Friday, July 27, 2012

A Patriot's Betrayal by Andrew Clawson: Interview & Excerpt


The last thing Parker Chase expected to find after burying his murdered uncle was a cryptic letter from the dead man. Parker realizes that his death was far more than a robbery gone bad, and soon finds himself pursued by the very men who killed his uncle. Joined by his brilliant ex-girlfriend, Parker fights to stay one step ahead of a shadowy organization hell-bent on silencing him forever. Desperate to discover why his uncle died, Parker realizes that he had uncovered information about a centuries old mystery involving America's Founding Fathers. Soon both the CIA and police join the death-dealing group of murderers in the chase to capture Parker, who must run for his life while unraveling the greatest conspiracy in American history.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Present Day

Even late at night, the city hummed with life. Headlights moved like ants in a farm over the serpentine roadways, mimicking trade routes laid out hundreds of years ago to move freight over the rivers.
Rittenhouse Square, one of Philadelphia’s most exclusive neighborhoods, was an oasis of green amidst the never ending expanse of concrete and asphalt. Couples walked hand in hand through the brisk spring air, dogs pulling at their leashes as they savored the sounds and smells of the outside world.
On a quiet side street several blocks away, two men sat in a stolen van adorned with signs advertising a non-existent electrician’s business. Street lamps shed yellow light on the few pedestrians who walked past, none looking twice at the dark vehicle. Inside, the driver carefully studied a third floor window across the street.
A lone figure had been visible moving around the third floor apartment for over an hour now. This area of the city was quiet at night, with most people winding down their daily activities. An occasional pedestrian would stroll by, their breath visible in the unseasonably cool March air. It may have been cold outside, but the thought of an easy payday kept him warm in the van.
“All right. You ready to do this?”
His partner was studying the street for potential witnesses.
“You know it. Let’s roll.”
Without another word, the two men got out and walked up to the four-story brownstone apartment that was home to, among others, Professor Joseph Chase. Professor Chase was a member of the History department at the University of Pennsylvania, a respected academic whose specialty was Colonial American history. They had been told that Dr. Chase lived alone, was not married, and was not known to have had any military or martial arts background. Whoever this poor bastard was, someone wanted him dead, and that someone was willing to spend a hundred thousand dollars to make it happen.
The pair glided across the street, footsteps silent as each scanned their surroundings. A small set of lock-picking tools appeared from a jacket pocket and made short work of the front door. Heads down so the security cameras wouldn’t get a shot of their faces, they took the stairs to Chase’s third floor apartment. Outside the door, each pulled out a pistol, suppressors attached.
“You pop that lock and I’ll move in. I take him out while you keep an eye on the hallway to see if anyone starts snooping around. We don’t want any witnesses.”
With a click, it gave way. The knob turned silently in a gloved hand, and the pair slid into the apartment’s entrance. A single light was visible towards the back of the unit, which was where they had last seen the target’s shadow from the street. Each crept silently down the hardwood-floored hallway, towards the bright light that spilled into the darkened hallway from an open door on the right.
An exceptionally tall grandfather clock ticked in one corner, each tock slicing off one of the few remaining seconds of the man’s life. Dr. Chase sat at a desk with his back to them, a mountain of paperwork in front of him. Books and manuscripts flowed off the desk to occupy every inch of surrounding floor, tabletop, and chair. It was a stereotypical academic’s office. As they entered the room, he never once looked back, nose buried in a document of some type. The driver pulled out a disposable cell phone and speed-dialed the only number it contained.
Joseph Chase’s desk phone rang and he looked at it suspiciously. “Who the hell could that be?” He grabbed it from the stand. “Joseph Chase,” he answered gruffly.
That was all the confirmation he needed. Ten feet from the target, he pulled the trigger twice in rapid succession.
Pfft. Pfft. Two bullets slammed into the back of his skull. With a groan he collapsed onto the desk, blood pooling from his mouth and nose onto the table. The phone fell from his lifeless hands.
The gunman moved to the desk, but there was no need. The man was clearly dead. He checked for a pulse and found none.
“See anybody out there?”
“No,” his partner replied. “We’re all alone.”
“Good. Grab his computer and let’s get out of here.”
“Why do we have to take it? Just be trouble for us later if the cops ever find it.”
“Beats me. I was told to take his computer, so I’m doing it.”
Two minutes later, they relocked the front door of the recently deceased professor’s apartment and returned to their van. Inside, the assassin riding shotgun was uncomfortable.
“We should throw that damn computer in the river. The last thing we—”
His words where abruptly cut off when the engine turned over and two pounds of C-4 strapped to the van’s undercarriage detonated. An explosion ripped through the vehicle’s floor, tearing each man to shreds as their bodies were incinerated. For a brief second, the city street was bathed in a fiery glow as the van rocketed ten feet in the air, then slammed back down, a burning shell of twisted metal with two charred corpses inside. Debris clinked softly onto the ground as wide-eyed residents peered out of windows at the demolition. A wailing siren was soon heard, growing louder as the van’s shell burned.
Two hundred feet down the block, a man sat in his car surveying the destruction. Satisfied no one could have survived the inferno, he leisurely pulled out of his parking spot and headed down the street, away from the carnage. Taking out his Blackberry, he dialed nine digits from memory.
The call was connected and a subdued voice asked, “Is it done?”
Mission accomplished.”
The call was disconnected immediately. He put his phone down and concentrated on driving as several city police cars flew past in the opposite direction, headed to the explosion. It was a shame he had to waste a hundred large on the two incompetent thugs who were now burning several blocks behind him.

