Okay, we admit Dick's not the most politically correct agent alive, and he sometimes bumbles and reminds us of what happens when you cross a certain French Inspector with a British Legume to produce an American Dick, but you have to admit that he's as cute as a pink Rottweiler when he's on the scent of a good case! Who says you can't teach an ole dog new tricks?
Ahoy, Me Hearties! It's cloaks and daggers for this exciting interview with author Richard Avery! Our interview will be conducted under cover of darkness as we meet clandestinely to get the scoop on his newest release, 'Dick Scalps the Injuns', The Dick Avery Adventure Series, Book One.
As we lower the gangplank to welcome him we anticipate hearing about this amazing read from the veteran Spy himself!
HE KNEW HE WASN'T BEING GIVEN ALL THE FACTS...
HE KNEW HE'D BEEN CHOSEN BECAUSE THE MISSION WAS DANGEROUSLY IMPOSSIBLE AND NO ONE ELSE WANTED IT...
...BUT HE ALSO KNEW THAT HIS EMPTY WALLET LEFT HIM NO CHOICE.
...DICK AVERY IS ON THE CASE!
"It was the same old, same old routine since I returned to the states. I was bored out of my mind and welcomed the assignment for a change of pace and some sanity. I knew it was probably a no win situation for me, but I didn't care since I needed the money."
Ahoy, George! Welcome aboard The Whimsical Herald! I've got lots of questions for you today, so I'll dive right in!
When did you start writing?
I started writing rather late in life after more or less being retired with a lot of spare time on my hands. I’d toyed with the idea off-and-on for several years and finally decided to sit down and write a book. That start ended after I wrote five novels over a continuous, two year period. The story lines kept popping into my head until I couldn’t come up with any more. It was most definitely a manic phase in my life.
What methodologies do you use in writing your books?
I’m not sure what that means. I simply start out with a vague idea as to what the story will be about and go from there; sort of a stream of consciousness or perhaps unconsciousness way of doing things. One sentence leads to another until I’m finished. If I get stuck, I skip the part and move on. I don’t diagram things or sketch out the story line beforehand. Of course, I go back and try to perfect the writing, but for the most part it’s all about moving the plot along until conclusion.
What’s the raison d’être behind the books?
I wanted to write humorous spoofs and send-ups of the State Department, my organization, the Diplomatic Security Service, and U.S. foreign policy; all set to mystery/adventure stories. I didn’t want to vilify or glorify anything, but rather to poke some fun at our institutions and their foibles overseas. They are most certainly politically incorrect reads. There was already a plethora of conventional spy heroes, secret agents and the like out there and thought I‘d take a different tack. I believe my firsthand experiences and insights into the Foreign Service culture give the stories added depth and credence thus enhancing the reads. I also throw in some tongue-and-cheek comments about our war on terrorism, embassy life and customs, diplomatic protocol as well as some insider tidbits and teases.
Where do you draw your material from?
The Dick Avery Adventure Stories come from both my experiences working abroad and a vivid imagination, along with a very quirky sense of humor. They are loosely based on assignments and travels I had with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, The World Bank, and as an international security consultant. I’ve lived overseas and traveled the world during my career and have come across many different situations that lend themselves to a good story.
Tell us about the protagonist in the series.
Dick Avery is a retired special agent of the Diplomatic Security Service who is down on his luck and life. He doesn’t have enough money to sustain his many vices and few virtues and is always looking for a handout from Mother State. Hopefully, it’s a bone with some meat left on it for a change. He’s considered an expendable commodity and convenient scapegoat by the big suits in the State Department. That’s why he’s recalled to take on the tough cases that no other right-minded agent would readily accept since the assignments are fraught with danger to one’s Foreign Service career. Dick typically solves the cases in his own unorthodox, bumbling style of investigation, with the help of his colorful colleagues.
So, what’s Dick Scalps the Injuns about?
Dick is sent to India by his masters to investigate the kidnapping of the U.S. ambassador’s daughter in New Delhi. He subsequently learns that Afghan President Karzai’s daughter had been kidnapped at the same time and this has the State Department and White House in an uproar. Karzai’s daughter had been living at the ambassador’s residence under an assumed name and attending the International School of Delhi. His search for the girls leads him from Delhi to the crematoria Ghats in Banaras to the Taj Mahal and back to Delhi in his pursuit of his adversary, his foe and his nemesis: Kris Amar, the head Dalit at the largest crematorium in Banaras.
Why the pseudonym Dick Avery?
I originally used Avery Dick, but the publisher thought that it was a little too racy. I thought it was spot on to describe the character, but she won out. By the way, a nom de guerre is only used by Pentagon wonks with any leftover tail feathers relegated to the State Department as nom de plumes. So, Dick Avery it is.
Are you working on other projects?
Yes, I’ve written an anthology of paranormal stories titled Macabre Memories (Eclectic Tales to Chill the Soul) that I’m trying to flog at the moment.
Did you have a particular audience in mind when writing this novel?
