Karl Lagerfeld’s library. Courtesy Book Riot: http://bit.ly/JLF8I5
Karl Lagerfeld’s library. Courtesy Book Riot: http://bit.ly/JLF8I5
Today’s book signing at Dymocks, Westfield Carindale was a great success, with No Remorse the second best selling book in store, after Fifty Shades of Grey. Happy with that!
Thanks to Craig and everyone at Dymocks for being such wonderful hosts of the signing.
There are a number of signed copies in store if you are after one.
Here is a short survey on people’s favorite (or favourite) books. If you’d like to take the survey, the link is HERE. Have fun! I’ll post the results when we have a good sample size.
Here is a selection of reviewer comments on No Remorse from Amazon:
“Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.” (KIRKUS REVIEWS)
“I’ve seen many other reviewers compare this first novel of Ian Walkley to those of Tom Clancy, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. I could not agree more.”
“More action, more adventure and more thrills per page than any novel I have recently read.”
“If you are a lover of books with plenty of page turning action, a charismatic hero and female characters who are as strong and dedicated as their male counterparts this is a book for you.”
“Red Bull and Jolt should be so lucky to provide the rush you get reading this thriller.”
“Better than Bond.”
“Move over Lee Child, Ian Walkley has arrived.”
“A worthy read for fans of international action-thrillers.”
“Bet you can’t put it down!!”
“A Riveting Journey.”
“Beats Clancy hands down.”
“Non-stop action and surprising plot twists.”
“A real nail biter till the last page!!!”
“Sweat Prompting Action Thriller.”
“Top Notch Thriller.”
“An enthralling thriller from start to finish.”
“A roller coaster ride of a read.”
“All the ingredients of a gripping page-turner – non-stop action, compelling plot and well-rounded characters.”
“All the requisites for a Fly-Away Airport Bestseller”
“A totally satisfying experience from beginning to end.”
“Plot development is unique and riveting from beginning to end.”
“It had so many great subplots and they all came together superbly.”
“Intricate plotting, flawless execution, serious subject matter and lightning pacing.”
“No Remorse was a roller coaster ride from page one and continued its twisting ride until the last chapter, seemingly bursting off the pages with intensity.”
“I have certainly read top ten books in this genre that were nowhere near as good as this. It’s well worth picking up.”
“Walkley’s unapologetic use of direct and confronting prose provides a stark realism as a backdrop to the presentation of a variety of serious subject matter.”
“A no holds barred international intrigue thriller.”
“A roller-coaster ride of adventure, danger, international intrigue and conflict, then adds a surprising twist at the end.”
“If you like to see justice delivered with a bang, you should enjoy No Remorse.”
“More twists and turns than a ride up the Matterhorn.”
“In this pacey thriller, the body count is as high as the frequent flier points”
“Great book and a thoroughly good read – highly recommended.”
“The pace is fast, the settings are vivid, and the tension escalates right to the end.”
“No Remorse by Ian Walkley is a solid, fast paced, utterly engrossing read.”
“Action packed from the first chapter, it’s one of those books that you can’t put down and keep saying just one more page.”
“One of the best ending scenes I’ve ever read”
“Action packed, great characters with depth and a fantastic plot!”
“Great characters, gripping plot together with conflict and suspense”
Photography by arndalarm Flickr.com
Allan Leverone’s excellent thriller THE LONELY MILE reached Amazon bestseller status in February, peaking at #21 overall in the paid store, #16 in all fiction titles and #2 in Suspense Thrillers. It’s available here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lonely-Mile-ebook/dp/B005DAX06I
Welcome to Sunday Quickie, Al. How about we start by you telling us a little about yourself.
I went to college with the intention of majoring in newspaper journalism, but after my freshman year, changed my major to Business Administration. That was pretty much the end of my writing career for a quarter-century or so.
About six and-a-half years ago I began writing a sports blog at Foxsports.com, kind of on a lark, because I love sports and just felt like I wanted to write. It was actually pretty successful and I began to develop a decent following, but roughly ten months into my sports blogging career it dawned on me that what I really wanted to do was write fiction—thrillers and horror, the things I’ve loved reading my entire life—so I did.
