Today we welcome Paul H. Landes, who is here with a brand new romantic suspense release, WINGS to REDEMPTION. My regulars know this happens to be my favorite genre, and I’ve got to tell you all, this one looks SO good. I hope you’ll join me in making Paul’s visit one he won’t soon forget.
Welcome, Paul! Your bio and your book share some fascinating parallels. Can you share with our readers the real life experiences you bring to the pages of WINGS to REDEMPTION?
This is one of my favorite stories to tell. The original creation of this novel is how I met Kristen, my wife, and how I became an author. Within weeks after we first met we asked each other the question, “What would you like to accomplish that you have not yet accomplished?” It turned out that we both had a secret desire to write a novel so, we began. For four months we conspired, dreamed and wrote together and throughout this process we fell in love. The book idea was eventually shelved, but we got married. Oh, and that was seventeen years ago almost to this day when we started the book… a pretty happy ending.
What an awesome story! And seventeen years ago? When did you pick things back up and finally finish your novel?
I think I only picked it up twice during all that time and I wasn’t sure if I could finish it by myself or if I would have the time to devote to it. In August of last year, I pulled the manuscript out of a box and read it in its entirety. It seemed to tug at me and it reeled me back in. I dusted it off, found a way to transfer things from an old floppy disc and I’ve spent the last 12 months writing, polishing, writing and polishing and have now fallen completely in love with the whole process of writing.
I remember those old discs, LOL. I’m glad the story was rescued. Let’s dig into the plot. Tell us about the book!
One of the things I purposely haven’t done in my promotional material is reveal the true identity of the main character, Alex Boudreau. I like the way the early chapters introduce this person, so I’ve left Alex’s identity blank. I’m betting most of the readers will have a sheepish smile when they find out. Ah… yes, the plot. We have two people who meet in a predator-prey type situation and although they’ve led polar opposite lives, they have parallel psychological scars which they’ve dealt with very differently over the years. It makes for an interesting push – pull type of relationship. So, here is the way I summarize the story –
Alex has been trained to win…at any cost. Lured by a sacred trust back into a life of stealth and undercover thievery, Alex confronts a tormented past laced with guilt, self-proclaimed failure and deception. Faced with gripping, split-second decisions that would forever shape the future, Alex plunges, once again, into the world of corporate intrigue, greed and deceit. After stealing a top-secret genetically engineered drug, Alex discovers the stolen information contains the specs to create a viral weapon – a weapon designed to threaten the world. Now the target of cold, calculating men with unlimited resources, nerves and wits are the only weapons available to unearth the identity of these men who are determined to kill not only Alex, but millions of others.
There is a strong element of romance in the story, but I chose not to reveal this in the overall synopsis. I felt that would take away from a hidden element in the first couple of chapters.
You’ve certainly done the job of intriguing your readers. I’d love to drop everything and read right now, LOL! (Only I’m not kidding.) What might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of WINGS to REDEMPTION?
Well the ending’s pretty damn good—I think the readers will be surprised when they get there. Even I didn’t see that coming until one of my later re-writes. I know I’ve worked the cast of characters over pretty well and you get a sense of who they are and what they feel. You can feel their empathy, feel their eerie shivers and you leap off your seat the moment they come to certain realizations. Tons of fun to work on character development.
I LOVE a surprise ending, and the build up sounds so well thought out. I love the consideration you’ve given these elements. Let’s have some fun with WINGS to REDEMPTION. What’s the first sentence?
Ah sorry, I can’t reveal anything about the early chapters, remember? Alex’s true identity is a secret. But, if anyone really wants to know, they can go to the “Look Inside” segment on my Amazon site and read about it themselves.
Sneaky, sneaky! (Much more so than I, clearly. LOL!) What’s your favorite line in the book?
Wow, there are a lot of lines in the book… but when I think about it I’d probably go to a scene that took place in a San Francisco restaurant when a light bulb went off in the head of one of the characters. This is the moment when he finally realized things weren’t at all like he thought. Here it is:
Benjamin’s head was now lodged in the soft spot between his thumb and index finger. His eyes were half shut and his brows were furrowed as his mind played out the course of events in reverse. Fragments of conversations, taken one-by-one, began to reveal a pattern as intricate and orderly as a spider web—a web that was cast over his own blind eyes. Stunned and now staring aimlessly out across the open dining area, his fingers drum rolled across the tablecloth…maybe you aren’t who you say you are! I am such a fool, he thought.
That’s a well scripted moment, Paul. I love it! How about an excerpt … three sentences long! Yep, that’s it. Three!
