21 October, 2015

#Interview with L. D. Beyer, #Author of In Sheep's Clothing

About the Book:

L.D. Beyer spent over twenty-five years in the corporate world, climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. This meant a lot of time away from his family, extensive travel, a half-dozen relocations, and the opportunity to live and work in Mexico for several years. In 2011 he decided it was time for a change—he was tired of moving every few years, he wanted to spend more time with his family and he wanted to chase his dream of being a writer.
LD Beyer is an avid reader and although he primarily reads Thrillers, his reading list is somewhat eclectic. He believes a few hours with a good book beats a few hours in front of the TV any day.
LD Beyer lives in Michigan with his wife, three children and a dog named Tope (pronounced Toe-Pay), which he adopted in Mexico. He enjoys cooking, hiking, biking, working out and fixing just about anything that breaks in the house. With 3 kids, a dog and an aging house, he always seems to be fixing something!

Contact the Author:
Website * BlogTwitter * Facebook * Goodreads 

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
When I was 12 or 13, I remember seeing an ad that said something like, “Get Paid to Write Children’s Books.”  I was intrigued and actually wrote a few things but I never did submit them.  A few years later, I wrote a short story for a high school English assignment. My story was well received and was published in a school anthology.  In college, I wrote another short story, again for a literature class, and it too was well received and published in a school anthology.
But after graduating, I guess I did the expected thing and followed a more traditional career path.  I met my wife a few years later and we got married.  A few years after that, we started a family. Frankly, between career and family, I forgot all about writing for a while.
It wasn't until several years ago that I finally muscled up enough courage to make a drastic change in my life: to give up my corporate career, to spend more time with my family and to pursue my dream of being a writer.
There's something cathartic about writing.  It’s really cool to start with a blank page and watch as the story unfolds, sometimes taking twists and turns I never expected. I know that sounds like I'm not in control when I write but after giving them a nudge, the characters and the plot tend to evolve on their own and go in directions I never envisioned when I first began typing.  
As a writer, I'm finally getting a chance to be creative, something I was not really able to do during my more traditional life.
You know, I wish I could find some of my early writings!  That would be really cool!

What inspires you to write?
I write what I like to read.  I love thriller and suspense novels—medical thrillers, legal thrillers, historical thrillers, political thrillers—particularly ones that are full of intrigue, and ones that are fast-paced, with lots of action & adventure.  My taste in movies is the same.  Intrigue, suspense and action & adventure—I’ll take that any day!  When I read or watch movies, I want to escape and to live vicariously through the characters, even if only for a short while.  I want to root for the good guy and hate the bad guy.  For me, trying to bring this type of experience to readers is a huge thrill.  I can only hope readers are able to experience this with my books!

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I am an avid reader of thrillers and suspense novels, from authors such as David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, Steve Berry, Michael Connolly, Mike Lawson and Brad Thor.  My first novel, In Sheep’s Clothing, is a political thriller and I’m certain that it was influenced by the works of these and many other fine writers.  It’s interesting; this book was over 20 years in the making.  I actually began writing this book before my daughter was born—and she’s in college now.  But as often happens, life, family, career and a host of other things got in the way and the book sat dormant for a long, long time.  It wasn’t until several years ago when I had the opportunity to focus on finishing the story.   I’m sure all those years I spent away from the keyboard—traveling extensively, relocating multiple times, and even living and working abroad for several years—had a subtle influence on the final story.  

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
There are.  About a year ago, I started to write a sequel to In Sheep’s Clothing and after I got about eighty or ninety pages into it, I realized that I really didn’t like where the story was going.  It had traveled down a dark path into the world of Amber Alerts and missing kids.  I’m not sure how it got there but the subject made me uncomfortable.  I know there are great writers like James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell who can write about kidnapping, serial killers and bodies and morgues—and they do a great job.  It’s one thing to read about it and know its fiction.  But to do a good job, fiction has to have an element of realism to it.  And that means researching these types of crimes.  This meant that I had to meet with local police officers and read about FBI profiling, Amber Alerts, missing kids and I found the whole subject matter depressing.  

Tell us about your writing process.
This may sound strange, but I’ve found that the plot and even the characters themselves tend to go where they want to go and I’m just a scribe trying to capture it all on paper.
I don’t normally start out with an outline—I just begin writing and I let the story take me where it wants.  At some point, I might stop and spend some time thinking about where the story might go and about what some of the pivotal scenes might look like.  I might even jot some of these thoughts down.  But once I begin writing again the story goes in its own direction.  
I shared this with another writer and she smiled and nodded.  She said that this is one of the cool things about fiction—about creativity—is that it tends to take on a life of its own.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
That would have to be the prologue.   In a few short pages it captures how corrupting power can be, what it can do to those who have it, those who want it and those who vow to protect it.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Absolutely!  Most authors I know are voracious readers.  I tend to cycle through authors and my favorite is usually the one I’m reading at the moment.  I’ll get hooked on a particular author and I’ll spend several months or more reading every book they’ve written.  David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Michael Connolly, Mike Lawson, Vince Flynn, Brad Meltzer, Brad Thor—they’ve each been my favorite at one point in time.  Patricia Cornwell is another great writer; I really like her Kay Scarpetta character.  
Although I usually read thrillers, every now and then, I’ll pick up something different for a change of pace.  JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series was fun.  So was The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.  Right now, I’m in the middle of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Throne series.  Ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably give you a different answer!