I wrote a novel-length manuscript with the idea I would submit it to all the big publishers and then sit back and wait for the offers to come rolling in. To answer your question, yes, I really was that naïve. Obviously, it’s been a long and extremely bumpy road since those days half a decade ago, but I’m nothing if not persistent, and I just kept writing, figuring if I was good enough and didn’t give up, eventually good things would happen. To answer your question again, yes, I really was that naïve.
So, what’s the elevator pitch for your book?
Everyone likes to think they would do the right thing under pressure. But what if you stumbled onto the kidnapping of a young girl, and did what you thought was the right thing—broke up the crime and saved the victim—but in so doing, placed your own child directly in the sights of a sociopath? That’s Bill Ferguson’s situation in THE LONELY MILE. When his teenage daughter falls victim to a homicidal kidnapper, he must battle a ticking clock as well as his own self-recrimination to save her. But the situation may not be as it seems, and everything Bill Ferguson doesn’t know may determine whether his child lives or dies.
Sounds exciting! Who are the protagonist and antagonist in the story – and what do you like about them?
Bill Ferguson is the protagonist, and when I wrote his character I wanted to create a regular guy, not a cartoon character or a superhero. Bullets don’t bounce off this guy’s chest. I wanted someone every parent can relate to. He’s not perfect. He’s divorced and living alone, struggling to make ends meet as the owner of a pair of hardware stores being squeezed out of business by the big-franchise competitors.
But he loves his daughter, and when she disappears as a direct result of his actions, he is forced to dig deep inside himself, to discover reserves he doesn’t even know he has, if his child is to have any chance of surviving.
The antagonist is a really nasty character named Martin Krall. He’s a classic sociopath and definitely not someone you’d want to meet in a dark alley, which, of course, made him a lot of fun to write. There’s not a lot about Martin Krall that’s likeable, but as the engine that drives the plot, he’s indispensable.
There’s another character, too, who is extremely complex: FBI Special Agent Angela Canfield. She is the leader of the task force which has been tracking Krall for years, and she teams up with Bill Ferguson in the desperate search to bring down a killer. But there’s more to Canfield than meets the eye, which made her a lot of fun to write as well.
How do you work on your story to bring character and plot together into the final product?
Obviously you can’t have a story without a coherent plot, and I work hard to keep the reader engaged and hopefully throw in a twist or two that you don’t see coming. But in my opinion, characterization is the thing that separates a mediocre story from a spellbinding one. The people everything is happening to have to be real. The more the reader cares about the characters in the fictional world they’re reading about, the more invested they become. And as you know, Ian, that emotional investment is what every author is working to achieve.
What is one thing that has helped you develop as a writer?
Oh, man, narrowing it down to just one thing? That’s tough to do. I’ve learned so much since I started and I know I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what it takes to be a truly skilled writer. I guess I would have to say working with professional editors like Lorie Popp at Medallion Press and freelance thriller editor Jodie Renner. I’ve learned more about writing tight, exciting thrillers from those two extremely competent people than probably every other way combined. It’s part science, part art, and part magic.
Other than that, there’s no substitute for hard work. It’s kind of a cliché that a writer has to write, but it really is true. Writing is like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
What is the most successful thing you’ve done to market THE LONELY MILE?
I suppose that depends on how you define success. I’ve worked hard to develop an online presence through my website, Facebook and Twitter, not just pimping my books, but also hopefully giving potential readers a chance to get to know me. My goal is to develop a long-term relationship with readers, not just to sell them stuff.
However, writing books without giving yourself a legitimate chance to sell any of them is no different than keeping a journal, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to introduce myself to readers. As far as individual marketing is concerned, taking advantage of Amazon’s Kindle Select Program was the most successful. Giving away THE LONELY MILE for three days directly contributed to the better than twelve thousand sales of the very same book which followed.
Unfortunately, that giveaway occurred back in February and I’m not sure the dynamics of the program are the same now. So many free ebooks have flooded the market that the effect has been lessened, at least for me. Your results may vary, as the TV advertisers say, but I’m thinking of staying away from the free giveaways, at least for the time being.
Kindle Nation Daily sponsorships are always a good way to reach ebook readers, especially readers of thrillers. The sponsorships can be pricy, though. A very cost-effective way to reach readers is the brainchild of Scott Nicholson, www.ebookswag.com. It’s brand new and author sponsorships are available at a very reasonable price. The site is growing like crazy and for my money is outstanding.