No, I didn't, but the publisher thought the protagonist should be a younger, good looking guy who would better appeal to women. So, that's what happened in the editing in order to create broader acceptance by the readership.
Humor has a predominant place in ‘Dick Scalps the Injuns’ in the form of wisecracking, pun intended and other word play. Did you find in reality that the serious business of acting as a Special Agent has a lighter side?
Yes, most definitely. Despite the serious nature of the job and sometimes tragic events overseas, there were quirky, humorous events that happened from time-to-time. Early one Sunday morning, in the mid 1980's, when assigned to the embassy in Panama, I was awakened by a helicopter gunship hovering outside my bedroom window of my apartment on the 13th floor of my building. This was during the rule of General Manuel Noriega and the Panamanian people were expressing their displeasure with him and his regime. The area I lived in was largely populated by wealthy Panamanians who were protesting his continued leadership. By the way, gallows humor is very popular in the Foreign Service.
I received a frantic call one day from the pouch supervisor while assigned to our embassy in Bangkok. It seem an intruder had entered the pouch vault at the rear of the chancery without notice. An 8 foot long water snake had slithered underneath the back door and moved about 6 feet down a hallway and slid beneath the day gate to the vault, nestling itself among the diplomatic pouches. The snake likely came from the klong (canal) at the rear of the building. It was a funny event to everyone except the supervisor.
Coming from a unique insider background of 49 years as a Special Agent and Security Specialist are you ever concerned that you might reveal too much concerning the inner workings of government agencies?
No, of course not. My books have been vetted and read by my former superiors and colleagues.and were for sale at the Diplomatic Security Service store in a State Department annex.for several years when I self-pubbed them. When I refer to insider information and teases, I'm talking about embassy life as it relates to such things as how employee housing assignments are made and how some try to scam the system and how currency accommodations are handled and could be abused and many other tidbits. However, they are all made up from transparent, whole cloth---some fact, but a lot of my imagination.
As a world traveler, what cultures appealed to you the most? Would you consider retiring in any of them?
I lived in Thailand for 2 years and would consider retiring to Chiang Mai in the North of the country. Great people, medical facilities, food and a very low cost of living.
Can we expect more books from your series?
Yes, most assuredly. There are four more titles to be released by the publisher over time: Dick Slays the Dragons, Dick Fades the Albino, Dick Cases the Bank and Dick Hounds the Afghans.
Just one more question, for fun. What’s your favorite color?
That’s easy, pink of course. It’s the color of the mascot of the Dick Avery Adventure Stories: the Pink Rottweiler.
In Dick Scalps the Injuns, Richard Avery is sent to India to investigate the kidnapping of the U.S. ambassador's daughter in New Delhi. He discovers that the White House and State Department are in an uproar over the subsequent kidnapping of Afghan President Karzai's eldest daughter who had been living on the ambassador's residential compound under an assumed name and attending the International School of Delhi. His search for the girls leads him from Delhi to the crematoria ghats in Banaras and the Taj Mahal.
George Larson, AKA Dick Avery, both of whom are well thought of, puns and all, here at TT, have kept us on our toes keeping up with the fast pace with which a former spy guy is used to working/moving once he is given a directive.
George received a BA degree in English from Northern Illinois University. He then had a 49 year career in investigations, law enforcement and security in the US and abroad (private investigator, DOD security specialist, senior special agent Diplomatic Security Service US State Department, World Bank security consultant, Vice President Corporate Security for NASD, Security Director for Salliemae, independent security consultant). It's fairly easy to see from here, where Richard Avery comes into the picture.
Me? My nom de guerre is Richard Avery, though I'm old enough that my nickname as a kid was and still is Dick, so I've given it to the "character" Dick Avery, and I am a retired special agent of the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service or simply DSS, if you prefer. I'll leave out the plenipotentiary and extraordinary accolades that go along with the title because there aren't any. I was just one more bureaucrat among many who served their career sentences in the sideshow called the Foreign Service. What's the old quip? "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach join the federal government." Yep, that's me alright and I’m damn proud of it!
You may connect with me further, if you can keep up, on my website and other social media sites! http://www.dickavery.net/index.html
It is with deep regret and many still unanswered questions that we bid farewell to our honored guest Richard Avery as he departs THE WHIMSICAL HERALD. We are excited to discover more of his intriguing tale within the pages of his latest novel 'Dick Scalps the Injuns'. One click it today to immerse yourselves in a tale well told.!
All my duty to you,fair winds and following seas till we meet again!
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness
THE WHIMSICAL HERALD
Today coming up the gangplank as the Captain’s honored guest is author Victoria Craven. She will be telling us about her splendid tale and brand new release, ”Destiny’s Promise’.
But first, a teaser to tantalize ye swabbies as we hoist the Jolly Roger and sail off to Medieval Times with author Victoria Craven!
