Monday, July 10, 2017

CHECK IT OUT: Love, Murder & Mayhem


Love science fiction stories that all include elements of LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM?
Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with superheroes and super villains. AIso, off-worlders and space cruisers. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one DuckBob!
With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ Colchamiro.
You’ll never look at LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM the same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.

About Russ Colchamiro, Editor and Author

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, CROSSLINE, the hilarious sci-fi
Russ Colchamiro, Editor & Author
backpacking comedy series, FINDERS KEEPERS, GENIUS DE MILO, and ASTROPALLOZA, and is editor of the new anthology, LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Ruchira Khanna, Author

Ruchira Khann, Author
Ruchira Khann brings us BREATHING TWO WORLDS, a novel about what it’s like to be born in one country but earning a living in another. A reviewer describes her novel, “What a heartfelt story!” The experiences of immigration inspired her to write the story. Her character’s villains are not human—but rather the “thoughts and emotions a person tries to juggle with on a daily basis.”

Khann was a biochemist, then technical writer before turning to fiction. She has written and published two other novels, CHOICES and VOYAGERS INTO THE UNKNOWN as well as a children’s book, THE ADVENTURES OF ALEX AND ANGELO: THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING IGUANA. She is currently working on a fourth novel with the themes of ambition and trauma, and lives in California with her family.

Be sure to check out the excerpt following her interview.

Q: What drove you to select the topic of BREATHING TWO WORLDS? What influenced your writing of it?

Ruchira Khann: BREATHING TWO WORLDS talks about an individual who is born in one country and is making a living in another country. I have tried to pen down the various emotions she breathes in from the two nations that are both dear to her.

Immigration has always been on the cards for many. Thus, inspiring me to write such a novel.

Q: You are a biochemist who decided to write. What drove you to leave your career as a biochemist and become a writer?

Ruchira Khann: I became a technical writer after I quit working in the lab so that I could continue to work from home. While working on the desktop for hours creativity took a turn for which there is no going back….

Q: BREATHING TWO WORLDS is described as literary and/or women’s fiction, not romance. Would you consider it to be cross-genre? Are the themes intertwined?

Ruchira Khann: Absolutely! The themes are intertwined, but the focus is more on the fiction as she is trying to juggle between her foundations and priorities in life.

Q: Reviewers say that BREATHING TWO WORLDS is an “engaging, thought-provoking read.” Did you intend to deliver a “message” and/or educate or influence readers with this novel?

Ruchira Khann: I avoid being preachy in my novels. As far as an author I choose themes that are close to humanity thereafter I allow my readers to read and judge.

Q: Although your novel is about a woman from India, would you consider it to be a universal story? And is it as much about being a woman as it is straddling two cultures? Would you describe your main character as a “modern woman?”

Ruchira Khann: Yes! This story is about any individual who is an immigrant.

Q: Why will readers care about your main character? How will they relate? Did you base your main character on an actual person?

Ruchira Khann: The main character, Neena is a fictional character and is living a dual life with regards to her priorities and culture that she has been brought up in. This story relates to any individual man or woman who is living two cultures.

Q: Does the concept of heroes versus villains apply to BREATHING TWO WORLDS? If so, what are the attributes of a compelling villain?

Ruchira Khann: Heroes and villains are in plenty here :)
The only difference is that they are not 'humans' but mostly the thoughts and emotions a person tries to juggle with on a daily basis.

Q: How helpful is humor to develop your characters or tell your story?

Ruchira Khann: Humor is also important to keep the storyline light if it is getting too preachy or has too many twists and turns.

Q: What’s next? Will you continue writing novels? Will you stay in your literary fiction genre?

Ruchira Khann: I am currently working on another novel that is based on a theme of ambition and trauma.

Yes, I shall try to stay focused on my genre although intertwine it with romance, mystery.

Q: Tell us about Ruchira Khanna. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Ruchira Khann: I am a holistic healer having my practice and also associated with the Stanford Healing Partners.

Continue to take freelancing technical writing projects.

About Ruchira Khanna

Ruchira Khanna, a biochemist turned writer, left her homeland of India to study in America, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Biochemistry from SJSU and a degree in Technical Writing from UC Berkeley.

After finishing her studies, Ruchira worked as a biochemist at a Silicon Valley startup for five years. After the birth of her son, Ruchira took a job as a technical writer, so that she could work from home. Soon, she began doing freelance writing work as well.

Her love of writing grew and she started working on her own books. After four years of freelancing, Ruchira published her first book, a fiction novel for adults called CHOICES.