You can find out more about out Al and his writing at www.allanleverone.com.
Barbara from California sent me a lovely email and the review below on Amazon. Thanks Barbara! After a bad week, your note was just what was needed!
Here’s Barbara’s note:
Ian, I’ve finished reading No Remorse and have given it 5 stars on Amazon. I loved how you were able to weave so many levels of action together without losing the reader. Your book was REALLY good and I was actually a little sad when I reached the last page. I am honored to give you 5 stars. barbara
And here’s Barbara’s review:
No Remorse, start to finish, is a roller coaster ride of a read. Lee McCloud or Mac is shanghaied into a covert branch military operation after he botches a kidnapping rescue. Saving the young girls that have been abducted remains his main objective as he travels the world from Mexico, London, Paris, Dubai and onto a mysterious island nation worthy of a James Bond adventure. It is here that Khalid Yubani has set up his main operation that is so evil and vile that it makes his sex slave and human trafficking businesses seem bland in comparison.
Mac is aided by Tally, a genius hacker, whose job is to empty the bank accounts of al-Qaeda agents and the global militant Islamist friends of Osama bin Laden. Khalid turns out to be considered rogue to the inner families of al-Qaeda so the paths of Mac and Tally’s operations cross building mystery, intrigue and conspiracy like none I’ve read in recent years.
I’ve seen many other reviewers compare this first novel of Ian Walkley to those of Tom Clancy, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. I could not agree more. There are so many plots and sub-plots but Ian is able to keep the reader fully absorbed in the action without confusion. I’m looking forward to more from this author and would recommend this, his first novel, to one and all.
If you’re a member of Goodreads and have nothing better to do, try the No Remorse quiz. You can find a twelve question multi-choice quiz on No Remorse on Goodreads, using this link: http://www.goodreads.com/quizzes/17216-no-remorse
Most fiction writers I have seen interviewed claim that they write to either entertain themselves or entertain their readers. The scope of fiction’s entertainment is as broad as it is deep. Such is the diversity of fiction, in fact, that publishers freely admit they don’t know what the next big hit is going to be. Even more so now with indie authors pushing the envelope.
Hit novels such as American Psycho and Silence of the Lambs have stirred up controversy over the extreme violence of some of their characters. The Hunger Games has been criticized for portraying kids killing other kids in a game, and some of the violence in Harry Potter has attracted controversy. In the past, Lady Chatterly’s Lover and Lolita have been banned for their sexual content. And, of course, there is the unfortunate Salman Rushdie who wrote The Satanic Verses that provoked extreme Muslim protests and fatwas.
Would any of these authors have become famous if they had self-censored their work so their books could be more acceptable? No, they wrote the story they felt was appropriate to get their message across.
In his classic writers’ advisory The Breakout Novelist, literary agent Donald Maass points out that, “No breakout novel leaves us feeling neutral. A breakout novel rattles, confronts, and illuminates…” He goes on to say, “The key ingredients that I look for in a fully formed breakout premise are: (1) plausibility, (2) inherent conflict, (3) originality, and (4) gut emotional appeal.” And Maass talks about the need for high stakes, not just high but VERY high. And baddies who are VERY bad.
In my novel, No Remorse, I have tried to address these key ingredients. The independent authority, Kirkus Reviews, has said about the book: “Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.”
In doing so I make no apology for several confronting scenes that depict serious violence against captives of kidnappers. One only has to do a little research to understand some of the appalling treatment of people by human traffickers, terrorists and serial killers. Often the true-crime facts are so awful that they would be too shocking to publish. Much more horrific than the scenes in No Remorse.
So where do we draw the line? How do authors justify the level of graphic violence that we choose to include. Believe me, as an author who has researched the topic, writing some scenes is as confronting for me as it is for a reader to read. But that does not mean these scenes should be censored if they are important elements to the context of the plot. Sometimes, authors have to be confronting.
Let’s go back to Maass’ four key ingredients. Firstly, plausibility. It is important that the behaviour of the bad guys be plausible. In my case, I have a group of wealthy men who are supporting terrorism to manipulate the global financial system and weaken America so they can accumulate cheap assets. Don’t we know this is already happening? We see evidence of it every day in the news. Plausibility also extends to the storyline itself. Kirkus Reviews said of No Remorse: “With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded.”
