She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live. – Annie Dillard
Publisher: Imajin Books
Publication Date: December 1, 2017
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About the Book
A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue…
When the Derringer 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.
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L: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
KT: I was born and raised in Singapore. I began my career as a magazine journalist before switching to the dark side; I became a public relations practitioner. My work has taken me to various parts of the world, covering travel-related stories. I also spent some years in Cairo, Egypt working for a magazine. I have written three novels (thrillers) to date.
L: Who or what inspired you to be an author?
KT: I have always had an interest in story telling for as long as I can remember. I think you are born to be one. Let's just say I was always more excited to write a school essay than do a math homework. Who inspired me? I'd say the works of other authors and people I've met in real life who one way or another contributed to the experience - both good and bad.
L: Who or what inspired your novel?
KT: Gun Kiss is my third novel, and it was inspired by a blonde Hollywood actress. On the first day I went jogging I found it difficult to sleep was both my legs were aching. Unable to sleep, I watched an old movie with this particular actress. And then, suddenly, an idea came to me to write a story about the Hollywood scene but with lots of action and a splash of romance. And so Gun Kiss came to be. [To the actress, if you're reading this Q&A, which I hope you are, here's a BIG Thank you for the inspiration)
L: What would you say is the genre of your novel?
KT: Suspense/Thriller with a splash of Romance. Readers can expect a bit of everything in this novel.
L: Why did you pick this/these genre(s)?
KT: I like the unexpected with lots of twists and excitement. So I thought this would be the most suitable genre to delve in. It's also the first time I'm injecting romance into the novel as I've never done it before. But don't expect a lovey-dovey story - it's a suspense/thriller, after all... although the scenes are both exotic and glamorous and in some instances funny before resuming to exhilaration.
L: How did you develop your plot and characters?
KT: You know, I've heard people say they'll write a book once they get an inspiration. I've got bad news; it doesn't happen that way. You have to write no matter what...and as you write, you'll discover the plot coming to you naturally. At least that's how I operate. Some authors may plan their story, but I can't do that. Like Bruce Lee said, "Be like water," so I go with the flow. However, that said, I might bumped into someone or stumble at a place that might give me an idea for a story, and in this case, it was an old movie as I mentioned previously. Even so, that doesn't necessary spell a novel. So, I'll take note of current issues around the world and I'll pick a theme or two to include in the story. The war on drugs and the Hollywood scandals were all incorporated into Gun Kiss, topped with the ongoing nuisance every famous celeb faces with the paparazzi. I've based some characters on people I've met, taking ideas from conversation, observing them or it could be a fleeting moment even. I tend to study characters from various angles then incorporate them into a character. As a former reporter, I've met some movie stars and celebs in real life, which helped in creating that image. Then, everything else is like playing Ken and Barbie. Dress them up and create a scene... and action!
L: Who or what inspired your protagonist?
KT: You know, I didn't want your typical protagonist. Usually, it's a secret agent or a soldier or some university professor or scientist. I wanted a protagonist where readers can see the different stages of his life in terms of his career and attitude toward things. So I created a character who was an ex-soldier, a failed screenwriter who dabbles as a relic hunter while managing a taco restaurant at the same time. Since Gun Kiss has a Hollywood theme, I gave my protagonist a cool taco restaurant at Sunset Boulevard. In trying to keep the business going, he takes up a part-time job with the Homeland Security where he recovers stolen ostentatious and historical items for a reward.
L: Who or what inspired your antagonist?
KT: The war on drugs is ongoing. I don't want to mention the person's name or he might send people after me even it's just an inspiration, not based on real life character. Still, you never know.
L: What was the most difficult part to write in the book?
KT: If you hate doing house chores, imagine what it feels like for a writer to do fact-checking and research. It can be fun when the information is forthcoming, but when you can't extract the information that you need in a short time and end up spending more time trying to get it, you will feel the pain. In Gun Kiss, I had to fact-check some of the FBI procedures as well as US embassy protocol in the even of an unpleasant situation. It took time, I can tell you that.
L: What was your favourite part of your book to write?
KT: I want to write a sequel. Does that answer the question? I love every scene in the story. Since there's a movie star in the story, you can expect all those nice places. I enjoyed describing cafes, parties, locations and famous monuments. Of course, the characters were a delight to write about. For that reason, I just must bring them back!
L: Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
KT: I am a full time writer.
L: What are you currently reading?
KT: I have a long TBR list on my Kindle. I haven't started yet, but I will...
L: What are some of your favourite books or authors?
KT: I have no particular favorites. I love them all. If I pick up a book and I enjoy the first chapter, I'll just continue reading it. Past and present authors, all genres - I'll read them all.
L: What are your future projects, if any?
KT: I'm presently working on a murder-mystery set in South Australia.
L: What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
KT: www.khaledtalibthriller.com or https://www.facebook.com/khaled.talib/
L: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
KT: Don't. Give. Up. Remember the deaf frog?
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“Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”
― Roy T. Bennett