Bio: Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than ten legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel Directed Verdict. In addition to his law practice and writing, he serves as a teaching pastor for
Church in .
He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Virginia Beach, Virginia and serves on the school's Board
of Visitors. Regent Law School
Find out more about Randy at http://www.randysinger.net.
Welcome, Randy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I would say I write a fair amount of things I have experienced and my own personality into my characters. As a lawyer, I see a lot of crazy stuff and will catch myself thinking: That’s got to make it into my next book.
In particular, this book starts with a SEAL Team rescuing hostages captured by the Houthi Rebels in
Yemen. I am actually representing
some clients who worked for the UN and were captured in Yemen so a lot
of those details come from real life.
At another point in the book, the main character turns the beach into her sanctuary using a prayer ritual that I’ve used before. The hearings and legal proceedings take place in the courtrooms I inhabit. The lawyers posture and get nervous and make dumb mistakes just like. . .well, like other lawyers I know.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I am a pretty quirky guy so this is really hard to answer. The problem is that quirky people don’t think the things we do are quirky. They seem natural to us.
I like my habits. My morning ritual of coffee, quiet time, journaling, and exercise. I like my books and pens and papers stacked neatly on my desk, all in a row, like little soldiers. I like my legal files organized a certain way. I dictate all my first drafts of my books. I don’t want any pictures or plaques or diplomas on my walls—plain, institutional off-white is just fine for me. I carry my index cards with my to-do list in my back pocket. Sometimes, I will write something on the list just to cross it off.
And for some reason, people think I’m quirky.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my dog Lambeau wants me to get his bed out because he goes to bed at the exact same time (8 pm) in the exact same spot every night.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I wrote my first novel. I somehow managed to make it through high school, college, and law school without realizing I had a gift for writing. I certainly never tried creative writing. But I was always a storyteller. In the courtroom. In my sermons. Around the dinner table. With friends. Then, when I was in my 40s, I discovered that this is what writers do—give birth to stories. Years later, I still love the whole process.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Wow, it’s a huge range. I like novels of all types. I also read a lot of biographies and books about famous (and infamous!) lawyers and judges. I like other non-fiction that makes me think as well, especially historical stuff. I’m not the kind that has to finish a book. If I’m bored after a couple of chapters, on to the next one.
I’m with you on that. Life’s too short to waste it on a novel that hasn’t caught my attention. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
As the lawyers would say: This assumes facts not in evidence. Who says I’m sane?
Actually, this is a great question, especially for somebody who is juggling three jobs (pastor, lawyer, author). Here are the things that work for me: (1) Start every day with the Lord and my Bible. Prayer, journaling, Bible study, and coffee first thing in the morning—it’s the absolute best part of my day. (2) I trust the fabulous people I work with to do their part. And I really enjoy the teams that I’m part of at church, the firm, and with my publisher. (3) Exercise—this gives me energy and a fresh perspective. (4) Setting and reviewing goals to keep me focused on the big things and not sweating the small ones. (5) Focusing, as Scripture says, on the things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (which means not focusing on the things that cause us to worry and bring us down).
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’m not good at names so I get help. My wife, Rhonda, is excellent and can always think of several good options. I also ask friends. It basically takes a village to name my characters.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That’s a hard question. Being a good husband and father is probably number one.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
This is easy—my black lab: Lambeau. Nobody has it easier than that guy and he pretty much runs the house. Plus, he’s just a happy fella.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza. And there’s not even a close second.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Because I am a pastor who wants his novels to make a spiritual impact, I had to resist the urge of sounding preachy in my novels. I have worked really hard to make the spiritual aspects of my books seem natural and organic, rather than sounding like I have an agenda or a formulaic way to weave religion into the story. I studied the way Jesus used stories and the way great authors would capture the heart without seeming like they had an agenda. Basically, I became an insatiable student of the craft. I believe this helped me become a better and more natural storyteller as both an author and a pastor.
As a side note, I am so grateful that I write for a publisher (Tyndale) that allows me and encourages me to make the spiritual elements a normal part of the story. I think authors who leave out the spiritual are creating stories that are less realistic because they are missing such an essential part of our lives.
Tell us about the featured book.
It’s a book about a team of Navy SEALs that go into
to rescue some hostages only to discover that their mission has been
compromised. Good men die and the rumor begins to circulate that the president
knew the mission had been compromised, but sent them anyway for political
reasons. Our heroes are two lawyers (Aren’t lawyers always heroes?)—one is a
young woman who was dating one of the SEALs and another is a crusty (and
ethically-challenged) old warhorse of a lawyer. They join forces to take on the
president and her cabinet.
Is the president above the law?
As we say on the back of the book: The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and Paige Chambers will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.
Equal justice under law.
It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?
Please give us the first page of the book.
They descended like vultures from the C-17 transport plane, silhouettes against a quarter moon in a tar-black sky. Invisible, silent predators. Arms and legs spread wide, free-falling for the first few seconds, the wind rushing past their arched bodies at 120 miles per hour. Adrenaline surging with every heartbeat.
Twenty men had stepped out of the cargo hold at 31,000 feet, into the frigid air above the sovereign
Twenty-two seconds later, at 27,000 feet, they snapped their chutes open,
checked their Nav Boards, and adjusted their flights. They would float through
the thin and biting air for nearly twenty minutes, landing within a few hundred
yards of the first rally point on a desolate mountain plateau nearly five
kilometers outside the city of territory of Yemen Sanaa.
The men were part of a Tier 1 special forces “asset,” the best
had to offer. Among them were a farmer from New York,
a swimmer from California, a hunter from Texas, a lacrosse player from Connecticut. They had trained their entire
adult lives for a moment like this, a presidential mission, one the suits in DC
were following in real time. The president herself would monitor progress from
the mahogany-lined Situation Room, watching video from the team leader’s
camera, listening to every spoken word on the command net, the radio frequency
used by the team leader and headquarters staff
These men were part of the famed SEAL Team 6, officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU, and this team, from the secretive Black Squadron, would be notching their own place in the history books tonight. It wasn’t quite bin Laden, but unlike other covert operations, this one would not go unnoticed. In fact, if all went according to plan, the world would later watch selected portions of the video. They would see the lethal efficiency of this team. Freedom for condemned prisoners. A statement that
was entitled to respect.
The mission was code-named Operation Exodus, a name Patrick Quillen and his men secretly disliked. They wanted to call it
because it would be a spectacular jailbreak, but then the president weighed in,
followed by the PR geeks. The Houthi rebels running Yemen had provided no trials or due
process for the two noncombatants the SEAL team had been sent to extract. The
Houthis had threatened to execute the prisoners by hanging them on Easter
Sunday. It was a blatant violation of international law, a thumbing of the nose
at the United States and Saudi Arabia.
The president had dispatched this team to put things right, to set the captives
free. Operation Exodus was born.
The first prisoner was an American journalist named Cameron Holloman, a flamboyant reporter for the Washington Post, one of those pretty boys who inserted themselves into wartorn countries and dreamed of Pulitzers. He had flown into
and snuck across the Yemeni border so he could report on the plight of the
people caught in the crossfire between the Saudi air raids and the Houthis’
counterattacks. But after two weeks in Yemen, he had been
What a way to leave us hanging. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Thank goodness, my copy of the book is on my dining room table. How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can go to www.randysinger.net. If they go to www.randysinger.com they will find a harmonica player with my name. His songs, by the way, are really good.
Thank you, Randy, for sharing this book with my readers and me.
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