Monday, October 26, 2015

Interview with a Romantic Suspense Author Deborah M. Piccurelli

Deborah M. Piccurelli is the author of two romantic suspense novels and a romantic novella, all clean romances. After years of reading books and watching movies with an element of romance, Deborah’s desire to write romance novels came naturally. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the New Jersey Society of Christian Writers. Deborah lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two sons.

This is one of the most unique and compelling storylines I've read in years. There was suspense, intrigue and a lot of mystery to the story. I also enjoyed the romance and the undercover aspects of the story.” –Michelle Sutton

Welcome back to my blog, Deborah. This new book is on the suspenseful side. Please tell us about Hush Little Baby.

Well, Linda, with the Planned Parenthood debacle in the news, it may seem like this book is new, but I wrote it long before. Here’s the back-cover blurb:

Investigative journalist, Amber Blake, is a little person bent on payback for the death of her average-sized twin sister. Enlisted by her former partner and estranged husband, Evan, she poses as a counselor in an abortion clinic to expose the doctor responsible for fetal harvesting. As a Christian, she struggles with concealing her beliefs to maintain her cover, while the doctor’s romantic overtures tumble her stomach. Amber agrees to date him for the sake of the story . . . but nothing prepares her for what’s behind a mysterious door in his office.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

In two different ways. For the characters, I had seen TV shows that seemed to exploit little people. That tugged on my heart, so I vowed that I would someday write a book where dwarves were shown to be much like anyone else, albeit a few small differences.

Around the same time, in 1999, Planned Parenthood was being investigated for baby body parts trafficking, much like they are right now. I saw a clip of a 20/20 segment on Good Morning America and it really angered me. I scribbled a short note about it on a piece of paper and filed it in my story idea folder. When the time came, many years later, for me to write about the dwarf characters, the baby body parts trafficking angle seemed to fit with them so well.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did a lot of online research, I watched TV shows on both subjects and read books. But, most importantly, I spoke to people who were living out the issues and challenges portrayed in the story.

For the fetal harvesting aspect, after reading an article about it, I contacted the author who referred me to Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics. He is the man who headed up the investigation into Planned Parenthood back in the late nineties and took the results to Congress.

For the characters, I found a website for the organization, Little People of America, got the president’s name and phone number and called. I didn’t expect him to actually answer. I thought I’d get a secretary who would try to divert my call. But he answered the phone himself and his name was Matt Roloff. Many of you may not know him, but he was one of the stars of the popular TLC reality show, Little People, Big World, although that show had not been on the air at the time. He spoke with me briefly, then told me there would be answers to a lot of my questions in his book, so I ordered it. When it didn’t arrive after several weeks, I called his number again. This time, his wife, Amy, answered. After addressing the problem of the undelivered book, I asked her if I could interview her to get a woman’s perspective on dwarfism. She agreed, and we had a long chat. Shortly after, I was very surprised to see them appearing on talk shows promoting their upcoming TV show.

Just as an aside, I want to say that I received another pleasant surprise to learn from reading Mr. Roloff’s book that he and his family are Christians.

Please tell us about one of the main characters in this story and what you like about him or her.

I like Amber a lot, but Evan, her estranged husband, is the one I’m really drawn to. He is so heroic, he wears his love for Amber on his sleeve, and he has integrity. He’s also funny, and being a hot-head doesn’t make him any less loveable.

Where can my readers find you online?

Twitter: @DebPiccurelli

Thank you for this interview, Deborah. I hope my readers will check out your book.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Interview with Non-Fiction Writer: Author Steve Miller

J. Steve Miller is an award-winning author and president of Legacy Educational Resources. He's written eight books, some of which have been translated into multiple languages. He lives in metro Atlanta with his wife Cherie and enjoys caring for his 109-year-old grandmother and teaching at Kennesaw State University.

Welcome back to my blog, Steve. Please tell us one reason why “Brilliant People Believe Nonsense.”

Successful people are typically humble enough to get candid input from those around them. Solomon put it this way, "In a multitude of counselors there is safety." So the brilliant director Steven Spielberg, when he was filming E.T., was humble enough to ask seven-year-old actress Drew Barrymore how she'd put a certain line. The Mayo Clinic makes a big deal of gathering and respecting input from all levels of their organization, especially the desk ladies who have a lot of contact with patients.

So why do many brilliant people believe nonsense? Sometimes, they feel that their life experiences and degrees put them above getting input from others, especially those that they consider "beneath" them. That's one reason Enron failed. Some of the leaders felt they were so smart that they couldn't fail, and insulated themselves from much of the advice that they needed.  

This new book is about critical and creative thinking. I love the title: Why Brilliant People Believe Nonsense. Please tell us about your new book.

During college and graduate school, I concentrated on acquiring the tools of learning, like how to do research and how to think critically, so that when I entered "the real world," I was able to sift through nonsense to get at the truth of vital issues. Those skills have come in handy as I've had to vocationally reinvent myself several times and continually learn new skills. 

Now that I'm teaching incoming college freshmen, I'm struck with the impression that they can memorize lectures and take tests, but have never learned to question their teachers or texts. As one educator put it, much of modern education has become "transferring a set of notes from teachers to students, without going through the minds of either."

So in my classes I teach students how to think, and find that they love it! I wanted to write a unique text to help other teachers do the same thing, or to help general readers get what they may have missed in school.

Where did you get your inspiration for this subject?

Besides seeing the value of pursuing wisdom in my personal life, and seeing the need among my students, I'd say that raising my seven boys in a blended family (my first wife died in her 30s) motivated me greatly. The world pulls young people in so many different directions, and helping them to think through their lives forces me to seek wisdom in very practical terms. In raising a family, theory had better translate into something intensely practical, or it's useless. 

What kind of research did you do?

Ever since my sophomore in high school, I've been an avid seeker of wisdom. I've always been drawn to the practical living sections of the Bible, such as Proverbs and James. From that foundation I branched out into reading endless biographies, from great business leaders to musicians to scientists to authors and intellectuals. Having read a couple of biographies of Warren Buffet, I can ask myself, "If Buffett were to be in my financial situation, what would he do?" Or "If Jack Welch were running my educational resources company, what might he do differently?"  

So as I look around my office at the aftermath of my research for this book, I see about 200 books, many of them biographies, but also books on creativity, critical thinking, intellectual history, etc. From this research, I can use real life stories to demonstrate how brilliant people have often made dumb choices, and how we can avoid them.

Where can my readers find you online?

My author site,, can guide readers to my other online presences, including linkedin. Search J. Steve Miller on to find all my books. Thanks so much, Linda, for the interview! You do so much for your fellow authors!

Thank you for this interview, Steve. I hope my readers will check this book out.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Interview with Award-winning Mystery Writer Virgil Alexander

Virgil Alexander lives in Arizona with his wife Lois, near their four children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild (Actually they are all great!). He has written three mysteries in his contemporary Rural Cops Series: The Wham Curse (2012), Saints & Sinners (2014), and The Baleful Owl (2015). The stories all feature Graham County Deputies Bren Allred and Manny Sanchez, and San Carlos Apache Policeman Al Victor, as they solve murders related to: The 1889 robbery of US Army Paymaster Wham, smuggling in and protecting a Mexican girl from a drug boss (Saints), and theft of Salado Indian artifacts (Baleful). Alexander is also working on a non-fiction history of ranching in Gila County, and contributes items to on-line history pages, and historical museums. Saints & Sinners won the Public Safety Writers Association Award.

Welcome to my blog, Virgil. I understand this is a romantic mystery. That’s my favorite genre. Please tell us about your novel, The Baleful Owl.

The murder of an archeologist and attempted murder of another over Salado Culture artifacts, including the namesake Baleful Owl effigy, draw our three officers into the hunt for a sophisticated artifact theft ring as they strive to find the killer. The Baleful Owl, like all my books, is heavy on rural lifestyles, natural history, contemporary Southwestern culture, Indian, Hispanic, and Mormon culture and traditions. The romance comes from the married relationships of the two senior officers, the engagement and marriage of Deputy Sanchez, and the development of a tentative but tender romance between a male and female deputy who seem to suffer some gender confusion.

I love the premise of this story. I have a series that is all about artifact theft, also. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

A great deal of what I write is from actual experiences I, or others close to me, have had. I grew up in a small mining community with ranchers, miners, Apache, Hispanic, and may other immigrant classmates and friends. My wife is descended from Mormon pioneers in Arizona.  Almost all my uncles were law officers of one kind or another, as are many of my cousins, my dad was a reserve deputy, a member of search and rescue, and a member of the sheriff’s posse; so I grew up in the middle of lots of cop talk.

I taught college classes on the Apache reservation, worked in the San Carlos Branch, and as the district Boy Scout commissioner help organize a police explore post there. A good friend and coworker of about twenty years was an Apache and many of the reservation episodes in my books are stories from him. He passed away last year and The Baleful Owl is dedicated to him.

As for archeology, my mother was a collector and amateur archeologist as were many of her closes friends. Because of this, I developed an interest in prehistoric native cultures, and have studied it as an avocation. When mom passed away in 1994 I suggested donating her collection to a local cultural museum, but we decided to split it between the four siblings, so I now have one quarter of her collection of mostly Hohokam and Salado artifacts. Mom knew the provenance of each item, but unfortunately she did not write it down so it is lost. One of the minor events in The Baleful Owl relates the breaking of a beautiful stone hoe by careless digging of an archeology student; in real life it was something I did when I was about ten years old. That hoe, glued together is in my collection.

