Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Finds Feature & Interview: Sealed Up by Steve Dunn Hanson

I've lived in places that grew me . . . from a small Idaho farm town, a run-down neighborhood in St. Louis, and a middle-class southern California community, to Sydney, Australia, and Bucharest, Romania. My experiences are as varied as the places I've lived. I have a hopper full of "reality" including being a volunteer jail chaplain and flying with a U.S. presidential candidate in his small plane when an engine conked out. And all of this is fodder for my writing.

My latest book is the action/adventure/suspense novel, Sealed Up.

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Thanks for this interview, Steve.  First, congratulations on your new book, Sealed Up: The Course of Fate: Book One.  Can you tell us a little about it? 

Steve: Thank you. Some of my readers have said Sealed Up is like Indiana Jones meeting The DaVinci Code but with a startling conclusion that neither of those tales quite equal. The plot involves the searching for enigmatic millennia-old chronicles that are sealed up somewhere in a cliff side in Mesoamerica. No one knows what they are
or who put them there, and, therefore, has no idea of the shattering disruption that finding them may cause. To make the plot even more interesting, I suppose, is to know that I wrote the book because in one way or another, and at some future time, I believe that what I have portrayed fictionally as happening, will, in fact, happen. Prescient? I guess we'll see.
Can you tell us a little about the characters inside?

Steve: I have an eclectic mix of some unique, but very real characters here. Luke Clinton (Brother Luke) is a narcissistic body-builder televangelist who carries many secrets, but his blatant power-seeking isn’t one of them. Nathan Hill is a 40-ish UCLA anthropologist who is in a funk since his young wife’s death. His best friend, Hyrum Bentley, is an anthropologist at the University of Texas but is now a quadriplegic as a result of a tragic accident on the last archeology dig that he and Nathan were on. He is a great sit-down comedian though. Audra Chang has her own secret. She is an undercover DEA agent, has lights-out skills for mayhem, and is falling in love with Nathan. Who she is may make that a non-starter. Add a Maya shaman with a penchant for human sacrifice and a ruthless Mexican drug lord with a soft spot or two, and the characters themselves are almost enough to carry the book even without the striking plot that drives it.

What is your most favorite part of the book?

Steve: Well, the most dramatic part is the last few chapters where everything converges and the startling, unexpected conclusion drops on the reader. But I think my favorite parts are where we catch glimpses into the minds and hearts of some of the characters. I’m particularly affected by the mental and emotional struggles Hyrum Bentley has with his physical condition. His character is patterned after a dear friend of mine who has passed away and who was a quadriplegic on a ventilator for over 20 years. With my friend’s wife coaching me, my Hyrum is very, very real.

Sealed Up is the first part in your exciting new series.  Can you tell us when the next one will be out and can you give us a glimpse of where you will take the characters in this one?

Steve: I’m looking at the latter part of 2017, first of 2018, to get the next book, The Council, published. While my characters in Sealed Up will have significant roles to play in The Council, there will be a new set of characters who will be intimately involved in dealing with the ramifications of what takes place in Sealed Up. I’ll just say this much about it. The action in The Council will be on a much broader scale; suspense will be the glue; and, every reader will get a very good idea how what happens in Sealed Up may affect them personally.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Steve: In a sense, each book is a stand-alone. The plots and sub-plots are self-contained. The reader is not left “dangling.” However, the books build on each other. Readers will not understand The Council without either first reading Sealed Up, or at least knowing what happened there. The third book, likewise, requires the knowledge of what happened in the books preceding it.

Does writing in general energize or exhaust you? 

Steve: Yes, both!

What would you like to say to your readers?

Steve: Thank you for taking the time to read Sealed Up. You can continue to expect the unexpected in its successor, The Council. Happy reading!

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