Questions for the author
How did you start your writing career?
Interesting question. My writing career began more as a cathartic activity than anything else. Due to various injuries, my lust for physical adventure came to a screeching halt. As part of my self-therapy for my self-pity, I began to write. I started journaling my thoughts and my frustrations as a way of ridding myself of my self-imposed anger.
After a while, character profiles began to form in my brain, so I started to write biographies of some of them. From there, a plot began to take shape involving some of the various characters. That’s how my first book, Cursed Blessing came to life.
I tried to outline the book and soon realized that I’m not that type of writer. I know where I want my story to end and I have an idea of how I would like it to end. Everything else is dictated by the characters and where they take me on the journey. This style of writing tends to lead itself to a lot of rewrites and dead ends, but I find it works best for my creative process.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
The characters that make up the Phantom Squad and the SIA are like family to me and are dear to my heart, each in their own way, but I have others that are favorites because they were so fun to write or they just left an indelible impression on me. I will name three.
First there is Jonas McFarland aka the Omega Butcher in Cursed Presence, book two of the Trilogy of the Chosen. Jonas is the major antagonist in the book, but he is also a victim. As frightening as he is, there are childlike qualities about him that you just want to try to protect and nurture.
In Cornerstone I have two favorites: Tag, a Cree brave and Army sniper who becomes a major player in the story. When I began to write Cornerstone, I had no intention to introduce any new major players. He was one of those characters that needed to be written and I can’t wait to explore him further in subsequent books. Then there is the character of Wheels. Wheels has a very minor part in the book, but I love this guy and his attitude. He is a disabled Vietnam Vet who now makes his living a document forger. There are dimensions to this character that have not been touched and I would love to use him again to a larger extent if the right story comes along. The list could go on but I will leave you with those three.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, characters come first. As a reader, no matter how good a story is, if I can’t connect with the characters, I will eventually put the book down or I won’t remember it when I’m finished reading it.
Ebb and flow is necessary in any good book. You need the thrills and the suspense, but you also need the down times because I think that’s when you get to develop the characters. The other vital part of good story to me is I personally want an ending that the reader did not see coming. In fact, it’s usually an ending that I as a writer didn’t see coming in my own books. I mentioned earlier that I have an ending in mind when I start a project. I have yet to end a book in the way I thought I would. Again, it’s the characters who dictate the story, not me.
Questions for the characters
My first question is for Brent Venturi: What was the scariest moment of your life?
Brent leans forward and pushes hid long dark hair from his face. “Wow, as a member of the Phantom Squad there have been many. When I agreed to lead the squad, I took an oath to protect my men and my country above all else, so for me, the most frightening moments were not ones of personal peril but ones when I thought my men and family were in danger. The one that come to mind first was when Chloe was captured by Donavan Ferric. I had no idea if she was alive or dead and at the time I didn’t know if I could trust Maddie Smith. She had been playing both sides and I wasn’t sure where her loyalties lied until the very end. Knowing that I might lose someone I loved had to be my scariest moment.”
My next question is for Maddie: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
There is a tightening of Maddie’s posture as she hears the question. Seven, her husband places his hand on her thigh to comfort her. She glances his way and the right side of her full lips turn upward in a loving way.
Maddie inhales through her nose and slowly exhales through pursed lips. “My childhood ended before it really began. Unfortunately, I was the child of an abusive, alcoholic father and an abused, lost mother. She meant well, but never could get it together enough to help either one of us. So to be honest, as a child all I ever wanted was to be old enough to be on my own.” She looked at Brent and swallowed hard. “That didn’t go so well either until I met Brent.”
Okay, my final question is for Seven: Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?
Seven pulls his tobacco tin out of his back pocket and places a pinch between his lower lip and gum. “Hell, is that question you really want answered?” he drawls.
The interviewer smiles and nods.
Seven shakes his head and spits in an empty coffee mug. “That really depends on the situation, doesn’t it. I think that’s pretty much true about anybody. Everyone in this room will attest to the fact that I’m not much for words. You want to carry on a conversation or talk about your feelings, take it elsewhere. I’m not your guy. But, if there is a job to do, a mission that needs accomplished, I’m the most extroverted person you will ever meet. I talk with my actions not with my words.”
The interviewer jots down a final note and looks up at those in the room. I have so many more questions for all of you but it seems we are out of time for today. I want to thank you for your time and hopefully we can do this again sometime.
by J.M. LeDuc
on Tour August 1-31, 2013
Book Details:Genre: Suspense Thriller / Christian
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: 06/25/13
Number of Pages: 330
ISBN: 978-1484188682 // 1484188683
Synopsis:In the blink of an eye, a life begins and another ends.
In a blink of an eye, Brent Venturi falls into the chasm of despair.
What do you do when everything is lost? When the person you loved is gone and all you have left is guilt? These are the questions that face Brent, the leader of the Phantom Squad and the latest in Noah’s line of descendants. His answer—go back to the beginning, back to where it all began—Mount Ararat.
The last known resting place of Noah’s Ark.
In his travels, Brent will meet Rowtag Achak, a Cree brave and Special Forces sniper who is on a similar path of self-destruction. Together, they will trace their steps from Palm Cove to Washington D.C., all the way to Armenia and the Khor Virap Monastery which sits at the base of Mount Ararat. Their travels will eventually take them to Alpha Camp and the Hindu Kush Mountains on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
When President Dupree and the Phantom Squad get captured by the Brotherhood of Gaza, time for introspection is over and time for action begins. Brent must find a way to get back to the man he was in order to save the people still left in his life.
What begins as a sabbatical of self-awareness turns into a mission of survival. His own, that of the squad and more importantly, that of the president of the United States. What man and nature takes away, only God can restore. The restoration of the Cornerstone.
To find the beginning, one must walk through the past and be willing to step into the future.
Mark Adduci, writing as J. M. LeDuc is native Bostonian, who transplanted to South Florida in 1985. He shares his love and life with his wife, Sherri and his daughter, Chelsea.
Blessed to have had a mother who loved the written word, her passion was passed on to him. It is in her maiden name he writes. When he is not crafting the plot of his next thriller, his alter ego is busy working as a professor at The Academy of Nursing and Health Occupations, a nursing college in West Palm Beach, Florida.
J.M. LeDuc’s first novel, “Cursed Blessing” won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2008 as an unpublished manuscript in the thriller category. It was published in 2010. He has subsequently written Cursed Presence and Cursed Days, books two and three of the Trilogy of The Chosen, as well as a novella, Phantom Squad. He is a proud member of the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and the prestigious International Thriller Writers (ITW).