Saturday, December 9, 2023

Donna Silveira-The IAN Interview

Donna Silveira

From the California beaches to the Massachusetts harbors, and now settled on a Texas cattle ranch, this wandering heart has traveled far and wide to understand people, culture, and primarily God! Led to Christ through Mary, Donna seeks to pass on the lessons learned, knowledge, and the love she has for Him. Journey with her as she takes people on a tour through a spirituality as unique as she is! A fervent ambassador for Catholicism and a guiding light as a life coach, Donna hosts an online sanctuary,, which offers a treasure trove of spiritual resources. Her drive? To lead souls towards a deeper relationship with God.

IAN: Please tell us about This Is Your Last Warning.

Donna Silveira: This is a book that examines purported Marian apparitions and mystic visions where the messages discuss future events, scrutinizing them for their reliability. Using guidelines given by the Church in discerning valid from invalid apparitions, the book discusses the reasons some prophecies are invalid. The apparitions and prophecies from mystic visions which are highly reliable are then taken to form a timeline of the events we can expect to see if mankind does not turn back to God. The timeline spans from today, and some of the craziness we see in our world today, through an era of peace, and ultimately to the antichrist and Christ's return on the last day.

Only the Church-accepted or highly reliable apparitions or mystic visions were used to construct the timeline.  Further, these prophecies relate to happenings in our current society and world issues, the Church itself, and our general state.  It is this contextualized approach to the prophecies that allows them to be understood and clearly draws the picture of what is to come. This was painstakingly researched and the sources documented.

IAN: Is This Is Your Last Warning published in print, e-book or both? 

Donna Silveira: It is an eBook and is available in color-print paperback format.

IAN: Where can we go to buy This Is Your Last Warning?

Donna Silveira: The Kindle and the Paperback.

IAN: What inspired you to write This Is Your Last Warning?

Donna Silveira: I’ve always had an interest in Marian apparitions, but I come at them with quite a bit of skepticism.  Many of them turn out to be false! So I think in large part, it was a matter of looking at these prophecies, which I have run across, and these concepts that relate to the end times, and wondering if there was any validity to these things! So, I began researching these prophecies, and since I was doing the research anyway, I decided to formulate a timeline out of the prophecies that could be determined to be unquestionably true, or at least had a very high probability of being true. I wound up with so much information, that the book kind of wrote itself!

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Donna Silveira: For this one, there was sort of a combination of both. I did a ton of research, and it was on various apparitions, and certain concepts.  So things like “the great monarch”, or the “illumination of conscience” I wanted to tackle first, to see if there was any validity to either of those concepts. Then things sort of fell into two categories: Apparitions, and mystics.  So the research I was doing, simply by its nature, lent itself fairly well to its organization.  An editor who looked at it suggested that I go in chronological order for each of the sections, since each section seemed to be sort of haphazardly put together.  When I started, I was building out the timeline and providing supportive argument from apparitions as I was building out the order of what was to come, as stated within these messages. It did make more sense to put the apparitions and the mystics in chronological order and build out the timeline in a slightly different order though. Turns out that a good editor is an invaluable resource!

Do you have a specific writing style?

Donna Silveira: My writing style is unique to me, I think. Basically, I write in just about the same manner that I speak. Therefore, my writing is replete with sarcasm, (you can almost envision the eyes rolling), and a dash of humor here and there. Life tends to be rather absurd at times, which truly makes it entertaining. One supposed prophecy that I discounted was pretty funny when you examine it logically. After recounting the story of this prophecy’s source – I just had to summarize it to show how ridiculous this whole thing was: “We’re left with a no-name ‘newly ordained priest’ giving a book that was hidden, so no one could corroborate, to a king who immediately destroys it after reading it.”   Really?  Someone seriously is going to take that as a valid source?  Sorry, I just can’t. Again, too absurd not to be funny!

