to spoil my protagonist, Robert Adams, in “The Sun Singer.” When she attacked Sarabande near the end of that novel, Sarabande killed her in self-defense. As it turns out, she’s even nastier as a ghost than as a living woman. Basically, he’s an all-about-me character with few morals and fewer restraints on what she’s willing to do to hurt other people.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I know only the major plot points. I try to follow my stories as they unfold. While I already knew about the major ordeals Sarabande had to face, I knew little else. When I finished one chapter, the idea for the next chapter came to mind. It was almost like the character was sitting next to me handing out her story a little bit at a time. Needless to say, writing this way means that I end up being surprised by many of the things that happen. I tend to do a lot of research while I write because I like placing my fantasy scenes in very real settings. While reading about those settings online, I often think of new wrinkles for the plot that had never occurred to me before. I love the process of discovery.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

All three of my fantasies are set partly in Glacier National Park. However, since I haven’t been there for a long time, I read a lot about the park online as well as in my reference books and magazines while writing. Sarabande, for example, sees popular lakes, mountains and trails in the park. I want to make sure that I have the descriptions right as well as how far apart they are from each other—I don’t want my character hiking between them faster than it’s possible in real life. At the same time, I’m always checking the blooming seasons of the wildflowers I mention, the typical times when the snow melts off in the summer, and the habits of the animals that appear in the book. I want the readers to feel like they are following my character through the glacier-carved valleys of the area called “the back bone of the world.”

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I “see” the characters the way one “sees” things in his or her memory. When they appear to me, they develop ways of talking and moving about it a physical space. Since I have no knowledge of women’s clothing or hairstyles, I’ll have a general idea about the look I want, but I’ll either ask my wife or look things up online to find out what a certain kind of clothing or hairstyle is called. Once in a while, I’ll see a celebrity picture that “looks just like” my female character, and she will become a model for them—but only insofar as looks, posture, facial expressions, etc. When the characters interact with each other, they act as they act. This seems more natural to me than, say, making a list of characters and then jotting down a list of characteristics for each. They grow, of course, as the novel moves forward and, for a writer, that’s fun to watch.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I usually write straight through the novel from beginning to end to see what’s going to happen. Occasionally, a scene will feel wrong, too long or out of place, and I’ll edit it or move it. Or, something will occur to me in chapter five that needs to be foreshadowed earlier. Writing on a computer makes it very easy to cut and paste, move things around, or go back to earlier parts of the book and drop in a bit of material. Most of my ideas for what I’m going to write next in a novel-in-progress occur to me while I’m going other things. This gives me a lot of time to think about them, tinker with them, and mull over the impact they might have on earlier or later scenes in the book long before I start typing them. This keeps things on track because the story has a natural flow to it that becomes apparent as I “live it” from day to day. My wife always knows when I’m writing a novel because I walk around like somebody who’s either possessed or off in another world.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

My goal is always to tell an interesting and absorbing story. I don’t write with an agenda or in hopes that when the reader gets to the end of the book an apparent “moral of the story” will jump out at them. All of my fantasies are “nature friendly,” so readers are always going to be experiencing the location settings in the novels in a “green” manner, so to speak. Sarabande faces issues that often come up in patriarchal societies. Reading about how she deals with these issues may provide readers with another perspective about women’s rights and about the bonds between women and the natural world. But first, I want readers to get wrapped up in the drama, the humor, and the unforeseen plot twists, and have a wonderful reading experience. Going away with “food for thought” is icing on the cake.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

I write from a third person restricted point of view. This means that I am always with only one character from start to finish; everything in the book is filtered directly or indirectly through that character’s eyes, ears and thoughts. The challenge here, especially with some of the deeply personal women’s issues in the plot, was putting myself into a woman’s point of view and keeping it realistic. I did not want the book to sound like it was written by a man who was speculating about how a woman might talk, act, and re-act to the ordeals in the storyline. The challenge was making the story truly seem as though it were being told by a woman and that all of it rang true to the women reading the book.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

I do everything possible to avoid having a writing schedule, much less a daily word-count goal. The story unfolds as it unfolds. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, much less when my characters or my muse or the universe are going to fill me in on the next scene or chapter. Sitting down to write at a specific time or forcing out a set number or words each day would ruin the flow. This sounds like a lazier approach than it is. Whenever I have a novel in progress, I am rather obsessed with it. It is always on my mind. Basically, I’m much better off when I’m actually writing it than when I’m not writing it.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My books are published by Vanilla Heart Publishing and are listed there on my author’s page. I’ve been posting about the experience of writing this novel on my Sarabande’s Journey blog. “Sarabande” first appeared on Kindle on August 13 and is expected to be released as a paperback August 31. Thanks so much, Pat, for chatting with me about my work. Your questions force me to think more about what I’m doing and why.

