This book sounds intriguing. Wait to you see the cover.
As little as possible. I find that characters that are different from me and have their own independent personalities are more interesting and entertaining than me simply channeling myself onto the page.
Good advice. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
That depends. If by “quirkiest” you really mean “stupidest,” the answer involves a water tower, my college roommate, and a pair of wire cutters. But there’s no need to go into details.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve been writing for longer than I can remember. Every time we move, I’ll find some long-forgotten poem or story buried in a box or an old notebook. It’s generally amazingly bad stuff.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Pretty much anything with good characters and a fast-moving plot, especially if I feel like I learned something by the end. That covers everything from Homer’s Iliad to Dumas’s Count of Monte Cristo to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia to Tom Clancy’s early books to the latest novels from my author friends.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
The MBA and the Magic Lamp (1994, unpublished). This is an allegorical fantasy that has been sitting on a shelf in my garage for years. Every now and then I take it down, look at it, remember how much work it needs to be publishable, and put it back.
The Case of the Autumn Rose (2003, Kregel). Autumn Rose is a mystery/adventure tale for “tweens.” It involves a teen brother and sister detective team, a horse farm, a pearl of great price, and a speedboat chase on Lake Michigan that I’ve always liked.
The Lost Treasure of Fernando Montoya (2003, Kregel). The sequel to Autumn Rose. I got the idea for it when I was walking down a street in San Francisco and came across a plaque showing the locations of some of the dozens of Gold Rush era ships buried under the city. I started wondering what kinds of secrets might lie buried on those old wrecks, and by the time I finished my walk I had the core of the story.
Dead Man’s Rule (2005, Kregel) (Finalist, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year). This is a legal/international thriller that deals with Chechen terrorists, Chicago’s Russian mafiya underworld, and biological weapons. Scary stuff. Usually, when I’ve researched a book thoroughly and know I’ve gotten my facts right, I sleep better at night. Not this time.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Prayer, perspective, and a really good coffeemaker.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I generally start by trying for realism. Having an Irish name helps judges get elected in Chicago, for example, so I often give Chicago state court judges Irish names. For central characters, I also sometimes give them names that have a connection to the story. For instance, the warring brothers in Blood Brothers are named Bjornsen, which loosely means “sons of the bear” in archaic Norwegian. That’s significant because . . . well, read the book and find out.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Raising four terrific kids with my wonderful wife, Anette.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
That’s easy: one of our cats. They’re spoiled rotten, never have to do the dishes or take out the trash, and when they lie on the sofa all afternoon watching football or action movies, everyone thinks it’s cute.
What is your favorite food?
I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I love McDonalds. I could eat Sausage McMuffins, Big Macs, and McFlurries all day every day. Or, well, I could until I died of a heart attack. But I’d leave this Earth a happy man.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Finding time to write every day. I’ve got a demanding full time job and a family that I love spending time with, so squeezing in writing time is hard. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with a long commute (bet you’ve never heard that before), which is where I do about 90% of my writing.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
1. Find a regular time when you can write and stick to it, even if it’s only one hour per week. It’s virtually impossible to write anything longer than a few pages or to grow as a writer unless writing becomes part of the rhythm of your life.
2. Find someone whose judgment you trust to critique your writing, and make him or her promise to be honest. Criticism is never fun to hear, but you won’t become a better writer without it.
3. Don’t give up. Most writers aren’t very good when they start. I was awful, and I still have the poetry to prove it. So keep writing and focus on getting better. You will.
Okay, time for the shameless plug: According to Christy Award-winning author and physicist Randy Ingermanson, Blood Brothers “is an excellent legal suspense novel, with a strong biotech backdrop. It reminded me of Michael Crichton’s latest novel, Next, except Blood Brothers is better.” It’s also a terrific gift, a fascinating conversation piece, an attractive paperweight, and will help you lose 20 pounds.*
*If you read it while exercising, that is.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is www.rickacker.com .
Rick, thank you for coming by my blog.
Readers, see what I mean about the cover, and I trust Randy Ingermanson's assessment of the novel. I can hardly wait to read it myself. Then I'll write a review of it for the newsletter on my web site - www.lenanelsondooley.com
I just put up August's newsletter. You should check out the reviews in that one.
And don't leave this blog before adding a comment. That way, you might win a free copy of Blood Brothers. But if you don't win, you'll want to get your hands on a copy.