Saturday, December 13, 2014

Writers4Higher features Linda Heavner Gerald

Welcome to Writers4Higher


The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features

Linda Heavner Gerald





Hi, Linda. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

  1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration
I am retired with my husband on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico in Florida. My only son and grandson live in Dallas, Texas. This allows me plenty of time to write. Although keeping up with my husband is a full-time job. Currently, I have five published novels with one on the way.

Beaufort Betrayal is the thriller which started my writing. For over a year, each night, I had a vision. A young woman walked the streets of my beloved Beaufort, N.C., where I have sailed frequently. The woman was not me. And she was in trouble. She had no memory. The sound of the wind gently brushing a halyard against a sailboat mast in the sleepy marina told her she was a sailor, but that was all she could remember. The wave of a man from the balcony across the street caused her to walk in that direction. The man rushed from the house and ushered her inside. Was he a savior or was she entering hell?

Rosemary Beach and Will He? are also Thrillers. Will He? is set in Frascati, Italy. This tale of ancestral lies and deceit set amidst the ruins of Italy required a great deal of research.

Dusty the Island Dog is a children's book, for the child in everyone. Have you ever dreamed of life in the islands? This tale of two real dogs that remain legends in Abaco, Bahamas, is touching. The story begins when Dusty's mother does not return home. The panic and fear consuming her is all too familiar to anyone who has lost a loved one, and particularly helpful for a child who has experienced loss or abuse. Yet Dusty learns that life goes on with happiness waiting.

My current book is Till Heaven Then Forever. Brian and Lily have it all, or do they? If you believe the world's version of happiness and success, they indeed do. Yet Lily feels an emptiness that the allure of wealth can't provide. The man of her dreams, home in the islands, and plenty of money can't fill the hole inside.
Soon to be released, Confessions of an Assassin, set in Bali, Indonesia, is a thriller. This book is my crown jewel!

My inspiration began with Beaufort Betrayal. A need to express myself and demonstrate through my writing that we are all basically the same. Each morning, we set out with our "together" face but inside, we harbor fear and insecurity. Each of us is flawed. Yet there is a love around us, awaiting discovery; in doing so, we find that each person is beautiful and deserves love and respect.
  1. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I would love to say producing a "best-selling novel," but with all of the writers and books, that may be a little difficult. Cultivating readers who look forward to a new book from me would be satisfying. The blessing of writing is such a joy and provides inspiration each day. The act of writing is fulfilling, but saying something that helps lift the strain of life is glorious.
  1.  How do you use your talents and time to help others? 
My goal is to write something of substance. A good book is one you finish with a smile. A great book is one you finish and contemplate for some time, even telling others.
There is so much junk out there, filled with fantasy and distortions. Real life is difficult. What if you are able to read a great story, and take something into your everyday life that may make it better? With my medical background, I hope to introduce issues that face us today. Macular degeneration, depression, and grief are a few topics my books have presented, with current treatments. Most important is to encourage people with goals and dreams not to give up. The American Dream is within reach. Keep believing and doing the right thing while showing love and respect to those in your live. You can find happiness.


Would you like to find Linda?

Check out the links to this talented author:









Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Saturday, November 22, 2014

Writers4Higher features Vickie Spray

Welcome to Writers4Higher


The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features

Vickie Spray






Hi, Vickie. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

As a young girl, reading literally kept me from giving up on life. Nancy Drew inspired me to use my wit, my determination and my sense of adventure to maneuver within my family of origin and then in foster homes. Alice in Wonderland reminded me that the unseen was not always something to fear and countless other books taught me that language can shift a mood and change a mind. Language can create possibilities and possibilities create hope.

I have written and had published short stories, personal essays and recently, I self-published a young adult novel named Rose Painted Waters. It is a story of a young girl who has a dream of becoming a mermaid at Weeki Wachee, a Florida tourist attraction as a way to survive her family’s propensity toward dysfunction.  I have had some amazing feedback from both adults and young girls and it has been an astounding feeling to offer to readers the same hope of overcoming the wounds of living as I have received by being a reader.

 Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I hope to write uplifting and spiritually inclined stories for the new media that is becoming available in our culture. Just like independent music and self-publishing, which have created a venue for musicians and writers, the internet has created a platform for all types of content. I think we change our world by offering stories that help people see better ways for conflict resolution, relationship to self and just general alternatives to lower consciousness reactions to a confusing world.   In my generation men had three options when they were upset about a circumstance of life. One was to wash their face in the bathroom. Next time you watch an old movie watch for it! They always lean over the sink put water in their hands and put it on their face. The other two options for men are to get angry and get drunk. That’s it. And women have had fewer choices though that has changed in recent media. Cry and well….cry. My point, and I see I have stepped onto a stump, is that media is a powerful medium and we could evolve into a species that uses media to help us transcend our fearful natures and I hope to be a part of that evolution.

How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I have a spiritual counseling practice in Tallahassee and my main endeavor as I see it, is to assist others to become their own healer. We each have an amazing ability to walk as humans on this earth from a place of love, strength and wisdom. But we have been told too many stories that we have accepted as truth and those stories have had a detrimental effect on how we view ourselves and others. My clients come to me so they can examine these stories and write their own story based on that internal love, strength and wisdom. I have begun a spiritual memoir based on my journey of healing, study and what I have learned about our desire as human to match that glorious inside Self with our daily lives.    

I have also founded a website called evolvetalk.com where local healers, teachers, social entrepreneurs and impassioned way-makers come into my office studio and videotape their ideas and practical applications for creating better lives, community and world. The video is then distributed throughout all social media and on their website. My hope is that Tallahassee can experience their local talent and the ideas expressed, like local farming, progressive education and alternative medicine thereby shifting our community toward a more conscious way of living. When I write for my evolvetalk show, “The Inner Within” I must find language that can convey ideas and concepts in ways that open people’s hearts and minds to the possibility of their life-given greatness.  I figure if I can help people know their beauty they will choose to be more kind, live an awakened life and become who they came here to become.


Would you like to find Vickie?

Check out the links to this talented author:

Contact Info:

Websites and Social Media

Amazon Listing-Both in Print and Kindle










Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Saturday, November 8, 2014

Writers4Higher features Roberta Burton

Welcome to Writers4Higher



The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features

Roberta Burton




Hi, Roberta. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

Tell me about yourself.  Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

I have lived in Florida most of my life, and in Tallahassee longer than any other place. I came to Tallahassee to get my doctorate, but the Universe had other lessons for me in this town. One of those lessons was that I was destined to write a novel. However, it was not until I learned of OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at FSU, that I began my journey. I started by writing pieces for our small Writers’ Group. Our group began finding teachers to instruct us. I took online Writer’s Digest classes until I began to form my novel. I continue to take classes online and with OLLI. I bought books whenever one was recommended until I now have an entire wall of writing books. I attended writing conferences and took writing workshops, until finally through this wonderful community of writers, I have a published novel. I have also learned from reading novels, sometimes as many as three a week in many genres.

 Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

I have begun my second novel about Lee Lindsey, another literary fiction tale with a philosophical twist on time. This tale features an antagonist, as well as at least one other character, from The Burgundy Briefcase. A third planned novel features yet another character from the original book.

How do you use your talents/time to help others? 

My blog is set up to answer, free of charge, relationship, addiction, and domestic violence questions from anyone who has a question in these areas. I just ask that the questioner use a pseudonym. I critique work for other writers and write reviews. I am a sometimes coach for writers who ask for accountability. I am always available to listen whether about a life problem or to a piece of writing.



The Burgundy Briefcase is available in print and e-book versions through Amazon.





Would you like to find Roberta?

Check out the links to this talented author:









Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Saturday, October 25, 2014

Writers4Higher features Glenda Bailey-Mershon

Welcome to Writers4Higher


The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features

Glenda Bailey-Mershon



Hi, Glenda. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

1.      Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

Some days I feel like a snake, most of me behind, and that part is my ancestors. One day, I will shed my skin and be clothed anew, and that new skin will be my descendants. This is how I was taught to think of myself, as the culmination of my ancestors' existence, as my children and their children will be the culmination of mine. Everything I do is out of respect for one and for the benefit of the other. It is a life in which I am never quite alone. Completely myself, but also a product of our past and a worker for the future.
It took me a long time to understand that many people see themselves as only themselves, not as some creature dragging centuries of predecessors behind. It took me a longer time to understand that I was fortunate in this way. Any other life would seem lonely to me. I can't say how it would be for others.
I grew up in the Deep South in a family that had roots from many parts of the world. As a child, I found this quite confusing. My elders talked about people born generations ago as if they had just left the room. And those people belonged to some mysterious groupings that were hard to grasp. Indian, but not that kind of Indian, was the way some past family members were described. And I was constantly told I looked like this one or that, held my fork like that great aunt, loved pepper like my great-grandfather, had a rebellious streak like a great-great-great-great grandmother so many times removed that she was born around the same time as the United States. When I asked questions, not much was explained.
So mostly I made up things in my head. I loved Peter Pan because he never had to enter any adult conversations, unless he was eavesdropping while planning a mischievous raid. Jo in Little Women was my best friend because we shared a determination to learn everything we weren't supposed to know. Emily Dickinson stopped me cold with her books like frigates and lines that set the world into rhythm. That was the world I lived in. Every Saturday, my father took me to the library and I set in with a vengeance to read everything those brick walls held.
School was a problem. I loved it because I could ask all the questions I wanted and generally got an answer. My parents were distrustful of it, didn’t want to set foot inside, because neither of them had much schooling and both felt uncomfortable talking to teachers and principals. So school was mine and mine alone. But if I needed help there, I was on my own.
What an irony that all these many years later, I look at my work and see how much of it is an extended conversation with people far in my past. How my great-grandmothers whispered to me about the life of Evangeline, the Romani woman whose mystery is at the heart of Eve's Garden, my first novel. How my own attempts to explain to my son that one can be oneself and still the culmination of people from continents and centuries away informs the long poem, "Answering Spring at Red Clay," in my chapbook, sa-co-ni-ge/blue smoke: Poems from the Southern Appalachians. And a conversation with my father, attired as usual in grease-stained overalls, about a Gold Coast art opening intrigued me enough to form the basis for another chapbook of poems, Bird Talk.
It all comes together in a way that I know is uniquely me, but which is inspired so frequently by them. O longo drom, the long road we have traveled together, winds from the Silk Road to here, where I sit in Charlotte in my mint-walled study, looking at a poster about Caroline Herschel, the astronomer, by Judy Chicago while I try to make sense of the musical words winding through my head.

2.      Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

Everything is always going in several directions with me. I'm working on a poetry collection and two novels while also finishing up some short stories that I hope will make a collection. At least, if the question were, "What are you working on?", that would be the answer. Instead, let me try answering what you asked, which I think requires more introspection on a late Sunday night when everyone else, including the dog, is asleep.
My writing is a dialogue not only with ancestors and great-great-great grandchildren, but with writers whose work I admire. I'm reading young writers like Paul Yoon and Rebecca Lee and thinking about how tradition and change are constants that keep us seesawing, but maybe that's a good thing, a way to keep the pendulum swinging hard enough to discover new territory.
I'm constantly re-reading masters like Jane Austen and Edith Wharton and Ursula LeGuin who ask us all, what really matters in life? What will last when we're all stardust in some future star field?
In the meantime, I'm trying to just master the language, one paragraph at a time.
So I'm writing a very contemporary novel on the subject of greed, about a young woman with a closet full of expensive trinkets she doesn’t even like, whose inheritance is a labyrinth of past intrigues. What does she really deserve, that's what she wants to know.
A much more light-hearted work is set in a bookstore and florist on Chicago's Northwest Side, a sort of oddball romance between damaged people.
I like writing about partnerships, how unlikely pairings rescue each other, because that has certainly been true in my life. Help comes so often from unexpected quarters.

3.      How do you use your talents/time to help others?

When my family made no sense to me, I turned to the civil rights movement to understand what Americans mean by race. That movement taught me that you either step over the line for people who aren't like you, or you turn your head and stick with what you know. There really isn’t much room for in-between when the chips are down. The ground is covered with chips right now, it seems to me.
Feminists helped me grow up, and that is another debt I will always try to pay. Writers give me new worlds every day, and I owe them some attention, too.
I'm uncomfortable talking about what I do. My parents taught me to be of service and I hope I am. Mostly, when all works well, we get the community and the world we work for.
One community that I do enjoy is Jane's Stories Press Foundation, for whom I've edited four volumes of work by women writers, the last, Jane's Stories IV: Bridges and Borders, by women in conflict around the world. And I'm working with a new nonprofit, the Foundation for Romani Education and Equality, which will provide tutoring and educational opportunities for Romani youth and also serve as a cultural foundation.



Would you like to find Glenda?