Click here to read an excerpt of: Sarabande by Malcolm R. Campbell

Glen Wilson, Hero of Five Ken Coffman Novels

Bertram: Do you embrace conflict, Mr. Wilson?

Glen Wilson: No. Fundamentally, I’m a coward. On the other hand, I have a destiny. When I’m in trouble, things might get bad and I might get hurt, but my life is reserved for some higher (or lower) purpose. I don’t know and I don’t care what that purpose is. I want to stir things up and live as interesting a life as possible. Also, I want to find the stupidest, most rotten, evil, human trash and poke my finger in his (or her) eye.

Bertram: How do your friends see you?

Glen Wilson: My friends love me unconditionally. I am their fearless leader, their wise mentor, and their hero. Otherwise, why would they hang around? Look at them. Gerusha, my lovely wife, a former barista at Starbucks. Walter Crowley, whom you may know by his magic show stage name: Dr. Zalooq. He’s a little scary, but no one knows more about human nature. Bennie Jackson, my young black friend, one of the top-200 intellects in the world. Murphy, a former cop from Orlando. She doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, but she’s tough and a great person to watch your back when things get dodgy. And the rest? Angela, Elke, Emma? If asked them to hack off an arm and hand it to me on a plate, they’d say “Which one?” I feel like I’m more defined by my enemies and I think you’ll notice they are mostly deceased. The butcher of Lyon? Holly, the psycho hell-cat bitch? Erik, the murdering, white-trash bass player? Do you see a pattern? They’re all deceased. Maybe you’d be safer if you stay on my good side, if you can find it.

Bertram: How do your enemies see you?

Glen Wilson: Grinning as they take their last breath.

Bertram: What are the last three books you read?

Glen Wilson: I don’t read books, they are a waste of time.

Bertram: How does your author, Ken Coffman see you?

Glen Wilson: I already said I don’t read, what is your problem? I don’t have a lot of time, are we done?

Bertram: Do you have a hero?

Glen Wilson: I am my own hero. I don’t know how the world will thrive without me showing the way and taking out the trash.

Bertram: Do you have any skills?

Glen Wilson: I don’t have any skills. Skills are boring and overrated. I have friends with skills, that’s close enough.

Bertram: Do you have money troubles?

Glen Wilson: I never worry about money and I don’t understand people who obsess over it. Life is short. There is no time to waste. I have what I need and if I don’t have it, then I get it. There’s a lot out there. If nothing else, figure out which direction the big economic machine is rolling and push that way. You’ll be rewarded for it. Money is a tool, not an end goal. Get over it.

Bertram: What do you want?

Glen Wilson: Fate makes them cross my path and I deal with them. I’ll do that until my final day on earth. Also, I’d like a beer if you have one. Not watered down alligator piss, give me a big beer with flavor or nothing, thanks.

Bertram: What do you believe?

Glen Wilson: I believe if I wrap my hands around your throat and squeeze as hard as I can, you’ll soon be dead. I suggest you stop trying my patience.

Bertram: What are you afraid of?

Glen Wilson: Being bored.

Bertram: What is your biggest disappointment?

Glen Wilson: Moshi. My sad, doomed friend in Alaska. She deserved better than what she got. If there is a God and I ever stand before him, we can discuss his role in this sad affair after I blacken his eye.

Bertram: Are you lucky?

Glen Wilson: Yes, of course.

Bertram: Are you honorable?

Glen Wilson: I’m honorable if you are honorable. If you have a black soul then I am your worst enemy.

Bertram: Do you have any handicaps?

Glen Wilson: Duh, are you blind AND stupid? Look at this hand. See the two fingers missing? I’m incomplete. I hate that almost as much as I hate stupid, unobservant people.

Bertram: Was there a defining moment of your life?

Glen Wilson: Yes, weren’t you paying attention? When I was eight, a big kid beat the crap out of me and I realized that I’d rather die than be defeated. One day, this will be the end of me, but I noticed that if you stand and fight to your last breath, you will always win. Or die, of course. One day, I’ll die. So what? Not today and you first.

Bertram: Do you have a favorite beverage?

Glen Wilson: Yes, beer, because it’s good. Where is it? It’s been two minutes.

Bertram: What is your favorite music?

Glen Wilson: I like the blues because it is real. Besides, with a mutilated hand like this, it’s all I can manage on the guitar.

Bertram: Name five items in your briefcase.

Glen Wilson: Let’s take a look. I have half a sandwich, a fifth of tequila for medicinal purposes, my passport, a couple thousand dollars in cash and an old 1911 Colt .45.

Bertram: What are the last five entries in your check registry?

Glen Wilson: I work exclusively in cash. If you need a check, Murphy will write one.

