A: Picture this! (Holds hands up as if framing a photo)
Z: (Looks at her hands) Ummm...what?
A: You're in an airplane hurling toward the earth, total nosedive....
Z: (Interrupts) Are you in the plane, too?
A: No way, I'd be hurling period.
Z: Too much info! Besides we are about to interview Richard Hacker, author of TOXIC
RELATIONSHIP, not flying anywhere.
RELATIONSHIP, not flying anywhere.
A: Ah ha! You didn't go to Richard's website. If you wanna understand my reference, go to www.richardhacker.com It certainly piqued my interest, and that is why I suggested him for an interview.
Z: I thought I was the one who wanted to interview...
A: Ummm...errrr...we'll discuss it later.
A/Z: Welcome to CBG's blog, Richard! (Offers coffee, tea, and chocolate) We are tickled to have you here, and we just have to say, you had us at The Foundation Trilogy. Anyone who's a fan of Asimov's is an enlightened soul.
To begin, we adore characterization, therefore our questions are leaning towards knowing more about the characters in TOXIC RELATIONSHIP coming from Champagne Books, August 2012.
Thanks for the interview. This will be my first as an author, so I guess you could say I'm a virgin. Okay, maybe not. But this is my first interview. TOXIC RELATIONSHIP is a thriller with a humorous twist set in the Hill Country of Texas. My protagonist, Nick Sibelius, moves to the small Texas town of Pflugerville, turned Austin suburb, to set up a private investigation business, find some peace and maybe, himself, after a murdered partner, a cheating wife and a lost job in Houston. When a young couple disappears and a bass fisherman turns up dead, he finds himself drawn into a web of toxic relationships: MaryLou, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past, Junior, a failed farmer whose best intentions seem to always result in a dead body, and Barry, a sociopathic dentist turned illegal toxic waste and methamphetamine entrepreneur with visions of grandeur. When the felon who killed his partner in Houston joins forces with Barry, Nick must not only stop the toxic waste dumping while finding his client's missing daughter, but keep from being killed in the process. In the end, MaryLou's dark secret will either help him or kill him -- whichever comes first.
A/Z: If you could trade places with one of the characters you created, who would it be and why?
My characters in TOXIC RELATIONSHIP all have flaws that influence their choices in life. So, as in real life, everyone's a little broken. I'm a guy, but thinking about it, I'd want to be MaryLou who starts out as a sexy Houston Chronicle reporter and develops into one bad ass woman. She is powerful, smart, beautiful and she's got crazy skills with weapons (Barry says she can hit a squirrel at a hundred yards). Quite the combination.
A/Z: If Hollywood made a movie about your book, who would you like to see playing the lead role? Is your answer based on looks or personality?
The protagonist, Nick Sibelius, is a thirty something ex-cop and a little rough around the edges, but he's also has a thoughtful, sensitive side. Brad Pitt comes to mind. Of course you're thinking I'm going with Brad because we're virtually identical twins -- ROFL -- but I think he would capture his edgy toughness and his tenderness. And who knows, maybe Angelina Jolie would show up on the set occasionally.
A/Z: Does your main protagonist have any interesting quirks?
Nick loves women, baseball, dogs, beer, Jack Daniels, and pick up trucks. A bit of a man's man. He does have a habit of banging a tennis ball against his office wall when he needs to think. But maybe his most interesting quirk, if you want to call it a quirk, is his open mindedness. For example, his office assistance Al, recently acknowledged, after a life as a man, that she was really a woman. Nick doesn't hesitate to acknowledge her by calling her Alice.
A/Z: What zodiac sign do you attach to your favorite character in your book?
I had to do some research on this one! One of my favorites is what I’d call my comic relief antagonist, Junior Pendleton, a failed farmer with a history of accidentally killing trespassers and shooting down hot air balloons. He forms a relationship with my crazy scary antagonist, Barry, to become an 'environmental resource executive' -- in other words, he dumps Barry's toxic waste on his farmland. In his own twisted way, Junior is probably an Aries. He lives in the moment with an aggressiveness spurred on by his innate paranoia. He’s willing to take risks, such as stepping away from farming to become an entrepreneur (or as he would say, an entra-manure), he doesn’t play well with others (in fact, he tends to shoot at people who in his mind run into his bullet like a dog runs in front of a passing car), and he’s very much a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of guy. Unfortunately what you see is a paranoid farmer with a penchant for guns and starting fires. Not a good mix during a drought in the Hill Country.
A/Z: Is there a part of YOU within the soul of any of your characters?
As Junior would say, "Get out of my head!" LOL -- Are you a therapist or something? I imagine there's some of me in Nick. He's a much more physically tough than I am, but we share his loves for women, baseball, dogs and whiskey, and I hope I'm at least as open minded and accepting. TOXIC RELATIONSHIP actually has two antagonists. Barry, a sociopathic dentist mastermind of an illegal toxic waste and methamphetamine business. He is one dark, scary piece of work. The other antagonist is Junior, a man whose bad decisions continually come back to haunt him with unfortunate, and often humorous outcomes. I'd like to think I have much better judgement than Junior, but I do like his humor.
A/Z: Can you tell us your antagonists' darkest, deeper secret? OR is THAT a secret?
Barry wants to be a feared leader of a criminal enterprise designed to ultimately fund his neo nazi militia in a bid to take back America. He has a whole philosophy about how the country went down hill beginning with George Washington and he's convinced Barry Swenson is the man to lead the nation to greatness. However, the roots of Barry's personality come from a childhood of being the outcast, bullied and humiliated by classmates. Barry responds to his abuse by becoming their worst nightmare, first in his dental chair, for which he loses his license, and then through his criminal activities.
A/Z : Who is the protagonist's best bud, and do they have a similar bent or are they opposites?
Quentin Matthews. Nick and Quen played football in high school and came back together in the police academy to become Houston Police Officers. When Nick's anesthesiologist wife left him for a trauma doc, Quen stood by his side. They share a history and a certain knowledge that they always have each other's back no matter what is going on for them personally. Quentin tends to play more by the rules and has his personal life in order, while Nick tends to draw outside the lines and his personal life is a bit of a mess.
A/Z : If your favorite character found themselves suddenly in the Twilight Zone, what would be the first thing they said?
Another of my favorites is Junior 's nephew Carl. He's a nineteen year old, and as Junior will tell you, "I've known cedar posts with more smarts than that boy." He lacks confidence and common sense, which he exacerbates with his consumption of malt liquor. Tossed into the Twilight Zone I imagine he'd say, "I’ll be damned, everything's in black and white! I heard folks had delayed reactions from sniffing airplane glue, but I guess mixing it with weed and that shit daddy used to lube tractor parts took me over the edge. Are we are TV? ‘Cause if we are, I’d sure like to meet that Jessica Simpson woman."
A/Z : Would you like to add anything?
I currently live in Seattle, which is a stunningly beautiful place -- snow capped mountains, Puget Sound, forests -- crazy beautiful. Before moving here I lived in the Austin area for over thirty years and continue to go back to Austin regularly to visit family, friends and the Hill Country. There's a strange beauty to the place and I hope my other character, Central Texas, shines through in the book. TOXIC RELATIONSHIP will be released by Champagne Books in August, 2012. Pick up a copy, pop open a cold Shiner (or as close as you can get, wherever you live) and kick back. Sex, murder and toxic waste -- nowhere else but Texas!
August, 2012 Release from Champagne Books
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