Thursday, July 25, 2013

WHAT THE EXERTS SAY: Author, George Snyder

George Snyder, Author

Award-winning and prolific author, George Snyder, has written more than 30 fiction and non-fiction books.  One of his popular hardboiled crime novel series features sailor Baylor –most call him just “Bay”- Rumble, who typically meets “good cops, bad cops, mob hit men, and long-legged beauties.”  Most recently he has authored a stand alone hardboiled crime novel, THE FAREWELL HEIST, that takes place in an entirely fictional city—River Beach, in coastal Northern California, which is planned for release soon. It involves a heist to grab funds used by politicians for offshore drilling.

George himself is an avid sailor, in addition to being a prolific writer. He is currently working on a new series character: Logan Sand is a former boxer, Shore Patrol, SEAL, Naval Intelligence, boxer; now a private detective connected with the Lady Eye Detective Agency as the token male. When he is not writing or sailing, George likes to ride motorcycles and has owned more than twenty and ridden more than 300,000 miles.

Q: You are a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and have produced the Baylor Rumble hardboiled crime novel series, with the latest, BAJA BULLETS.  What made you decide to write about Baylor Rumble and how did you create his name?

George Snyder: Thirty-plus books so far with eleven still available on Amazon and other outlets. The idea for the Baylor Rumble series came to me back in the nineties; about a guy who designed and built an ocean sailing catamaran who would sail to different parts of the world. This was shortly after I had designed and built a cruising catamaran that I sailed to Alaska and back from Seattle. At the time, I intended to do the same, maybe go around the world. The cat was stolen and destroyed and that ended my dream. But what if this guy actually did it, sailing from port to port, and finding treachery and killing wherever he sailed?  That was the germ for the idea.

I created a biography for Bay. He was abandoned as a newborn and found in a dumpster. The orphanage named him—Baylor because when found he had the lid of a Baylor Bean can imbedded in his forehead. Rumble because as a baby he never cried, just made this rumbling sound from his throat. Nobody in the books calls him Baylor, he’s just Bay   

Q:  What are the attributes of “a hardboiled crime novel”?

George Snyder: The dictionary defines “hardboiled” as: harsh, unsympathetic, unsentimental; tough and callous by virtue of experience; hard-bitten, emotionally hardened. Nobody writes that pure a definition today, if they ever did. Softened to apply to crime genre writing, it shows an unsentimental portrayal of crime, violence and sex. Carol John Daly started the genre in the 1920’s; then it was honed by Dashiell Hammett and further by Raymond Chandler, and those who came later: Mickey Spillane, John D. McDonald, Richard Prather, to the guys working at it today, Dennis Lehane, Ken Bruen, Robert Crais, James Crumely, and many others.

With each generation of writers, the meaning grows softer. Now we have Private Eyes with a feminine side, elderly parents in a nursing home, taking their kids to school and with child visitation.

Into the twenty-first century, one character epitomized the true meaning best—Parker. Parker is without emotion or sentiment. He is a craftsman devoted to his work. His work is stealing. What he hates most is chaos. Some men, like some dogs need to be shot—that sort of thing. The creation of Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark, Parker will no longer be as he once was. Donald Westlake is gone. Whoever takes over will fall short. Those who write in the genre today are more complicated with cluttered lives. Lee Child’s, Jack Reacher comes close but his background is too military and he doesn’t quite hit the purity of the genre.

My original intent with Baylor Rumble was to make him somewhere between Parker and Spenser and Travis McGee. But since I’m too soft, he’s too soft so maybe I didn’t make it.      

Q: How do you encourage readers to care about Baylor?

George Snyder: Bay cares, maybe too much. In each book there are two types of women, a tough selfish bitch and a damsel in distress. Bay must conflict with one to rescue the other. Most of the men he confronts just want him dead and work hard to get that done. He does have a few buddies. His loyalty is unwavering.

Q: BAJA BULLETS is set on a sailboat headed for Mexico. How important is setting for telling your story? How do you select a setting?