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Donna Silveira: This wasn’t supposed to sound really fatalistic, although in hindsight I think I should have come up with something else. Having poured through numerous messages, and seeing the patterns, I wouldn’t expect any more valid apparitions anytime soon. There have been a fair number of valid apparitions and warnings given. I just put all those warnings together. So the ”last warning” is this compendium of all the previous messages. Oftentimes, when things are scattered, it’s difficult to see the bigger picture. I simply took all those scattered messages, put them in one place, and put them in the best order I could discern. As such, it turned into a timeline, since I’m a little bit visually oriented and I’ve heard a picture speaks a thousand words. So I like pictures!

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading This Is Your Last Warning?

Donna Silveira: With this, because I honestly believe that this is the most accurate picture of the future, I really want readers to come away with an understanding of how God simply wants us to return to Him. Hopefully they’ll get a sense of the fact that humankind has gone our own way for long enough, with terrible results. Our society isn’t peaceful, isn’t based in love and truth, isn’t generous and kind, and isn’t respectful of life, authority, or much of anything. I think it leaves us getting more and more wounded with each day, and God simply wants to put a stop to it.

IAN: How much of the This Is Your Last Warning is realistic?

Donna Silveira: Well, obviously, this comes down to one’s beliefs. What I can say is that with many of the Marian apparitions, there is substantial evidence. Now granted, there is no apparition that has given “irrefutable” evidence – although I would say that the apparition at Las Lajas is one of the most convincing with regard to evidence. That one didn’t discuss future events and is not included in this book, but I am also planning on writing another book simply on significant Marian apparitions. That will include a greater portion of the overall messages given, not just the messages relating to the future. In the Las Lajas apparition, an image appeared on a rock, which turned out to be the rock itself – not paint, not dye, not some natural means.  Rocks don’t normally rearrange themselves at the molecular level so that the color striations within the rock form images that look like paintings. So although not “irrefutable”, because I’m sure someone somewhere will try to argue why this can’t be from divine origin, it’s enough to convince me. The Church goes through a fairly hard-core process of looking for ways to deny an apparition, or to refute a mystic, before the apparition or vision is approved. They look at everything from psychological disorders to the demonic. In the book I mention the guidelines the church uses for discernment of these visions, and I use some of those guidelines in discerning the validity of the messages in the book. As a result, only the most reliable ones are used to formulate the timeline.

IAN: How is This Is Your Last Warning different from others in your genre?

Donna Silveira: Well, another author who read this book and who has an interest in eschatology, or the study of the end times, said the following: “I’ve been both a keen observer and critic of apocalyptic literature, and I must confess, this is among the few books that have captivated me entirely.”

So I suppose I must have done something right! With many of the books I used as sources, I noticed that people would use books as sources that themselves didn’t cite where these supposed prophecies originated! That was really frustrating to me, so I made sure to document every source I used.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Donna Silveira: It’s kind of funny, but I don’t really consider myself an author. I just impart information. I once had a Literature teacher in college tell me that I should become an author, but at the time my thoughts were something along the lines of “Yeah, right.” Now that I’m older, I just feel like there’s so many things that I have learned, so much progress I’ve made in certain areas, and not an insubstantial amount of “hard-knocks” type lessons I’ve had to go through, that I really need to pass this along. I didn’t have much in the way of mentors, and most of these things I had to figure out for myself. If I can save someone a little time in their spiritual growth, steer someone clear of things that are patently false, or give them a leg-up on gaining a valuable life-lesson, then my time writing is well-spent. That would make it all worth it.

IAN: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Donna Silveira: I really like Michael J Sullivan’s work with the Riyria series and all the books of Elan. It’s fun when you have a series that paints a detailed picture of a whole world, and cross-references back to the earlier works. I would love to be able to have that level of talent to create a whole fantasy world! I absolutely love to immerse myself in good fiction where the characters are like us, both honorable and flawed, with all the nuances that make each person so fascinating! Plus, there’s enough humor in his books that make them a pleasure to read. In my case, they’re a delight to listen to since I tend to do audiobooks. Tim Gerard Reynolds is the perfect narrator for the series, and you can truly become lost in the story. This is one author where I find myself pre-ordering the next book in the series and have read all the others! The original seven or so books of Harry Potter were a good read too, although I don’t find myself waiting with as much anticipation for any other follow-ups. Sometimes it’s good for a series to just end, but maybe that also had something to do with the movies and other marketing “spinoffs” that the whole series generated.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress.

