Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gerard de Marigny and The Watchman of Ephraim

Gerard de Marigny  has lived an eclectic life – starting off as the lead guitarist for the hard rock band AMERICADE. He's worked for and owned a few businesses but always with the secret aspiration to write novels. He tried his hand at detective mysteries twenty years ago and then put his writing ambitions to bed for two decades. In that time,  he became an avid reader of Tom Clancy and W.E.B. Griffin. Right after reading Book One of Griffin's outstanding 'The Corps' series, he knew, "THAT'S what I want to write … thrillers!" Griffin writes historical thrillers, though. Gerard wanted to deal with current and future world issues more akin to Clancy et al. There are some fantastic writers in the genre now – a whole new breed including people like Brad Thor, William Tyree, Craig Hickman, Joseph Flynn, etc. He's working very hard at being counted with this group.
Welcome, Gerard. Congratulations on the release of The Watchman of Ephraim. What will readers like about it?
I try to write books that I want to read. The Watchman of Ephraim is a fast-paced thriller based around a lead character (Cris De Niro) whom I'd like to be, who is surrounded by people I'd like to know, who is doing something I'd like to do! (grin)

I hope the reader feels transformed into the story. I hope the settings, backgrounds, details, etc. of all of my novels are perceived as real (I put lots of time into making sure they are) because those are the things I like when I read thrillers.

To me, fiction is at its best when most of it isn't fiction when it's believable because when it's believable, I care and when I care, I'm hooked. I've felt very blessed from the messages that readers of TWOE have sent telling me how they were brought to tears in the beginning and how they were cheering for my man, Cris De Niro, at the end in other words, they cared, which means I did my job.

Can you share how you name your characters?
I usually use pieces of names of real people. For instance, if the character is an Iranian terrorist, I actually find names of real Iranian terrorists and morph them in some way. For other positive characters I've used bits and pieces of names of people I know and love. I've even been known to use names from old movies – but I won't say which. (grin) I've never just fabricated a character name though – down to the most minor character. Every name has a reason and meaning to me.

What are your protagonist’s strengths? Flaws?
In The Watchman of Ephraim the protagonist's name is Cris De Niro. De Niro is guy about my age, born and raised in the same place I was born, Ridgewood, New York but while I was in a heavy metal band, De Niro was becoming one of the top hedge fund managers and one of the youngest and richest in the world. 9/11 happens and he loses his wife and unborn son and he learns the awful lesson that all the money in the world can't bring back your loved ones … so that CAN'T be the point of life.
His epiphany of faith is his biggest strength. He dedicates himself to doing his Judeo-Christian God's Will, in a way that means the most to him – protecting other Americans from the type of terrorists that murdered his wife. De Niro's other strength's include his aptitude – especially his financial savvy and his 'street smarts' from growing up in  a tough neighborhood and his affable personality. De Niro's the type of guy that could drink a cup of coffee with the President of the United States and a pint with a friend and come across with the same savoir-faire to both. His main flaw, although I'm not sure it's as much a flaw as an internal struggle is his dedication to his deceased wife. Ten years pass after chapter two when the towers fell and De Niro still can't come to terms with things like not wearing his wedding ring or becoming romantically involved with another woman.

Tell us more! Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
My debut thriller, The Watchman of Ephraim was published in January (2011). It's the first novel in 'The Watchman of Ephraim' series. The hardcover and (trade) paperback editions are available at, and a host of other fine booksellers around the world. Signed copies are available on my website. It's also available in virtually every eBook format (Kindle, NOOK, iBook, Kobo, etc.) from,, and
Who are your favorite authors?

The authors that influenced me most outside my genre are Jack London (White Fang was the first novel I ever read), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and lots of pulp fiction writers, too many to mention.
My genre is thriller. The first thriller writer that knocked my socks off was Stephen Hunter and his great novel, Point of Impact. If you want to drill down to subgenre, The Watchman of Ephraim is a political thriller or geo-political thriller. In those genres, the writer who inspired me most was/is Tom Clancy. However, I'm probably most influenced by W.E.B. Griffin. I absolutely loved his The Corps series and although he writes mostly historical, war fiction WEB is/was my favorite! His son W.E.B. is now doing most of the writing, also a great writer.

