Tag Archives: ACTION

Interview with ‘Red Hot Sky’ Gordon Gumpertz on writing, new book and global climate

Gordon Gumpertz brings fiction readers another exciting action/adventure experience in his new novel RED HOT SKY. This is the author’s second book, following his highly acclaimed novel TSUNAMI.

In addition to writing novels, Gordon has won gold and silver awards in national and regional short story competitions. He is a member of the Authors Guild, the Palm Springs Writers Guild, a UCLA graduate, and an instrument-rated private pilot. He keeps his website current by blogging on natural disasters and natural phenomena.

Gordon and his wife Jenny live not far from the San Andreas fault, where the Pacific Plate thrusts into the North American Plate, building increasingly high levels of faultline stress which, the seismologists say, may soon produce the Big One.

Visit his website at www.tsunaminaturaldisaster.com.

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About Red Hot Sky

CO2 buildup in earth’s atmosphere reaches a tipping point. Global weather destabilizes, turns chaotic. Ice storms, dust storms, floods, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes pummel the earth nonstop. A secret computer model reveals that the frantic weather will peak out, and transform world climate into an alien environment devastating to human survival.

Scientists Ben Mason, Claudine Manet, and Bertrand Short are developers of the computer model. Ben and Claudine are lovers as well as lab partners. While they work frantically to head off the approaching catastrophe, a disgraced Russian general hacks into their model and sees earth’s bleak future as his opportunity for ultimate world power.

Ben, who had left the CIA to develop the computer model at the national lab,  is reactivated by the Agency and sent on a perilous mission to block the rogue general’s plot. Claudine, not realizing that Ben is on a secret mission, misunderstands his absence, putting their relationship on thin ice.

Claudine is placed in charge of a massive NASA project that, if completed on time, could stop the approaching doomsday climate change. But her project is stalled by bureaucracy. Ben is on the run in hostile territory. The climate change calamity steadily approaches.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Gordon!  Can you tell us what your latest book, Red Hot Sky, is all about?

Red Hot Sky is a fast-moving novel about what happens when the buildup of CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gasses in earth’s atmosphere reaches a tipping point. In this scenario, global weather destabilizes and turns chaotic. Ice storms, dust storms, floods, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes pummel the earth nonstop. A secret computer model reveals that the frantic weather will peak out, and transform world climate into an alien environment devastating to human survival.

Scientists Ben Mason and Claudine Manet, developers of the computer model, are lovers as well as lab partners. While they work frantically to head off the approaching catastrophe, a disgraced Russian general hacks into their model and sees earth’s bleak future as his opportunity for ultimate world power.

Ben, who had left the CIA to develop the computer model at the national lab, is reactivated by the Agency and sent on a perilous mission to block the rogue general’s plot. Claudine, not realizing Ben is on a secret mission, misunderstands his absence, putting their relationship on thin ice.

Claudine is placed in charge of a massive NASA project that, if completed on time, could stop the approaching doomsday climate change. But her project is stalled by bureaucracy. Ben, his cover blown, is on the run in hostile territory. The climate change calamity steadily approaches.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

The main characters are research scientists Ben Mason and Claudine Manet. They fall in love when they meet at the national lab and plan to get married. Both are having problems balancing their love life with their careers, and both are willing to sacrifice everything to save the planet for future generations. And they do it with humor, grace, and passion. The main supporting characters are Ben’s lab colleague Shorty, a tall country boy from Oklahoma with a big-heart and a sharp mind, who keeps Ben focused by asking the penetrating questions. And Byrone Culver, a DC police detective who joins Ben in his dangerous mission to expose the general’s plot. The antagonist is General Yuri Kulganin, a Russian general who is fired as commander of the Russian Army for supporting a return to authoritarian military control of the government. He plots to return as ruler of Russia and then the world.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

The characters are imaginary, but some of their looks, traits and behaviors are based on real people.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I always make a general outline of the story before I start. Plot enriching opportunities arise during the writing, and the characters sometimes take the action in a different direction, but the basic storyline still stands.

Q: Your book is set in Washington, DC, Pasadena, Geneva, Moscow, and Tehran.  Can you tell us why you chose those cities in particular?

Red Hot Sky is an international spy thriller. I chose Washington as the symbolic power center of America. And Tehran and Moscow as power centers with ideologies and goals that conflict with ours. The action moves from National Science Laboratories in Falls Church to Caltech in Pasadena, NASA’s Dryden Research Center in Mojave, to Geneva, to Tehran, and finally to Moscow.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Yes. Moving from site to site keeps up the fast pace of the action, adds color, and sets up the climax.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Ben’s car is demolished by a car bomb. He’d gotten out moments before the blast to go to a store. Byrone Culver, the DC police detective, arrives at the scene to interview Ben. He says, “Wait a minute. I remember you. The shot on the Key Bridge….Two in a row is more than coincidence. Someone’s trying to kill you. You sure you don’t know who it is?”

