22 Jun 2018

Author Interview / Khaled Talib

A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue…

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I'd like to work with New York Times bestselling author, Gayle Lynds, who is also the co-founder of the International Thriller  Writers. She has a colorful writing history. Her first thriller, Masquerade, was ultimately bought by Doubleday. Ironically, it was a woman at another publishing house who first turned her book down, saying that it had to be a fake because no woman could have written such a book. But Ms. Lynds did write the book. She has also co-written Robert Ludlum's Covert One series, so there's a lot to learn from her. It's also an honor that the author wrote an endorsement for my most recently novel, Gun Kiss.
2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
There's nothing extraordinary about my typical work day. But I write everyday, and I normally begin at dawn with a cup of coffee or two. It's the best time for me because it's quiet, and there's no interruption.

Recently, I spent a week writing a scene over and over again because I couldn't get it right. And then there are days when I could produce a perfect page in half an hour.
Sometimes, I can't move on to another page because I have to wait for email replies from experts after querying them about certain things that I hope to incorporate into the story. So, there's plenty of interaction with others from gun experts to forensics specialists to lawyers.
I write in my bedroom because it's the only place that I really feel comfortable. If I try to write at a cafe, I might end up day dreaming and people watching without getting anything done.  
3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Sometimes, I make the mistake of creating too many characters and delivering a confusing plot. I always have to remind myself to keep it simple so that the story flows nicely. Also, rewriting for me is tough. Writing the manuscript for the first time is fun, but as everyone knows, the first draft is never perfect. You have to edit and rewrite. Try to imagine eating a dozen hamburgers at one go. There you are...
4.  When and why did you first start writing?
I started being interested in the world of imagination when I was six, especially when someone tells me a story. You'll never see me giving the same attention to math.  I'm always writing something; experimenting with words. I tried writing a detective novel when I was about fifteen, inspired by The Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators. I worked on it on my school text book. It was an amateurish attempt but I didn't give up. I tried again and again, working on different ideas until I finally got published. At the end of the day, it's what you want.
5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I find stories from here and there. It could be a newspaper article, a conversation with someone or a personal experience.  I have written a thriller based on my travel experiences. My latest book, Gun Kiss, happened when I went jogging one morning after a long break.  I couldn't sleep that night because my legs were aching. So I decided to watch an old movie, which starred a famous Hollywood actress. She inspired me so much that I decided to write the fun and breezy thriller set in Southern California.  
6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I have a pile of TBRs.  These days it's mostly thrillers. On my Kindle, I've got Haris Orkin's You Only Live Once and Bev Jones' Halfway. I read all kinds of books though my personal favorites would be mystery, suspense and thrillers.  
7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
You must not give up. As Rocky once said, "It ain't how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward..."