Then came the children’s book THE ADVENTURES OF ALEX AND ANGELO: THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING IGUANA. She got a thumb’s up review from Kirkus Reviews.

In January 2016, she published her second fictional novel VOYAGERS INTO THE UNKNOWN. It talks about the quest for happiness as the heavy hearted tourists who travel miles from different parts of the world to Raj Touristry in Agra, India, return to their respective home with a healed heart. This book talks about their journey!

In BREATHING TWO WORLDS, Ruchira talks about ethnicity and cultures, and helps to strike a balance via a fiction-drama novel as her characters breathe two worlds.

In addition to writing books, she is a holistic healer associated with Stanford Healing Partners and also maintains a blog of daily mantras on Blogspot, called Abracabadra. Ruchira currently resides in California with her family.

Neena Arya, a Delhi-born, goes abroad for further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a 'somebody' from a 'nobody' she blends with the Americans via the accent and their mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend, Adan Somoza.

When illness hits home, Neena rushes to meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life after the loss?

Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?

BREATHING TWO WORLDS ventures into cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and priorities.

"Oh!" the Mom answered, but could not contain her curiosity with one hand holding the hyper toddler and the other on her hip she could not resist, "You two don't look like brother-sister, hmmm. So, what is your relationship?" she inquired with a slight smile in a soft voice but without any inhibition. A handful of seniors sitting in the same room observed all the drama and nodded to each other while their fingers were moving on the Tulsi neck beads.

Neena rolled her eyes and thought to herself, "Jeez! We Indians are always darn inquisitive."
Nikhil immediately got up and started walking towards the dining area. This was happening to them for the umpteenth time, and he was now tired of clarifying things. He had lived in this country for half a decade now and still he could never understand the fascination Indians had for marriage and children. 

Neena was confused at first because it was unlike Nikhil to be so rude. On the contrary, sometimes Neena referred to him on lessons in patience but today it was different. But then she didn’t have a choice; she felt it was rude to walk away from the young mother leaving the conversation unanswered. Moreover given Indian mentality in all possibility, she might even follow them till she had a convincing answer to her question. 


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SPECIAL FEATURE: The Mystery of a Sleuth

Joyce T. Strand, Author
The Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries (3)
The Bryn Bancroft Mysteries (3)
The Judge's Story
The Reporter's Story
How do you start to write a novel? Do you begin with a plot, a character, a genre? What comes first?

I started to write mystery novels in 2009. I selected the genre based on my love of reading all types of mysteries or suspense thrillers--noir, spy, cozy, hard-boiled, contemporary, historical. The only type of mystery I didn't like was true crime--too many loose ends!

After agonizing for a year about what should come first, I realized that for me, the character not only was first but would drive the plot.

 As I get ready to publish my ninth novel in November, I'm reminded of my process in the following discussion, which has steered me through the penning of my eight published mysteries. 

“Every man [and woman] at the bottom of his [her] heart believes that he [she] is a born detective.” John Buchan [bracketed additions mine!]

My path to writing a mystery began with choosing my character—the sleuth who would be the hero and solve the crime.

As an ardent reader of mysteries, I have many favorites—Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, a police detective who doesn’t always play by the rules but usually gets the guilty one. I immediately connect to almost all of John Grisham’s crime-fighting lawyers who fight for the
rights of their clients. Kathy Reichs whose background as a forensics anthropologist resulted in the Temperance Brennan series that pulls me into the bone-analysis process for unearthing the guilty party.

 I enjoy reading how Patricia Cornwell’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner, figures it out even while she is threatened by culprits. And I’ll never forget the orchids grown by the rotund Nero Wolf created by Rex Stout as he and his assistant Archie manage to solve an intricate mystery without Wolf leaving his house.

 But how could I—a public relations executive with a thirty-year background of writing biotech and high tech articles and speaking to the public on behalf of my Silicon Valley companies—how
could I possibly write about crimes from the perspective of any expert? I didn’t have Michael Connelly’s crime reporter background, nor John Grisham’s lawyer training or practice.

But, I proceeded with John Buchan’s theory that we all believe we are born detectives. Therefore, anyone can be a detective. Beginning with my first novel, I determined that I would exploit my own background to feature a credible and interesting amateur sleuth.