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
The advice I heard most often when I started writing was to write every day, for as long as you can, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.  While I’ll admit that I don’t always follow that advice, like any skill, writing takes practice and you will become better over time.  The second thing is to read everything you can within your genre or chosen field.  Learn how writers approach their craft and along the way you’ll learn what an intriguing protagonist, a compelling plot, or engaging dialogue look and sound like.  It’s also good to network with other writers.  We tend to think alike and, even if it’s to commiserate on the rapid changes taking place within the publishing industry, writers tend to be very supportive of each other.  At the same time, I would learn as much as I could about publishing, whether it’s traditional or self-publishing.  Most importantly: get feedback.  Find a handful of people who will give you objective advice about your writing.  You can’t get better unless you know where you need to improve.  Finally, hang on to the dream!  Perseverance is as much a part of being a writer as a computer and a dictionary are!

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
My go to place is on my bike for a long ride or hiking.   This summer my two boys and I—one’s 19 and one’s 13—backpacked in Isle Royale National Park.  This is way up in Lake Superior, just south of Thunder Bay in Canada.  You can only get there by boat—6 hours—or a by sea plane.  We did a 5 day, 50 mile hike, with 50 pound packs.  The weather was volatile and we got rained out one night, with several inches of water in our tent.  It was definitely an endurance event.  But it was great to spend time like that with my kids. 
When I’m not doing something like that, I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, preparing a new recipe.  I also enjoy fixing things that break in the house.  For some reason, a lot of things seem to break so I’m always fixing something.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I would say that one of the coolest things I’ve done is parachuting.  I jumped from 3000 feet—a static line jump, I think it was called.  The chute is supposed to deploy on its own but we spent the whole day training on what to do if the chute fails, how to deploy the reserve chute, how to land, etc.  One of the critical things is to count to five after you jump and if your chute hasn’t deployed by then, then you need to deploy the reserve chute.  I was so nervous that I forgot to count.  Thankfully my chute opened and it was such a cool thing to be floating along with the wind.  I had a little radio on my chest and the instructor on the ground guided me down telling me to turn this way or that.  It was such a rush!  

What do you have in store next for your readers?
My next book is An Eye for An Eye.  This is the sequel to In Sheep’s Clothing and is set to release later this year or early next year.  A powerful drug lord threatens to bring America to its knees.  Only one man can stop him.  This is the second book in my Matthew Richter Thriller series.  
I also have a historical thriller titled The Devil’s Due, which is based loosely on my grandfather.  He served in the IRA at the time Ireland was fighting for independence from Britain, in 1919-1921.  I spent some time in Dublin and Limerick researching military archives and the War for Independence, meeting with historians, tracing my roots, and, of course, enjoying a pint or two because, after all, I was in Ireland!  The cool thing is that the Irish Army was able to locate my grandfather’s military records and I was able to confirm that he did indeed serve in the IRA during the war.  It’s there that the history gets a little murky.  He does appear to have left Ireland in a hurry, but as to why, I can only speculate.  Still my research paints a picture of a very tenuous time where the temporary alliance cobbled together to defeat the British crumbled easily under the weight of ancient divisions; where suspicion of disloyalty often resulted in death; and where past sins were rarely forgiven.  It’s in this context that the story of my protagonist, Frank Kelleher, comes to life…and almost to his death!  

About the Book:
One man holds the reins of power. 
One man vows to protect him. 
One man vows to destroy him. 

Caught in a game of chess he didn’t know he was playing until it was too late, the President makes the only move he can, plunging Washington and the nation into chaos. Stunned and reeling, Vice President David Kendall takes the oath of office and tries to heal a nation in mourning. But what the new president doesn’t realize is that things in the White House aren’t always what they appear to be, and sometimes what looks like the best option may turn out to be the worst. When one fatal decision triggers consequences he never envisioned, President Kendall finds himself caught up in the same game that cost his predecessor his life. 
Although there was nothing he could have done, Secret Service Agent Matthew Richter is haunted by the death of the man he had vowed to protect. When his girlfriend dumps him and his boss tells him that his job is on the line, he thinks his life cannot get any worse. He soon realizes how wrong he is when he finds himself fighting to save another president from the deadly forces that he has unwittingly unleashed. 

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