George Snyder: As stated the original intent was to have him sail from port to port. He lives on his catamaran. I started him local: BAD GIRL DEAD is in Long Beach, California; BLEEDING SISTERS in San Pedro. Because of what happened to him in that book, he vows never to return to California. After CATALINA KILLERS I had to get him out of the country.

In 1993-1994, I had solo-sailed my small sloop down Baja and spent a year cruising Mexico. I spent four months living in La Paz and used that as a base for BAJA BULLETS. As hinted at during the ending, the next book will be about the international slave trade and will take place on and around a Pacific island. The book will be awhile coming.

 But my stand alone hardboiled crime novel, THE FAREWELL HEIST, takes place in an entirely fictional city—River Beach, in coastal Northern California, population about 60,000. I sure liked doing that and will again. No walking the mean streets, drinking in tough dives, no maps, able to steal little quirks from many real cities. Good, easy stuff.

Q: What makes an effective villain?

George Snyder:  I chair a critique group at Barnes and Noble in Long Beach. Those who live a suburban life often don’t like that crime novel people can be so mean. It’s understandable, most suburb types have not had a gun pointed at them or been threatened with a knife, and for the guys, their last fist fight was in high school.

In my genre, a villain has to be as vile and evil as a “B” movie monster. As a twist he may have a slick line of patter and heartbreaking rugged good looks to mask his dark heart, and worse black soul. He is and does pure evil. One thing I love about Elmore Leonard, sometimes his villain is a cowboy or flashy dresser with the personality of a stand-up comedian onstage; one minute laughing and loving and a short time later killing. My villains are hissing bad. I love my villains. To be believable and operate on the same turf, the antihero must be only slightly less evil, the way Parker is.

Q: How do you create suspense?

George Snyder: Short chapters; cliffhanger chapter endings; plants. Raymond Chandler once wrote that when you’re stuck in a story, have a man walk in the room with a gun in his hand. If in a previous chapter somebody says, “Hey, a guy might come in here with a gun anytime tomorrow morning,” then the reader is in suspense.

My chapters run five to seven pages. Readers today are busy; they won’t wallow through twenty pages of narration without a break. But James Patterson (a tough read for me) or whoever writes his stuff these days goes apeshit with his one-page chapters.

To keep your reader you have to roll your story along with little introspection, philosophical meanderings or beautiful scene descriptions. You need lots of conflict and action.  

I try to end each chapter with a cliffhanger, maybe not a plot changer but something to add suspense, to make the reader want to get into the next chapter. You send your character to bed at the end of the chapter; the reader will go to bed too and maybe not pick up the book again. But end the chapter with the guy crawling in bed with a beautiful woman and just when he’s about to practice his lovemaking skills, she pushes the snout of a Glock 9mm against his throat, the reader might want to know what happens next. I love it when the book ends in a gigantic twist but my writing skill isn’t good enough for that.

Plants are important. They make the reader wonder, make him/her think: wait a minute, back in Chapter Six; I saw that black bowling bag with the white stripe in the clown’s closet. He’s the one who stole the money, the virginity, the jewelry and her Bible.    

Q: Do you write to deliver a message? Or for pure entertainment?

George Snyder:  The cliché is, as a Hollywood producer said, “Wanna send a message, use Western Union.” The hardboiled crime genre is not literature. It can be but usually isn’t. The books are for entertainment. And yet…at the end of each Sherlock Holmes novel, the sleuth makes a philosophical statement that might be taken as a message.

Ray Bradbury once said that his science fiction stories were based on: if these events are allowed to continue, this is what might happen. I used that for my one and only science fiction romance novel, BEYOND GENDER WARS. The premise being that if the battle of the sexes became a shooting war, this is what might happen.       

Despite that, in order to flesh out my characters, I might give them a philosophy stated in a sentence or two, their reaction regarding what is going on around them. And my latest books carry an undercurrent sub-theme with national or global ramifications. THE FAREWELL HEIST is about oil drilling platforms off the California coast AND crooked politicians. Yes, it’s a heist novel but the money was being used for political bribes to add more drilling platforms. It should be taken away from them, and my guy Ben Steele intends to do just that. The second book in my new Logan Sand series, PLUNDERED ANGELS covers child prostitution. I’m leaning more toward a small protest voice against injustice by the temporary force in power over regular folks. Evil takes many forms.