As I’ve mentioned, I had a lot of fun with character development; trying to bring these people to life in their own unique way. My editor is a real pro at this and she pushed me to a level that has made this story and the characters infinitely better. So let me share a piece that I really like. These are two very close friends and now its crunch time when decisions need to be made—right now
Phil stood up, walked over to Benjamin and placed a hand on his shoulder. Benjamin’s grief and distress shot through him like static electricity. He had never witnessed Benjamin in such a state of emotional upheaval before. The man he knew and admired had always stood ten feet tall with an aura of confidence and invincibility. He was now lost at sea caught in the conflicting currents of love and emptiness. This gal really had an effect on him, Phil thought. He needs to find her and be with her one way or another so he can sort this out.
Wow — she much be some woman! I’d love a glimpse of the dynamics going on there, but alas, I’ll have to read the book. ;c) Which scene of WINGS to REDEMPTION was most difficult for you to write? Why?
There are several sub-plots going on involving computer hacking and a weapons-grade genetic virus. I don’t mind telling you that I knew absolutely nothing about either of these areas—nothing. I spent way too much time researching both of these topics and I thought I was making great progress and coming up with some good ideas. I was talking to a friend about what I was doing and he said, “Why don’t you talk to Murray about all this?” Duh, why didn’t I come up with that idea? Murray is a friend and a Professor Emeritus at the University of California whose credentials defy credibility. He’s done some amazing things in his career, so I worked with Murray and several others to come up with what is really cutting-edge stuff. They helped me understand what I was writing so I was able to present it in a somewhat technical way, but even the neophytes like me would be able to understand it. All that was tough, but very rewarding.
I SO need a Murray! LOL. As an author and a reader I can really appreciate the consideration you’ve put into those elements. It takes a lot of hard work to make it look easy! Back to the story, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV?
I don’t think I’d like to play a personal part in any of the scenes. No…strike that. I would jump at the opportunity to be a part of the scene where two of the main characters make love for the first time. Yep, you could put me in that scene, but that may be the only one.
Well, that’s it folks. That answer has officially crossed the gender line, LOL! (Most of my guests are woman, Paul, and the vast majority offer the same answer so you’re in great company.) What inspired the title of WINGS to REDEMPTION?
Oh, the title—the dreaded title. That was impossible and I spent months trying to come up with just the right word, phrase or whatever would work. I had written down pages of ideas, but nothing stuck with me for more than a day or so. One weekend, Kristen and I holed up in a house on the coast and threw around ideas the whole weekend. It wasn’t until we were driving home that Wings to Redemption hit me and struck a cord. I waited a few days and it still held. It really fits the whole story. It’s perfect.
It feels so good when the right one sticks, and that’s a great one! Can you tell us about the rest of the Alex Boudreau Adventure series?
This is the first of three books involving Alex Boudreau. The second book will be out in 2013. I have a good part of it outlined and now that my debut novel is up and running I can start to do what I want—write. The first book takes place in the San Francisco bay area and Paris with side excursions to Brazil, Australia, Morocco, Washington DC and a few other places. The next story will continue with the international intrigue and we’ll be visiting some new locations. There maybe some need for some serious research on this issue.
Wow — I love the international intrigue. Sounds like a field trip might be in order . . . in the name of research, of course. ;c) If you had just ten seconds to convince someone to read WINGS to REDEMPTION, what would you say?
If your spirit is teeming with romance, if you’re hypnotized by international intrigue, if you love to figure out “who-done-it” thrillers, then this story will captivate your heart and mind and keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. Guaranteed!!
There, I think I still have 5 seconds left.
Alex Boudreau has been trained to win…at any cost. Lured by a sacred trust back into a life of stealth and undercover thievery, Alex confronts a tormented past laced with guilt, self-proclaimed failure and deception. Faced with gripping, split-second decisions that would forever shape the future, Alex plunges, once again, into the world of corporate intrigue, greed and deceit. After stealing a top-secret genetically engineered drug, Alex discovers the stolen information contains the specs to create a viral weapon – a weapon designed to threaten the world. Now the target of cold, calculating men with unlimited resources, nerves and wits are the only weapons available to unearth the identity of these men who are determined to kill not only Alex, but millions of others.
My whole professional career was spent in the corporate world. I did encounter some successes and some failures, but all-in-all, I’ve gained life experiences that serve me well today. Kristen and I, plus our three dogs, spend as much time as we can on the coast in Northern California where we dive for abalone, forage for mushrooms, hike through the redwoods, cook for friends and of course, this has become my sanctuary where my writing can be the most productive. I swim daily and whenever I’m near a river or lake I don’t miss the chance to take a long swim. In fact, one of my proudest moments was last summer when I completed a solo crossing of Lake Tahoe. But I have to tell you, when that first box of books arrived at my door I knew at that moment that I had become a published author—that is by far the coolest moment in my life.
Thanks to everyone for joining us today! I hope you’ll take a look at WINGS to REDEMPTION and take a moment to give Paul a warm welcome. Paul, thanks so very much for spending part of your day with us today. I hope your book resonates with readers in all the right ways — congratulations on your debut release!