Monday, August 15, 2016

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: J. J. Knights, Author

J. J. Knights, Author
BENJAMIN'S FIELD Trilogy
J. J. Knights’ novel, the BENJAMIN'S FIELD Trilogy, tracks three generations of a family in the U.S. from WWI through WWII.  Knights has taken care to assure historical accuracy and believes that fiction can help educate if entertaining and accurate. Reviewers praise the “themes of loyalty, personal liberty as it relates to society’s demands, religious prejudice, racism, intolerance, and the overwhelming need for humans to forgive one another.”

A retired FBI Special Agent, Knights is currently working on his next novel based on actual events occurring in the American Civil War. When he’s not writing, he participates in Team Rubicon, an organization that provides disaster relief services. He loves spending time in Canada, volunteering his photography services, and beekeeping. And he enjoys chasing his 18-month old granddaughter around.

Q: In what genre would you place your BENJAMIN'S FIELD Trilogy? Literary fiction? Historical fiction? Why?

J. J. Knights: The BENJAMIN'S FIELD Trilogy is definitely historical fiction. 

The story is a saga covering three generations from World War I to World War II and beyond.

My research was painstaking and involved not only online sources, but actual books.  In addition to life’s lessons the story teaches, I want my characters to bring the historical events that shaped the 20th century alive for my readers. 

We live in a much more permissive society today than existed one hundred years ago.  Do young people today understand what it was like for an unwed mother back then?  How about for a child born with a disability?  What about the effects of organized religion or the importance of fraternal societies?

Does anyone remember the Golden Age of Aviation and how every child dreamt of becoming an aviator?  Do today’s young people know what an aviatrix is without looking it up on their smart phones?

Seven decades before 9/11 there was Pearl Harbor.  Like the attacks on 9/11, Pearl Harbor galvanized the American people.  Unlike 9/11, that galvanization wasn’t short-lived and helped bring us to victory.

How many people know an organization of civilian pilots sunk at least one German U-Boat during WWII or that such an organization even existed?

Well-written and accurately researched historical fiction has an important role to play in education.

Q: Reviewers say about the trilogy that “once the plot catches you it won't let you go” and that the series is “enormously entertaining and instructive.” How do you manage to entertain and also instruct readers?

J. J. Knights: To instruct seriously and well, one must be a bit of an entertainer.  If not, you will lose your audience, be they university students, student pilots, or readers who can easily put your book down and pick up someone else’s.

Imagine sitting in church or some other place of worship, a university classroom or some similar place.  If the priest, minister, rabbi, professor  or whomever simply stands there and drones on, you’ll fall asleep.  On the other hand, if he or she moves about in front of you and injects drama and humor into the sermon, they’ve got you.  We’ve all had boring teachers.

In the case of writing a story like BENJAMIN’S FIELD,  I used intensely emotional scenes and drama tempered with comic relief to keep the reader engaged, but not overwhelmed.  Humor is necessary to relieve the pressure created by the drama and emotion.  You don’t want the reader to feel bludgeoned.

In Book One, RESCUE, Benjamin, the protagonist, and the priest Templeman, have issues to resolve, so I put them in a very emotional, soul-baring encounter.  The pressure builds until Benjamin’s hired hand, Hiram, appears unexpectedly with a one-liner that will cause the reader to smile or laugh.

The reader must also be able to relate to what the character is experiencing.  That’s why I put the characters in highly charged situations that we’ve all experienced or at lease can understand.

For instance, throughout history, there have always been young men who terrified their parents by saying, “The country is at war. I’m joining the army.” It’s been said in different languages and accents, but it’s been said since humans have walked the earth. My brother and I did it to my parents and my son did it to my wife and I.  Even if it hasn’t happened to you, you can still relate to it. 

This, and much more, happens in the story.

Q: Your trilogy covers much of the 20th century. What kind of historical research did you do? How important is historical accuracy to credibility? Were you able to use history to support or amplify your plot and themes?

J. J. Knights: Since BENJAMIN’S FIELD is a historical novel, I did a great deal of research.  The Internet has made this chore much easier and economical (no need to travel to distant libraries, etc.), so I did much of the research online.  However, I also used real books.  Some I borrowed.  Some I purchased.  Actually, I enjoyed the research and found it very educational even if much of what I found didn’t make it into the story. 