Q:  Your resume offers a list of jobs you’ve held in addition to writing. What was your favorite one?  

George Snyder: All my jobs were forgettable. Their only function was to pay rent and put food on the table so I could write. The day I got out of the Navy, I intended to write. If I made a lot of money at it, swell. Even if I only made a little money, I’d still write. Soon after the Navy, I had a wife and two small kids. I was sending out a story a week to men’s magazines and they were coming right back. I had to work. Many years were spent in aerospace assembly, I had no degree, and after I completed my apprenticeship as a machinist, I worked at that. Eventually I got into planning then engineering then tech writing, which was fill-in-the-blanks boilerplate, and editing. Aerospace had layoffs about every year so I’d go into something else.

The now ex-wife went off to live with somebody else and I was never interested enough to get another one. The kids are grown and living their own lives. I retired as Senior Editor of Technical Publications from Boeing. With retirement, I can write full time if I live frugal. And I do.

Since my creative efforts were used for writing, I didn’t want a job that required me to think too much. I liked working with my hands. Building four liveaboard sailing vessels during lay-offs felt good after hours of writing. I’m uneducated and I’ve never had a career. 

Q:  What’s next? Do you plan to continue with the Baylor Rumble series? Others?

George Snyder:  The next Baylor Rumble book will be awhile coming. I’m excited about my new series character, Logan Sand; former boxer, Shore Patrol, SEAL, Naval Intelligence, boxer; now a private detective connected with the Lady Eye Detective Agency as the token male. First draft of THE CALCUTTA DRAGON is done and cooling off while I complete the second book, PLUNDERED ANGELS. I’m trying to make Logan tougher than Bay but I know I’ll never get him as tough as Parker. I’ve never had an agent so my books are brought out by small publishers, too small to be eligible for prizes.

THE FAREWELL HEIST did receive an award from the Southwest Writers Conference. I’ve written some screenplays but I only write them based on my own novels so nothing has happened. As mentioned, BAJA BULLETS does have a film option, whatever that means.

Q: Who is George Snyder? What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

George Snyder: Sail, with cruises along the coast and to Catalina Island. Scuba diving with dives in the Channel Islands, Sea of Cortez, Puget Sound and the Gulf of Thailand, although I snorkel more these days. Motorcycles, I’ve owned more than twenty and ridden more than 300,000 miles through Canada, Mexico, the five western states; even rented them in Japan. I have an old dual purpose on/off road machine now. A memoir about motorcycles is out there: ROAR AND THUNDER, motorcycle journeys. Although I’ve seen most of the Far East, I plan a six-month backpack trek across Europe soon. Gold panning is my new passion, although I use metal detectors more. Even found some color. Of course I read, constantly. And I like movies, good and bad. I also camp, and ocean fish from my boat. I do have a blog about writing:
But mostly, I write. My books can be seen on my web site:

I’m on Facebook-Twitter-LinkedIn-Smashwords-Google-Goodbooks-Goodreads

About George Snyder

George Snyder started by publishing short stories in men’s magazines; one to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. His first novel, ‘The Surfer Killers’ was published as ‘Surfside Sex’ by Playtime Books (part of Neva Paperbacks) in the early sixties. With Merit and Award books and through promoter Lyle Kenyon Engel, he wrote seven Nick Carter spy/adventure “scres and kill” books. One book, ‘The Defector’ went into three printings and was translated into French and Japanese.  As Patrick Morgan, he wrote ten spy/thrillers in the Operation Hang Ten series with titles like, ‘Hang Dead Hawaiian Style’ (translated into French and Japanese), ‘Cute and Deadly Surf Twins’, ‘Deadly Group Down Under’ ‘Too Many Murders’ etc. As Ray Stanley, he wrote ‘The Mini Cult Murders,’ loosely based on Charles Manson.

