Friday, February 5, 2016

Interview with historical romance novelist W. E. Lawrence

I’m wrapping up the week with an interview with W. E. Lawrence about his historical romance novel, Chakana.

W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. He has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.

Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

W. E. Lawrence enjoys writing historical romance novels filled with action, adventure, and suspense. He published his debut novel Guardian of Paradise in October 2014.  His latest book Chakana was published in December 2015.

Welcome, W. E. Please tell us about your current release.
Chakana – Encounter in the Sacred Valley, is a James Bond meets Indiana Jones action/adventure story set in Peru just before the start of World War 2.  The basis of the tale is a race between good and evil to find an ancient treasure that could affect the outcome of the war before it even begins.  It’s filled with danger, suspense, some humor, and even a torrid romance.

In 1940, before the start of World War II, James Fleming, the original British secret agent, races on a high-stakes chase to track down the ancient lost treasure of King Huascar of the Incas. He must recover it before the Nazis do or the whole world will be in imminent danger.

Fleming joins forces in the remote ruins of Peru, South America with Kate Rhodes, a policewoman on leave from the United States, her archaeologist brother, Nick, and their college professor, Dr. Charlie. Together, they must decode and interpret the clues, and face the challenges of the Chakana on their hunt for the treasure.

The group is hounded throughout their search of the ancient Sacred Valley by international artifact smugglers, familiar with the Chakana and working with the Nazis, who are determined to acquire the treasure to help finance their war effort.  Intrigue, danger, suspense, action, adventure, and even romance abound in this brave band’s quest to save the free world.

What inspired you to write Chakana?
I’ve always enjoyed action stories with some kind of puzzle to solve.  However, most of the ones I read lacked the adult element of including an intense romance with descriptive love scenes.   I wanted to create a tale which combined components of what thrilled us when we were young with what arouses us as adults. 

Excerpt from Chakana:

Countryside outside Athens, Ohio 1934

    The rumble of thunder sent the horse into a nervous prance.  The animal jerked its head and whinnied as James Fleming pulled in the reins to steady his mount.  “Whoa there, big fella. It’s just a few boomers, nothing to be concerned about.”  But when he raised his gaze to study the sudden ominous build of cloud formations, the certainty of a brewing storm made him decide it was time to get back to the barn.  With a gentle tug, he turned the horse.  “All right, Major, you win.  Let’s go home.” 
     James had enjoyed these lone horseback outings through the hills and valleys of the countryside and took them as often as he could.  However, this would be his last ride.  He would miss America. Ohio in particular.  He had learned a great deal the three years he spent there, working and studying.  He even learned things he hadn’t intended, like riding horses owned by his sponsors who graciously opened their home and provided him with a place to stay.
     But the time had come to return home.  The winds of war were building between his homeland of Great Britain and Germany, now ruled by the radical Nazis hell-bent on avenging their defeat in the Great War.  His country needed him, and James, always a patriot, would contribute any way he could.
     He again looked to the sky.  The storm had moved in quicker than he expected.  Dark angry clouds now directly overhead made it look as if night was descending.  Gusty howls of wind and more rumbles of thunder gave sound to the suddenly eerie scene.  His horse became more frantic by the moment, pressing the need to get out of the weather as soon as he could.  Although unfamiliar with the shortcut through the valley and having been warned by the ranch hands that the territory contained dangerous marshland, he decided to take the chance.
    Entering the valley, his heart beat faster.  After little more than a hundred meters, the trail narrowed but he pressed on.  Clouds linked together and the low whistle of wind made the hair on his neck stand on end.  Thank God, it hadn’t started raining …yet. 
     Then a sudden crack of thunder crashed over their heads.  The horse bolted.  Using what he’d been taught, James fought the reins and had his mount under control in a matter of seconds.  He exhaled, then stopped to regain his bearings.  The animal had only traveled another dozen meters, but his relief was short lived. 
   The ground beneath them began to quiver.  When he tried to turn the horse, the earth sucked at the animal’s hooves like quicksand.  Again, his heart raced.  He had to get out, but the horse, now in full panic, reared back and threw him.  Falling backwards, he landed hard in the swampy marsh.  As he lay stunned, he heard the horse struggle to gain its footing, and then gallop away to freedom.
     The horse escaped, but James was not so fortunate.  Sinking, he tried to scramble out but the marsh restricted his movement.  The more he struggled, the faster he went down.  When up to his waist, he stopped.  This couldn’t be happening.  This was supposed to be his last day in America.  He couldn’t die like this.  But the wet mud and the tangy smell of rotting vegetation made it all too real. 
     Nearly panic stricken, James turned his head and caught sight of a fallen branch sticking up out of the marsh like an outstretched hand.  With trembling fingers, he reached out and grasped it.  After he pulled himself closer, he slung an arm over and hung on.  He tried to relax so he could catch his breath but each time he started to sink, he had to wiggle upward to keep his head above the marsh.
     Soon, the wet mud and exhaustion began to take its toll.  Though it looked hopeless, he began to shout.  He shouted as long and as hard as he could.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m kicking around some ideas about a political espionage thriller.  Again, I want it to contain the same elements of action and romance as my previous books.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I really don’t consider myself a writer just yet.  I feel that a true writer has to have attracted at least some sort of reader audience.  So far, I‘ve just been piddling around.
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?
I have recently retired from being a business owner after twenty-five years.  Now, I would enjoy being a full-time writer if the ideas and opportunities keep coming.  My normal day would be to write and brainstorm in the morning and do my reading in the afternoon.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I never learned to type and I can’t spell worth a hoot.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never thought much about a career as a child.  Like a lot of boys, I dreamed of becoming a professional football player.  Unfortunately, I was too short, too skinny, and too much of a slow white boy to make that happen.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just that I tried to make my books fun and entertaining.  There may be subtle hints of a political message in the stories, but nothing that takes away from the tale …I hope.


Thank you for being here today, W. E.!

No comments: