Mystery Thriller Week is a celebration of the genre and its authors and readers that runs from February 12 – 22. If you’re keeping score, yes, that’s a bit longer than one calendar week. With so many genres-within-the-genre, authors, and readers, seven days just didn’t seem enough time. For more information about the event, pop over to mysterythrillerweek.com.
In conjunction with the event, I’ll be sharing Q&As with mystery and thriller authors every Monday and Wednesday through February 22.
Today, I’m happy to welcome Paul Russell Parker III, author of All In: The Globe Trot Shuffle.
About the book
What lines would you cross to make your dreams come true?
Out of breath. Blood dripping from his helmet…
John Gabriel Warden is faced with a moral and ethical dilemma. Standing in the middle of a dimly lit kitchen, Warden happens upon a discovery that will change his life, and the lives of his teammates forever. Will he turn away, or will he act upon this unbelievable find that most others would shy away from? The problem is, Warden is a United States Marine who is standing in a mansion that belonged to the former dictator during the red hot Invasion of Iraq.
In this suspense filled noir, Warden will have to circumvent more than just the enemy in a deadly journey to keep his discovery secret and safe until the time is right. He must put his life and the lives of his teammates on the line to reach their goal. Warden must travel across the globe in this criminal heist thriller, and he finds that nowhere is safe. Time after time, Warden and his companions will have to reaffirm their will to continue on, after facing one daunting obstacle after the other. Will merely surviving be enough to see their financial dream turn into reality? Will they kill or be killed? Warden is determined to finish what he and his friends started to the very end.
What would you like readers to know about your book beyond what’s in the blurb?
I’d like for readers to know that this book is based loosely on real events. The characters live my experiences when I was a US Marine during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and my experiences as a defense contractor to the DoD in Iraq, Oman, and Qatar from 2007 until 2014. It’s a fiction, but I also tried to keep the story as technically accurate and realistic as possible. Of course, I didn’t find hidden currency, but this was the plan if we ever did cross that line! Other parts that you could find unbelievable may be more real than you think.
Do you start writing at the beginning of a story or to reach a future point you see in your imagination?
I started this book already knowing the whole plotline. I knew how I wanted it to start, what would happen throughout, and how it would end. I guess it helped that it was based on events in my life. For every book that I’ve written since then, I have the book plotted out with chapter ideas written out.
What are your protagonist’s best and worst qualities?
My protagonist’s name is John Gabriel Warden. He’s a US Marine who is fed up with how life is going. He comes to his realization during the middle of the Invasion of Iraq. His best quality is that he’s compassionate. He wants to help everyone, and puts others above himself. He feels a sense of obligation to his friends and wants to take care of them in his own way. His worst quality is that he’s pessimistic. He feels a sense of injustice and that his future, and ultimately his life, is out of his hands. He must do what he can to take care of himself, even if it means breaking the law. He’ll easily kill to secure his future, but feels torn by it.
What’s the most surprising or unexpected thing that happened to your characters as you were writing the story?
The most surprising thing that happened was that I couldn’t change Warden. I tried to write him as a cavalier type person. Cool, calm, collected… Someone who’d shoot first, laugh later. It didn’t work out that way. I’d write a scene, and his own personality would show through. There’s a dark cloud hanging over him. He’s a loner. He’s troubled. There’s a bit of sadness to him. He’s a good guy that good things as well as bad things… Something else that was unexpected was that another character; Noah James Marcs took a more prominent role than I had imagined he’d have. He was supposed to be a bit character. Noah should interject sometimes and be the occasional voice of reason in a team full of lunatics. He really stepped up though and becomes a light in a very dark night to Warden.
What’s the first book you can remember loving? What’s the last great book you read?
The first book I can remember loving… You will think my parents are morbid for allowing me to read whatever I wanted to read but… Salem’s Lot by Stephen King was it. I don’t know how I ended up with that book at around 10 years old, but I read it and couldn’t put it down. That and The Stand are two of my top five. I can’t easily answer what was the last great book I read. I have to throw in my Warden Series like Cash Me Out: Life and Death in Paradise by Paul Russell Parker III! But I’ve read dozens of Indie Books within the last month or two, and most of them have been great. Sub-Sahara by Ethan Arkwright, The Last Marine by T.S. Ransdell, Davenport House by Marie Silk, They’ll Call It Treason by Jordon Greene, Caged by Onaiza Khan…
What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard or been given?
The best I’ve heard and have been given is to write. Write, right now. Market, promote, network as you can, but the most important thing to do is to put pen to paper. Write a book. Write the next book. Write a short story. Write an article. Write.
What did you wish I’d asked, and why?
I wish you’d ask me what my ultimate goal in regards to my writing career. I need to answer that question a few times to think about why I’m doing this. Why am I writing? For fun, as a hobby, for a career? Do I want to write a movie script? Do I want to be rich? Do I want to be famous? Do I want a traditional publishing deal? Am I writing just to write and fill the bookshelf in my living room? How serious am I about becoming a full-time author? Ask me in five years. For now, I’m writing in the hopes that I can make a living off of it so I can quit my day job.
How can readers find out more about you and your work?
Readers can find out more about me by visiting, following, and friending me on my several social media pages:
2 Replies to “Mystery Thriller Week: Q&A with author Paul Russell Parker III”
What a cool idea! Regardless of genre, I always love getting a peek into a writer’s mind! I really love what he wrote about how characters’ personalities just manifested themselves a certain way, despite what he may have intended. For me, something like that is one of the most magical and wonderful parts of writing fiction.
Thanks, Alysa! I do too – the writing process is endlessly fascinating to me. As a person who very rarely dabbles with fiction, I’m especially intrigued by this notion of characters doing their own thing, asserting themselves in defiance of the writer’s intentions!
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