Tag Archives: author interview

A visit from award-winning author Randall krzak

Today I am honoured to receive a visit from award-winning author Randall Krzak. I have been a fan of Randall for a while now and am delighted he has agreed to be interviewed so that you can all find out a bit more about him and his books.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Me: Hello, Randall. It’s good to have you here on Dragons Rule OK. (I hope the dragons don’t eat you!) Perhaps you would like to answer a few questions for my readers so they can get to know you.

Me: Who is your favourite author?

Randall: I have two authors who I equally consider my favourite: Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.

Me: Apart from writing, what is the thing you enjoy doing the most?

Randall: Sightseeing (especially historical locations), candle-making, and pyrography.

Me: That’s one of my favourite things, too. Historic locations are so interesting, and can give you ideas for books, too.

If you weren’t a writer, what job would you do?

Randall: I don’t consider writing a job, but if I wasn’t writing, I’d probably be on a golf course as this is something I always saved for retirement.

Me: Do you have a ‘proper’ job,? If so, what is it?

Randall: Retirement!

Me: Haha. I know what you mean, though. No time to go out to work when you’re retired, is there?

Something that non-writers often want to know is why do you write?

Randall: I never considered writing until a long-time friend and work colleague suggested I write a novel. I took his advice and I’m still writing.

Me: So you started writing late. How old were you when you published your first book?

Randall: Sixty-two.

Me: A bit like me, then. I started after I retired. I suspect there are more writers about who started around that time!

Now for a question I can’t answer, myself, but another non-writers often ask. Where do you get your ideas from?

Randall: Sometimes my research will prompt an idea. A reviewer once sent me three sentences and asked if I could do anything with it. They became the basis for my most recent release, Colombian Betrayal. Someone else recently sent me a link to a news article, saying they thought the location would be excellent for one of my stories. I’ve outlined a multi-volume series, with the first one to be called Pirates on the Delta.

Me: Do you have any pets?

Randall: Right now we have five cats (all rescued or ferals we’ve slightly domesticated) plus we look after a stray.

Me: You obviously like animals would you say you are a dog or a cat person?

Randall: We’ve had both. As with our cats, our dogs have all been from non-kill shelters.

Me: When you go out to eat, what type of food do you prefer?

Randall: It varies, but the last two times we went out to eat, we selected an Indian restaurant. My favorite is chicken biryani with a Peshwari naan.

Me: Do you prefer the city or the country?

Randall: I prefer the country, although being somewhat near to amenities is useful, too.

Me: Yes. It’s nice to know you’re not completely cut off from society, even though the country is lovely.

Do you enjoy sport? Do you prefer to watch or take part?

Randall: I only watch now, but used to play baseball, basketball and American football.

Me: It catches up with us all, eventually, doesn’t it? What is your favourite sport?

Randall: American football.

Me: That’s one game I’ve never really got into. It seems complicated, but it probably isn’t when you get to know it.

Do you cook? If so, what is your favourite thing to cook?

Randall: One of my favourites is chicken curry.

Me: One of mine, too.

Can you play a musical instrument? If so, what is it?

Randall: I used to play the Hawaiian or steel guitar, but haven’t picked it up in decades. I used to sing lead with a British barbershop chorus. In 2007, we picked up the bronze medal in the annual British competition, jumping from seventh place.

Me: Impressive. I’ve recently started playing the piano again after decades. It’s not like riding a bike. You do forget! Who is your favourite musician?

Randall: I’d have to say Freddie Mercury was one of my favourites. Don’t really listen to music now.

Me: Do you have any siblings? Do any of them write?

Randall: Six (all younger). None of them write.

Me: A big family! It must have been fun growing up. Can you swim?

Randall: No.

Me: Do you do any voluntary work? If so, what?

Randall: We used to do a variety of events to help animal charities. Right now, we support several with monthly donations.

Me: Taking in stray and unwanted animals is a great thing to do.

Your work is well researched. Do you have personal experience of these places you write about?

Randall: Wherever possible, I use personal experiences to help my stories along. Sometimes, I have to rely solely on my research and/or information from those who might have visited or lived in a specific location.

Me: Your work has won awards. Can you tell us how many you have won?

Randall: My first three novels have all been recognized.

Me: That’s impressive. How did you feel when you won your first award, and what was it?

Randall: I was absolutely thrilled! I actually received two awards simultaneously. I submitted The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance to the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. I couldn’t believe it when both were recognized as semi-finalists, but it didn’t stop there.