Breaking loose on his own in the late seventies, Snyder wrote a sci-fi Romance ‘Beyond Gender Wars,’ eventually published as an eBook by Extasy Publishing in 2010. He self-published three books in the Baylor Rumble series, BAD GIRL DEAD, BLEEDING SISTERS,  CATALINA KILLERS, as well as a non-fiction book, ‘Making it on Social Security’ and two memoirs, ‘The $900 Honda’ and ROAR AND THUNDER. In 2011 he connected with BooksForABuck Publishing that published ‘SATIN SHORTS, and 2012 THE CROSSFIRE DIAMONDS. Also in 2012 he received an award from the Southwestern Writers Conference, Albuquerque in the mystery/detective/thriller category for his crime novel, THE FAREWELL HEIST, published by BooksForABuck in July 2013. Solstice Publishing brought out the eBook of #4 in the Baylor Rumble crime novel series, BAJA BULLETS and in 2013 the printed version.

In 2013 he launched his new Logan Sand hardboiled crime series. The first novel, ‘The Calcutta Dragon’ is complete. He is working on the second, ‘Plundered Angels.’ In May 2013 he signed a contract with television media production company Villavision for a 24 month film option on BAJA BULLETS   

About the Books


Benjamin Steele (Ben) is having an affair with Aubrey Blair; whose husband Jason has an $18 thousand poker debt owed to Ryan Silky, River Beach club owner. Silky hired PI Kurt Noland to forcefully collect from a list of heavy debtors, Jason at the top. Steele's long time friend, Seth Tanker, wants Steele to head a heist of two million from oil exec, Price Sydney, retired judge, Aldrich Thorne, and Senator Mansfield Monroe. The money is being used to buy senator votes for added offshore drilling platforms. Demonstrators clutter downtown River Beach. The same night Steele breaks it off with Aubrey, Jason is killed in a foggy alley. Police suspect Ben Steele.


Sailing on a Mexican treasure hunt for buried gold with his two-girl lesbian crew, Bay finds drugs, is attacked by the cartel, and loses all he owns as he is dumped in the desert and left to die. Rescued by shrimp captain, Carlos and his daughter, Consuela, who is lusted after by the evil Pierre Dante, Bay gets involved with a movie star diva, wealthy Mexicans, a cartel war, the CIA, drug territory takeovers, and cops and robbers as he dodges Baja bullets in an attempt to rescue Consuela and get his revenge.

In this first of the Baylor Rumble sailing/adventure/mystery series, Bay is hired by a mobster widow to find a missing diary belonging to the long-legged beauty blown away right in front of him. Delving into the beauty's history, he learns she was a bad girl, and not the only bad girl he encounters. He meets good cops, bad cops, mob hit men, another long-legged beauty with a killer husband, an ex-stud gone to seed, a lovely willing country girl, and other delightful killers.

They tortured her. They cut her throat and bled her.
Then they hung her from the rigging of Baylor Rumble's self-designed, self-built sailing catamaran home, Baye Rumb. Her three sisters want Bay to find out who did it. Wading through more murder, mayhem, and marauding women, Bay finds his wisecracking, noisy, disrupting personality fighting terrorists with a plan torn right out of today's headlines, drug smugglers, government agents, exploding boats, sea chases, loving and evil sisters, even some of his own demons to deal with. Finally, Bay is himself tortured and sliced, and not even sure if he can wrap up and tie off this caper.

Sailing to Hawaii, Bay finds an encrusted dinghy with a dead young woman inside. Ordered to Catalina Island by police, he is detained, attacked, robbed, seduced and teased as he unwillingly tangles with movie stars, a film diva, a dirty cop, pedophiles, hookers, a drunken stage mom, a molested teenage actress, an overbearing director, killers and thieves. Forced at gunpoint to take part in the drug deal during a raging gale, Bay, in his third sailing/adventure/mystery caper tangles with them all to find the -- CATALINA KILLERS

Millions of diamonds are enough to tempt even the virtuous into crime and Colt Fallon has never been especially virtuous. While cleaning up a botched kidnapping, Fallon learns of the diamonds and the bank where they're being held. He won't be able to get them on his own, but Fallon has a way of attracting the right wrong people--starting with the woman who once betrayed him and who, Fallon is sure, will betray him again. Unfortunately, Fallon isn't the only person after the diamonds. A Chinese syndicate known as "The Principles" has targeted the jewels and Fallon, putting their top assassin on the job.