Can you tell us about current or future projects?
I'm about half-way through with the sequel to TWOE. It's called Signs of War  and it will be available in September (2011) in hardcover, trade paper and all eBook formats.
I'm also developing a story outside of The Watchman of Ephraim series that I will be available in January and I'm doing two radio interviews, one on June 14th and then another on December 21st (both 5pm eastern time) with Fran Lewis and Marcia Cook on BlogTalkRadio.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events, Gerard
Here are a few places you can keep in touch with me and buy my books. I can mostly be found on my Facebook page (If you hit the “like” button, you can read 7 chapters of The Watchman of Ephraim for free) and on Twitter. My website will always have my most up-to-date info too. Thanks for this opportunity, Susan … peace everyone and hope to hear from you!

Same to you, Gerard. Best wishes on the success of your book!
You can keep up with Gerard de Marigny on his website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace.
Purchase personalized, signed hardback and paperback editions of _TWOE_ at his website.
Paperback Available at CreateSpace,  and!
Hardcover Available at  and!
Available for most eBook platforms at, for Kindle at , for Nook at!
Tune into author Gerard de Marigny's irreverent blog, 'The World According to g'
Gerard de Marigny also publishes a special blog for self-publishers called 'Self-Publisher's Diary: Author's Log' where he journals his experiences as a self-publisher.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Laurel Osterkamp

Minnesota author, Laurel Osterkamp, is my guest today. Good morning, Laurel. Thanks for coming over.

Thanks for having me over, Susan.
How many books have you written?
I’ve written two full length novels, Following My Toes, and Starring in the movie of My Life. I’ve also written a semi-short e-book called Looking For Ward. All of them qualify as women’s fiction because they were written with a female audience in mind, but I like to think they don’t follow a specific formula.

Tell us about your latest book. Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

Starring in the Movie of My Life is available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Smashwords. It’s in print and in any e-book formula you could possibly want, including Kindle and Nook.

There are two main characters. Thirty-five-year-old Samantha acts without thinking. Her heart is huge while her sense of purpose is small; she's willing to fight for those she loves, but she's never learned to fight for herself. Eighteen-year-old Melody is cold and calculating, and she's driven by the desire to better herself. As these compelling yet deeply flawed women battle for the affections of 25-year-old Nathan, he becomes increasingly confused and torn between them. Starring in the Movie of my Life is told alternately from both Samantha's and Melody's points-of-view and relates two complete yet combined stories about love, acceptance, and redemption. It speaks to our universal desire to be saved by the ones we love, and the monumental effort required to save ourselves

How do you develop characters? Setting?

I started by assigning both Melody and Samantha with a heroic quality, something that would inform the choices that they make throughout the story. After that the rest just fell into place. As for setting, I imagined a town not unlike Duluth, Minnesota, where I went to college. But my story takes place in Shannon, Wisconsin, which a fictional town.

What are your protagonist’s strengths? Flaws?

Samantha is tremendously loyal and brave when it comes to protecting the people she loves. Melody is, above all else, a survivor. Each one represents the flip side of the other. They are both very flawed. Samantha drifts from thing to thing, and has trouble with follow-through. Melody is driven, and ruthless to the point that she’ll hurt other people in order to get what she wants.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I just revise a lot, and I make sure never go too long without writing so I don’t lose track of the story. I also meet with a writing group, so I get a lot of feedback during my writing process. They let me know when I something’s inconsistent or unrealistic.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Well, I teach high school Film Studies and TV Production. So much of the story takes place in a high school, and there are countless references to movies and film making.

Can you tell us about current or future projects?

I’ve been focusing on developing my blog, "Laurel’s Open Page", where I post book reviews. I also write posts about reading and pop culture, and there’s usually some reference to teaching high school.

We'll have to check out your blog. Where can folks learn more about your books and events?                                     

Thank you for the interview, Susan.

My pleasure, Laurel. Continued success!