12 December 2013

White Rouge Spotlight!

Title: White Rogue
Genre: Spy Thriller
Author: Dr. David R. Fett, Stephen Langford & Connie Malcolm
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 254
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481995510
ISBN-13: 978-1481995511
Purchase at AMAZON
Cold War era biological experiments are resurrected and after Boston experiences a seemingly inexplicable bio-terrorist attack, the Center for Disease Control’s Dr. Davie Richards and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Paula Mushari once again join forces to uncover who is behind it. An obscure reference to a Dresden project found amid crash site evidence marks them both for execution. Paula and Dave are forced to leave Boston in the middle of the night and head to Washington, D.C.,where they soon find that anyone they contact also becomes the target of assassins. When the daughter of the CDC’s director is taken hostage, Dave and Paula come face to face with an evil that forces them to question the very nature of duty and service to country. With the help of one man, they learn the true meaning of dark operatives while they desperately try to stop another bio-attack from happening.
First Chapter:
There was a chill in the morning air.  A marine layer had moved into the Bay Area of San Francisco, creating a soft mist off in the distance as Anna looked up the street.  Anna Wheat was late to her job at one of the downtown branches of Bank of America.  She so wanted to be on time that she wished she could just jog the rest of the way, but her three-inch heels made that idea more comical than practical.  She had been a teller for the last two years and had been in line for a promotion, but like most things in the last few days, it had stalled.  Anna knew it wasn’t just her bosses were who preoccupied.  It seemed as though everyone in the country was distracted with the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Coworkers chatted about the evening news instead of last weekend’s football games.  Married friends told her of their concerns for their kids. And she too felt on edge from the constant news bulletins that came across the radio and filled the morning and evening TV news reports.  Anna just wanted to concentrate on her work, start her new job, and be preoccupied with something positive.
She knew the bank’s human resources division in Los Angeles was waiting for the paperwork to expedite the change in her employee status from Grade 1 to Grade 3.  Anna had done an amazing job that she jumped a pay grade, something that barely had been achieved in the bank’s history and even more rarely by a woman.  The bank’s manager, John Kiley, often cited Annie’s accomplishments to other employees, saying that hard work made anything possible and they should all reach for the stars.  He was fascinated with the NASA astronauts, and the Space Race with the Soviet Union inspired his language.  He would remind any employee that would listen that Americans didn’t like settling for anything, and setting goals was the surest way to focus a nation’s, or a company’s, energies.  President John F. Kennedy had set a goal for the country back in 1961, he would remind his staffers, and soon after, on May 5th, Alan Shepherd became the first American in space.  The Soviets beat us there, but we were catching up, Mr. Kiley would say.
Mr. Kiley’s cheerleading and holding up Anna’s promotion as an example didn’t go over well with other employees, especially other women.  Anna was very young, attractive, and ambitious.  And while she liked the attention she earned for her work, she hated the unpleasant glances from the other young tellers and the ashen-haired head teller with the droopy eyelids.  Some of the young women would whisper despairingly behind her back, lewd suggestions on how she had moved up the corporate ladder. Anna tried to ignore them and do her job.  She wasn’t going to let them have the satisfaction of knowing they upset her.  
That morning, as she walked along the street, Anna passed a newsstand that featured papers emblazoned with warnings about the Cuban Missile Crisis.  There was a palpable fear in the fear in the city and across the country that the missiles placed in Cuba by the Soviet Union and now aimed at the United States would lead to nuclear war, if not by intent, by some accident or miscommunication. Anna’s sister in Virginia was so panicked about it that she packed up her kids and drove across the country to Monterrey, California, in order to live with their mother and father until the crisis ended. Anna’s personality was the opposite of her sister’s. In fact, it was her cool demeanor that made her a perfect fit for the banking world. She always managed to stay calm no matter how upset a customer was.
She passed a TV store as she headed up to California: one of San Francisco’s steeply inclined streets. The brisk morning walks kept her quite fit, but this morning, she didn’t seem to have the same vigor she usually had.  It had been difficult to get out of bed, and she had to skip breakfast because she was running late.  No food, no coffee—that was the problem, Anna thought. She really wanted to push past the fatigue and be on time for work.  She believed punctuality was important, especially if she wanted the men she worked with to take her seriously.
Anna was determined to be the first woman to become bank manager at her branch. She wasn’t like all her high school friends, who also were working, but whose long-term goals were marriage, a house, and kids.  She wanted those things too, but she knew she wanted something more.
Anna looked in at an appliance store window as she passed by, and all the TV screens displayed news coverage of President Kennedy in a press conference. The president looked tired and unusually grim. She had been a Richard Nixon supporter and felt he would have been better at handling such a dangerous confrontation with the Soviet Union. Anna continued walking, reached the top of the street, and had to stop to catch her breath. That’s unusual, she thought, and then noticed her hands trembling. She remembered there was a donut shop near the bank, and she planned to stop in there and get a coffee and something to eat.
She stopped again.  There was something more ominous going on than low blood sugar.  She wiped her forehead. Her breathing was rapid and shallow. She was perspiring. She tried to catch her breath but started coughing up thick, bloody mucous. A passerby showed concern. She held up her hand to signal that she was fine.
Anna straightened up and made her way another half a block to her Bank of America branch.  She reached for the door, but severe vertigo prevented her from grasping the handle. Her legs became wobbly, and she fell in a heap in the doorway.
Mr. Kiley came running out to her. “Anna. Anna. Can you hear me?”
She didn’t answer.
Mr. Kiley asked the other employees who had gathered around to stay with Anna as he rushed back into the bank to phone for an ambulance. Anna just lay on the sidewalk, semiconscious, vision blurred.