From Cushman motor scooters to four-cylinder Hondas, Roar and Thunder is a personal lifetime journey of owning and riding motorcycles. Solo or two-up it tells of riding adventure through five Western states and Mexico, what was going on in the world at the time, and the changes in motorcycles and attitudes about them. There are twisty open roads, mud trails, quick boring freeways, traffic jams, high desert winds, pouring rain and blinding blizzards. The big motorcycle rides of the past are there - Death Valley Run, Indio, Lone Pine, Yuma Prison Run, Sunday poker runs, and just rides for burger and beers. Absent are Harley Davidson only events.

After two years in prison, Eddie O'Rourke is thinking payback for Nick the Book, the man who backstabbed Eddie after they ran a jewel heist, stole Eddie's wife, and talked her into shooting Eddie. Nick adds a twist to Eddie's plans when he calls and offers Eddie a chance to help out on a bank robbery. Nick has coordinated a daring multi-bank holdup and arranged an exchange in a money laundry. All Eddie will have to do is receive the money from the robbers, drive it across the border into Canada, and hook up with Nick who'll be waiting for him. For that, Eddie gets a couple hundred thousand dollars and, as a bonus, Nick sends Nadine, a "semi-retired hooker" to keep Eddie company.



Sunday, July 14, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Making Alienating Characters Likeable by Catherine Astolfo

Catherine Astolfo, Author

Mystery author Catherine Astolfo has just launched her newest novel, SWEET KAROLINE. In her newest thriller, she challenges herself to create an alienating character that readers will care about. Catherine has written many award-winning short stories and novels. I encountered her first when I read the Emily Taylor mystery, THE BRIDGEMAN, that kept me up all night to finish.

In the following guest post, she ponders how to make an alienating character—likeable.

Making Alienating Characters Likeable
By Catherine Astolfo

How on earth could I make my character likeable when the first sentence of SWEET KAROLINE goes like this: “I met Ethan on the day that I killed Karoline”?

It’s okay for Dexter; they hired a good-looking, charming actor to captivate the audience. Although my character is beautiful, she’s inside a book, not smiling at you in high definition. Would readers like my Anne?

One of a writer’s primary goals is to ensure that the main character is someone readers can care about. If you don’t give a hoot whether the protagonist lives, dies, achieves her goals, or solves the puzzle, you won’t keep reading. Even if the character is an anti-hero like Dexter, he must appeal to you in some way.

I began to think about all the times in my life when I heard someone say, “I could just kill…him/her.” I knew they didn’t mean it—most of the time. Ending a fellow human being’s life is abhorrent to most of us. When we’re angry, we sometimes want to inflict the worst thing ever on the object of our distress. The worst thing ever would be murdering that person. People who are forced to kill in war, for instance, very often suffer posttraumatic stress disorder.

What would happen if I said in anger, “Oh go drown yourself in the lake” and my target did exactly that? How would I feel? Would I consider myself a murderer? Would I have a mental breakdown like Anne does in the first couple of chapters? PSTD perhaps, even if I only imagined the accident?

What would happen if I dreamt of someone’s untimely death? Let’s say I had a particularly horrible boss so my subconscious conjured up a bungee jumping incident. Next staff bonding event involves a bungee…

Unless, of course, the character is a psychopath. That certainly puts a different stamp on things. We would probably agree that Dexter hasn’t got much of a conscience. My Anne is smart, charming, and has been terribly hurt. She suffers enormously from the “incident”, to the point of an emotional collapse, even though Karoline’s death was ruled a suicide. Perhaps Anne is upset, traumatized and feeling guilty because she didn’t prevent it. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be quite so devastated.