The Kurdish Connection finished its run in the competition as a semi-finalist, while Dangerous Alliance was one of seven First in Category winners.

As of June 17th 2020, Carnage in Singapore is a finalist in the 2019 competition. The final results were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the First in Category winners and the category Grand Prize winners will be announced in early September.

Me: Wow! But having read some of your novels, I can say that the awards are well deserved.

Thank you so much for your time. I’ll be looking out for your next novel.

And now here’s a bit more about Randall and his books.

BIO:

Randall Krzak is a U.S. Army veteran and retired senior civil servant, spending thirty years in Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. His residency abroad qualifies him to build rich worlds in his action-adventure novels and short stories. Familiar with customs, laws, and social norms, he promotes these to create authentic characters and scenery.

His first novel, The Kurdish Connection, was published in 2017, and the sequel, Dangerous Alliance, was released in November 2018. Both placed in the 2018 Global Thriller Book Awards sponsored by Chanticleer International Book Awards, with The Kurdish Connection finishing as a semi-finalist and Dangerous Alliance being selected as one of seven first in category winners. The third novel in the series, Carnage in Singapore, was released in August 2019, and is currently a finalist in the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards (as of August 17th, 2020). He also penned “A Dangerous Occupation,” a winning entry in the August 2016 Wild Sound Writing and Film Festival Review short story category.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a general Master in Business Administration (MBA) and a MBA with an emphasis in Strategic Focus, both from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. He currently resides with his wife, Sylvia, and six cats in Dunfermline, Scotland. He’s originally from Michigan, while Sylvia is a proud Scot. In addition to writing, he enjoys hiking, reading, candle making, pyrography, and sightseeing.

Here’s something about one of his books, Carnage in Singapore, which, incidentally, was the one that brought Randall to my attention. I think it’s a great cover.

Terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have flourished in recent years with new recruits joining them and ISIS-affiliates at an alarming rate. Blended operations by various Asian countries have forced the groups to work together to identify a new operational base.

They seek an island nation to call home, one where they can plot against countries who oppose their ideals. They found a target, a small nation-state, perfect for their needs: The Republic of Singapore.

Before anyone can respond, the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia are kidnapped from their residences in Singapore. Right index fingers of each victim are sent as a warning. Any attempt to recover the ambassadors will result in the removal of additional body parts.

Bedlam Charlie team leader, Evelyn Evinrude, leads the group to rescue the ambassadors and capture the local leaders of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. Can Bedlam succeed or will events escalate, resulting in more deaths?

A.J.Alexander’s Blog Tour

I would like to welcome A.J.Alexander to my blog today. She is about to launch the next book, Demon Tracker, book 3 in her Council of Twelve books, with a blog tour. I am delighted that she has agreed to come here and talk to us about it.

Hello, AJ. It’s good to have you here. Perhaps you can help us to get to know you a bit better by answering a few questions.


What is your e-reading device of choice?
I’m reading on a Kindle Paperwhite

Describe your desk
I have a computer desk with a laptop and an extra monitor, a multifunctional printer device and books, papers, paper sketchbooks and pens, pens, pens.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My upbringing does not have any influence on my writing. I’m writing fantasy and paranormal romance.

When did you first start writing?
I’m not sure there ever was “a start”. I learned to write at the age of four and I remember developing little stories since I’m a Kindergarten kid. In school, when others complained about essays, mine were easily 6 – 10 pages long, I enjoyed it so much.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is my passion. Writing is a way to focus my creativity on building a (hopefully) good story. Writing relaxes me, calms me, challenges me, and it makes me happy. It is a part of my life.

What are you working on next?
I’m working on ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series and ‘Soul Taker’ is the first book of the series. Different books of the series are in different states of completed. Right now I’m writing the seventh and eighth book in the series while several are being edited or waiting with my editor.

Who are your favorite authors?
I love reading Eric van Lustbader, James Clavell, Clive Cussler, and many other famous writers. But: I read books by L.W. Smith, Merlin Fraser, Micki Peluso, Taylor Fulks, Jim Spencer, Allan Krummenacker, and many others who held me intrigued and entertained. There are so many fantastic new authors out there. I’m adding their books to my “to-read” pile. Every single one of their books can teach me a lot about writing.

What is your writing process?
The first draft is written by hand. By typing it into the computer I am able to catch the major flaws and can correct them. After that, the manuscript goes to editing, from there to filing for copyright. Then I send it out to Beta readers. That’s how I did it with the first book in the Series, ‘Soul Taker’. Let’s see how it works out and if the process will slightly change with the next books.
Of course, there are more things in between, marketing, book cover, writing blurbs, getting a trailer done, and so on.

How do you approach cover design?
I have KJ Magical Designs, Kathryn Jenkins, who does the covers for me. She is educated in graphic design and did a wonderful job with the first book of the series. I saw her work on other books and I’m happy I decided to pick her as my cover designer for that book series.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The answer is no. If I wasn’t happy with the book the way it is I wouldn’t call it ‘completed’. My work is completed when I’m satisfied with the book, the characters, the plot and the entire story. How can I expect readers to like it if I don’t fully stand behind my work?

Can you tell us a bit about the book?

Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her.
She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?

And to whet your appetite, here’s an extract from the book.

Less than twenty minutes later, I received a message from Michael. I was strictly ordered not to do anything but stay where I was. Andreas would pick me up a little later. In the meantime, I could work out in the gardens with some of the angels if I wanted to.
“I’m sorry, Zye. I must leave at once,” Uriel whispered. He kissed my cheek and was gone.
I worked out with Robbie and Daniel while Maria watched us carefully. All three of them were excellent sword fighters and we had a good time. After the workout, I rinsed the sweat off my body, dressed in black pants and a white t-shirt and went outside again to sit down and just enjoy nature for a while.
I watched frogs climbing out the pond, sparrows and hummingbirds flying and hopping all over the place and butterflies filling the air with breathtaking colors.
After a while, Andreas sat down next to me on the white bench. “Hello, Zye.”
“Hi, Andreas. I was told you were supposed to take me somewhere?”
He smiled. “Not just somewhere, Zye. You will be meeting the ‘Council of Twelve’.”
I froze. “Are you joking?”
He shook his head. “No.”
I felt my blood drain from my face.
Andreas jumped up. “Holy Mary! You’re not going to pass out on me, are you?”
I carefully stood up, testing whether my feet would still carry me.
My body trembled.
Andreas laughed. “Listen, Zye, there is no reason at all to freak out. Yes, they’re Archangels, but they won’t eat you. Don’t forget, Uriel will be there as well and he’s likely to protect you!”
I took a couple deep breaths. “Yes, he will. But what can he do when eleven others are voting against me?”
Andreas laughed. “What do you think they’d vote for? Killing you? Zye, they’re angels, standing on our side, fighting against evil. Just like what you do!”
His words made me think for a few moments before I finally replied, “I can’t help myself, Andreas. I’m still scared to death.”
He smiled mildly. “There is no reason to fear them. Of course, respect them. After all, they’re probably the most powerful individuals on Earth besides our one and only Creator. They’re not going to do anything bad or evil to you.”
I slowly tried to slow my heart rate and bring my trembles under control. “See? You’re getting better.” Andreas grinned. Then he opened his arms and offered to carry me to the assembly hall.
The so-called “assembly hall” was an enormous room, beautifully built, with polished marble of purest silver-gray, inlaid by some marble that looked like the veins of fire. The ground was covered with anthracite colored stone and harmonized beautifully with the light gray walls and the beautifully painted fiery ceiling. The ceiling was so high, even the Archangels could fly within the hall.
The room was equipped with a small waiting area with black leather seats and a small glass table. It was quite modern, but comfortable. Andreas gave me a brief description before we started to prepare me for the impressive and pompous sight.
After our arrival, I stepped away from Andreas and in my head heard Uriel’s voice: “If you’re going to do this more often, girl, I will have problems with that.”
I grinned. “There is only one solution to this problem,” I replied.
“And this is?” Uriel’s buoyant voice asked back.
“Next time pick me up yourself, Mr. Taxi,” I snarled.
I enjoyed the mental clash and the growing closeness it showed between Uriel and me.
Andreas curiously examined my face. “You were just somewhere else with your thoughts,” he commented with amusement.
I blushed furiously which made him chuckle.
“I’ll wait here for you.”
I swallowed. “I… okay.”
Then I turned to the huge ornate white door that opened by itself to let me inside.
There I found two huge angel warriors in full armor and a beautiful winged woman gesturing for me to follow her. She led me through a light, nearly empty corridor to a smaller pair of wooden doors. She opened them to let me enter. I hesitantly entered and the door closed behind me.
