Today’s guest is thriller author Sam Berretti to talk a bit about himself, and his novel, Double Mayhem - A Seekers Mystery.
Sam will be selecting and awarding an e-copy of his book to a lucky commenter on this post. The winner will be selected 1 week from today, on December 18. To be entered to win, leave a comment below and a way for Sam to get in touch.
Sam Berretti was born and raised in the High Plains city of Lubbock, Texas. After finishing college at Texas Tech University he moved to Florida to attend graduate school at the University of Florida and holds two Masters Degrees. He is an avid naturalist and photographer as well as a writer. Although writing started at an early age and took many forms, the first published book was Double Mayhem in 2012 (Createspace, Kindle, and Smashwords).
Welcome, Sam. Please tell us about Double Mayhem.
This highly rated action thriller romance introduces Doris Watson as a unique heroine. She is not a super spy, she is not a trained assassin, she is someone real and much more lethal, a smart woman pushed into a corner. They say for every person in the world there is a twin.
For Doris Watson, that simple wisdom becomes a nightmare reality that threatens her and the ones she’s come to love. An ex-military engineer who leads a quiet life as an appliance designer, she is recruited to perform one uncomplicated task: take a handoff of secret plans from a Chinese agent who believes she is someone else. She accepts the assignment and the only person she can blame is herself. She opened the door. She said yes. Her lonely existence is shattered as headstrong men cross her path. Dangerous men with dangerous needs.
Suddenly embroiled in mob killings, espionage, and police investigations, she has become a billion-dollar target of sadistic crooks, the FBI, the NSA, and her psychotic look-alike. It is up to her to protect herself and the mysterious psychic child who has been thrust into her life. No one is who they appear to be. No one is telling the truth, because the truth can make you dead. Forced to use all her training and wits, she must find a way to survive. Forced to uncover the secrets of her childhood, she must face a new reality. Some days you just shouldn’t answer the door.
What inspired you to write this book?
Having been a fan of mystery and romance mystery books for years, I decided my next serious effort would be in this genre. I believe strong women have played a much more important role in history and business than we give them credit for, having been obscured and unrecorded. Coming from a family of pioneer women, I know what fortitude and grit are. I wanted a heroine that would be unique, so I created a talented but rather normal professional woman who gets unexpectedly drawn into international intrigue. I wanted to write a book that was entertaining and offered a variety of characters to use for future installments. I was encouraged to finish it by a small group of aspiring writers, friends and family, and to them I owe a great debt.
A frail shadow of a woman sat huddled and trembling in a worn leather chair in Chicago. Tracked-in snow melted on the dull carpet from the heavy shoes of two intruders. Dressed in dark overcoats they loomed over her like dark mountains. There would be no good ending to this. She knew that. She wasn’t going to tell them what they wanted. She wouldn’t.
“Where is she? Just tell us and we’re outta here,” the shorter mountain lied. “We ain’t gonna hurt nobody. We just want to talk to her, sweetheart.” This loser is not going to cooperate. She’s dead. She just doesn’t know it yet. But she’ll talk before she dies. He liked it when they didn’t cooperate. He was good at getting people to talk. That’s why they’d sent him. He enjoyed his job.
Outside a freezing wind dumped snow on grey buildings and people went about their own lives unaware. But no action goes without consequence, and no consequence goes without causing yet more actions. Some are seen and felt, some are invisible, and some reach thousands of miles and touch the lives of the unsuspecting.
Tick, tock. Doris Watson stared into the mirror on the bathroom wall of her Maryland apartment and smiled ruefully. A blind date. She shook her head. She was twenty-seven years old this week, and going on a blind date. Was there something wrong with this picture? She was a strong willed woman and a successful professional engineer, but her only significant other was Bucky the cat. A woman approaching thirty was expected to be seriously searching for that special someone to spend her life with. So the office chatter said, so her dear pushy aunt said. Time to get on the stick. Clock’s ticking. She leaned forward over the sink and scanned the face before her with critical hazel eyes. She hated all of this. Her philosophy was, if it was meant to be, by God, it would happen. Mr. Right would kick her door down and demand her hand. She smiled at herself. What a joke. She felt ill at ease dating. That was the truth. The rituals, the expectations, the disappointments, all gave her a headache and drove her nuts. She was a person who liked the comfort of her simple life. Go to work, design some amazing device, come home, feed the cat and read a book. Good enough. Simple. Not good enough for co-worker Betty though. She could kill Betty for setting her up with this guy, a professor at the university who was probably a 10 on the nerd scale. Trapped, obligated and coerced into a blind date. Happy birthday Doris! The doorbell rang.
Doris was a complex woman with a distrust of men. Her personal experiences had not always been on the sunny side. In fact, some had been on the “Satan’s got you by the throat” side. She capped her lipstick and slipped it into her purse, right next to her 32 caliber Guardian. Mace just wasn’t good enough for her anymore. She looked in the mirror one last time and tried pasting an expansive smile on her face before answering the door. Tick, tock.
What exciting story are you working on next?
My second book, which will be out the beginning of 2014, is about an Assistant State Attorney in a small southern town faced with criminals that are taking her involvement in their cases very personally. With a cast of wide ranging characters, this is the first of a new series which will be funnier and less edgy than the Seekers Mysteries and more along the lines of the Stephanie Plum series. The next Seekers Mystery is in the planning stage.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My first publication was a short technical piece about butterflies when I was in high school. This inauspicious beginning whetted my appetite for writing and my imagination brought me eventually to fiction. With the publication of Double Mayhem, I felt I had finally really claimed the honor of being a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Most of my writing occurs in the morning, or late at night. Since I am a nature photographer, graphic artist, husband and parent, my time is often fractured. I try to keep a fairly rigid schedule, but family responsibilities and other interests draw me away at times.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I almost always write with music playing -- often things like classical, soundscapes or light jazz. Music with lyrics tends to distract me as I create dialogue.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always an artist, reader and writer. Creative to a fault, I think I always saw myself writing.
Somehow, life got in the way. Now I have come full circle to my very earliest aspirations. My inner child is back at play.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love writing. I love the shear enjoyment of creating my own worlds of characters and plots. It’s like do-it-yourself reading. Instead of following along with what someone else wrote, you make up your own as you go. And then you share it.
Readers, don't forget to leave a comment and a way for Sam to get in touch with you if you're the winner of his random drawing on Dec 18.