Thanks so much for taking time to visit today.  I'm looking forward to learning a bit about you and your path to becoming a published author.  :)  How did you start your writing career?

On a couch, just having finished a novel. It was literally right after I read the last page of a book. I put the novel down (this was before ereaders), and suddenly a question popped into my head. Why couldn’t I do this? Seeing no impediments, I grabbed my computer and began mashing keys, certain that bestseller-dom was only a few months away.

Of course, it never crossed my mind that it would take six drafts, thousands of hours, and seven years to finally produce something publishable. So, needless to say, do not choose to be a writer. This should only be done as a last resort, once professional fire-eating doesn’t pan out.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

Currently my favorite character is Alex Hawke, the protagonist in Ted Bell’s fantastic series of thrillers. I find Hawke fascinating because he’s a modern day James Bond, with a touch more humanity. Hawke is (of course) impossibly rich, but he’s far from perfect. Sure, he’s loaded, but he’s had a rough life and is flawed like any of us. As interesting a character as Ted Bell has created, I secretly suspect the reason I so enjoy his writing isn’t Alex Hawke’s good looks and charm, but Ted Bell’s fabulous way with words.

Somewhere in there is a lesson. I’ve only got to find it first.

Tell us about your current release.

A Patriot’s Betrayal is my interpretation of the thriller set in modern times that also reaches back into the past, bringing it to life and hopefully educating the reader (just a bit) while they are entertained. I love history, especially American history, and based the plot on one of the most well-known figures from our nations past (hint: he’s on the cover). The hero, Parker Chase, is a guy just like you (if you were a guy Laurie) or I who finds himself in situations that will test his resolve, revealing what type of man he is and how far he’s willing to go to stay alive. I like to think it’s chock full of action with a bit of knowledge sprinkled on top.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

How unbelievably lonely this process can be. You are the only person who is going to write those words. If you don’t do it, it simply doesn’t get done. Writing a book has been the single most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was also one of the most difficult. If you’re lucky enough to have a support group of beta readers or cheerleaders who offer kind words or valuable advice, make use of them. In writing as in life, true companionship enriches the ride.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I write any chance I get, but mostly at night after work. I work towards a total word goal each day, which can vary from 1,000 to 2,000 words, depending on how it’s going that day. I’ve found that it depends on the scene I’m writing and how far ahead I’ve planned the specifics of the next few scenes. If I’ve got a good plan or an action-packed scene, the words usually pour onto the screen. If the chapter is only vaguely planned, the sledding can be rough.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Write every damn day.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

That would be the first letter I receive. Which hasn’t happened yet. But when it does I am going to be PSYCHED.

Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn?
Yes. I’m very fortunate to still have a full head of hair.

Andrew Clawson is the author of the thriller A Patriot's Betrayal, which is his debut novel.

He lives in Pennsylvania, where he enjoys reading works of fiction and writing as much as possible.

You can learn more about Andrew and his upcoming novels at his website,
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A Patriot's Betrayal.
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1 comment:

Lori said...

Nothing like a good conspiracy plot for a galloping good read!