I found many examples of other authors who have produced outstanding mysteries without depending on skilled crime scene investigative skills. British author Dick Francis relied on his experience as a jockey, and his non-detective characters encountered criminals and plenty of crimes to solve around the horse racing industry. Mary Higgins Clark creates everyday protagonists, whose crime-fighting varies with her settings, and they certainly find evil-doers. Nora Roberts manages to mix crime and romance and also uses settings to vary the plot. Even Nancy Drew was an amateur who as a teenager managed to solve crimes.

So, you guessed it, my first amateur sleuth, Jillian Hillcrest, was a public relations expert at a biotech company in Silicon Valley. In my first three novels, she got involved and solved crimes inspired by real California cases. My next three contemporary mysteries featured her boss, a financial executive turned winemaker. After all, I know about wine. I drink it all the time.

My next mystery, scheduled for release in November 2017, will feature an out-of-work young woman who has been somewhat marooned in the unincorporated small town of Ramona, California when she breaks up with her fiancĂ©. I currently live in Ramona and have selected it as the setting, because it is unique in so many ways—it’s a contradiction of rural roads and ranches surrounded by scenic mountain views peopled with cowboys on horses, and peppered with vineyards, wineries, and a growing artist community—all less than 35 miles from downtown San Diego.

My newest contemporary character, Emily Lazarro, is also a contrast of characteristics—she tries to please everyone, which thwarts her desire to be independent. But in the same way that I learned about the community, so does Emily. And despite running into difficulties and even a murder—or two—Emily also grows into her sleuth’s role.

As with all my amateur sleuths, various events draw Emily into the need to solve a crime. But I can’t tell you any more, or that would be a spoiler. But just know that Emily is at the center of it all.

Joyce T Strand Amazon Author page

Thursday, May 18, 2017

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Russ Colchamiro, Author

Russ Colchamiro, Author
Russ Colchamiro strives to write books that his readers “can’t wait to finish.” Readers of his science fiction novel, CROSSLINE, say the book isa good old fashioned yarn with just the right touch of action, humor and a few nice twists thrown in.” Colchamiro is drawn to science fiction because of the scope and breadth it gives to his imagination. He approaches his characters in depth to understand their motivations. Although he focuses on giving the reader a “fun ride”, he also offers thin layers of his own beliefs.

Colchamiro has also written the Finders Keepers sci-fi comedy series, including, FINDERS KEEPERS, GENIUS DE MILO, and ASTROPALOOZA. He is a contributing editor to a new science-fiction anthology, LOVE, MURDER AND MAYHEM, which he plans to release in July. He currently lives in New Jersey with his family, including his twin children (girl and boy.)

Q: What draws you to write science fiction?

Russ Colchamiro: Regardless of the genre, my goal is to write a great, compelling story that readers can’t wait to finish, so the fundamentals always need to be there—plot, characters, pacing, etc. Given that, science fiction allows me to dream as big as I want, or take the characters—and thus the readers—on a journey that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Within these wild pulp adventures, I like to juxtapose the big, epic questions (What does it all mean? Is life itself random? Is there a grand design? Where do I fit in?) with the ‘smaller’ struggles of everyday life.

So even though the characters may be on some kind of intergalactic quest, or in a ‘foreign’ land (that happens to exist in another quadrant of time and space), the struggles they face are all too human. Love, guilt, fear, joy, passion, loyalty, family, sex, desire, and so on. And if they happen to be facing off against a galactic threat, all the better. When you sit down to read, I want the edges of each page to melt away.
Q: Reviewers say that in CROSSLINE your “Characters felt like people I knew from my own life.” When writing science fiction, how do your approach your characters? Are they bigger-than-life resembling super-heroes? Or are they, as reviewers suggest, “people I knew?”

Russ Colchamiro: My process is to climb inside the hearts and minds of every character I write, whether they are the protagonists, antagonists, or supporting players, and do my best to understand their motivations, so that I can deliver intimate character studies within the grand adventure. Whether ‘everyday people’ or more flamboyant personalities (my cast of players include lots of both) I want each one—male, female, young, old—to feel real and grounded within the confines of the narrative … quirks, contradictions, and all, even down to their speech patterns and cadence. Some characters are loosely based on people I know (or knew), others are amalgams, with the rest pure invention, reflecting various elements of my own personality.

Q: Reviewers also say CROSSLINE is a “Solid blending of science fiction and satire” and “Just the right touch of action, humor and a few nice twists thrown in. It never takes itself too seriously while still grabbing you by the shirt.” How useful was humor to tell your story?