Donna Silveira: My next book is soon to be released. It is entitled “A Mother’s Walk Through Scripture: A Prayerful Journey Through the Gospels”

It is a view of some high points of the Gospels, based on the “Mysteries of the Rosary” as Catholics would reference them. These are meditations on these points in the Gospels, which comprise a fairly comprehensive narrative of the Gospel story, but looking at it from Mary’s perspective.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

David Whittet the Independent Author Network Interview


David Whittet

David Whittet is a family doctor, a multi-award-winning independent filmmaker, and an author.

Storytelling has been in David’s DNA for as long as he can remember. As a child, a dramatization of Oliver Twist had a profound effect on him. In its day, Dickens’ novel reformed the poor law, which convinced David of the written word’s potential to change the world.

He decided then that he wanted to be a writer. Subsequently, A J Cronin’s novels inspired David to become a doctor, especially The Citadel, which pre-empted the National Health Service’s foundation in the UK and beyond. Further proof that books change lives.

Medicine is a constant source of inspiration for David’s writing and brings a gritty realism to his work. Like writing, general practice is about being interested in people’s stories. The colourful cast of characters David has met throughout his career––colleagues and patients alike––breathe life into his writing.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

David Whittet: Goliath and the Gang is the second book in my Gang Girl trilogy. The first novel introduced us to Alicia, the daughter of a notorious gangster. We shared both the joy and despair of her lifelong struggle to break free from the Gang and build a new life for herself.

In Goliath and the Gang, we meet Aaron, Alicia’s beloved son. Aaron is cruelly separated from his mother when he’s just five years old. Raised by his aunt after losing his mother, Aaron’s uncle bullies him mercilessly, and his cousins treat him with disdain. His dream of making something of his life, of becoming an entrepreneur like his late father, rapidly disappears in the wake of his miserable childhood.

The sudden appearance of a mysterious Māori diviner sparks hope in Aaron’s heart. Is she the anonymous patron who will change everything? And will he win the heart of her haughty foster daughter?

Twenty years later, Aaron is the CEO of an industry-leading power company and still fighting the Godzone Gorillas—the Gang that kidnapped his mother.

IAN: Is the Gang Girl series available in print, e-book, or both?

David Whittet: All my books are available in print and e-book. Gang Girl is also available as an audiobook. I plan to make an audiobook of Goliath and the Gang.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your books?

David Whittet: This is my author page on Amazon, where you can buy copies of all my books.

The Gang Girl audiobook, beautifully narrated by Romy Hooper and Paul Harrop, is available from Audible and all major audiobook platforms worldwide.

I also sell personally signed books through my website

IAN: What inspired you to write Gang Girl?

David Whittet Gang Girl was born of the twenty-plus years I spent working as a rural doctor in a remote New Zealand community with a strong gang presence. Goliath and the Gang takes inspiration from my move south to the beautiful Waitaki District, with its magnificent lakes and hydroelectric power stations. Privatisation of the power industry remains a contentious issue in New Zealand. It was headline news when I first drafted the story in the early 2010s, with the government selling shares in Mighty River Power, as it was called back then. Power and conflict against the stunning background of the Waitaki Valley proved the perfect canvas to take Alicia’s story to the next generation.

IAN: How did you come up with the titles?

David Whittet: Goliath and the Gang begins with a mother reading her five-year-old son a bedtime story, David and Goliath, from a book of Bible stories. After finishing the story, Alicia is abducted by the gang and cruelly separated from her beloved son, Aaron. Left in shock and determined to avenge his mother’s kidnapping, Aaron decides then and there that he has two sworn enemies, Goliath and the gang. I chose matching titles for the series to ensure continuity. The first book is Gang Girl, followed by Goliath and the Gang, and the final book will be Godzone and the Gorillas.

