Today, I have author Paul H. Landes with me talking about his book Wings to Redemption.
What inspired you to start writing?
That’s one of my favorite stories and I love sharing it. Eighteen years ago I met a certain someone and we soon discovered that we shared a hidden desire to write a novel. Without any idea as to what we were doing, we plunged into writing this book and getting to know each other at the same time. We never did finish the book, but we got to know each other, fell in love and got married. That certain someone is Kristen, my wife and partner for life.
We never finished the novel together, but seventeen years later when I picked up the old dirt stained box and after I read through the story, I was hooked again. It tugged at me, “come finish me…come finish me…” I found a way to get the dinosaur disks converted over to modern technology and I began the whole process all over. I took what we had done and spent the next twelve months writing, polishing, researching and writing.
What can you tell us about your current release, Wings to Redemption?
I have a one-liner that perfectly describes the story – a fast paced romantic “who-done-it” techno-thriller. That covers a lot of territory, but I classify it as a romantic thriller. The main character in the story is Alex Boudreau and unfortunately I can’t reveal much about Alex here. Alex’s real identity is unveiled in the early chapters and so I have described Alex in rather vague terms on the book jacket and other materials. I’m betting most of the readers will have a sheepish smile when they find out about Alex’s true identity. So, my story has two people who meet in a predator-prey type situation and although they’ve led polar opposite lives, they have parallel psychological scars that they’ve each dealt with very differently over the years. It makes for an interesting push – pull type of relationship. While that relationship plays out, or not, the reader will travel through the world of corporate espionage and discover some cutting-edge and forward thinking ways to hack computers and they’ll be introduced to the creation of a weapons-grade virus that poses catastrophic consequences. I love the ending too and I’ll tell you I didn’t see that one coming myself until one of the later re-writes.
What kind of research did you did in this book?
I think the whole book was researched which is why I so often refer to is as “faction.” Every location in the book was either visited by me or I had lengthy discussions with people who were intimately familiar with the location. I relied very heavily on one friend, Dr. Murray Gardner from UC Davis, to help me create a genetically engineered virus and the end result is something that is not yet feasible today, but it definitely borders on the edge of reality. I really think that having so many “real” things twisted into the plot sets Wings to Redemption apart from many other fiction novels.
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change(s) happened that you didn’t expect?
The biggest change, by far, happened after I found an absolutely great editor to help me. Nancy Roberts pushed me beyond where I ever thought I would have to go. I worked with her for seven months and as a result the story has so much more depth. At this point the reader really gets to know the characters and to feel and touch their emotions. I did change the ending through all of this and I think that has made for a much more dramatic story.
I understand that this book is part of a series. What can you tell us about the next book? Are there any details you can share with us?
At the end of Wings to Redemption there are some unanswered questions that are addressed very early on in the second book, not the least of which is what happened to Benjamin? The second book is a continuation that will follow the same theme and also visit some stunning spots. Antarctica plays a central theme and I was amazed to learn that there are so many unknowns about this continent. I have the story written and I still have plenty of revisions to do, but I expect to have it out in June of this year.
What is the best and worst advice you ever received?
I know I’ve certainly ignored some great advice over the years, unfortunately, but I do remember someone who said something to me years ago that went a long way in helping me realize my dream to someday write a novel. Years ago, when Kristen and I “thought” we had written enough and that any minute some publisher would swoop in and grab our story, we were lucky to get an audience with John Lescroart. John is one of those big-time successful writers and he just happens to be one of my favorites. He told me back then that as a first time author I would need to write every single word of the story myself and be prepared to defend every single word. That wasn’t what I expected to hear, no, I thought he was going to introduce us to a publisher and we’d be on our way. Those words really stuck with me. Once during the 17 years that the story was tucked away I took it out and looked at it. His words echoed in my head and I knew I wasn’t going to finish the story at that time. When I finally did jump into it there were times when I’d get stuck or maybe disillusioned some, but his words kept bouncing back…you need to write every single word yourself. I give John full credit in getting me through some rough spots and ultimately becoming a published author in my own rite.
Do you have a specific place that you like to write?
Actually, I’m pretty good at blocking out distractions and I find that I’m able to write just about anywhere. But, without a doubt my favorite spot is a house we have on the north coast of California. There’s a loft overlooking the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by Redwood Trees and I can get lost when I’m writing there. In fact, I just got back from ten days where I worked nonstop on the second book.
What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
To steal a line from Nike—Just Do It. One of the dedications in the book reads “To all those who dream of writing their first novel, make your dreams your reality.” It has now happened to me and it can certainly happen to so many others. One of the things I always discuss at my book signings is this very topic. I’ll ask “Who here has not harbored a dream about writing their own novel or maybe a memoir or a how-to book? By phrasing it in the negative, I have yet to see anyone raise their hand. You don’t have to write a 400 page great American novel to be an author and to experience the euphoria of writing. No, just set aside some quiet time and write. Before you know it your thoughts will blend with your pen and you’re on your way.
Alex Boudreau has been trained to win…at any cost. Lured by a sacred trust back into a life of stealth and undercover thievery, Alex confronts a tormented past laced with guilt, self-proclaimed failure and deception. Faced with gripping, split-second decisions that would forever shape the future, Alex plunges, once again, into the world of corporate intrigue, greed and deceit. After stealing a top-secret genetically engineered drug, Alex discovers the stolen information contains the specs to create a viral weapon – a weapon designed to threaten the world. Now the target of cold, calculating men with unlimited resources, nerves and wits are the only weapons available to unearth the identity of these men who are determined to kill not only Alex, but millions of others.
This Alex Boudreau adventure is filled with cutting-edge technology and riveting conflicts entwined with deep passion, conspiracies and spiraling twists.
I have traveled and maneuvered through the corporate world as an executive, real estate developer and consultant. Along the way I encountered some successes and some failures, but all-in-all, I have gained life experiences that serve me well today. I guess I became a full-time author in August, 2011. I was searching for something meaningful to do when I re-opened the story that Kristen and I started together so many years ago. Since then, I have been writing, writing and writing.
I have always been and will continue to be a true adventurer, seeking new ideas, new places to visit and new goals to conquer. I can be spotted swimming in lakes and rivers and I am usually accompanied by my faithful Ridgeback when hiking the mountains or fishing its streams.
You can buy Wings to Redemption on Amazon.