Julie Coulter Bellon loves to write international romantic suspense novels because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She's the mother of eight children and the author of eight books and isn’t sure what that really says about her. Julie graduated from college with an English teaching degree from Brigham Young University and taught journalism for 14 years. Her habit of reading multiple newspapers daily is where she gets a lot of story ideas - ripped from the headlines and twisted a bit.
Welcome back to my blog, Julie. Please tell us about your new book.
All Fall Down is my newest novel about a hostage negotiator, Claire Michaels who finds herself in the middle of an international incident when an American businessman is kidnapped by al-Qaeda. She has to use all of her training to try and get him back while preventing the man behind it all from compromising national security.
Rafe Kelly, a Navy SEAL on leave to recover from an injury, never expected to be fighting terrorists on his home turf, but when his brother is kidnapped, it becomes a personal war. He teams up with a hostage negotiator, but the deadly game of cat and mouse takes an ominous turn when they realize what’s really at stake. Can Rafe save himself and his country without anyone he loves getting caught in the crossfire?
Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
Well, I was watching a special about when SEAL Team Six penetrated bin Laden’s compound and killed him, but the thing that was most interesting to me was how they confiscated his ten computer hard drives and sent them to be analyzed. My mind kept asking, what if there was something on those files that would help al-Qaeda attack America again? Wouldn’t there be someone in that terrorist organization who would do anything to get it? And the story grew from there.
That is so interesting. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Since part of the book is set in Afghanistan I had to do a lot of research since I’d never been there. I also researched computer forensics, hostage negotiators, and Navy SEALs. It was quite enlightening and I am so grateful to all the law enforcement people, computer experts, and military personnel who helped answer all my questions and added a realism to my work.
I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your suspense novels?
I do, actually. There are several events in the book that actually happened in real life with the computer forensics sections and the hostage negotiation chapters. And part of the inspiration of the book was that prisoners from Guantanamo Bay were released and went back to help terrorism. I also used several different personal Afghanistan experiences in the hotel to make that more real. If you’ve read my work, you know I base my characters after an amalgamation of real people and real experiences because I want it to feel like this is something that really could happen.
Thank you, Julie, for this interview. Your book sounds fantastic. For those interested, Julie has a blog where she posts book reviews and writer tips at http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com.