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

This is one of my favorites.  It sets the stage for Kulganin’s drive for ultimate power.

The New Year’s afternoon light was almost gone. General Yuri Kulganin slow-marched through the roomy Moscow apartment he’d lived in for the past seven years, trailed by his valet, Sergeant Dimitri Petrov. “Someday we will move back here to Moscow,” Kulganin said, “so I will have the agent sublet this apartment furnished and we will travel light.

Sgt. Petrov, thin, wiry, in his late thirties, uniform freshly pressed, nodded. “Yes, sir. I will pack your uniforms and all your personal items for the trip. Do you also wish to take your gun collection?”

“No, you will pack that for storage.”

“Will I accompany you, General?”

“Naturally, and I advise you to pack for cold winters and hot summers.” Kulganin picked up a silver-framed portrait of his wife, who had left him the year before and was living in Paris with their eleven-year-old son. He put it face down on the table. “Discard all pictures of her, but keep those of my son. This will be a new start.”

“Do I have your permission to take off my tunic, General?”

“Yes, of course, you have some long hours of hard work ahead.” He turned to face the sergeant. “You and I have been together a long time.”

“Yes, sir. Eighteen years.”

“Then you have a right to know. You will soon find out in any case. I am no longer commander of the Russian army.”

Petrov’s spare frame stiffened. “Sir?”

“It’s quite simple. The defense minister has relieved me of my command. We are being transferred to Iran. I will take over the military mission there. Instead of commanding five million soldiers, I will oversee a handful of clerks.” He picked up his wife’s picture and hurled it across the room, smashing the frame and glass against a brick fireplace. “Stupid fools!”

“I am very sorry, sir.” Tears formed in Petrov’s eyes. He’d been with Kulganin since he was a major.  The eighteen years had been good ones.

Kulganin moved to a window. The sky had blackened, signaling another arctic storm on its way. “There is no need to feel bad, Dimitri. The storm will move through. The sun will shine again. Things will be better.”

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Gordon.  We wish you much success!

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Steve DeWinter: ‘I am a heavy plotter and planner.’

I was born and grew up loving to read. But enough about me; you’re here for my books. If you like super-charged thrillers that merge high-tech gadgetry with ancient mythology and pit the outcast against powerful clandestine organizations, you are among friends.

My goal as a writer is to transport you to fresh and exciting worlds that not only take you on a white-knuckle ride but leave you hungry for more when you finally turn that last page and reluctantly slam shut the back cover of the book.

This is my promise to you the reader.

I will continue to satisfy your never-ending desire for more. So keep reading!

When one story ends, another begins.

To find out more about Steve visit www.stevedw.com

Q: Thank you for this interview, Steve. Can you tell us what your latest book, Inherit The Throne, is all about?

A: Thank you for having me here today. I always love talking about my books. In my latest book, Inherit The Throne, Melissa Stone is a woman displaced. After being listed by the military as killed in the line of duty, her husband and young son move on with their lives. Living under an assumed identity, she would have been happy to spend the rest of her days under an assumed name in a small town. But my villain has other plans. She was the only one who could stop him, so he sends an assassin to close off the biggest loose end in his plan. His attempt to remove her has the opposite affect and instead puts her smack dab in the middle of the action. To find out what happens next, you will have to read my book.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

A: Melissa Stone is a strong and capable woman. She has been referred by readers as a female Jason Bourne. Despite being a kick-butt female, she is still a mother, and that comes out when her son is put directly into harms way. Even though she has inner strength, Melissa still needs outward help. For this, she is surrounded by a cadre of supporting characters that help her find out who is trying to kill her, and more importantly, why. Nick is the man she turns to early on and he proves to be, by far, the best person to call. His easy access to much needed resources helps her evade the police after she tangles with the assassin; resulting in explosive results in the normally sleepy little town.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A: My characters are larger-than-life and crafted entirely in my imagination. Thankfully, I write about events that never actually happened, or at least not in the way I write about them. I would hope that nobody in the real world behaves like any of my characters do.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A: I am a heavy plotter and planner. I have usually written out what takes place in each chapter before I sit down to write out the detailed text that becomes the finished book you read. I work out the chapters and re-order them and revise them before I write out the entire novel. This helps me maintain a global perspective and assists with the pacing of my stories.


Q: Your book is set in some wildly different geographical locations throughout the story. Can you tell us why you chose these settings in particular?

A: The locations in my book range from the gritty backstreets of Washington D.C. to the fog shroudhed forests of the Pacific Northwest, back to the unique geographical location of the Adirondack Mountains, and the big finale taking place in a secret underground complex deep in the heart of Manhattan. I like to take my readers to places that they may not get to see on a regular basis and, since my book dealt with an attempt to gain control of the government of the United States, I felt that the story needed to encompass the entire geographical space of the nation.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

A: I like to have my characters travel as they change. The setting helps me identify where they are in their personal growth as well as giving me something that I can take away and make their lives even harder; pushing them to change if they want to stay alive. As a writer, I am a firm believer that without conflict, there is no story.

Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?

A: Melissa and Nick are debating about whether her small-town boyfriend is able to help them infiltrate a top secret government building. Melissa says that not only is he still injured from the assassin’s attempt on her life, but he is a civilian. Nick reminds her that he is not technically a civilian and is actually very qualified for the job. To this Melissa responds, “He was in the Navy fifteen years ago. He might as well have watched Top Gun four hundred times with what he still remembers about those days.”

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

A: This is from early on in the book when the double for the Vice President has second thoughts about “taking the bullet” for him.

Andrew perched on the edge of the back seat and watched as the dimly lit buildings of Washington, DC at night blurred past the limousine window. He felt like he was standing still, and the rest of the world was streaming by. When that first egg hit the top of the car he almost jumped out of his skin. It had sounded so loud; like a gunshot. Then more followed, hitting the sides and the top. Andrew was immediately pressed backward into the soft leather seat by the sudden acceleration as the motorcade sped away from the scene.

Well, they got that part right. This meant that the rest, no matter how incredible it sounded, was most likely true. It was probably the most overused plot in low-budget sci-fi movies, but Andrew knew that somewhere, out there in the night, there was an intelligent robotic killing machine looking for him. There was nothing left for him to do but sit back and wait.

Knowing the end was drawing near, Andrew naturally reflected on his life. But all he could focus on was the whirlwind year he was about to complete. Ten months ago, after the surgery, Andrew learned the informal medical term “new lease on life”. He set out to make his bucket list, the list of things he always wanted to do but never took the time. And now he finally had the time.

But when a sharp stabbing pain forced an emergency evacuation by helicopter from the peak of Half Dome in Yosemite, Andrew learned a new medical term only six months into his “new life”. Metastatic cancer. What this meant for him was that not only had the cancer come back; it came back in more places than it had started.

And now, four months later, here he was.

Sitting in a limousine posing as the Vice President of the United States.

Waiting to die.

He reflexively winced through every intersection as the convoy of vehicles screamed through at high speed. At this hour there was almost no traffic, and every cross street provided ample opportunity for a high-speed side-impact collision.

This was taking way too damn long.

Andrew suddenly glanced up at the roof of the limousine. An overpowering desire to live washed over him. He knew why that first egg sounded so loud. Maybe he could reach it? Pull it off and throw it out into the street? There were other treatments he could try. He didn’t have to die right now, did he?

Andrew shook his head as his vision blurred slightly. He knew that this euphoric thinking was a direct result of the opiates in his system caused by the breakthrough pain medication.

Still, he had a lot to live for, didn’t he?

Of course he did.

That settled it.

Andrew leaned to his left and fingered the controls to roll down the back window. A strong wind immediately blew around inside the cabin of the limousine. They must’ve been traveling at least seventy miles an hour.

With the window rolled down all the way, Andrew sat with his back to the window and reached up behind him to grip the door frame where it met the roof. With a single motion he lifted himself up and out and sat down on the edge of the closed door. The wind threatened to pull him the rest of the way out of the limousine, and he splayed his legs on opposite sides of the door’s interior to create an anchor for himself.

The wind buffeted him fiercely.

He squinted against the harsh conditions and scanned the roof of the limousine for what he knew must be there. And then he saw it. The tiny magnetic transponder sat just this side of dead center on the roof.

If he could just reach it.

Clamping his legs to the frame of the car he pushed a little higher, to give himself a longer reach. Flashing lights from his right drew his attention away from the tiny device. He glanced over at the Chevy Suburban filled with Secret Service agents. They were frantically flashing their headlights at him.

What did they think that would achieve?

Did they think that he didn’t know what he was doing?

He returned his full attention back to the device that sat, mockingly, just out of his reach. Losing leverage but gaining more reach Andrew pushed up ever so slightly with his legs.

Just a little further.

He almost toppled out of the limousine when a motorcycle officer appeared on the opposite side right into his field of view. The loud roar of the wind rushing past at over seventy miles an hour made it almost impossible to hear the officer, but not quite. “Get back in the car!”

With his left arm splayed forward on the roof to provide additional stability Andrew made one final push and gripped the tiny object with his fingertips. A second motorcycle officer joined the first, and they took turns hollering questions and commands at him. Andrew tugged at the device. It resisted slightly before releasing its magnetic grip and came free into his fingers.

He had done it!

He waved the device in front of him showing it to the two motorcycle officers with a big smile on his face. “I got it!”

And then his face fell as he looked past the two motorcycle officers to see the blurred grill of an SUV heading straight for them at impossible speed.

As soon as the Audi Q7’s bumper made contact with the second motorcycle, the collision detectors triggered the shaped C-4 charges, which focused all of their explosive power directly at the limousine right in front of it.

It happened so quickly that Andrew never even felt the end of his life.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Steve. We wish you much success!

A: And thanks again for having me on today. I enjoyed this interview very much.

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