Russ Colchamiro: Humor appears in all of my novels. It’s a natural element of my writing style. But there’s a distinction between sprinkling humor within the narrative, and writing an all-out comedy, which I have certainly done with the FINDERS KEEPERS trilogy. CROSSLINE has its humorous moments for sure, but it’s not a comedy, per se. It’s action/adventure/mystery, with my usual time-bending shenanigans and humor woven in.

Q: Did you write CROSSLINE primarily to entertain your readers or did you embed a few messages or themes along the way?

Russ Colchamiro: Both. I approach each book with a sense of fun, wonder, and adventure, with my hope that readers will come away feeling like they were taken on a wild, unforgettable ride. But underneath the surface of the pulpy SciFi tale I embed elements that are important to me and shape my own worldview—philosophy, history, mysticism, mythology, meditation, and transcendentalism. These elements are prevalent in my novels. But nothing too preachy. I want the readers to have a blast!

Q: How did you create credibility for readers as they explored parallel universes, time travel, and an altered Earth?

Russ Colchamiro: As long as you explain the ‘rules’ of each of these worlds, and stay consistent within them, the credibility is there. I try to include enough details and world building so that readers can say, “ah, okay, I get where I am and how this all works. I’m good.” If that happens, the narrative and characters are free to go wherever the story takes them.

Q: Does the concept of “hero versus villain” apply to CROSSLINE? What makes a compelling villain?

Russ Colchamiro: My novels tend to be far less about ‘hero versus villain’ and more about the hero’s journey. In CROSSLINE, our ‘hero’ Marcus Powell is testing experimental warp thrusters, when (for reasons I won’t spoil here) he’s forced through a wormhole and into a parallel Earth, drawn into a battle he may actually have been destined for all along. He desperately wants to get back to his wife and young daughter, but the needs of the characters he meets on the ‘other Earth’ overtly conflict with his desire to get home.

Meanwhile, on our Earth, 90-year-old Harlan “Buddy” Rheams Jr.—the CEO of the private space corporation that launched Powell’s flight—may or may not have Powell’s best interests in mind.

There are some villainous characters in CROSSLINE for sure, and others more heroic, but I’m far more interested in characters that come to question their motivations, navigate the often confusing and ambiguous choices they face, then have to make decisions, and live with the consequences.

Q: How do you use your settings or worlds to propel the story?  Do they help to evolve your characters?

Russ Colchamiro: Both instinctively and by design I write each story like a mystery. Reveal, conceal, reveal again. Investigate, falter, discover, investigate again. The worlds in some cases are additional characters, with the journey to and from those worlds essential to the narrative.

The characters often find themselves unexpectedly thrust into new environments, having to discover and navigate them. Then—on their ‘heroes journey’ so richly described by Joseph Campbell in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”—by hook or by crook figure out how, when, and why they really need or want to get back home, and if that’s even possible. And even if they do make it back, it’s unlikely they’ll be the same as when they left. That’s certainly the case with CROSSLINE.

Powell’s emersion in the ‘other Earth’ tests him in ways he never even considered. Most of the other characters also get their own arcs. Among others, Powell gets involved with a trigger happy rebel leader who reminds him of his wife, a pot-smoking shaman, a crafty pie-maker, and a weary solider who hates his guts. Some pass those tests. Some fail. Some do both.

Q: What’s next? Will we see more science fiction novels from you?

Russ Colchamiro: Yes! In July I’ll be launching LOVE, MURDER & MAYEHM, a science fiction-themed anthology from Crazy 8 Press, with 15 authors in total. I serve as the editor, and am contributing a story of my own. Each story contains at least one element of love or romance, at least one murder, and lots of mayhem, all in various, unrelated settings.

We have superhero and supervillain stories. We have artificial intelligence, off-world, and space cruiser stories. We also have dream surrogates, private eyes, an aliens vs. monsters showdown, and one DuckBob!

Some tales are wacky, some darker, and others pure fun. Mine is a private eye tale, with the PI—Angelica Hardwicke—written in that classic Sam Spade style, pinstripe suit, fedora, and all. I’m diving pretty deep into the mystery arena these days as both a reader and an author, so this collection was loads of fun to pull together. 

Q: Tell us about Russ Colchamiro. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Russ Colchamiro: Ha. I’m a New York City transplant now living in northern New Jersey, married with twins—my ninjas, a boy and a girl, nearly seven. So between my family, my crazy dog Simon, my books, and my full-time day job as a real estate media specialist in NYC, it doesn’t leave room for much else! But I’m a lifelong baseball junkie, and gobble up fiction in whatever form I can, whenever I can. I’m actually watching The Flash on Netflix with my kids. They absolutely love it. Oh, yeah. Occasionally I sleep!