Check out the links to this talented author:

Amazon Author's Page: http://tinyurl.com/mb7ej7a








Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Saturday, October 11, 2014

Writers4Higher features Ken Johnson

Welcome to Writers4Higher


The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features

Kenneth Johnson



Hi, Ken. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

Writers4Higher Blog

1.      Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

My name is Ken Johnson. Aside from being an author, culturalist, and specialist in the field of conflict dynamics—I am also a husband, brother, uncle, Principal Chief of the Florida Tribe of Cherokee Indians, a commander in the Royal Rangers boys’ youth ministry, a Kentucky Colonel and a native of Florida.  In fact, my ancestor was a key founder of Santa Rosa County, Florida—of which I still reside in.

In middle school, I asked my parents for a computer. Being poor, my parents somehow managed to scrape together enough money to buy me a Brothers AX-25 electric typewriter—which I still have to this day. With it, I wrote numerous award winning stories for various contests. Later, in high school, I became involved in student leadership. At age 16, I started seeing the schools diminish beyond repair. So, I decided to drop out with a GPA well over 3.5. The counselor told me, “There’s the door” and I left out only to have another eavesdropping counselor call me in. “Mama Ellen,” as she later became known, gave me some papers for my parents to sign and the next day I was taking college classes at night while going to high school by day. Feeling that I needed to do more, I later started Students Against Violence in Education (SAVE)—a peer counseling service. Through SAVE, I was able to assist some troubled peers, helped out the school through a profound period of bereavement at the death of a teacher and mentor, and I even saved a few from suicide.

After high school, I could no longer count on one hand the number of people I knew that had committed suicide. Many of my peers had convictions that barred them from going to school, getting a job, etc. Grateful for not being in that number, I turned my attention to helping others through student government. I was elected college District Ambassador where I was enrolled in a number of leadership classes so that I later could be utilized as a sort of student lobbyist for upcoming laws. There, I worked with a number of senators, representatives, college presidents, etc. Part of these efforts were focused on helping people, who were once convicted as juveniles, to be able to attend college and get certain certifications.

After this, I became a substitute teacher. I found the schools in a worse state of affairs than when I had left them. The teachers were now instructing to the standardized tests. Youths were routinely hauled away from schools in handcuffs for seemingly trivial offenses.

Discouraged with the way things were going, I decided to take a job in the criminal justice system. I thought I could become numb from the conflict. To the contrary, after seeing hoards of my former students in shackles and chains, I became more keenly aware of the social structure going on. I took up writing again—this time an opinion column called the “X-Factor” with me being called “Mr. X.” There, I told about life and conflict, culture and society, economics and policy, and how it all was headed in the wrong path. Later, a friend helped me get certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a County Court Mediator.  A trainer, Dr. Bobo, told me about Restorative Justice and how it helps communities to take back control. So, I began classes at the University of West Florida where I trained under Dr. Cheryl Swanson in the field of Restorative Justice.

During my time at UWF, I began playing with rubber bands. I later associated different bands with different skill sets that I possessed both in the field of mediation as well as Restorative Justice. These ideas developed into a 58 page prototype proposal that I called “Unbroken Circles.”

It took over six more years of fighting the system, fighting my peers on both sides of the aisle, and having to continuously hone my arguments before the program started taking hold. Now, professionals are heralding it as the best of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). I now teach other ADR professionals core components of my program.

Unbroken Circles SM for Schools is my first published book.  The Unbroken Circles SM service not only deals with schools but there are variations for businesses, churches, non-profits/civic organizations, and government agencies. However, the youth have always held my heart and I wanted my first book to be about how to fix the schools. Unlike other books of this type, I pretty much give away all of the knowledge, materials, resources, etc. necessary for any school, regardless of their income or demographics, to tailor-make a Collaborative Justice program that will help to lower tardiness and absenteeism while also improving grades, civic behavior, and a sense of community.

2.      Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

It is my hope that Unbroken Circles SM for Schools takes off to become a source reference and companion text for schools and colleges nationwide. I wrote this book to help others and I don’t want anything less than for it to benefit multiple schools and communities. I anticipate to continue teaching professionals, giving lectures, and growing the need for practices that help students rather than just incarcerating them. In Florida alone, we arrest 58 thousand juveniles a year with many tried on felony and misdemeanor charges for relatively frivolous offenses. I would love for my book to turn up the volume on this issue so those numbers will have significantly diminished three to five years from now.