IAN: How much of the boos is realistic?

David Whittet: While Gang Girl and Goliath and the Gang are works of fiction, Alicia and Aaron’s struggles reflect those of themany extraordinary men and women I have met in the course of my work as a family doctor in rural New Zealand. Alicia’s plight, in particular, has resonated with readers. At the heart of Gang Girl, we have a strong woman determined to take charge of her own destiny. In these remote communities, many women battle to escape poverty and build a new life for themselves. Their courage is my inspiration and the lifeblood of the story.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

David Whittet: While my second novel, The Road to Madhapur, is also fictitious, it draws on my personal experience of family medicine in both New Zealand and India. My first-hand knowledge of medicine in the raw and many real-life events helped shape the story. I have relived these episodes while writing the book. My time at a remote township in the Mayurbhanj district of India was during a period of considerable unrest following the recent murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines by Hindi militants. The community remained in crisis, with the tension between the Hindu and Christian communities threatening to ignite at any moment. Graham Staines’ widow, Gladys, stayed on in the Mayurbhanj and continued to provide a home for leprosy victims. I was privileged to meet Gladys and witness her extraordinary work caring for the poor and the destitute.

IAN: What books have most influenced your life?

David Whittet The art of storytelling has been part of my being for as long as I can remember. As a nine-year-old, I looked forward to Sunday evenings and the classic serial on television. A dramatization of Oliver Twist inspired me to become a writer. Dickens’ novel brought enormous social reform and forced the repeal of the poor law in Britain and beyond. The written word could change the world, and I knew then that I had to be an author. Books also influenced my career choice. A J Cronin, a doctor and a writer, is now largely remembered for the popular TV series Dr Finlay’s Casebook. But it was his early novel The Citadel that inspired me to become a doctor. Cronin’s book exposed inadequacies in the health system and shamed the British government into launching the National Health Service. A model subsequently replicated throughout the world. Proof positive that books change lives.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

David Whittet: Of all the incredible books I’ve read this year, Homecoming by Kate Morton stands out with its captivating multi-generational story and exquisitely crafted writing. Kate Morton wrote the book during the Covid-19 lockdown, having returned to her homeland in Australia, much like the story’s protagonist. This gripping story has stayed with me long after finishing the book.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

David Whittet: With three books published and three more in progress, am I ready to hang up the stethoscope and become a full-time writer? Not quite. Medicine is a constant source of inspiration for my writing. Like writing, general practice is about being interested in people’s stories. Without the colourful cast of characters that enter my consulting room each day––who knows? My words might dry up.

IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

David Whittet: I am a New Zealander, and my debut novel, Gang Girl, is set in our beautiful country. However, my second book, The Road to Madhapur, has a much broader scope, spanning rural New Zealand and the vast plains of India. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted my plans to revisit Madhapur to research the book. My current work in progress, Threepence on the Carpet, also has a vast canvas. The story follows Tommy, a would-be Kiwi musician, on his overseas experience in London in the swinging nineteen sixties. Although much will have changed from the novel’s setting, I would love to return to London for inspiration.

IAN: Who designed the covers?

David Whittet: I am fortunate to have found the incredibly talented New Zealand designer Holly Dunn. I have worked with Holly on the covers for each of my novels. She has a gift for capturing the spirit of a book in her cover designs. Holly’s expertise has helped me develop an author profile, which is crucial in the present indie publishing environment. We are already working on the covers and internal design for my next two books¾before I have finished the manuscripts!

Like editing, cover design can make or break a book’s success¾and an author’s career. I’m so glad I found Holly.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your books?

David Whittet: I’m not sure if my research for Gang Girl was the hardest part of writing the book, but it was definitely the scariest. Determined to make the novel authentic, I fronted up to a notorious gangster’s house. My heart beat even louder than the rottweiler that greeted me at the gate. I banged on the door. No reply. Muffled voices came from inside. Then, a nine-year-old boy gingerly put his head around the doorframe. 