I think I might have accomplished my goal, though: here’s what Mel Bradshaw, author of Fire on the Runway, says about Sweet Karoline: “Never have I encountered a narrative voice that alternates more deftly between alienating and enticing."

For all things about author Catherine Astolfo, and to buy her books, visit her at

About Catherine Astolfo

Catherine is a past President of Crime Writers of Canada and a Derrick Murdoch Award winner (2012). She was a Zonta Club 2012 Nominee for Women in Achievement.

Writing is Catherine’s passion. She can recall inventing fantasy stories for her classmates in Grade Three. Her short stories and poems have been published in a number of literary Canadian presses. In 2005, she won a Brampton Arts Award. Her short stories won the Bloody Words Short Story Award (second and first) in 2009 and 2010. She won the prestigious Arthur Ellis Best Short Crime Story Award in 2012.

Catherine’s novel series, The Emily Taylor Mysteries, are published by Imajin Books and are optioned for film by Sisbro & Co. Inc. SWEET KAROLINE was released on July 14, 2013.

Purchase Catherine’s books at

If I knew what I know now, would I have searched so hard for the truth?

Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline's mysterious death than meets the eye?

Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals. Through unexpected turns and revelations, Anne learns about love, family and who she really is. Can she survive the truth?


Twitter @cathyastolfo

Thursday, July 11, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author April Voytko Kempler

April Voytko Kempler, Author
Memoir of Joseph Kempler
as told to April Voytko Kempler

April Voytko Kempler brings us her father-in-law’s story about survival in six concentration camps as a teenager during the holocaust and what that experience did to him. She tells THE ALTERED I, A HOLOCAUST MEMOIR in the first person after listening to him relate his story on PBS and on other platforms.   

Currently a Reno resident, April started her life in Southern California. As with many writers, she has been an avid reader since childhood. She is patiently waiting the publication of  THE ALTERED I in between helping out with the business she and her husband operate.

Q:  Tell us about THE ALTERED I, A HOLOCAUST MEMOIR. Is it fiction or non-fiction?

April Voytko Kempler: It is non-fiction told as a first person narrative.

Q:  What led you to write THE ALTERED I, A HOLOCAUST MEMOIR?

April Voytko Kempler: I've always had a deep interest in the Holocaust, but never thought I would write a book about it until I met my future father-in-law, Joseph Kempler. I was significantly touched by his story. I heard him speak publicly about his ordeal, but never delved into the particulars with him. Then in the early 2000s he was asked to be part of a PBS sponsored documentary entitled Knocking. That was my true inspiration for wanting to write the book. After seeing Joe's experiences in the context of the documentary my curiosity about him was piqued more than ever. I also saw that people were drawn to him and wanted to know more about him too. I had hoped he would write his memoirs, but it was clear he needed someone to jump-start him and that ultimately became me. It was a great honor to be the one to write his story for him. 

Q:  What is the significance of the title THE ALTERED I?

April Voytko Kempler: I don’t read poetry as a rule; however, The Mental Traveler by William Blake grabbed my attention. Especially one short line in parenthetical's: “(For the eye altering, alters all)” and that just blew me away. I knew somehow this was going to be the book’s title. It fit so perfectly with Joe’s life. His "eye" had altered, not by his choice or will, but his life course was so changed that everything else had changed as well. His focus, his goals, and even his spirituality changed direction. The title The Altered I is such a powerful sentiment for the theme of Joe's story.

Q:  What did you learn from writing THE ALTERED I?

April Voytko Kempler: First, I learned I could write a book! I learned a lot about the publishing world from a business perspective, I learned I can market myself. But, most importantly, I learned patience. I learned to be patient with myself and others. I learned if I stretched myself out of my comfort zone I would be OK. And I learned that there is a lot of support and camaraderie among the writer world. Writers really do want to support other writers and see them succeed. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

Q:  Do you plan to write other holocaust books?

April Voytko Kempler: I definitely would like to try my hand at writing a fictionalized account of the Holocaust. Fiction is really the direction I would like to go with my writing career, unless of course another fantastic true story presents itself to me. But, I will say non-fiction is challenging. I had to research a lot of the historic facts and make sure what I was writing was accurate, especially with something as sensitive a topic as the Holocaust. 