There I stood in front of a simple long table with twelve tall, exceptionally beautiful Archangels, each of them unique Still, I had the impression that these individuals formed an enormously strong singular entity.
Of course, I saw their different manifestations , but what caught me off guard was the fact I could perceive them all so clearly. Their smells and aromas were much stronger than the ones of other individuals I had encountered.
I already memorized Uriel’s scent. To me he was the purity of flames and heat, fire, and blaze. But to be truthful, he smelled deliciously like cinnamon. I hid a smile.
I interrupted my train of thought when Michael stood. “Please, Zye, come closer and meet the ‘Council of Twelve.’ From your left: Uriel, Myself, Anghariel, Zachariel, Centriel, Deonur, Raphael, Gabriel, Benadrel, Santanael, Tsechirel, and Simael.” He threw me a sharp look. “You seem to be totally in shock, Zye. Are you all right?”
I almost collapsed; my mouth was as dry as an Arabian desert. I had to swallow before finally I was able to reply. “Forgive me, Mylords. I just discovered that I apparently can catch your natural fragrance in a very strong and unique way. It hit me when I entered the hall.”
Gabriel rose, eyeing me curiously. “Wow, really? You’re not kidding?”
I only shook my head.
“Does that mean, even if you can’t see us, you’re still able to tell we’re here?” “Not only that,” I explained. “Each one of you smells unique.”
Gabriel seemed enthusiastic about this information. “You could tell us apart without even seeing us?”
“Yes, Sir.”
“No ‘Sir’ here, Zye,” he replied with the wink of an eye. “I’m Gabriel.” He turned to the others who had similar expressions on their faces. “Oh, please, can we take the time?”
Michael laughed. “We’re not in a hurry.” He scanned me quickly. “Are you up for a test?”
I swallowed dryly. “Yes.”
Uriel stood. “Fine with me, friends. But seriously: she looks like she’s going to pass out any minute. Would you mind being nice enough to offer her some water and let her relax for a couple of minutes?”
He walked around the table and handed me a glass of water. His hand was placed caringly onto my shoulder.
Just when I took a sip, Anghariel drawled, “Sheesh, Uriel. You sound as worried as Grandma Walton.”
I spit my mouthful of water across the floor, laughing. This unexpected little mishap made the Archangels stare at me in wonder before they smiled as well. I apologized, but it took a couple minutes until we all calmed down. By that time, I was visibly relaxed and Michael called his friends to order.
“What do you need for us to do, Zye?” he asked politely.
I smiled. “Not too much. I need to separate each one of you. I would say, at about the distance from here to the furthest corner over there. Then your natural perfumes won’t get mixed altogether.”
“Who do you want to start with? Uriel?” Michael asked curiously.
Anghariel chuckled. “I don’t think so, brother. I’ll bet my socks she knows his stench quite well by now.”
I blushed, Uriel grinned and eleven Archangels apparently had tons of fun. I bowed my head politely to Anghariel. “Would you mind if I start with you?”
He laughed. “Nope. It would be my pleasure.”

Copyright © Aurora Jean Alexander 2019

If this has got you interested, you can buy the book by clicking on the following links.

Amazon US Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086ZRDMFD?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420


Amazon US Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Tracker-book-Council-Twelve/dp/B086Y39W24/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


Amazon UK Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Demon-Tracker-book-Council-Twelve-ebook/dp/B086ZRDMFD/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Demon+Tracker+A.+J.+Alexander&qid=1587258649&sr=8-1


Amazon UK Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Demon-Tracker-book-Council-Twelve/dp/B086Y39W24/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1587258649&sr=8-1


Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/demon-tracker-a-j-alexander/1136855142;jsessionid=8571FBC6991BD7C75C6E3EC7DA170538.prodny_store01-atgap18?ean=2940164037963&st=AFF&2sid=Draft2Digital_7968444_NA&sourceId=AFFDraft2Digital


Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/demon-tracker

Make contact with AJ by using these links:

Website: http://www.aurorajeanalexander.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAJAlexander/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuroraJean_A
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aurorajeanalexander
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorauroraj/
Blog: https://aurorajalexander.wordpress.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aurorajeanalexander/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/authorajalexander
Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/aurorajeanalexander
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-j-alexander-1051e4da-dbd9-4505-9423-a3a7bf9c88dc