Bertram: If you were at a store now, what ten items would be in your shopping cart?

Glen Wilson: Would two six-packs be two items or twelve?

Bertram: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

Glen Wilson: How stupid do I look to you? A woman, of course. While we’re daydreaming, can we make her a mute? Yeah, a well-endowed mute would be my choice.

Bertram: How do you envision your future?

Glen Wilson: At some point, my destiny will unfold and we’ll see. I’ll leave this veil of trash and tears with my hands wrapped around the throat of a world-class asshole and leave things better than the hopeless, screwed-up way I found them. Don’t worry, I’ll leave you, yes you, with plenty of work left to do. That’s all, I’m done. If I ever see you again, you’d better be carrying a beer and list of better questions or we’ll have trouble. Read me?

Bertram: Thank you for talking to me, Mr. Wilson. One final question: In what Ken Coffman novels do you appear?

Glen Wilson: Ken wrote Steel Waters, Glen Wilson’s Bad Medicine, Toxic Shock Syndrome. He wrote Alligator Alley and Twisted Shadows with Mark Bothum.

Siegfried Marggrander, close friend and brother-in-law of Gus LeGarde, of the LeGarde Mystery series, written by Aaron Lazar.

Bertram: Mr. Marggrander, thank you for making time to join us. We seem to have trouble getting on Gus LeGarde’s calendar. And your author friend, Lazar, is just as hard to nail down.

Siegfried: Kein problem. I mean, that is not a problem. Sorry if I speak a little in German. Sometimes it is what comes out of my mouth. And please, call me Siegfried. 

Bertram: Okay. Siegfried. Can you tell us a bit about your life on the LeGarde homestead? 

Siegfried: Home stead? 

Bertram: I mean the LeGarde property. 

Siegfried: Ah! Ja. I do. I live in the carriage house beside the barn. There is a nice room to sleep in, and a kitchen. But I mostly eat meals with the Professor and his family. His cooking is sehr gut

Bertram: You and Professor LeGarde have been through some challenging times. I’ve read the first three books that Aaron Lazar has written to chronicle your . . . adventures together and was frankly astounded that so much could happen in such a short time. Can you comment on that? 

Siegfried: How so much has happened to us? Is that what you mean? 

Bertram: It seems as if you two are magnets for danger. 

Siegfried: Ja! I know. Trouble follows Gus and me. But part of it is not just coincidence. There is evil in the world, and we must stop it where we can. 

Bertram: Can you give us an example, Siegfried? 

Siegfried: Ja. Like last summer. A little while ago we returned from Germany, where I visited my Aunt Frieda. She is not well and . . . 

Bertram: And? What happened?

Siegfried: We ran into some very bad men in Paris. They want to be Nazis, like those who killed my mother’s family in Buchenwald. Gus says they are “neo-Nazis. My mother was Jewish, and I am half. Her parents and brothers and sisters were killed there. She was the only one left. Aunt Frieda took care of her when she got out of the camp. When the Americans saved them. 

Bertram: I heard something about you and Gus getting in a brawl over in Paris, on the Champs D’Elysees. Is that right? 

Siegfried: Ja, ja. My face still hurts. They tried to make me join the parade. They were marching in Paris. The Nazis. I am German, you know. My hair is light, but I am half-Jewish. But I got mad. Very mad. 

Bertram: And their leader was killed? 

Siegfried: Ja, but I did not kill him. He had a knife. A big one. And we fought on the street. His friend tried to shoot me, but I flipped Müller over just when his friend fired the gun. Herr Müller was killed. 

Bertram: The CNN report I saw made it look like you and Gus were responsible for Müller’s death. Did that cause problems for you?

Siegfried: Too many. They took me from my aunt’s house in Denkendorf and put me in a cell. It was in the woods, in Austria. Many men came to train with guns. They shot at targets and chased people in the woods. Sometimes they died. 

Bertram: Did anything good happen to you on that European trip? 

Siegfried: Ja! We had a boat ride on the Seine, and good croissants. I ate too many. And Gus found the same church that is in the Hunchback movie, which I watch with Johnny. 

Bertram: Why is this new book of Mr. Lazar’s called MAZURKA? What does it have to do with your European trip? 

Siegfried: Aaron told me not to talk about the mazurka. Not yet. It is a surprise. But he said I can tell you that we made some unusual discoveries about Frederick Chopin. You see, Gus studies Chopin and writes a book about him. He wanted to learn more in Europe, before the bad guys got in our way. Aaron’s publisher said the book cover is ready and he is waiting for the books to be printed. 

Bertram: We’ll look forward to seeing this one, the fourth in Lazar’s series. Do you think he’ll write more?

Siegfried: I hope he does not. That would mean our lives are normal for a while, Ja? No bad guys to chase! But something tells me it might not be so easy . . .