Apr 162014
 
Author Corner: An Interview with Richard Blomberg, Author of Warpath and Terror Never Sleeps, About Transitioning from Physician to Author and How He’s Evolved Creatively

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASDP Publishing Solutions helps authors in all genres – children’s books, fiction, non-fiction, business, and more – to independently publish their books. We love to keep our readers updated on what’s going on here at SDP, including recently published titles and the authors we work with. In this post, we’re joined by Dr. Richard Blomberg, who has practiced medicine in the land of 10,000 lakes for 20 years.

He grew up in an Iowa farm town, the oldest of 10 kids, before serving as a Navy corpsman during the Vietnam War. For generations, Richard’s family has proudly served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Richard and Kim have five wonderful children, and by the grace of God, are still deeply in love after thirty-five years of marriage. Kim’s Nakota relatives fought at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn). Writing Warpath allowed Richard to honor Native Americans and those who have served in the military by creating Jack Gunn, a Native American Navy SEAL extraordinaire. Warpath is his first thriller. He is currently working on publishing his second novel, Terror Never Sleeps.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? When did you start?

I have devoted my life to being a good husband, father and doctor. Writing was a late development. At Iowa State University I was encouraged to pursue writing as a career, but my die had been cast. I was accepted into medical school at the University of Iowa and became an anesthesiologist, which is still very rewarding.

Some time ago, I received an invitation to a fiction writer’s conference for physicians. Like a spore long dormant, waiting for the right conditions to flourish; that conference gave me the shove I needed.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I spend time with the ex-Special Forces warriors I know and listen to their stories. I read the news on BBC and Reuters to get the world view, which is very different from our national media. I strategize with confidants who like to read and love this genre, and I constantly bounce ideas off my wife, who brings the Native American flair into my writing.

Then, since I write military thrillers, I focus my looking glass a couple of years into the future and try to predict what world conflicts will be happening at that time. In a perfect world, my next book will hit the market the instant its real life counterpart is unfolding in the news. So, as scary as that may sound, I have to try and think of what the terrorists will be doing a couple of years from now.

Which writers inspire you?

I have read most everything written by Vince Flynn and Lee Childs, which are somewhat in the genre I am trying to fill. I like Brad Thor and Dan Brown as well.

But I write fast-paced thrillers, which is different from these other authors. What is most important to me is to tell the story in a way that the reader can’t put the book down and can’t get it out of their head. The word count doesn’t matter nearly as much to me as sticking close to the plot line and keeping the reader off balance with the unexpected.

What have you written besides Terror Never Sleeps? (Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

Warpath is the first book in my Jack Gunn Series. Both books are available through my website www.RichardBlomberg.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and SDPpublishingsolutions.com.

Give us an insight into your main character in Terror Never Sleeps. What does he/she do that is so special?

Jack Gunn is at the top of the Navy SEAL food chain, leading the Counter-Terrorism Task Force in eliminating terroristic threats around the world. He combines 21st century technologies and weaponry with Native American instincts inherited from his great-great-great grandfather, Sitting Bull. Jack uses skills learned from a secret sect of Sioux warriors and medicine men after their parents died in a car fire when he and Travis were boys.

In Terror Never Sleeps, Jack’s wife Nina is pushed far beyond the limits of what any person should have to endure after being taken hostage by a terrorist sleeper cell. She uses visions and skills instilled in her as a child on the reservation, which help her in her struggle to survive from one day to the next.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Tom Hardy would make the perfect Jack Gunn. His prowess in the mixed martial arts movie Warrior matches up perfectly with how Jack Gunn goes about leading his Counter-Terrorism Task Force. Plus, he looks like he might have a little Native American blood in him. He would be terrific!

Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Terror Never Sleeps is a Jack Gunn military thriller sequel to Warpath.

In Terror Never Sleeps, Pakistani terrorists use Nina as bait to lure her legendary husband Jack Gunn into a trap. With time running out, neither Jack nor Nina has a choice. Kill the terrorists or die trying.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

I write fast-paced thrillers designed to make the reader miserable from a lack of sleep because they can’t put it down. I write the kind of book that may encourage high school students to read for fun. I write the kind of book that makes a three-hour airplane trip or an afternoon in a beach chair fly by.

My books are an escape into the dangerous and complex world of Jack Gunn, his SEAL team and Jack’s family, as they confront terrorists but also deal with unique family challenges.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

In Terror Never Sleeps, my favorite character is Nina, by far. I like characters who endure great hardship and still find a way to keep going, no matter how bad the situation becomes. In Warpath, that person was Travis Gunn, Jack’s younger brother.

I always love Jack Gunn and Dewey, his swim buddy and partner in crime, as they are the guys going toe to toe with terrorists at the outreaches of humanity. They face unbelievable situations that they have to analyze instantly and react decisively. While I would be having a heart attack, they never flinch. I love those guys.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

Rolf El-Hashem morphs from being a bad guy in Warpath to being an insane jihadist in Terror Never Sleeps. But, since I created him, I understand him and how he got to be so bad. I don’t hate him, but the readers do.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

They are such quick reads that everyone is always asking when the next one will be out. While the second book only took about six months to write, (I have a day job!) I wish I was able to see my way to the finish more quickly.

I start each book with only the vaguest idea of where the book is headed. Every twist and turn along the way is discovered from my characters by me as I take the journey with them. The ending is often as big of a surprise to me as anybody.

What are you working on right now? What’s it about?