‘Is your father at home?’ I asked.

‘I’ll go and ask him,’ the boy answered.

A loud voice boomed from inside. ‘Is it the cops?’

‘No,’ the boy replied. ‘It’s the doctor.’

‘The doctor? We didn’t call the doctor. Are you sure it’s not the cops?’

‘Positive. It’s the same dude that stitched my hand.’ He shot me an evil look. ‘And it bloody hurt.’

When the gangster finally emerged with his full-facial tattoo, he told me about his daughter’s lifelong struggle to escape the gang and forge a life of her own. I have endeavoured to capture that brave woman’s spirit in every page of Gang Girl.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

David Whittet: Seize the moment! It’s never too late to follow your dreams. I was nine years old when I decided that I wanted to be a writer, but I published my first novel in my sixties. Age is no barrier! Take every opportunity life affords us, and remember, in years to come, it’s the missed opportunities we will regret most.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

David Whittet: If only there were more than twenty-four hours in the day! I am currently working on three new books, each competing for my time. The buzz surrounding the launch of Goliath and the Gang has inspired me to complete Godzone and the Gorillas, the final book in the Gang Girl trilogy. I feel a great responsibility to the many readers who have told me how much they have enjoyed the first two books. Alongside Godzone and the Gorillas, I am working on my next stand-alone novel, Threepence on the Carpet. Tommy is a Kiwi musician caught up in the hippie movement while on his overseas experience in Britain in the 1960s. During the day, he works for a South African-owned bank. But at night, he writes and performs anti-apartheid folk songs with his flower power girlfriend. There’s trouble when his two worlds collide. Writing Threepence on the Carpet has been a blast—it’s full of real-life occurrences from the sixties, like the Aldermaston marches, the ban-the-bomb demonstrations, the political scandals, and, of course, The Beatles. This was truly the decade that changed Britain and sent shockwaves around the world.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Seas of the Zovah by Tim McKay

Seas of the Zovah - Book Two of the Draemeir Chronicle 

Destiny calls from the ashes of Kartumol.

The battle for the fallen fortress is over.

But the war for every soul in the land of Naevoroth is about to begin.

Darkness hides in every heart, and no one is who they seem. Heroes become villains when the quest to vanquish evil comes at any cost.

In the sequel to Rise of Dresca, the last soldier of Ceremai disappears.

Those whose lives he forever changed will begin to piece together the mysteries of their world and the powers growing within. Hunted by the corrupt and malevolent alike, they’ll band together against the ultimate threat.

Or die trying for those who come after to find a better way. 

About the Author:

Tim McKay is an unrepentant indie author from Ottawa, Canada. He used to be a pastor, still cares about good and
evil, and still strives to create meaningful experiences for others. He has degrees in history, theology, and public policy, along with a diploma in professional writing, but likes nothing more than hiking in the woods, running along the Rideau Canal, and connecting with the people he loves. Oh, and reading a good book.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Glendall C. Jackson III - The IAN Interview

 Glendall C. Jackson III

Glendall C. Jackson III is an award-winning writer who has long specialized in deeply-reported non-fiction. Naked Came the Detective, a mystery that explores the hidden world of high-end sex work, is his first novel. He has previously published two non-fiction books, one of which was a national best seller, under a different name. Naked Came the Detective has earned many laudatory reviews and won a first-place prize in the Paris Book Festival.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Glendall C. Jackson: In many murder mysteries, the call girl gets killed. This novella turns that tired trope on its head. A skilled and versatile sex worker learns that one of her clients, a prominent businessman, was brutally murdered just hours after their last date. With her unique access to the upper echelon of Washington D.C. society, she embarks on an investigation that leads to a shocking discovery. The book is intended to provide a vivid portrait of high-end sex work.

IAN: Is Naked Came the Detective published in print, e-book or both?


IAN: Where can we go to buy Naked Came the Detective?

Glendall C. Jackson:  Barnes & Noble.

IAN: What inspired you to write Naked Came the Detective?

