Today I welcome Norwood Holland to my blog. Norwood is on a virtual book tour promoting his latest book, Minus One.
Chapter 1 – Caught Red-Handed
HE OFFICERS WERE dispatched on a possible domestic dispute. They didn’t know what to expect when Mrs. Oliphant met the two at the elevator, one Latino the other African- American, both towering over the blue haired dowager. Nervous and animated, she spoke as rapidly as she stepped, guiding them to the apartment door.
“Are you related?” asked the stocky dark haired Latino. “No. I’m Carol’s next door neighbor. There was a fight and I heard the disturbance,” Mrs. Oliphant sighed and shook her head as though shaking off a secret annoyance. “Mind you, I don’t eavesdrop but I couldn’t help hearing—you know thin walls and vents carry conversations. This is her apartment.”
They stopped in front of the corner apartment at the end of the hall. “I have the key,” she said. Mrs. Oliphant’s tiny trembling liver spotted hand offered it up between the thumb and forefinger. With a nod the Latino urged her to open the door. “Hard to make sense of it all,” she continued her prattle fumbling to get the key in the keyhole, “I could only piece things together. She’s so distraught almost hysterical—it had to be something traumatic. I gave her a sedative.” She relaxed with the key finally in.
“Did you go in?” the Latino asked. He reached over her shoulder, turned the knob and pushed the door open. “No, she told me to call the police.” Mrs. Oliphant followed the two in.
Welcome Norwood, Take us into the main character of Minus One?
My main character is the protagonist Drew Smith. He’s an urban criminal law attorney and though he is my favorite he is not the most popular among my readers. Most prefer his sidekick Julio. I like Drew because he so complex. Sometimes even though I created him I can’t even explain him. In my latest release Minus One, readers are often frustrated and confused at why Drew let’s himself be manipulated by his new buddies Medhat and Julio, but Drew wants to accepted. And Medhat is by nature a manipulator. Readers expect Drew an alpha male to be in complete control but the book starts out with Julio and Medhat playing him for a fool. But the situation evolves and reader has to move on and accept Drew’s behavior. In the end, we see Drew is no fool and allowing himself to being manipulated is all part of his continuing education.
Drew is by far the smartest and as suave and charismatic as his two wingmen, Julio and Medhat. Truthfully I love them all like a father I can’t favor one son over another.
What Inspired you to write Minus One?
What inspired the story was a fierce argument I witnessed between the real life Medhat and Julio. Even back then I knew their relationship had the makings of good story. So I would say the characters of Julio and Medhat were inspired by a real life buddies Medhat and Julio, but that’s as far as the comparison goes. I can’t emphasize enough that this is a work of fiction. The novel has some unrestrained and indulgent sexual scenes all of which are a figment of my imagination. I don’t want readers to get the wrong idea. All the romantic relationships are mixed, racially and culturally, but the only one, Drew’s relationship with Nina is affected by racism. The Latina’s father objects to her dating a black man. The multicultural setting provides the book’s background yet at the dawn of 21st century race remains a major obstacle only for the Black man. In addition to the suspense of solving the murder I think the reader will find interest in Drew’s reaction to and coping with the situation.
Tell us about your next release.
Snakehead is a story that deals with human trafficing and a corrupt F.B.I. agent. The story was inspired by the headlines of two actual events (1) the sinking of Golden Venture, a ship loaded with human cargo that ran aground near New York City in 1993. Passengers had paid at least $30,000 each to be brought to the U.S. from China’s Fujian Province, expecting to arrive indebted but unnoticed. The second event was the murder of Eric Robert Wone. A young American attorney of Chinese descent who was mysterious murdered in DC. The two real life events are unrelated but both involve the Chinese immigrant community. I got creative in linking the two with a corrupt F.B.I. agent who has his own agenda. When Drew Smith’s law school pal the Chinese-American is mysteriously kill his efforts to track down the killer are thwarted by the F.B.I. agent manipulating the legal system.
Minus One, the Drew Smith Series prequel, takes us back when the attorney launches his legal career. Before the ink is dry on his license to practice law Drew Smith finds himself at the center of a murder mystery. The recent law school graduate works as a hotel concierge and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat and Julio. Like the three musketeers they bond in a fraternal friendship put to the test when Medhat is kidnapped after running up a drug tab he can’t pay. Rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat then becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders. Driven by their romantic entanglements the attorney is captivated with a pretty Latina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio and his Filipina love find themselves expecting, and Medhat’s passion for blondes gets him snared in a femme fatale’s net. Minus One captures Drew Smith’s evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with seriousness of purpose.
Norwood Holland is a freelance writer, lawyer, and author of the Drew Smith legal thriller series based on the capers of an urban trial attorney. He is a graduate of Howard University School of Law with a bachelor’s degree in English from Fisk University where he studied under the renowned Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps. Holland favors D.C.’s local color in his fiction and currently writes the blog editorialindependence.com devoted to promoting independent authors among other things.
He has served in several government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and a number of Washington’s top national law firms. In the mid 90s Holland began freelancing for the local media. Some of his credits include The Writer Magazine, the Examiner, and Black Literature Magazine. Minus One follows up on the success of Sleepless Nights, the first in the Drew Smith Series.
You can find out more about Norwood on his website or choose to follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
You can purchase Minus One on Amazon.