I also spoke with subject matter experts, among them priests, a Catholic sister, an expert on canon law, a Freemason, a retired orthopaedic surgeon, a rabbi, a representative of Shriners Hospitals for Children, and an expert on the history of rail travel in western Pennsylvania.  I even took advantage of my own family genealogist and put my great, great grandfather, a Canadian sea captain, in the story, though I changed his role and place in the historical timeline.  I thanked all of them in the Acknowledgements.

I was very careful to make the story as historically accurate as possible, but sometimes I had to tweak history for the sake of the story.  For example, In Book Two ASCENT I have Jeremy Kyner, the protagonist, attending the 1932 Cleveland Air Show.  The airshow took place in August of that year.  I moved it to September for reasons explained in the Afterward. 

How important is historical accuracy to credibility?  I suppose this is subjective, but I’d say it’s very important.  Why should someone take what I’m saying seriously if I can’t get the facts right?  For instance, I wanted to refer to actual newspaper headlines and stories in Book One RESCUE.  I have Benjamin Kyner, the protagonist, reading that America had declared war against Germany in the April 6, 1917 edition of the old Pittsburgh Press.  I was able to quote the paper exactly thanks to the assistance I received from the Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh. The staff put me on to an online source for digitized newspapers going back to the 19th century. 

Depicting historical events accurately was very instrumental in amplifying the plot and themes.  A main theme in BENJAMIN’S FIELD is overcoming prejudice and intolerance.  In the previous paragraph, I spoke about using actual headlines from real newspapers from the period.  So, in the same issue of The Pittsburgh Press, we see Benjamin’s son, Francis, reading glorified front-page reports of courageous aviators.  A bit later, Hiram Bolt, Benjamin’s African American hired hand, picks up the paper and notices that stories about Black military units are buried in the back pages. 

So, yes, history is very important to the themes in the story.

Q: Who do you intend to read the trilogy? Young adults? All ages? What do you want them to walk away with?

J. J. Knights: I consider BENJAMIN’S FIELD to be in the Young Adult genre, though I believe it would be both entertaining and valuable for older readers, as well. 

As to why, here’s an excerpt from the Forward by retired astronaut Jay Apt:

Especially useful to young readers, but valuable to us all, are the story’s lessons about this journey: our greatest achievements are for others, not ourselves; overcoming difficulties makes us stronger; disappointments can be blessings in disguise; help can come from unexpected sources; sometimes one door must close so another can open; it’s futile to blame the universe or a higher being for pain that’s inflicted by our fellow human beings.

Q: Reviewers are pleased that you were able to integrate themes such as “loyalty, personal liberty as it relates to society’s demands, religious prejudice, racism, intolerance, and the overwhelming need for humans to forgive one another.” Did you intend to leave readers with some messages? Or did you write purely for their entertainment?

J. J. Knights: Authors write for different reasons, of course.  Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, once said that he doesn’t feel the need to write constantly, but only when an idea insists on getting out of his head and onto paper. 

That’s the way I felt about BENJAMIN’S FIELD.  The story was in my head begging to get out.

I didn’t write it merely for the sake of putting words on a computer screen. I certainly didn’t write it for the money!  I wrote the story because I truly believed it has socially redeeming value.  I wrote it because I think the themes and lessons presented in the story can be helpful to young people, especially those who may feel marginalized for whatever reason. 

I should explain that while aviation plays a strong supporting role in the story, it’s not what the trilogy is about.  My goal was to use aviation and flying as sort of a philosophical metaphor.  Jeremy Kyner is being held down by society, but uses aviation to lift himself up and eventually find final emancipation.  I hope the reader sees this.  Also, we use airplanes to take us places.  That’s how I use them in the story; to take the reader on a journey.  To underscore these concepts, I don’t use the words ‘airplane’ or ‘aircraft’ anywhere in the story.  That was a challenging feat to accomplish.

Q:  How helpful was your career as an FBI agent in creating your plot or characters?