I now have a markedly dim view of this type of collecting, which is now mostly illegal, but those experiences created in me an awe of the historic, scientific, and esthetic value of these ancient works. And finally, as noted in the acknowledgement, my wife worked for the Southwestern Monuments Association/Southwest Archeological Center and knew some of the most prominent scientists in the field.

What kind of research did you do?

I did a lot of research on Salado pottery, Salado lifestyle (as currently extrapolated by anthropologists), and what is currently known about the Sobaipuri Culture, which some archeologists, and I, believe were the descendants of the displaced Salado. I researched some in the Uto-Aztecan language and history of the O’odham people, into whom the Sobaipuri were absorbed in early Spanish historic times. I researched the history of animosity between the O’odham and Apache tribes. For every one of my books I do a bit more research related to the Apache.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.

Bren Allred is a well-trained, widely experienced officer who resigned as a detective in Metropolitan Phoenix to return home to the peace of the Gila Valley for the better lifestyle. He and his wife Monica have two children, and possibly another on the way. Bren is governed by his strong sense of right and wrong, and his concern and respect for others. He is a brilliant people manager, mostly leading by example, and has won the trust and respect of his fellow officers and the sheriff, as well as that of pretty much everyone who knows him.

Bren is the main character in that he glues the pieces of the story together, but he shares just about equal time in the book with the other two main officers, Victor and Sanchez. What I like about Bren is his life is almost always congruent with his values, and his gentle leadership brings out the best in the people who work for him. He is a gentle man, and a gentleman, in a sometimes mean and violent occupation.

But I love my other two main characters, too. Al is a wisecracking, happy guy who successfully walks to line between Indian and non-Indian society; but he is also a guy that you always want on your side in a fight. Manny is a very young man who is a lover of knowledge in general so is constantly learning. He is green enough that he sometimes makes mistakes, but is brilliant at making sense of seemingly unconnected information.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I’m a slow study. It took me 25 years to earn my bachelor degree, mostly night school and mostly having to drive 80 miles to class; finally earning my degree in Management.

During that same period, I completed a four your apprenticeship in instrumentation (on the job, with night school), a control engineering certificate from Foxboro College, Boy Scout Wood Badge training, served as a counselor in two bishoprics, and as bishop for seven years. (The reason my four kids turned out so well is due to one thing - my extraordinary wife raised them.)

Thank you, Virgil, for this interview. I hope my readers check this story out. Virgil’s books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Oak Tree Press. You may find Virgil at the following websites:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Interview with Medieval Fantasy Author Andean White

Andean enjoys family gatherings, playing with his dog (Sage), biking, fly-fishing, and projects in the wood shop. Sage will be two years old in September and makes a couple of cameo appearances in Spring’s Saboteurs as a strange old lady. Blessed with strong support from his wife Nancy, his parents, sister, and many friends. Their feedback helps maintain the high quality of the books.

Welcome back to my blog, Andean. This book is the second in the series. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I wanted to write a story where brains and creative solutions were more powerful than brute force. On one side of the battle the youthful, gifted, and deceptive antagonist has meticulous planning skills. The protagonist is a battle tested, aging Captain of the Guard.

Please tell us about your new YA Fantasy, Spring's Saboteurs.

Spring’s Saboteurs is the second book of the four part Andean White Seasons series. The books have received many five star reviews.

Synopsis: Prince Argo has arranged the deaths of his older sister and two brothers—and declared himself next to wear the crown. Now the king, his deceptive and clever planning skills set in motion a multifaceted revenge scheme to overthrow Manshire Province. Kidnapping Queen Althea’s younger sisters initiates a whirlwind sequence of events threatening the lives of the Manshire Queen, the Captain of the Long Bows, the Queen’s husband, and the province.

Lieutenant Charles Cromwell, Argo’s Field Commander, has trained a militia four times larger than the Manshire Long Bow Knights. His vast battle experience makes him the perfect leader for Argo’s scheme.

The scheme is so well planned; the first elusive clues evade Captain Oscar until the ransom letter arrives. Oscar must marshal all of his skills and separate reality from ruse provided by mysterious characters with ties to Argo.

Will Queen Althea, Captain Oscar, and his son, Kendrick, save Manshire from a crushing defeat? On short notice, can they out-think Argo with his well developed plans, and ultimately prevent Argo's blatant assassination threats?

What kind of research did you do for this book?

The Internet provided most of the research needs on the subjects of horse speed, medieval disease names, medieval boat structure, and medieval clothing. A friend provided information on archery terminology and construction.

Please tell us about one of the main characters in this story and what you like about him or her.

Bernard, a secondary character is my favorite. He is the older brother of the enemy’s King. For a brief time he was the heir apparent, until his brother “fed him to the wolves”. He survived the dangers of living in the forest and raising a wolf pup. Bernard always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Does he have mystical powers?

Where can my readers find you online?

Email:              Andean.White @
Twitter:           @AndeanWhite