Secondly, Maass talks about the need for inherent conflict. In No Remorse, there is conflict in both the protagonist and antagonist environments, and within themselves. The hero, McCloud, is conflicted about many things, particularly his distrust of women, but it is his own guilt in not saving his younger sister years earlier that drives his behaviour. Khalid too, has conflict about how women should be treated, but is mostly driven to revenge over what happened to his first love. The two opponents in fact share some challenges, but have chosen different paths in dealing with them.
Thirdly, originality. My plot is, I believe, original enough to justify its place, with a combination of the criminal use of living organ donors and other elements I will not reveal here for fear of spoiling the novel for potential readers. It’s not easily classifiable; perhaps it could be best described as “Taken” meets “Mission Impossible”.
Finally, Maass mentions gut emotional appeal. One of Amazon’s top reviewers (Red Rock Bookworm) said of No Remorse: “More action, more adventure and more thrills per page than any novel I have recently read.” Emotional appeal is fuelled by the viewpoint of one of the kidnapped girls, and the constant threats that the main characters are exposed to. Both the hero and antagonist make mistakes, and random events throw chaos into the mix. And while some of the scenes are confronting, perhaps disturbing, I felt this was important for the reader to understand just how bad the bad guys truly are, and understand this at the gut level.
These days especially, with so much new work being published, it is important that fiction writers break out of the mould and provide that diversity of entertainment that readers are searching for. To achieve this, I believe it is important that writers stay true to their stories, and not try to censor their work just because a few critics have registered their sensitivity. Only in this way will we, as readers, be rewarded with entertaining reads that have a deep impact on our values and lives.
Hi Pat, how about telling us a little about yourself and your writing.
I always wanted to be a reader. That’s really all I ever wanted to do when I grew up. I did try writing a novel many years ago, but the words never came flowing out of me the way I thought they should, so I decided I had no talent for writing. About ten years ago, I decided phooey with talent, and I tried writing again. It turns out that during all those years of reading, I absorbed a feel for story. I refined my craft by studying books on writing and editing, and now I have five books published by Second Wind Publishing.
All my stories reflect my two particular struggles: my journey as a writer and my quest for identity, which perhaps come down to the same thing. As we grow up and then grow older, we need to discover who we are in relation to our new growth or new limitations. I think the quest for identity is one of the strongest themes in any book because it reflects two stages of life we all go through — adolescence and obsolescence.
Give us the elevator pitch about your fourth novel, Light Bringer.
Becka Johnson had been abandoned on the doorstep of a remote cabin in Chalcedony, Colorado when she was a baby. Now, thirty-seven years later, she has returned to Chalcedony to discover her identity, but she only finds more questions. Who has been looking for her all those years? Why are those same people interested in fellow newcomer Philip Hansen? Who is Philip, and why does her body sing in harmony with his? And what do either of them have to do with a shadow corporation that once operated a secret underground installation in the area?
Tell us about the protagonist and antagonist in the story–what do you like about them?
My protagonists Becka and Philip are not quite human, and are particular favorites of mine because together they make beautiful music. Literally. My antagonist Teodora works for a multi-national intelligence agency, and is known as The Fixer. She’s been assigned to find out what Rena and Philip know so she can find a way to stave off a disaster that is threatening earth, which come to think of it, perhaps makes her the real hero.
How do you work on a story to bring the components like character and plot together into the final product?
Normally, I begin at the beginning and work through till the end, but there were so many intertwining stories and POV characters in Light Bringer, that I needed to lay the pieces out like a jigsaw puzzle. I wrote each component of the story, each scene, on a card and then kept laying them out in different patterns to make sure the story made sense.
What is the most successful thing you’ve done to market your book(s)?
The most successful thing I ever did to market was way before any of my books were ever published. I entered one of my novels in a writing contest on Gather.com, and finished in the top ten. When that book was finally published, I had a list of people who were waiting to buy it. I made a lot of connections through that contest, and peripherally, it’s how I found my publisher.
Here is the Amazon link for Light Bringer: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Bringer-Pat-Bertram/dp/1935171410/ref=la_B002BLUHUY_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1336707788&sr=1-5