J. J. Knights: As far as I can determine, I did not draw on my experiences in the FBI to write BENJAMIN’S FIELD.   That being said, the characters in a work of fiction are born in the imagination of the author.  Since we are the sum or our experiences, it’s inevitable that we’ll draw on our experiences and the people we’ve known to create the personalities that populate our stories. 

For instance, there’s a bit of my father in Benjamin.  Although he had no religion and often ridiculed it, as is the case with Benjamin, one of my father’s best friends was a Catholic priest.  As for the priest, some part of him is alive in the story’s Fr. James Templeman.

So, a psychologist might be able to dig out how my FBI career may have influenced my writing of the story, but I really can’t.

Q: Does the approach of heroes vs villains apply to your story? Or are your characters mostly a mix of heroic and not-so-heroic behavior? –flawed but well-intentioned?

J. J. Knights: There are villains, both without and within.

Since we’re all flawed, so are the characters in the story, both major and minor.  Both Benjamin Kyner, the protagonist in RESCUE, and his grandson Jeremy, the protagonist in ASCENT and EMANCIPATION, are definitely flawed, but in different ways. We follow them through their stories to learn how they overcome their flaws. Other characters, such as Fr. James Templeton, Randy Bridgewater and Phil Anders have glaring flaws, which are critical to helping Benjamin and Jeremy overcome theirs.

Yet, there are also real ‘external’ villains in the story, such as Jeremy’s eighth grade teacher, Regina Vilis (translate the Latin!) and the U-Boat commander in Emancipation. Why villains without and within?  Evil is necessary.  Without overcoming evil, we cannot find the good in ourselves and each other.

Q: How helpful was the use of humor to developing your characters or telling their story?

J. J. Knights: As I discussed earlier, humor is necessary as comic relief for the reader.  There are several very intensely emotional scenes in the story, and I don’t want the reader to feel as though I’m beating them up.  Also, I want the characters to be as real to the reader as they are to me.  Most people like to laugh.  So do the characters in BENJAMIN’S FIELD.

Q; What’s next? Will you continue to write novels?

J. J. Knights: I’m currently working on another historical novel based on actual events during the American Civil War.  I was inspired by my many visits to the Gettysburg National Battlefield in eastern Pennsylvania as well as my close association with Canada.  How are the two connected?  Stay tuned.

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

J. J. Knights: I recently joined a veterans’ service organization called Team Rubicon that provides disaster relief services both domestically and abroad. As a matter of fact, just prior to writing this, I spent several days in Wisconsin participating in a joint disaster response exercise with Team Rubicon and the Wisconsin Air National Guard. 

I’m an avid amateur photographer and perform a lot of ‘pro bono’ shoots for different organizations.  Very recently I was asked to cover the 2016 annual convention of the National Association of Priest Pilots in Pittsburgh.  As their name implies, NAPP is a group of priests who own or fly general aviation airplanes, often in support of their ministries.

I spend a good deal of time in Canada where I maintain a rental cottage (Northern Knights Sea View Cottage) on Canada’s smallest and most beautiful province, Prince Edward Island. Coincidentally, PEI was home to Benjamin Kyner’s wife, Delinah.  Delinah’s character was inspired by a real French Canadian woman of the same name I knew as a child on PEI.

I have to mention that I have the fun of chasing around my 18-month old granddaughter, Lillian Noelle, and, as I mention on the back of my books, I’m also a beekeeper.  

About J. J. Knights

J. J. Knights is a retired FBI Special Agent. His assignments included violent crimes and fugitives, property crimes, civil rights investigations, and foreign counterintelligence. He was a surveillance pilot, SWAT sniper, media representative, and worked in the FBI's technical investigations program. Knights also volunteered as a Civil Air Patrol pilot, squadron commander and public information officer. He is an emeritus member of the Imperial Public Relations Committee of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children. A native of New England, Knights resides in southwestern Pennsylvania with his wife and honeybees. He has authored several published articles on law enforcement recruiting. Benjamin's Field is his first novel.

Book One: RESCUE

Forward by retired NASA astronaut Jay Apt, PhD, veteran of four space shuttle missions.

Benjamin’s Field: Rescue’ has been awarded a five-star review by the literary site ‘Reader’s Favorite’ (readersfavorite.com).

Benjamin’s Field follows a rural farm family over the course of sixty years from the viewpoint of the youngest member, Jeremy Kyner. Beginning with America’s entry into World War I, Jeremy and his family are followed through war, peace, triumph, tragedy, heartbreak, and final happiness as the reader examines the role of family loyalty versus individual need, personal liberty and how it relates to society’s demands, religious prejudice, racism, intolerance, the role of charity, and the overwhelming need for humans to forgive one another.

While still in manuscript form, Benjamin’s Field, Book One RESCUE, was advanced to the “Best Sellers Chart” of the peer review website YouWriteOn.com. In Book One RESCUE a widowed farmer suffers an unspeakable loss during World War I. Burdened with grief, he learns from his nemesis, a dogmatic Catholic priest, that his son’s fiance has given birth to their crippled child. Unable to cope with the child’s deformity and confounded by his illegitimate birth, the farmer is battered by those closest to him with accusations of cruelty and intolerance until he finally reveals his true feelings and the reasons underlying his apparent bigotry.

Set in a historical context, BENJAMIN’S FIELD is a compelling story about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving tale will take the reader on an emotional and sometimes humorous journey.

Book Two: ASCENT

In Book Two ASCENT Jeremy Kyner, now a teenaged boy, becomes the focus of his teacher’s animosity because of his infirmity. With the help of two dedicated school friends and an unconventional Jewish blacksmith, he takes to the sky, defeating his teacher’s plans to institutionalize him and forcing her to divulge her own, dark, secret.

BENJAMIN’S FIELD is a historical novel about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving story will take the reader on a journey of inner exploration.

Book Three: EMANCIPATION

Book Three EMANCIPATION opens as America is on the cusp of World War II. Jeremy Kyner, now a man, is barred from military service at a time when America is almost defenseless against marauding German submarines. Finally joining a group of volunteer civilian pilots that represents the country’s best hope to counter the Germans, Jeremy confronts a deadly enemy from an unexpected quarter and is offered a chance of achieving final emancipation.

BENJAMIN’S FIELD is a historical novel about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving novel will take the reader on a journey of inner exploration.

Excerpt
“Ben, what in blazes is going on?” asked Hiram. “Is that what I think it is?  I never saw one before.”  
“It sure looks like a flyin’ machine,” Benjamin answered. “I’m as surprised as you, but I’m gettin’ mighty damned mad that some fool just scattered my cows and knocked me into the dirt.”
Hiram doffed his hat and wiped his forehead.
“Why is that thing buzzin’ around here?” he asked.
“Hiram, you know as much as I do.  But if I get my hands on him, whoever is in that thing’ll wish he hadn’t come here to show off.  Damned idiot.”
Together, they watched as the machine flew east parallel to the field.  Then suddenly, just as they began to think it would continue on and leave them in peace, the strange craft turned left again and began to drop from the sky. As it neared the end of the field, it turned again, lowering its nose and aligning itself with the field. Just as it appeared to the two men that it would again scream over them, the tempo of the engine’s roar slowed.  The machine neared the ground and leveled off a few feet above the grass. The cows, now scattered, were no longer a danger to the flying machine.
Benjamin and Hiram stared slack-jawed as the boxy kite-looking thing approached them.  The roar of its engine dropped to a murmur and its wheels touched the grass. It bounced along the rough field, wings wobbling, toward the two gawking spectators.
Benjamin, alternately amazed and then angry at what he was seeing, began to allow his anger to hold sway.  Resentment was welling up inside him as if it had a life of its own; resentment at this intruder who surprised him; resentment at having to hurl himself to the ground like a frightened fawn; resentment at having no control over what was happening on his own land. 
Hiram, sensing Benjamin’s coiling anger, looked down at his fists. He placed his hand on Benjamin’s shoulder and said, “Ben, let’s take it easy. We don’t know what’s goin’ on here.  It could be he’s in trouble.”  
The quivering, cloth-wrapped machine trundled to a stop a few feet from Benjamin and Hiram. The long, slowly swinging wooden propeller emitted loud clicks at longer and longer intervals as it finally swung to a stop and puffed out one last gasp of blue-white smoke from the exhaust pipes on the top of the cowling. The machine had two wings, one above the other, just like in the newspaper photographs. Under the top wing, Benjamin could see two leather-encased heads protruding from the machine’s body.  One was a few feet behind the other. Both wore goggles that gave them bug-like appearances.  For the second time that day, Benjamin was speechless as the bug figure in front lifted his goggles to his forehead, waved at him and with a big smile said, “Hi, Pa!”