Thank you for this interview, Stephen, Dr. Fett and Connie!  First I’d like to know how each of you got the writing bug?

Stephen: I started when I was a teenager writing short stories. I had an English teacher that inspired me. My first love was television writing which I luckily started to do right out of college.  I stepped away from fiction until the last few years when Dr. Fett and I wrote White Sleeper.
Dr. Fett: Throughout my under graduate, and post graduate studies, I did a lot of writing but longed to write a story drawing on some of the more interesting experiences I have had in my own life. I wanted to write something that would be universally appreciated; a story that was both fun and frightening.
Connie: I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer. My mother was a novelist and published her first book, The Rivers Are Frozen, when she was 24 years old. A daunting role model so I chose a path in journalism. I loved it but longed to tell a story longer than 20 inches of columnar type. I married a New York Times foreign correspondent who also had the same desire to grow beyond newspapers so we combined forces and wrote 10 books of nonfiction. 

All three of you wrote this wonderful book, White Rogue.  How did you do it?  Did you do it online or in person?
Stephen: David began the process with the initial idea and theme. Then Connie and I joined in building the stories and characters with David.

Dr. Fett, another question about writing the book – did you write one chapter and then one of the others write a chapter?
Dr. Fett: No. This was the first time the three of us joined forces. (Stephen and I worked on the first book.) It took some time to find how we best worked together. I like to think of myself as the architect and Stephen as the framer.  Connie worked through the structural problems that arise with any project and then did the finish work.

Connie, was there any point during the writing of this book that you three butted heads?

Connie: Sure. It’s not easy to bring three very different people together and not have that happen. In the end, we all wanted to have the project be the best we could possibly make it.

What do you think was the most exciting part about writing this book?

Stephen: I think that the Boston chapters where the plot takes off and hurtles Dr. Richard into a situation he has to dig himself out of.   It’s the jumping off point that tells the story of the everyman who becomes the reluctant spy.  I think people love the character of James Bond but would be jumping out of their skin if they had to be him.  I think White Rogue plays on that.
Dr. Fett: Definitely, the section involving D.C. It gave us the chance to examine how vulnerable we all are in today’s world and that often we blindly trust government institutions.
Connie: Definitely the chapters involving their flight to Washington, D.C., and their efforts to get help from colleagues and mentors. I loved moving David Richards and Paula Mushari through the iconic streets of the capitol.

What was the most challenging?

Stephen: The first draft is like facing a daunting mountain you’ll never climb.  So I’d say It’s getting to the  2/3rds point where you realize that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Dr. Fett: I have two degrees in biological engineering and a Masters in toxicology. There were sections of the book dealing with complex science that I wanted the reader to understand without losing the suspense of the bioterrorism threats faced by White Rogue’s characters.  
Connie: For me it was writing the passages that illuminated the characters. In the end writing is a solitary effort even when you have partners. So it required that I take a leap of faith that I had interpreted correctly these characters as two other people had envisioned them.

Of all the book, what part was the most fun to write?

Stephen: All of the hit woman chapters.  I think she should have her own book series.
Dr. Fett: The completion of the entire project gave me the most satisfaction.
Connie: The historical set-ups and touchstones to ground this work of fiction in reality.

What’s next for you guys?  More books?

Stephen: We’ve completed the outline for the third book in the Dr. David Richards series.

DR. DAVID FETT, a board certified ophthalmologist, received his BS and Masters from MIT before earning his MD from Dartmouth Medical School. He now runs a private practice in Los Angeles and serves as an assistant clinical professor at UCLA School of Medicine. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, Randi, and their four children.

STEPHEN LANGFORD is a veteran writer/producer of over 150 hours of primetime television. He has also ventured into screenwriting and fiction. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, Sandy, and their two daughters.

CONNIE MALCOLM is a recovering journalist who worked on The Globe and Mail in Toronto. She has worked previously on ten books of nonfiction authored by her husband, Andrew. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and the youngest of their three sons.


Post a Comment