Turmoil on a college campus in the wake of the search for a new president. Ryan Caldwell, an enterprising young journalist – conflict in Afghanistan still fresh in his mind – finds himself embroiled in controversy as he exposes secrets that threaten to shake the ivy covered walls and topple those who hunger for power.
Q01. What inspired you to write Cold Oath?
A01. My niece is a chaplain at a Lutheran college. I’ve recommended my novels to her over the years, and her response was always, “I don’t read fiction.” So for fun, I created as one of the main characters, a Lutheran chaplain. Then I asked my niece to serve as a technical advisor for the book. In the end, she enjoyed reading COLD OATH.
Q02. Is this a standalone novel or apart of a series?
A02. This book is a standalone. I also write the Brad Frame mystery series. Although there are elements of mystery in this book, I consider it a “novel of suspense.”
Q03. How did you come up with the title and storyline?
A03. I’m always looking for unique titles, and this just seemed to fit the story. It takes place in the winter (the element of cold) and the protagonist ultimately finds himself on a mission.
Q04. Can you tell us a little about the main character(s)?
A04. Ryan Caldwell is a freshman at Brandell College in southeastern Pennsylvania. He’s a bit older than most freshman, having spent five years in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a journalism major, he’s landed a spot on the staff of the student newspaper at a time of upheaval at the college with the death of its president. Ryan delves into the politics of the succession, but also takes a hard look at date rape on campus.
Lori DeMarco, the young chaplain, has her own secrets. She’s attracted to Ryan, but not sure how much she can trust him.
Q05. Do you think the cover art of your e-book/novel will persuade readers to read the story inside?
A05. The cover evokes the academic setting in winter, a perfect backdrop for appreciating the story.
Q06. How much of the book is realistic? Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A06. This is a contemporary story (beginning during the 2016 campaign season). Although I know my way around a college campus, the events are fictional but should resonate with readers who understand the challenges faced by young people on college campuses. Campus politics, challenges in the workplace, and the impact of date rape are all very real – even though this particular story is fiction. Prior to publication, I asked a couple of friends with careers at colleges to read and react to the question of realism. They all agreed the events could have happened as depicted.
Q07. What was the hardest part about writing this book?
A07. The story shifts between three viewpoint characters, with the decision as to which one to use at a particular moment dictated by the storyline. I used relatively short chapters to keep readers turning the page. My challenge with each book I write is to put the reader in the middle of the scene.
Q08. Is there a message in your e-book/novel that you want your readers to grasp?
A08. This book touches a lot with loyalty, great friendships and deceit.
Q09. Is there anything else you would like your/the readers to know about your book?
A09. Having said that, I believe it is an entertaining story, but if people find deeper meaning, I’d enjoying hearing their reactions.