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Lynn Steward, Author

Lynn Steward, Author
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
A VERY GOOD LIFE
Reviewers describe Lynn Steward’s literary fiction novel, WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN, as “a perfect Time warp read for all fashionistas” that  “offers a detailed and somewhat prosaic insight into the operations of retail fashion in New York in the Seventies.” It is the second  novel in the Dana McGarry series.  Alathough set in the 1970s, Steward says her “theme of ambition and the consequences of life’s choices” can be followed regardless of the time period.

Steward, who had a  career in the New York  fashion industry, is currently pitching the Dana McGarry series as a TV series. She prefers indoor activities and enjoys cooking, reading, and redecorating.






Q: In what genre would you place WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN? Is it romance? Literary fiction? Historical fiction? 

Lynn Steward: Literary Fiction

Q:  Why did you set your Dana McGarry series in the 1970s?  Were you able to draw from this time period to tell your story?

Lynn Steward: Yes. It was the time of my career in the New York fashion world.

Q: As a participant in the New York fashion industry, did you base your characters on real people? How do you engage readers to care what happens to Dana McGarry?

Lynn Steward: The main characters were not inspired by fashion leaders. I do introduce real people from the fashion world but they are woven into the plot in their real-life role.

Q: Could your novel have been set in a different place and time and still have told your story? Did setting and time period contribute to your plot?

Lynn Steward: Yes. The theme of ambition and the consequences of life’s choices are universal and transcend any period.

Q: Did the role of heroes vs villains play a role in telling your story? If so, what makes an effective villain?

Lynn Steward: An effective villain gets under your skin – he/she is a person you love to hate.

Q: Did you write WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN to entertain solely, or did you embed a few messages along the way?

Lynn Steward: No embedded messages, although I’m finding that readers bring their own experiences to the story, either relating to the period or their career journey.

Q: WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN is part of a series. What do you find are the benefits of writing a series? Should we read them in order? Or are they standalone?

Lynn Steward: Reading the series in order gives you the benefit of seeing the characters grow and you have a better understanding of their new circumstances, and the choices they are making. They are building on their life experiences – for better or worse.

Q: How helpful is humor in creating your characters or telling your story?

Lynn Steward: Ironically, one of Dana’s antagonists injects the best humor.  As snarky as she is, she often makes me laugh out loud. I don’t think, however, that I make a concerted effort to inject humor, it only comes naturally for a few characters.

Q: What’s next?

Lynn Steward:  I am currently pitching the Dana McGarry Series as a TV series.

Q: Tell us about Lynn Steward. What do you like to do when you’re note writing?

Lynn Steward: I’m an indoor girl. If I’m not in the kitchen cooking, I’m in a comfortable chair reading, or redecorating a room. I always have a few projects in motion.

About Lynn Steward

Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN is the second volume in the series. A VERY GOOD LIFE Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.

About WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN  vol. 2 in the Dana McGarry Series 
As a fashion buyer at one of New York’s most glamorous department stores, Dana McGarry is a tastemaker, her keen instinct for fashion trends and innovative ideas coupled with a razor sharp business sense. But like the elegant and conservative store that employs her, Dana is caught between two eras—between being liked and standing her ground, between playing by the rules and being a maverick. Dana is sensitive and beautiful, but what you see is not what you get. Behind the cool and attractive facade, Dana is both driven by her need to control yet impeded by her expectation of perfectionism. As she competes to replace women at the top of their game, she is challenged by jealous colleagues. And when a wealthy love interest wants to open doors and support her ambition, she embraces Coco Chanel’s mantra of “never wanting to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” As the women’s movement paves the way, Dana finds a path to the career she wants at the expense of happiness that will have to wait.

