As I grew up, I lived for sports and the competition that athletics provided. And I participated in several sports until physical limitations set in. Now, I participate vicariously through characters in my stories. But since I’m in control, I can take them to athletic achievements far beyond mine. The heroine of my current release is a world-class middle-distance runner. The hero of my previous release was an Olympic decathlete and another hero was the first major league pitcher to throw a baseball 110 miles-per-hour. Of course, the characters’ athletic abilities play a key role in each story.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
After our senior class picnic, a week before graduation, I held open the door to the high school so my buddy could ride his motorcycle through the entire first floor, past the office and back out. We didn’t stop to think about the possible consequences. But 1964 was a kinder, gentler time. We would probably have gotten only a lecture. But the school janitor got the punishment. From the stories we heard, he never did get the black mark off the floor where my friend popped the clutch.
Oh, the things we did back then. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was blessed to have some great writing instructors, especially in high school. Confirmation of being a writer came when I started getting A’s for doing something I thoroughly enjoyed. Though I didn’t write fiction until retiring, for most of my working years I made a living by writing—research reports, scientific books and articles and, later, specifications for computing systems. But science is set, while fiction is flexible. And fiction is certainly more fun.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I started reading novels as a nine-year-old. I cruised through the entire Edgar Rice Burroughs collection, then the entire Zane Grey collection. My love of action and adventure those books gave stuck with me. I can’t resist a good action-adventure story written, especially if it’s within the genre rules of romantic suspense. Ditto for a good thriller with a little romance woven in. My non-fiction reading tends toward philosophy and science, mostly in the context of Christian apologetics.
I read a lot of Zane Grey when I was a teen. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Don’t you mean, how do I catch it after I’ve lost it? When I run, run, run too much, I catch it from my wife. Writing can consume too much of us, if we let it. My wife helps keep me accountable and sane even when I don’t want to be.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I usually choose names I like for my protagonists and names that I don’t like for my villains. Sometimes the villain’s name is derived from words that have some malevolent meaning. For example, in my current WIP, the villain is a corrupt, high-ranking government official whose first and last names were derived from words that mean, big swamp. Oops! I had wanted to see if any of my readers caught on to that.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Is choosing a spouse considered an accomplishment? If so, I did myself proud in being chosen by a stereotypical Irish girl with a sprinkling of freckles, hair that shines red in the sun, heart on her sleeve and who will live what she believes, even if it kills her. Oh, I chose her too … 52 years ago.
I love long marriages. James and I will celebrate our 54th anniversary later this year. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
It would have to be a dog. But not a little yapper—a big dog. Maybe a dog like the black lab we raised for guide dog school at
. He didn’t
yap, but he did chew through the 220-volt wires to our air conditioner on a
holiday weekend with the temperature in triple digits. He wasn’t electrocuted
and I forgave him, eventually, because he was only six months old at the time. San Rafael
What is your favorite food?
If I had to choose one type of food to eat every day for the rest of my life, it would be Mexican food—nachos, burritos, taco salads. So, I guess that’s my favorite. But, does coffee qualify as a food?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I had two major problems when I began writing fiction. First, according to one editor, my female protagonists sounded psychotic Second, I didn’t understand good story structure. The solution to both—ask for help from someone who can help. Christina Tarabochia helped me untangle the emotional mess of the heroine in No Safe Place. Susan May Warren gave me some great advice for weaving the plot elements together to create my award-winning story, Voice in the Wilderness.
Tell us about the featured book.
No Safe Place tells the story of a young man returning from the far country, trying to regain his honor, and a young woman with a heart broken by her parents' rejection because of her newfound faith. Each has what the other needs, but will the assassin who put them on his hit list give them enough time to discover that? It’s a new take on the prodigal story that races from the beaches of the Olympic National Park to the beauty of Lake Chelan in
a story of courage, honor, faith, forgiveness, and love. No Safe Place is also
book #1 in my Witness Protection Series. Central Washington State
Please give us the first page of the book.
Olympic National Park, near La Push, Washington
They hadn’t gunned him down two months ago, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The odds were Matt Mathison should have ended up planted in the ground or as a pile of bones picked clean by scavengers in the forest.
Was he lucky to have escaped? It felt more like punishment for his transgressions. Regardless, his present unity of body and soul was not a blessing. Of that, he was certain.
Matt refocused on the winding dirt trail wrinkled with tree roots along each side—roots waiting to grab the foot of a tired or careless runner. He kicked his pace up a notch as he loped along the trail traversing the ridge above the beach at La Push.
He maintained this fast but comfortable pace as he ran through towering
spruce trees. Matt inhaled deep breaths of fresh, ocean-scented air. Sitka
Countless shafts of sunlight probed the shadows through openings in the forest canopy. As he ran, the myriad sunbeams created a mesmerizing, strobe-light effect on his arms.
Running in this tranquil setting helped. It helped Matt ignore that he was bone tired, emotionally drained, and spiritually in limbo. But didn’t he deserve all the misery life had dealt him? All of it and a lot more.
A half mile from the parking area, the pounding of a runner's powerful feet sounded on the ridge behind him. Someone had rapidly closed on him, someone running at an incredible rate.
There were never other runners on this trail. Only one conclusion made sense. After two months of searching, Arellano's assassins had found him.
Oh, my. I need to know what happens next. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook author’s page: https://www.facebook.com/HLWegley
Thank you, H.L., for sharing this new book with us. I’m eager to read it, and I know my readers are too.
Readers, here are links to the book.No Safe Place (Witness Protection) (Volume 1) - Paperback
No Safe Place (Witness Protection Book 1) - Kindle
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