25 Mar 2014

Interview with Norm Clark and review of “The Saladin Strategy”

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“The Saladin Strategy (The Jack McDuff series)” by Norm Clark is a complex and intelligently plotted thriller. With a well placed prologue taking place Damascus the mystery begins and whetts our appetite for more.
Clark however takes us first to Vienna where the series’ hero, Jack McDuffy,a covert CIA agent, tries to enjoy the finer sides of life until a seris of murders give rise to the suspicion that a terrorist plot is underway.
Clark does a great job at portraying the difficult hunt for the right ‘intel’, deciphering and interpreting information and identities of agents. 
There are many surprises as far as the plot is concerned and the created tension pulls the reader through to the very end. A compelling story, a tight plot and a promising series.

Iterview with Norm:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

My interest in our craft was born at the early age of eight when “The Wizard of Oz” turned me into a lifelong avid reader. Years later, Ken Follett’s “Eye of the Needle” created my desire to write fiction and set the general genre. Over the years, I purchased several “How to write fiction” books to study writing, but life got in the way—until I retired.

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did? Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

With a retiree’s ‘time on his hands’ and my wife, Pamela, in the midst of writing an epic biography of her father’s life, I volunteered my assistance. The proofing, research, and formatting introduced me to self publishing, which revived my desire to write and publish novels. My success would not have been possible without my wife’s support and encouragement over the past four-plus years and going forward. So, thank you Pam.

Tell us about your work. How did you decide on the characters, plots and titles? 624443deaef30a7f0235c9.L._V397547760_SX200_

Two books are available in the action, spy-thriller Jack McDuff series, “Resurrected” and the recent release, “The Saladin Strategy”. Jack’s personality and demeanor are a result of my military upbringing and the association over the years with many military types, (several Navy Seals, a Force Recon Marine, and a former Air America pilot from the Vietnam era.

Jack is a CIA agent with twenty years of black ops service in Europe. He is reassigned to a desk job in Miami by the new President’s ‘kinder, gentler’ Agency policy in response to the disclosure of the ‘water boarding’ techniques in Guantanamo. Frustrated by his new status, he accepts a rogue mission to track down an assassin killing his fellow agents in Europe. His status is “Resurrected” by the success of the mission.

A ‘blind meet’ in Vienna drags Jack back into the dark black ops world with the discovery of a Jihadist mission. Their “Saladin Strategy” will unite the Arab world and drive the infidels from their lands as Saladin did to defeat King Richard during the Crusades. Success will cost thousands of lives and upset the balance of global politics. With the stakes so high, Jack takes on the unsanctioned mission.

Do you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

Actually, both. I write a skeleton outline with the start, the plot turning points, and an end concept, which provides a goal for my story to attain. The absence of a rigid outline allows both the characters and story to develop through the writing process, which creates many fun surprises and a more entertaining story.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I pay more attention to the major characters to keep the storyline on track, but I love the minor ones. Their quirks and oddball personalities add humor, color, and conflict to create a more entertaining book.

What would your character(s) say about you?

I hope they would thank me for bringing them to life.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

I love fulfilling my dream and hate having to find the time to write.

How many rewrites does it normally take you for each book? How do you edit and quality control?

This topic always reminds me of a classic Hemingway quote, “Write drunk, edit sober.” Despite his zest for life, he understood the necessity of editing to produce a quality product. I plan on two to four rewrites, depending on my progress, to: trim the fat, eliminate reader hang-ups, tie up loose ends, etc. The next step is to proofread for spelling, punctuation, missing words, etc. I proof each chapter starting with the last paragraph and work my way to the top, which keeps me from reading the story so my mind does not insert words or gloss over mistakes. Lastly, I read the story a couple of times to fix anything I find that gives me pause.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

It depends on the source and the nature of the criticism. If I were to receive a mean-spirited one-star review, which many authors have for some reason, I believe the best course of action is to ignore it. On the other hand, I would embrace a three-star review containing legitimate constructive criticism, which can work to my benefit.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing?

I love self-publishing, which gave me the opportunity to publish my work and maintain the rights. The promotion is, of course, my responsibility, and has opened the world of social media to me. I cherish the multitude of open and helpful author friends I have made in the process, which, of course, includes you Christoph. Thank you for the wonderful review of my new release ‘The Saladin Strategy’ and the invitation for this interview.

Buy Links:

“Resurrected”

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/Ui04to

Kindle:

U.S. – http://amzn.to/1gGiQGK

U.K. – http://bit.ly/UdwhAY

AU – http://bit.ly/1g21Fw8

CA – http://goo.gl/zpcwXS

Smashwords – http://goo.gl/UemMJL

The Saladin Strategy

Barnes & Noble (Print only) – http://goo.gl/DaxONT

Kindle:

U.S. – http://goo.gl/XHzyGs

U.K. – http://goo.gl/tU8lLc

AU – http://goo.gl/Va8Jgo

CA – http://goo.gl/uFBSvs

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Social Media Links:

Facebook – http://goo.gl/skrHf1

Twitter – http://goo.gl/FEHozz

Goodreads – http://goo.gl/kgT12g

Website –  http://goo.gl/8I9flV

Dualcover

 

written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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