About A VERY GOOD LIFE – vol. 1 in the Dana McGarry Series 
Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A VERY GOOD LIFE, takes place in 1970s New York City, the emotional story transcends any period.  Dana McGarry is an "it" girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at a glamorous department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Can Dana find her place in the new world where women have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

A VERY GOOD LIFE chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for a universal story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment .

Links

Purchase links
Amazon WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
Amazon  A VERY GOOD LIFE

Author links
Twitter: @LynnStewardNY


Monday, August 8, 2016

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Lynne Constantine, Author

Lynne Constantine, Author
THE VERITAS DECEPTION
A reviewer of Lynne Constantine’s soon-to-be-released thriller, THE VERITAS DECEPTION, says it is "A delicious blend of desperation and intrigue." Constantine says it’s a thriller because it’s “high stakes” and “The pace is fast and the action never stops.” 

Constantine likes writing thrillers, and plans for THE VERITAS DECEPTION to be the first of many with these protagonists. She and her sister are getting ready to publish a domestic thriller. She is a contributor to Suspense Magazine and a contributing editor to The Big Thrill magazine. 

When she's not writing, she enjoys walking with her husband and golden retriever. Her two teenagers keep her up to date with the latest movies. She loves "hanging out" with her family.

Don’t miss the excerpt from THE VERITAS DECEPTION following her interview.

Q: What makes THE VERITAS DECEPTION a thriller?

Lynne Constantine: The high stakes. Jack and Taylor are running for their lives. They’re trying to find someone who’s responsible for the death of Taylor’s husband, a US senator, as well as for compromising another US senator. The pace is fast and the action never stops.

Q: Why will readers embrace your protagonists, Jack and Taylor? Do you consider them heroes or just everyday people we can all relate to?

Lynne Constantine: Jack and Taylor are ordinary people who find themselves thrust into extraordinary circumstances. They grew up next door to each other, were high school sweethearts and had everything in their lives all planned out. But things didn’t turn out like they planned. Events in both of their lives turned everything upside down and they ended up going down two completely different roads. When the book opens, they haven’t spoken to each other in over fifteen years and they find themselves on the run together—something they would have never imagined in a million years.

Q: How did your career in marketing and advertising help you write THE VERITAS DECEPTION?

Lynne Constantine: It was the realization of how susceptible we are to the images and messages inundating us everyday that became the seeds for THE VERITAS DECEPTION. As I sat in meetings with executives talking about ad campaigns and how to change the perception of the public toward our product, it made me start to wonder about other people in other meetings. From there it was easy to imagine a world where changes and trends in public opinion weren’t random, but a result of orchestrated efforts between advertising, media, and legislature. 

Q: What makes your plot credible? How important is believability to tell your story?

Lynne Constantine: I did a lot of research into the historical components of the plot. The credibility of the conspiracy is helped by the fact that many of the plans of the antagonist have already come to fruition in reality. For example, when I started the book over twenty years ago and came up with ideas for outrageous television shows, one of them was about a charming serial killer. I also wrote about ads for condoms and other sexual aids. At the time, there was nothing like that on t.v. Before the book came out, Dexter had come and gone, and those types of ads were commonplace. The change has been so gradual that it’s easy to go unnoticed. It’s only if you take a snapshot of entertainment from twenty years ago and compare it to today that you see the extreme contrast.

Q: Does the concept of heroes and villains apply to THE VERITAS DECEPTION? If so, what are the characteristics of an effective and compelling villain?

Lynne Constantine: Yes. The book is all about good vs. evil and the traditional hero and villain. An effective and compelling villain is actually the hero of his or her own story. Aside from motivation for his or her actions, a complex back story makes a more interesting and believable villain.

Q:  You’ve also written short stories and co-authored a novel. Do you prefer writing novels or short stories? What can you do better in a novel?  

Lynne Constantine: I much prefer novels. I become very attached to my characters and I need the long form to allow them to develop and grow. A novel has the time to explore in greater depth the character journey and metamorphosis present in a good story.

Q: Without giving anything away—no spoilers please—what does the title, THE VERITAS DECEPTION, mean?

Lynne Constantine: Veritas is Latin for truth. So it literally means the truth deception.

Q: Did you write THE VERITAS DECEPTION strictly to entertain, or did you embed a few messages along the way?