LOVE, MURDER, AND SECOND CHANCES
“A touch whispered across her face. Her dream bathed her with desire as fingertips traced the ridges of her bottom lip. The scent of masculinity floated into her senses. Carina floated to the surface of her sweet dream……..and when she opened her eyes she found herself staring into eyes the color of a frozen blue lake.”
“His untamed raven hair framed the face of an archangel. His jaw was squared with a cleft in his chin. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. She wanted to raise her hand and caress his cheek. Then reality shot through her like a hunter’s arrow.”
AND the evil HERS:
“The old flesh had been burned away to reveal the woman she had once been. Gone were the aches that had riddled her body. Hesitantly she peered at her reflection in the pool of water, and staring back at her were the eyes of her youth. She could feel the powers of old renewed and surging through her body…
Insidious euphoria engulfed her.”
1. Victoria, what is it about the medieval period that captivates readers so? Why were you drawn to it for Destiny’s Promise, Book Three in your ‘LOVE CONQUERS ALL’ series?
I believe people are drawn to the romance of medieval times. It was a time of chivalry and honor. Readers love a hero that has a strong moral compass.
I was drawn to writing medieval paranormal romance because of the creative freedom. Even though I had to stay inside the parameters of historical accuracy, I was able to create a world of fantasy and empowerment for both the hero and the heroine
2. Your beautifully descriptive scenes draw the reader in. Did this talent evolve with practice or does this way of writing come naturally to you?
It was both. I always loved painting the picture of a scene, but over time I learned how to go beyond the visual, I learned how to add the other senses, as well, such as taste, touch, and smell.
3. Who were your greatest supporters and influences in your journey as an author?
My husband is my biggest supporter. He will sit by my side while editing a book and ask me tough questions that make me dig deeper into my characters or into the plot. He is a great influence.
4. Can you tell us something that readers might be surprised to find out about you?
I love to sing. I won a gold medal in highschool for singing. Since I don’t sing now, people are often surprised when I show them the medal.
5. Do you do research for your novels? What is the most unusual thing you’ve googled in your research?
I think any author has to do some kind of research. A good deal of my scenes comes from research. The weirdest thing I looked up is medieval hairstyles. Men were very vain back then. Women’s hair was hidden under a scarf or whimple, and they were very elaborate. I don’t use any of those, because they detract from the character I want the reader to envision.
6. What is one of your favorite genres to read?
Fantasy. I can’t get enough.
7. One word response please:
Chocolate or Vanilla? Both
Day or Night writer? Day
Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert
Plotter or Pantser? Both
8. Which three living actors would you choose to play the three main characters, Aris, Carina and Disa, in the film adaptation of your novel ‘Destiny’s Promise’?
Angelia Jolie, for Disa. Carina, would be Mila Kunis, (Bad Moms), and Aris would be, Chris Pine, (Star Trek).
9. Do you tend to write standalones or series?
Each book in My Love Conquers All, series can be read as standalones. You don’t need to read all three to understand them.
10. What other projects do you have planned that your readers would be excited to hear about?
I have a story about Liam. He is one of the characters in the first book who has true hero qualities. One of my friends said she wanted to read about his story.
Disa is in love with Arys, but he’s in love with Carina. Out of heartache and rage she murders them on their wedding night and vows they will never find happiness together. Now the two souls are about to reunite. Disa makes a pact with the Red Demon to destroy Carina’s soul so she can never be with Arys again. On his deathbed, the sorcerer who raised Carina tells her she’s in grave danger and only the Black Knight can protect her. But she has no idea who the Black Knight is or where to find him, and she’s being evicted so has bigger problems.
Randolf, known as The Black Knight, is a powerful warrior and possesses strong magic, but he is plagued by dreams of a woman pleading with him to find her. After yet another dream, restless and frustrated, he goes to a local inn where he encounters Carina. She’s familiar but he doesn’t know why. Not then. Will their souls reunite before Disa carries out her diabolical plans?
Victoria Craven discovered her love for story-telling in her sophomore year of high school. Those teenage adventures always had a romantic happy ending, and they still do today, whether she’s writing thrilling contemporary suspense or paranormal historical romance.
Having lived most of her life in Western Michigan, Victoria relocated to the suburbs of Chicago where she lives with her husband, who is the love of her life. She has three beautiful daughters, and two toddler grandsons who keep her busy.
Supported by her friends and family, she left a career as a media account executive to pursue a career doing what she’s passionate about, writing happy endings that she can share with others.
When Victoria isn’t writing or revising, she is playing with her grandsons or curled up with a good book and a vat of hot chocolate.
The Whimsical Herald would like to thank Author Victoria Craven for a rousing time. Her tale of jealousy, betrayal and love that endures beyond both space and time is a must read for lovers of paranormal romance.
As we watch the fair lady walk down the gangplank to return to port, we search the horizon with our spyglass and hoist anchor to sail off on the literary seas in search of our next beguiling read!
We bid you farewell, fair winds and fair weather. Tis Spring, after all.
P.Mattern, Mistress of Madness
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)