Aside from that, writing is who I am. I anticipate sharing my Unbroken Circles SM service in its many facets. I also plan to write some more culturally-based works which pick up on key issues I only briefly touched upon in Unbroken Circles SM for Schools.

I get numerous requests every year to guest write for magazines, newspapers, blogs, and other sources of media on issues of culture and conflict. This year alone, I have been nominated for three different social justice awards because of articles I have written. I cannot expect to depart from this so long as my written words give groups a voice. By writing, I can help people I’ve never met.

3.      How do you use your talents/time to help others?

When you have lived your life as a public servant, it is kind of hard to think how you use your time and talents to help someone. I have served on so many non-profit and governmental boards it is almost comical in a way. People that don’t know me see this young guy and they look in disbelief as I talk about the numerous programs and projects I have been involved in, the governors I have counseled as a part of an elected job, the various non-profits I have played a role in, etc. From a practical standpoint, my job as a conflict specialist is to help people in need to find solutions and agreement.  When I am not doing that, I am helping small businesses to thrive in a downturned economy, helping young boys to be better men, helping my fellow tribesmen, and the list goes on. I even have a special box that I carry with me fishing. In the box is hooks, corks, weights, etc. because I’m almost always approached by a child, while I am fishing, who desires to learn how to fish.  So, while I am trying to catch something for supper, I am also teaching the next generation as well.

I think that is what I am most proud of—teaching. If your words can find rest in the hearts and minds of others, something sort of special takes place where a part of you will never die as it is multiplied with the passing down to others. I think that is why I love writing about culture and conflict. When I write, I am teaching others. My words have power and people seem to inherently know they originate from my heart. And, I think this is why so many people grasp onto them and try to share them. Good, bad, or indifferent—I am nothing if not genuine. Just being yourself is sometimes the best help to people. People want something true and genuine in this plastic society of ours.

  
Would you like to find Ken?

Check out the links to this talented author:

Twitter:  @KenJohnsonUSA
Crokes:  @KenJohnson
Facebook:Ken on Facebook
LinkedIn:  Ken on LinkedIn
Personal Website:  Ken's Website






Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Saturday, September 27, 2014

Writers4Higher features Pat Spears

Welcome to Writers4Higher


The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features
Pat Spears





Hi, Pat. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!


Tell me about yourself.  Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

I am a sixth-generation Floridian, and I have lived all but four years of my adult life in the Tallahassee area.  I first wrote and published professionally as a social science educator, and it was a series of case studies that I wrote for a Florida history textbook I co-authored that I credit with bringing me to creative writing.  There was something in that experience that lit a fire, and at the tender age of fifty, I decided to become a fiction writer.  I had no idea where one started.  To my knowledge, I’d never as much as met a fiction writer.  Still I was determined.  I audited writing seminars at FSU with the wonderful author, and gifted teacher, Janet Burroway, attended workshops, conferences, and read tons of short fiction, including the works of Raymond Carver, Zora Neal Hurston, Larry Brown, Dorothy Allison, and Annie Proulx.  In the beginning, I wrote really bad stories, but kept working.  Gradually, I began to discover my own voice and was fortunate to have some of my earliest stories published.  I continue to write and publish short fiction. 

The inspiration for my debut novel, Dream Chaser, began roughly ten years ago with the reading of a newspaper story about a family who adopted a mustang mare that suffered a tragic ending.  The story stayed with me for years before I began to shape a different story around what I imagined of that experience for a fictional family. Dream Chaser will be released in August.  My second novel, Wildflowers, is to be released in 2015, and it too is set in north Florida, but in the late fifties and early sixties. 

When I think about my long dormancy before becoming a writer, I remember those twilight summer gatherings with my cousins on Granny’s front porch, pleading with her for just one more of her marvelous stories.  I hope I carry forward a part of her in my fiction and that reader will come to ask that of me.  

 Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

I sometimes bemoan the likelihood that I won’t get around to all the stories and novels I’ll want to write.  Yet I am enormously grateful for excellent health and the necessities required for living comfortably, so that I may make the best of the time I do have.  While I don’t have a “career-plan” for my writing, I would like for my work to find a faithful readership and that they will always want to know what’s next.  
   
How do you use your talents/time to help others? 