Lynne Constantine: There are themes in the book of faith, redemption, forgiveness, and grace. I tried hard not to impose my own opinions but rather to let the characters and their experiences speak for themselves.

Q: What’s next? Will you write another novel? Will you continue to write thrillers?

Lynne Constantine: Yes and yes! I love writing thrillers. I’m hoping that this is the first in a series with Jack and Taylor. Also, my sister and I have a domestic thriller coming out with a traditional publisher that we’re very excited about. That deal will be announced in September, and she and I will continue to write together as well.

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

Lynne Constantine: I love to read, of course. And watch too much television. I adore the beach, and weather permitting, will start the day with a walk with my husband and our golden retriever. I have two teenagers who keep me up-to-date with the latest movies and trends and I love hanging out with them. Time with family and friends is the best way for me to unwind.

About Lynne Constantine
Lynne Constantine is a coffee-drinking, Twitter-addicted fiction author always working on her next book. She likes to run her plots by Tucker, her golden retriever, who never criticizes them. Lynne is the co-author of CIRCLE DANCE, as well as several short stories. She is a monthly contributor to Suspense Magazine and a contributing editor to The Big Thrill magazine. Lynne has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.  Visit Lynne at www.lynneconstantine.com


There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 14:21

Days after US Senator Malcolm Phillips changes his vote on a bill he sponsored, he is murdered and his death disguised as an accident. He contacted one man before he died: investigative journalist, Jack Logan. He left Jack a single clue to help him uncover the truth and keep Phillips’s widow, Taylor, safe. But safe from whom?

Jack and Taylor’s desperate hunt leads them to a vast network of corrupt authority, controlling everything from social media and television programming to law enforcement and US legislation. The key to unraveling a complex web of lies is a set of ancient relics, dating back to the time of Christ. But what do these relics have to do with a senator’s death?

Allies turn to foes when Jack and Taylor discover that those closest to them are part of the conspiracy, and that they too have been manipulated. How long has a puppet master been pulling their strings—and will Jack and Taylor trust the right people long enough to win what becomes a colossal battle for souls?

Excerpt

Chapter One

     Jack Logan had ditched his Catholic upbringing but kept the guilt. He hadn’t planned on blowing his entire afternoon listening to the woman he was interviewing talk about her dead daughter, but he didn’t have the heart to tell the grieving mother that he already had enough for the story. So instead, he bought her lunch and dinner, listening as she painted a picture of the girl she had loved and had failed to save. Now he was behind schedule and would have to work all night. Man, he hated the pieces involving kids. The parents got to him every time, and his attempts at comforting them were as effective as a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.
     His phone was ringing as he approached the door to his apartment, and he jammed the key in the lock. Pushing the door open, he rushed over and snatched it, upsetting the bottle of Bass Ale and spilling the dregs on the table.
     “Great.” He clicked the green button. “Yes?”
     “Could you sound any more annoyed?” It was his editor.
     “Sorry, Max. What’s up?” He sunk into the worn leather sofa and ran a hand through his hair.
     “Tried your cell. Went right to voice mail.”
     “I was interviewing one of the mothers.”
     The sound of papers rustling came over the phone. “You already did your piece on the decision. What’s the angle on the follow-up?”
     “The fall out, the casualties left in the wake of the decision to let the show go on.”
     A sharp intake of breath. “You’re not saying they should have censored it?”
     “No, no. Of course not. But their voices deserve to be heard.” This had been a particularly difficult assignment for him. He wasn’t much of a television watcher, but when the class action suit involving the production company behind Teenage Wasted reached the Supreme Court, he’d tuned in. At first it looked just like another of the ubiquitous reality shows jamming the airwaves—an eclectic group of teenagers allowing the cameras behind the scenes into their world. Within the first five minutes of the show, Jack had sat open-mouthed while a young man retrieved paraphernalia from under his bed, pulled up a porn site on his computer, and began doing what your average adolescent boy did behind closed doors. Cheap shock value but not much in the way of entertainment. It wasn’t until he put the noose around his neck that Jack’s shock turned to horror. So that was what erotic asphyxiation looked like up close and personal.

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