Archive for August 22nd, 2008

People always ask me “Where do you get your ideas?” They also inevitably ask,”Who are the real people behind the characters you write about?”

I wish I could give great insight here, but the truth of the matter is that my ideas come from the news, usually. Something I’ve read, something I’ve seen on television, heard about on the radio or viewed on the Internet. I always think, “Geez, that’s a weird story, but if I were to write it . . . ” From there on it’s a pure flight of imagination. Often times the story goes nowhere, but if it does, watch out, a novel is born.

As for characters, sorry. There are no real people behind the ones in my books. Well, okay, I’ve used a few of my friends as incidental characters, neighbors, foremen or friends. Sometimes they play a larger role as a nurse or doctor or, in the case of Larry Sparks, husband to one of my best friends and a retired Oregon State Policeman, he gets a lot of play. The real Larry is also a good friend and a great source of knowledge, so he gets some major parts. (Check out DEEP FREEZE and FATAL BURN to meet him!)

The characters in LEFT TO DIE are all figments of my imagination, however. Jillian and MacGregor, the hero and heroine, I’ve never met before. But the detectives were inspired by my editor who said, years ago, “Why don’t you write a story where female cops are partners.” I thought I never would. It surely wasn’t working on the story I was creating at the time. But along came LEFT TO DIE and voila, homicide detective Alvarez and Pescoli were born! (They even have their own myspace pages. That’s how real they are to me.)

Lisa Jackson is the bestselling author of Lost Souls, Absolute Fear, Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, The Night Before, The Morning After, Deep Freeze, Fatal Burn, and Almost Dead.

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Dead Men Don’t Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa
By Brandon Wilson
Pilgrim’s Tales
P.O. Box 791613
Paia, Hawaii 96779
ISBN: 0-9770536-4-4 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0-9770536-5-2 (Hardcover)
Copyright 2006
Paperback, 280 pages, $16.95
Travel Narrative/Non-Fiction

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

Dead Men Don’t Leave Tips is the thrilling, captivating true tale of a honeymooned couple who quit their job, sell their home and cars, and leave everything behind to achieve a dream: cross Africa on a seven-month, 10,000-mile journey from Morocco to Cape Town.

Join professional travellers Wilson and Cheryl as they bargain with villagers, struggle with incompetent guides and government officials, pass sleepless nights in deplorable accommodations, cross the Sahara amidst sand storms and blistering heat, meet gorillas and Pygmies face to face, and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, reminding us all along that simple things such as a nice meal, a shower and getting cash can become the ultimate luxuries.

The tale is poignant with ironic humor and human drama. Each chapter begins with a witty, profound African proverb, and in the middle section the author includes interesting B&W photographs to complement his account and give a clearer picture of Africa’s sights and sounds.

What’s striking about Wilson’s books (he’s also the author of the IPPY Award winner Yak Butter Blues) is that his journeys are not only physical but highly spiritual as well. His are journeys of body and soul in every sense of the word. The author writes with honesty and a sharp eye for detail, making this an invaluable amalgam of information for readers of adventure travel or anybody who is considering “do-it-yourself” safaris or simply visiting Africa. Interlaced with this honesty and detail are Wilson’s beautiful prose, obvious passion for adventure and a deep inquisitiveness about other cultures, making this book a pleasure to read. Having already reviewed Wilson’s previous work, this reviewer is already looking forward to his next.

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