Glendall C. Jackson: There is a lot of misinformation about sex work in the media and I thought using a literary format might get closer to the truth than a typical nonfiction account. I recalled that a U.S. government analyst had once written a detective novel set in North Korea because he wanted to portray the reality of that country without worrying about the typical negative judgements required in government intelligence reports. I decided the same concept could be applied to a novel about sex work. Many people do not realize that high-end sex workers learn a lot about their clients lives and secrets. That gave me the idea that a sex worker could investigate a murder using her client list.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Glendall C. Jackson: I just winged it. I had the general idea that each chapter should focus on a client or friend of the main character, with the names (as these were pseudonyms) in alphabetical order. So, I knew from the beginning there couldn’t be more than 26 chapters. I wrote the first draft very quickly, in about three weeks. Then I spent three months fixing and adjusting the plot and adding in descriptions and literary touches.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Glendall C. Jackson: My working title at first was simply Sex Worker Detective. Then I remembered there was a famous literary hoax in the 1960s called Naked Came the Stranger. A group of newspaper reporters joined to write a bad erotic novel and it became a best seller. It seemed natural to call my book Naked Came the Detective.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Glendall C. Jackson: The mystery is all made up. But I worked hard to get the depiction of high-end sex work accurate. I interviewed several sex workers. In particular, a retired sex worker provided a great deal of insight into her experiences and clients and even provided some helpful documentation. Some of the scenes in the book come directly from stories told to me by sex workers. I also had various drafts reviewed by sex workers, including a prominent writer on sex work, to ensure accuracy. 

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Glendall C. Jackson: I have been a writer for many years, but it’s been strictly non-fiction. I decided to write this book under a pseudonym so it did not get confused with my non-fiction writing.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

Glendall C. Jackson: I did. I have some experience in graphic design and photography.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing Naked Came the Detective?

Glendall C. Jackson: The hardest part was coming up with an interesting and compelling plot. As a nonfiction writer, I am used to writing about things that have already happened and finding out why. Now I had to invent a storyline — a part of my brain I had not used much before. I didnt really know where the story was going until I started writing it and adding in the puzzle pieces.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing Naked Came the Detective and what was it?

Glendall C. Jackson: I learned that I enjoyed writing fiction. I have been thrilled by the very positive response and perhaps I will continue on this path.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Glendall C. Jackson: Undecided. This book was intended as a stand-alone but some reviewers have urged that the main character should return in a sequel.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Richard R. Becker – The IAN Interview

Richard R. Becker

Richard R. Becker is an award-winning, best-selling American author. His debut collection of literary fiction and psychological thrillers began as a project to write one story a week for 50 weeks. It broke into the top 100 literary short story collections on Amazon for three consecutive months. It also won first place in the ABR Book Excellence Awards, Spring 2022 BookFest Awards, 2023 Book Excellence Awards, and was a finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards.

His debut novel Third Wheel was released in August 2023 to positive reviews and is on track to become an Amazon best seller. It was named a finalist in the Global Book Awards.  

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Richard R. Becker: Third Wheel is a powerful coming-of-age thriller about belonging, betrayal, and breaking away. It is the story of a boy trying to find his identity in the pre-boomtown hours of Las Vegas, 1982.

Brady Wilks, a 14-year-old transplant from the Midwest, forges a brotherly bond with an older teenage neighbor and inherits a friend group that accepts him more than his family at home. But everything begins to unravel when a small-time drug dealer joins the group and tempts them into making big money by selling cartel-supplied heroin.

Desolate and gritty, Third Wheel follows Brady as he navigates life, an improbable romantic interest, and a Mob connection in the dusty suburban outskirts of this infamous 24-hour desert town. Estranged from his family at home, Brady takes chances on random and fragile relationships until the stakes and consequences threaten the lives of those he cares about.

Third Wheel is a triumphant debut novel, and Brady Wilks is unforgettable as a transformative protagonist. Five-time award-winning author Richard R. Becker once again shares his unique insight into the human condition.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Third Wheel?

