Guest Author Interview – Khaled Talib

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Title: Gun Kiss

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: 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.

Khaled Talib, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s International Guest Author is Khaled Talib. He is a member of the Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Organization. Welcome to my blog, Khaled.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence why we should read this thriller?

KT: Both, reviewers and authors who have endorsed the novel suggested that readers take a deep breath before reading it.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this book?

KT: It’s hard to miss the bits and pieces of scandalous news about Hollywood.  From sexual harassment, pedophilia, to stalking fans. So, I decided to work on these themes to give more depth to what is often described as paperback novel.  While this thriller is exciting and light-reading, it features important and current issues affecting the movie industry.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues, or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

KT: I drew real-life inspiration based on the stories I have read about the lives of celebrities. To check, if my story didn’t sound over the top after I had finished writing it, I interviewed a celebrity bodyguard, who had worked with famous names. He confirmed the things—everything that takes place behind the scenes. I dare say, it’s life imitating art. For example, I was told some celebrity stalkers don’t just invade a movie star’s privacy, but they also send strange things in the mail…like gruesome things—we’re talking body parts!

CH: Since this book is about a stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and International intrigue, did you run into any challenges while writing this book?

KT: It was difficult to bind the plot.  I mean, what has a stolen piece of history (in this case, being the Deringer that shot Abraham Lincoln) and an International intrigue, got to do with an actress being abducted? In fact, when I first submitted it to a literary agent, he told me that the story was unfocused. I panicked!  Then, after calming down, I began to rework it and managed to tie in everything by creating a subplot. Even that didn’t resolve the story flow. The pages had to be seamlessly connected. I’m proud to say I managed to do it without awkwardness.

CH: The plot involves the FBI, so did you have to do any special research to write this book?

KT: During my research period, I learned about the FBI’s Form 302, which they use to summarize an interview. The thing is, they write down your replies, which means that they can rewrite it, the way they want it, which can trap you. That’s dangerous. Caution: if the FBI ever wants to talk to you, make sure you have a lawyer present.

CH: Since this book is a mystery/thriller with lots of suspense, do you enjoy writing a plot with a lot of ups and downs?

KT: All my novels have been described as intense and fast.  I’m not writing literary fiction here, it’s supposed to make you bite your fingernails and send shivers down your spine. In Gun Kiss, you’ll find the story having its ups and downs moments, as my intention is to play with your mind and emotions.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

KT: Expect the unexpected. I let you assume what you think is going to happen, before pulling the carpet from under you. You’ve been warned.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

KT: Goldie St. Helen, the movie star and co-protagonist. In the story, she’s a big Hollywood name, so I couldn’t afford to let this A-list personality appear unimportant. Yet, at the same time, I couldn’t let her overshadow the protagonist, Blake Deco. Goldie had to stand out. She needed to appear shiny with a powerful personality. I feel, Gun Kiss is a story with two protagonists. There are many scenes in the novel where she stands alone. I think without her the story would have been flat. I’m fine with it.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

KT: Goldie St. Helen. In fact, if you go to my website, I hosted a Q & A interview with her.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

KT: Dai Lo, the drug lord. I tried imagining myself as evil. So, I indulged in method-writing, which is like method acting. I went into character. I think I should enter a decompression chamber because I keep saying ‘Amigo’ a lot nowadays.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

KT: The novel is flamboyant and glittering, just like how Hollywood is. But there’s a dark side that one needs to know about. Not all that glitters is gold.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?

KT: So far, I’ve been enjoying raving reviews from readers, but I think one reviewer in the UK cursed the book for whatever her reasons. Personally, I’m happy with my work. The fact, I received praise from Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of The Rising and Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins is a solid endorsement. Even Midwest Book Review gave me high marks.

CH: Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

KT: I read all kinds of novels, so I would say there’s a bit of everyone in me. However, that said, many have described my previous novels like Robert Ludlum’s novels. In his blurb, Jon Land described Gun Kiss as a novel that reminded him of Don Winslow’s The Force.

CH: Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

KT: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. They used to call me a day dreamer in school. I wasn’t day dreaming—I was in the world built by Enid Blyton, the British author, who wrote fantastical books for children.

CH: What is your next writing project?

KT: I’m writing a murder mystery set at a winery in South Australia. I used to handle the public relations account of the South Australian tourism office, so I’m familiar with the State.

CH: How to Find Khaled Talib:

CH: Can you tell my audience where this book is sold?

KT: Gun Kiss is available on Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited, Nook, Kobo and various other online stores in paperback, epub and kindle.

CH: Any closing remarks?

KT: Wishing everyone a Happy and Peaceful 2018!

CH: Thank you so much, Khaled Talib, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Khaled Talib and Cheryl Holloway.

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