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
“I’m just realizing that I want something else out of life and if I’m gonna get it, I’m gonna have to fight.”---Logan, THE VAGRANT CHRONICLES
HAIL ME HEARTIES! Your Mistress of Madness, P.Mattern, is steering a course toward a blockbuster dystopian novel, VAGRANT, the first novel in THE VAGRANT CHRONICLES by author Gabe Thompson. Check out the awesome book trailer!
Gabe has agreed to come aboard THE WHIMSICAL HERALD to tell us of the fantastical world he has created to delight his readers. Let's see what he has to say!
Q-WELCOME ABOARD Gabe Thompson! Reading VAGRANT, the reader might get the impression that the futuristic dystopian world you have created could possibly be a harbinger of things to come in the US—was that your intention?
A. I wondered what would happen if the world was controlled by greedy people concerned only with profit. I imagined how the discovery of a warp-type space drive and planets rich in minerals would effect a world controlled by one large company. The answer was simple. All this company would care about would be profits and making money off these discoveries. Mass conscription of indigent people to mine these worlds would ensue and the spirit of humans would rise and fight this any way possible. People would go anywhere they considered safe. For city people, that meant going underground. We truly think this could happen. Space travel in the U.S. has been turned over to corporations for development. They think there is profit in it or they wouldn’t do it. If something like this happened, the company would need a way to control the population. Corn genetically altered to produce a sedative, was the answer.
Q-What was the first book or story you ever wrote? Can you tell us about it?
A. The first book I wrote is called Soul Taker. It’s a big adventure story. My mother had a theory that the Mayans may have disappeared because they all crossed the Gulf of Mexico and came to Florida. Florida has many small tribes of Indians. Our hero was a cave diver who discovered a sacrificial knife at the bottom of a spring near Tallahassee. The knife led to other discoveries including the bad news that the world was about to come to an end. To stop this, the hero and his friends go to Mayan ruins in Guatemala and the Yucatan. I ended up self-publishing. Soul Taker is available at amazon.com.
Q-Does skillful world building come easily to you? Will it be a part of all your novels?
A. I love Science Fiction. I’ve been reading it since I was a child. My mom and I are both dreamers. We brain storm and come up with all kinds of wonderful ideas together. I recommend partners for all writers. Two people can develop and imagine so much together; more than one person alone. Having another person to bounce ideas off is the key for coming up with and developing believable worlds.
Q-Why do you think your main characters Shayna and Logan feel such a connection even though they are from vastly different worlds?
A. Shayna is Logan’s dream girl. She’s an ideal he believes he can never achieve or have. She’s from above. She’s like the sun and he’s the darkness. For Shayna, Logan is the first boy she’s ever met that isn’t drugged on Sopore. He’s like her; sharp and energetic. He makes her feel alive. She’s been told all her life Vagrants are non-people. When she meets Logan, she begins to question everything she’s ever been told. If Vagrants are real people, then what else her parents and authority figures have told her is wrong? She has to find him and discover the answers to these questions.
Q-Do you find that VAGRANT is geared toward male readers, female readers, or both?
A. I wanted the book to appeal to both male and female readers. In the first book, there is a love story between Shayna and Logan that slowly develops into something serious. It’s written from both of their points of view, so both male and female readers can relate. This is a series. Book two is called Mutant and is geared more toward male readers, but there are several strong female characters and a growing love story between Logan’s best friend, Knock, and Deklan Hall’s stepdaughter, Fenfang. In all three books of the series, I worked hard to give girls important roles and make them self-sufficient individuals.
Q-Which of your characters would you like to be marooned on a desert island with?
I’m married, so I’d have to say Helga, the digital maid, because my wife would find a way to that island and kill me. Helga would also probably be able to help me find a way off the island.
Q-Tell us about your future projects? What works in progress can your readers look forward to?
A. Vagrant is the first book in this series. Mutant is next in the series, followed by a third book, and I am considering offering Tell-Tale yet a fourth. All of these books revolve around the central theme of a company-controlled world and those rebelling against that control. The idea of our world, the newly discovered power to travel to distant planets combined with a profit-driven government is central to all of these books, and I think it’s really interesting.
Q-What take away would you want your readers to have after reading VAGRANT:THE VAGRANT CHRONICLES?
I would love our readers to want more Logan, more Shayna and more books generated inside of this imagined world. When I was a kid, I loved books that created such believable worlds, I felt like I lived in them. I wanted to return over and over, to interact with those characters again and again, and I missed them when the books were over. I want my readers to feel that when they finish The Vagrant Chronicles. I want them to want more.
THE WHIMSICAL HERALD WOULD LIKE TO THANK Gabe Thompson for making us privy to his process and his insights! This is an amazing read and would make a stellar movie! One-click on Amazon will take you on a fast paced journey full of young love, adventure and intrigue! You can read even more about Gabe and how to connect with his social media sites on his author website when we dock at Tell-Tale Publishing!
Mistress of Madness P.Mattern thinks this Dystopian read will shiver our timbers, me hearties! Listen to the author himself reading from his novel!
'Vagrant' by Gabe Thompson available in Kindle, Nook, and Paperback TODAY! GRAB YOUR COPY or...walk the plank!
Thank you for taking this voyage with us, readers!
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!)