About Russ Colchamiro

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, CROSSLINE, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, FINDERS KEEPERS, GENIUS DE MILO, and ASTROPALOOZA, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.


In the spirit of Firefly, Flash Gordon, Stargate, and Escape from New York...

Hotdog pilot Marcus Powell has been selected to test Taurus Enterprises' Crossline prototype craft and its newly developed warp thrusters, which, if successful, will revolutionize space travel as we know it.

But during his jaunt across the stars, Powell is forced into a parallel universe -- including a parallel Earth -- where he finds himself at the center of an epic battle he may have been destined for all along.

Meanwhile, back home, reclusive oil tycoon and Taurus CEO Buddy Rheams Jr. -- who sent Powell on that very mission -- has a mysterious past and a secret agenda, one that could prevent Powell from ever making it back to his wife and little girl.

From author Russ Colchamiro, CROSSLINE is a psychedelic, action-packed romp across time, space, and dimension that asks the question: once you cross the line, can you ever really go back?


Other Books by Russ Colchamiro                                                 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Stephen Jared, Author and Actor

Stephen Jared, Actor and Author
Stephen Jared’s newest novel, NEED MORE ROAD, offers what Jared describes as his own “temperament” on a “classic subject”—a bank heist turned into romance. He uses the setting of the 1950s in Barstow, Calif. to support his plot and develop his characters. Reviewers applaud his “insight into human nature” and add that his books are “dramatic, adventuresome, and infused with real emotion.”

In addition to writing novels that include adventure stories set in the 1930s and 1940s, Jared is also an actor and has appeared in movies such as He's Just Not That Into You, and on television series such as iCarly and Criminal Minds. He is currently Associate Producer of a documentary on the illustrator Richard Amsel. And he is busy writing his next adventure story and plans to release it the end of the year.

Q: Would you characterize your newest book, NEED MORE ROAD, as a romance or suspense novel? What drew you to write this story?

Stephen Jared: A million bank heist stories have been told. So, once I had the idea, I began thinking of it like how a painter might approach a still life or landscape. There’s only one reason to paint such a thing, and that’s to express one’s own temperament through a classic subject. As such, it evolved into an eccentric romance. It starts with suspense surrounding a crime but, for me, it’s more interesting to see where the characters go from there. Without a doubt, there’s some genre-bending going on. I saw that as a good thing but some readers have been thrown by it.  

Q: I know you’ve written many novels set in the first half of the 20th century. What draws you to this time period? Would NEED MORE ROAD have been a different story if set in present-day rather than in the 1950s?

Stephen Jared: Some writers capture their own era so beautifully. Fitzgerald and Hemingway leap to mind. I’m not that smart. I’m confused by our modern world. I can’t get enough of a handle on it to write about it. When I look back to an earlier era, however, objectivity and generalizations become easier. As example, NEED MORE ROAD is set in the 1950s, and I gave a lot of thought to why the 1950s was a car culture. Obviously, people had more money after the war, but that doesn’t answer why people would drive to a restaurant and have dinner brought to them in their cars. People were cruising and drag racing. Teenagers were getting cars and parking while on dates. People were going to Drive-Ins and watching films in their cars. I wondered if there was a lot of anxiety and restless energy after the war, and maybe cars helped alleviate some of that. You could put things behind you faster behind the wheel of a car. Some of these ideas found their way into NEED MORE ROAD. The distance from iconic elements of an era maybe gives my mind some room to think.    

Q: A reviewer says of your protagonist, Eddie, that you’ve created “a poignant character study of a lonely man living in quiet desperation.” Is NEED MORE ROAD more about your characters, particularly Eddie, than about the plot?

Stephen Jared: I think the book’s success or failure pivots on the degree to which readers find Eddie engaging. What appealed to me was this guy who has always lived vicariously through fictional characters, now he’s almost fifty, meets someone, and feels he’s plunged into a different world, and it’s a world he wants to stay in. In order to continue, he takes a massive risk. Reality proves hard, fraught with dangers. Reality lands every punch and it’s brutal. But only in reality can Eddie lose the loneliness that’s plagued him his whole life. The plot ended up driven very much by what I wanted to express through the character.  

Q: Do you consider Eddie a hero? Why or why not?