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Apple  Walmart  

Google Play  Bookshop  Kobo

Everywhere books are sold

IAN: What inspired you to write Third Wheel?

Richard R. Becker: Third Wheel picked me more than I chose it. I was working on a short story collection as a follow-up to my debut collection, 50 States. The plan was to write 50 stories that followed up or intersected with those in 50 States.

When I wrote the short story Third Wheel, I immediately knew it needed to be my debut novel. I could see the second, third, and fourth chapters easily. So, I published my second short story collection as a 10-story Kindle exclusive and committed to writing my novel. Twenty-four weeks later, I had the draft in hand.

IAN: How much of the book is realistic?

Richard R. Becker: While Third Wheel is fiction, I gave Brady some of my childhood to serve as a framework. I’m sure this was one reason I was drawn into writing his story. We’re different in how we react to and handle circumstances, but we share many experiences.

This isn’t that unusual. Many writers use little bits of their lives in their work. I’m no exception. Some of the stories in 50 States are grounded in truth as well.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Richard R. Becker: My work is as eclectic as my reading. It fits best within the literary fiction spectrum but almost always with a genre-bending twist. For example, about half the stories in 50 States would be considered literary fiction while the balance would be considered psychological thrillers and speculative fiction, with paranormal undertones.

Third Wheel is a coming-of-age literary fiction, but with a crime thriller backbone. The stakes are considerably higher than most coming-of-age stories.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Third Wheel?

Richard R. Becker: I’ve always believed that we take out of books what we bring in with us. However, I did want Brady to come away with something. I wanted him to learn that it’s never too late to change direction.

No matter how hard life feels or how many bad things happen, it’s never too late until it is catastrophically too late. In the novel, the question is whether or not he can learn this lesson in time.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Richard R. Becker: Writing literature may be new for me, but writing as a career isnt new. While I didnt initially set out to be a writer, Ive enjoyed a successful career as one. Ive been an advertising copywriter, journalist, and creative strategist for more than three decades. The primary difference is that Im now writing my own stories instead of everybody elses.

I still work with a handful of select clients and dont see this changing anytime soon. Maybe Ill feel differently by a fifth, a sixth, or a tenth novel.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Richard R. Becker: Writing is a job. Its best to treat it as such. I would have never finished 50 States had I not set Mondays aside to start a short story and then commit to completing it by the following week. Thats how my first project began. It was a challenge to write 50 stories in 50 weeks.

I followed the same process for Third Wheel, writing one chapter a week for 24 weeks. By setting a deadline, I could remind myself that these projects were just as important as any other job deadline I might have to meet during the week. And then, after I finished the draft, I invested even more time in making it right — maybe eight months of revisions, reviews, editors, beta readers, and production.

IAN: If you had to choose, which writers would you consider mentors?

Richard R. Becker: There are too many to include, really. Generally, I credit Earnest Hemingway and John Updike for writing straight, honest prose about people. It doesnt matter what genre you are writing in or how far afield your plot might be; we tune in to characters we care about, whether or not we like them.

Aside from those writers, I must mention Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, and David Mamet. Ive taken online master classes from all of them, and they helped me take my work to the next level.

IAN: Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?

Richard R. Becker: More than a few. Im especially fond of S.A. Cosby, Murakami Haruki, Jandy Nelson, Joe R. Lansdale, and Pierce Brown. They are all very different writers, yet they enjoy exploring the human condition as much as I do.

There are dozens of other writers I could name. My list of favorite books has swelled to about 100 different titles by almost as many authors. Im looking forward to discovering and adding more. Ive even opened up a small online store to help promote them.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Richard R. Becker: I’m currently writing a psychological thriller set in Maine. The story stands alone but exists within the 50 States universe as does most of my work.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Richard R. Becker: Yes, thank you very much. This journey has been incredible for me—from commercial to literary writing. I am so grateful that thousands of people gave my first book a chance, and now it seems thousands more will do the same for Third Wheel.

The support has been inspiring and even overwhelming at times. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.