Q:  Why are you a writer

April Voytko Kempler: I love a good story like anyone else, plus I have an overactive imagination. When I read a riveting book I can’t help but think can I do this too? Can I make people lose themselves in a world I create? Also, writing is enjoyable to me. I very often express my thoughts better with the written word than speaking face to face. There’s no delete, or back-space button in real life. I like the self-editing factor of writing.

Q: How do you make your readers care about your book?

April Voytko Kempler: I have a character, although he is a real person, who people can relate to. He is far from perfect, he makes all kinds of mistakes, he is flawed as a human but people can sympathize and emphasize with him and his plight. Strangely enough I had one gentleman come up to me and say the opening chapter reminded him of his own father. People can relate to the story even if their background and personal history is different, it resonates. And I only have four sample chapters available right now and people keep asking when can we read more? That is what every author loves to hear. There is more, I finished the book, but it hasn’t been scheduled for release yet, so I ask for a little more patience on the part of the readers (I’m trying to be patient too!)

Q: What do you consider the most important elements of any good writing?

April Voytko Kempler: A little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance, some action, and a happy ending. I really like happy endings.

Q: Who are your target readers? Who do you think will most benefit from reading your story?

April Voytko Kempler: I wish I could say one specific group of people, but honestly everyone I talk to young, old, parent, child, teacher, spiritual leader, they are all so interested in reading and learning more about the Holocaust. I especially think it is important for young, school-age children because the generation that went through WWII and the Holocaust is diminishing and so are their stories. I don’t want to see this subject end up as ancient history. As a people we are still affected by all that happened during that time. The damage still trickles down through the generations. I don’t want the important lessons of that time to be forgotten.

Q:  What’s next?

April Voytko Kempler: More writing of course and hopefully more books published!

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

April Voytko Kempler: I’m usually reading. I fool around on the internet too much! I also volunteer for my church and my local historic society. I assist my husband in our window covering business and I’m a busy wife! My husband and I love to travel so when we get a chance we are planning our next getaway.

About April Voytko Kempler

Born in Southern California, April Kempler currently resides in her "adopted" city of Reno, Nevada. She lives with her husband, who doubles as her editor-in-chief. April's first book entitled The Altered I, a Holocaust Memoir, is a first-person narrative about the Holocaust. 

April loves reading, a habit she picked up as a child. Instead of playing with the other kids, she could be found with her nose in a book.  She reads a variety of genres, but is especially drawn to historical fiction.

When April is not writing or reading, she assists her husband in their window treatment design business answering the telephone, making appointments and helping to install gorgeous draperies on naked windows.


Joseph Kempler is eleven years old in 1939, when World War II begins. German soldiers have invaded his hometown of Krakow, Poland. Forced with his family to leave their home, business and belongings, Joseph embarks upon an adventure that will change his life forever. Joseph survives six concentration camps, some of them death camps, from the ages of fourteen to seventeen.

Along the way he abandons family and faith. He curses God for allowing the Holocaust to happen and becomes an atheist. When he arrives at the concentration camp Melk, he encounters, from a distance, an unusual brand of Christian. He is told they are called Bibelforscher, Bible Students. He is astounded to see these Aryans imprisoned in the same concentration camp as Jews and is shocked to learn that they can leave the camp anytime, all they have to do is renounce their faith, but they won't do it.

This leaves an indelible impression on young Joseph's mind. Many years later, after emigrating to America, Joseph miraculously encounters this group again when they knock on his door. Always curious about their faith he questions them, and ultimately he converts to Christianity. THE ALTERED I chronicles Joseph's life and the circumstances leading to his life altering decision, while shining new light on an untold story of the Holocaust.

Link to introduction to prologue and sample chapters:

LeRue Press website to purchase pre-order: see the tab Pre-Order Books on far right side of page.


Goodreads author: Soon!
Amazon: Soon!
Barnes & Noble: Soon!