Stephen Jared: He’s dysfunctional. He’s cowardly. He’s an unhappy guy. Constantly questioning everything. When he pulls his head out of the cinema long enough to see himself as he really is he goes so far as to involve himself in a crime with hopes of becoming someone new. Of course, people can’t change overnight, but in going down a different road he finds strength he didn’t have before. He gains some satisfaction. He actually begins living a life not so different from the fictional characters he used to envy on the silver screen. It’s hard to change your life, to leave everything you know behind. Eddie does a heroic thing. But, no, he’s not a hero at all. 

Q: Why did you set NEED MORE ROAD in Barstow, Calif.? Does this location support your plot or help develop characters?

Stephen Jared: 1950s Barstow was small. It was a place people passed through without paying much attention to it. It lacked glamor. It lacked significance, and it was surrounded by nothing but desert. I felt it offered a reflection of Eddie Howard, the main character.

Q: Reviewers hint that NEED MORE ROAD is different from your other books, which are more hard-boiled pulp fiction.  Do you agree?  (Please do not divulge the end of your story to respond to this question.)

Stephen Jared: I see it as an extension of what I was doing with the last one, THE BRUTAL ILLUSION, which was something more introspective. I love hard-hitting noirs and adventures, but if you remain really true to the form the stories risk becoming nothing more than homage. I think you have to offer something different. I think uniqueness is found in self-expression; you just have to be careful about becoming overly self-indulgent. 

Q: How helpful is humor at developing your characters or plot?

Stephen Jared: Humor is a plus. I think especially so if you’re working with a melancholic character like Eddie. You have to lighten things up here and there.

Q: As an actor, can you apply aspects of script-writing to writing a novel, e.g., scene development, dialogue-based, showing rather than telling?

Stephen Jared: Both require some similar skills. I don’t think one is easier than the other but the function of each demands a very different discipline. A script is more like an architect’s blueprint for a house. The readers of a script are fellow craftsmen. A novel isn’t assigned dozens of interpretive artists to jump on board and move it through a long process before it hits the marketplace. It begins and ends with the written word.

Q: What’s next?

Stephen Jared: I’m currently at work on another Jack Hunter adventure. I hope to get it out in the Fall.

Q: What have you been doing recently in addition to writing?

Stephen Jared:  I’m Associate Producer of a documentary on the illustrator Richard Amsel. It’s a film by Adam McDaniel, and there’s probably no one better suited to be making a film about Amsel. It’s been great to be supporting him however I can. I’m also still acting. I recently did an episode of The Young and The Restless, which aired a couple of weeks ago.

About Stephen Jared

Stephen Jared grew up in a small Ohio town in the late 1970s/early 1980s. He was at the cinema every weekend. When considering what he might do as an adult he only had one idea: he wanted to work in movies. In the summer of 1989 he moved to Los Angeles. He was twenty-one years old. Since then, he’s appeared as an actor in movies such as He's Just Not That Into You, and on television series such as iCarly and Criminal Minds.

In 2010, he wrote JACK AND THE JUNGLE LION, a novel inspired by 1930s Hollywood. Having received much critical praise, Solstice Publishing began releasing his work, starting with TEN-A-WEEK STEALE, hailed as a “fantastic work in the tradition of the old pulp/noir masters.”  THE ELEPHANTS OF SHANGHAI continued on from where JACK AND THE JUNGLE LION left off, and went on to take Second Place at the 2013 Hollywood Book Festival. 2014 saw the release of THE BRUTAL ILLUSION, considered by many to be his best work.   

While remaining busy as both author and actor, Stephen is also Associate Producer of an upcoming documentary about movie poster legend Richard Amsel who created classic illustrations for Flash Gordon and Raiders of the Lost Ark, among others, in the late 1970s/early 1980s. 

Eddie lives a life of uncommon routine. At nearly fifty-years-old, he’s only ever lived in one house. Bored with his bank job, he spends evenings at the movies where he lives vicariously through Rock Hudson and Robert Mitchum. With one screen in town he often sees the same picture repeatedly. He finds Hollywood fantasies infinitely more enticing than reality. Late one Friday, a woman walks into the bank. Her name is Mary Rose, and she looks like Marilyn Monroe. Her father came into money and the two are looking to settle in a small town. Infatuated, Eddie breaks from routines and spends time with her. While she couldn't be sweeter, her father is different. He has a roughness about him, an edge. This becomes especially clear when he requests Eddie's help with a bank heist. Mary Rose’s interest in Eddie was only to lure him into helping her father. Eddie understands this now. Walking away is the obvious move. He knows it’s the right thing to do. Yet her attention and affection and beauty have made him feel alive for the first time. All he has to do is unlock a door.