The burdens of working-class lives and their implications for the loss of human dignity is the emotional momentum that drives much of my writing.  My characters are drawn from those so often viewed as the others; marginal voices of men and women whose lives exist outside the realm of social acceptability.  I write to reveal a deeper truth about my characters, to forge a perspective that takes the reader beyond their profane words and dastardly deeds to expose their deeper human spirit.  Simply put, it’s the old adage of not knowing a person until we’ve walked a ways in their shoes.


Would you like to find Pat?

Check out the links to this talented author:


Dream Chaser is available in print and e-book versions through all the regular online retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Powells, etc.)
Publisher’s website: www.twistedroadpublications.com

  




Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Saturday, August 23, 2014

Writers4Higher features William Mark

Welcome to Writers4Higher


The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features

William Mark


Hi, William. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your inspiration.

As a kid I was always enamored by movies.  As an adult I developed a love for books and consider myself an avid reader.  What I discovered is that I was drawn to the story, no matter if it was a high dollar Hollywood blockbuster, international conspiracy or the more dramatic and low budget.  If the story was captivating, I enjoyed it.  So, as a writer I strive to tell a good story. 

My grandfather was a great inspiration in my life and my drive to write.  I write under a pen name that is a tribute to him as the name is a variation of his.  He was a college professor for many years and opened up a book store upon his retirement.  It was from his love for books.  As a kid, my brother and cousins used to hang out and run around the bookstore before realizing the value held on the shelves up and down the aisles.  To this day I love bookstores.  The smell brings me back to the days I sat and worked the bookstore while my grandfather was out for the day.  

As I moved through college I was struck by a good idea for a story.  I enjoyed writing whenever it wasn’t for a grade, so I pitched my idea.  He liked it, but added I needed a love interest.  Initially I disagreed, but after a moment of thought and a quick review of the story, I realized he was actually right.  At that point I knew he was perfect to help me create a great story and I was eager to get started.  However, he died shortly thereafter from complications following a necessary surgery.  I continued writing with his spirit guiding me along the way and I try to make him proud.

For the last thirteen years I’ve worked as police officer and held many different positions such as patrol officer, Field Training Officer, Robbery Investigator and Homicide Investigator.  I have also worked as a SWAT Officer for over four years.  As a cop I patrolled the most dangerous beats looking everywhere for the outlaws, drug dealers, and thieves.  My initial draw to the job was a bit of a cliché.  I wanted to help people, but will admit the foot chases, guns, fights and car chases may have held a fair share of the influence.  But as I got into the job, I realized that I was driven by finding the person who tries to get away with it.  That translated into a tenacity that has earned me a reputation of always finding the guilty.  But with that tenacity comes passion, and with passion comes disappointment.  This disappointment is bred from the flawed Criminal Justice System that has been perverted to the point of disgust.  However, I learned and accepted that it is the only one we have.  I’m still working on how to fix it.

So, I’ve actually chased a suspect down a dark alley, pointed a gun at a suspect with the anticipation of taking his life, and hunted a homicide suspect, sat across the table from rapists, murderers and robbers and gotten a confession.  Needless to say with my experience, I have plenty to fill the pages of many novels.   But, I hope to tell a story that is real and gives the reader the experience that they are in the hip pocket of the police officer as he moves through the case, problem or situation. 
In From Behind the Blue Line, I use a culmination of real stories mixed with creative fiction to tell a story of revenge, trust and justice in the eyes of a father.

Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?   

Fame and fortune.  Then I wake up.  Honestly, I see myself still striving to build a base of readers.  Throughout my life and in many endeavors, from little league to police work, I have always pushed myself to be the best at what I do.  I recognize that is a tall order in the world of fictional writing, but I feel that my dedication to writing good stories that push the envelope and painting an intriguing picture I will find success and hopefully a spot on the New York Times best-seller list.

My second project is in the editing stage and a third is underway.  I have many fans demanding a sequel to From Behind the Blue Line, so I have that percolating in the hopper as well.  I’m excited to continue writing and only need the time, not the inspiration.  I have ideas for many other novels and even in different genre’s other than the crime thriller.

How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I have traveled around the state teaching criminal investigations and victim advocacy and enjoy it immensely.  I also have gotten involved in a youth leadership program started at my agency that I see tremendous potential in reaching young people.  It serves to provide guidance and real world building blocks on finding success as well as leading others in the future.  I see the program expanding fast throughout the country and becoming widely accepted.
  
Outside of that, I focus my energy in the lives of my three children and my beautiful wife. 


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Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





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