I am working on the third Jack Gunn thriller. The title doesn’t usually come to me until we enter the editing process, once the first draft is complete.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I now know what my editor and the public expects from me, and I was able to write that way on the first draft of my second book. No big rewrites like in Warpath, so I think that was a big step forward for me.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Marketing! Getting my books in front of people who like military thrillers is practically impossible as an independently published author. Without a publishing house and their marketing team backing me up, I cannot get my books into bookstores. Which leaves it up to me to sell books at book signings and to friends, and to sell books online.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Talking about writing.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to get around it?

When I’m in writing mode and have an idea of where the story is going, writer’s block is usually solved by spending time in the chair with my computer. I can usually write a chapter in four to six hours. I’m an early bird so I start at five o’clock in the morning with a pot of coffee, my lap desk and cheap E-machine laptop.

There was a point in Terror Never Sleeps where I didn’t know how the grand finale would go. I needed technical help from a military standpoint, so I wrote right up to that stopping point and then went to have lunch with an ex-SEAL. An hour with him and I was off and running to the finish.

When I’m really stuck seeing through the fog, when I can’t make out what’s supposed to happen next in a particular scene, I go sit in the shower. I know it sounds weird, but something about the hot water and steam brings clarity. I can’t tell you how many times I have come out of the shower and headed straight back to the computer to get it written down before the idea vanishes.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I think everyone who’s thinking about taking up writing should attend a seminar, maybe several like I did. There are so many little things that go into the process that I could talk all morning. I fact I did do just that recently with several high school English classes at Sibley East High School.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books? How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: www.RichardBlomberg.com
Blog: http://richardblomberg.com/category/blog/
Facebook: AuthorRichardBlomberg  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRichardBlomberg?ref=hl
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Richard-Blomberg/e/B00IUWJZOM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/321955

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18105125-warpath

What can we expect from you in the future?

I will write a third Jack Gunn thriller. I pray that a publishing contract is in my future, which would help give me an indication if I should continue writing or what I should write.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

I try to write books that give readers an escape, an adventure. I’m no different than any other author. Everything is measured in sales. If you enjoy my stories, please tell others to spend $5 to $15 dollars to buy a copy of Warpath and Terror Never Sleeps so they can have a few restless nights too.

Can you give us a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?

There was something about the van that sent a shiver up her spine as it crawled around the cul-de-sac of their dead-end street and came back. She let the sheer curtain fall back into place and watched the headlights. They stopped at the end of her driveway. With the growl of exhaust, smoke puffed from the tailpipe into the chilled air. Now hiding behind the front door, she began to hyperventilate as she fought off the suffocating feeling of panic. She swallowed hard, checked the lock, and glanced up the stairs to make sure Jake was still in bed. Fingers trembling, she fumbled to get her cell phone out of her pocket and dropped it on the tile. Pieces of plastic and glass flew in every direction, like a grenade exploding in the dark.

“Oh my God!” she gasped. That was her only phone. The van still rumbled in the street. She made out a stocking capped, bearded man’s silhouette in the passenger seat. Her brain pulsated like an expanding water balloon between her ears.

“Think, dammit. Think.”

Her feet felt like they were stuck in cement, nailing her to the floor behind the door.

“The gun. I’ve got to get the gun.”

She looked through the curtain one last time, then stumbled up the stairs, into their bedroom closet, and turned on the light. The gun safe still had the manufacturer’s stickers on the anodized steel door.

She dialed three numbers stuck in her head. Nothing. She tried again. Nothing. The combination to the safe lay splayed across the entryway floor downstairs in a worthless cell phone microchip.

A noise outside spooked her. Her fingers trembled on the dial.

She tried the lock again and prayed. The door opened. She grabbed the loaded shotgun. Jack always said it was the best gun for home protection. Point the scattergun in the general direction of your target and pull the trigger. It would blow a hole in the door the size of a basketball.

Nina had shot one once while blasting tin cans and beer bottles with her brothers at the reservation garbage dump when she was a kid. The gun-kick knocked her on her butt. It seemed funny at the time.

She flipped the safety off, racked a shell into the chamber, turned off the light and tiptoed back out of the closet. The gun went first with Nina’s slippery finger on the trigger. Her eyes dilated to adjust to the dark.

The condo was too new. Nothing looked familiar. Every shadow, every noise made her jump. The furnace kicked in. The bedroom curtain fluttered over the heat duct. She heard a noise in the hallway. Nina opened the door with the gun barrel.

“Mommy?”

“Jake. Oh my God. I almost…” She covered her mouth, overcome by a sudden wave of nausea. Nina swallowed hard to push the bile back down as she propped the gun up against the wall behind the door, out of Jake’s sight. She grabbed Jake, hugged him hard, and carried him back to his room. “Stay in bed, honey. Mommy will be right back.”

Nina grabbed the gun again and quickly crept back down the carpeted stairs.

The door was still locked. The van was gone. She held the shotgun against her chest, and fixed her eyes on the doorknob, dreading movement of any kind. Her heart raced. Her breathing too.

The wind blew. The furnace kicked off. The doorknob did nothing.

She turned on the entryway light and scraped together all the pieces of her phone.

I can’t call the police. The internet’s still down. I can’t call or text Jack. He’ll be pissed. It was probably nothing. No need to get all worked up. Just go to bed. Get a new cell phone in the morning before Jack gets home. And put that stupid gun away before you shoot someone.

Can you talk a little bit about the process of working with SDP Publishing and going through the process of self-publishing?

Lisa Akoury-Ross has been there for me the whole way from the first writer’s conference six years ago to today. Through her I have worked with two different editors who have been constructive and tough. Without their advice and my willingness to listen to it, I never would have ended up with a book worth reading.

Lisa also set me up with copywrite editors, cover designers, marketers, and all the other people involved in publishing an e-book and print book.

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) is a leader of self publishing in Massachusetts. We offer optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

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