20 September, 2018

Blind Switch by Michael Sova Book Spotlight and Interview! @Micsova @SagesBlogTours

Blind Switch
By Michael Sova
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

A professional killer makes a hit, leaving no obvious signs of foul play.  There’s only one problem.  He got the wrong guy and is reluctantly called back into service.  His new target is female, blind, and scared.  She knows he’s out there somewhere, closing in on her.  She also knows she’ll never see him coming.      

Years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, bestselling fiction author Martin Reginald introduces a compelling new trilogy and tells a different version of that well publicized story.  In the first two novels, he suggests the explosion was an act of sabotage and the presumed culprit was the owner of Sand-Sational, a Louisiana-based beach restoration company.  The biggest revelations are promised in the final book in the series, but Reginald is murdered before the manuscript is completed.  Why?  Was someone trying to keep him quiet?  Is it possible his novels were less fictional than anyone realized?  What happens when it turns out Reginald himself was something of an illusion?

From the Caribbean to the Big Apple and back again, Blind Switch is a triumph of non-stop action and intensity in which very little is as it first appears.  Michael Sova returns with his most intriguing, most suspenseful, and most surprising work to date.

About the Author

Michael Sova is the author of the suspense novels A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, as well as his 2017 release, a sports-themed cookbook titled 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food: Celebrating the Foods and Follies of Professional Football.  His new novel, a thriller titled Blind Switch, was published in July and is available now in paperback and most popular eBook formats.  

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Blind Switch Excerpt
Having no better options, he waited directly in front of the bathroom door.  The target would see him right away, or so Fisher assumed, but he didn’t plan on giving Reginald time to think let alone react.  He’d grab his wrist and yank him forward.   In that same motion, he’d get an arm around his neck, bring him to the floor, and the syringe tucked into Fisher’s waistband would do the rest.  He’d managed similar takedowns half a dozen times before and never had a problem.   
This time, however, the plan had to be modified slightly when Reginald turned the bathroom light off before pulling the door open.  Fisher hadn’t considered that and it gave him pause.  His eyes had already adjusted to the room’s dimness but he still couldn’t see for shit and he knew Reginald wouldn’t be able to see much of anything.  For a moment, he wasn’t sure what to do.  If he didn’t hit Reginald just right, the asshole might fall backwards, slam into the bathroom door and send it crashing into the wall.  Fisher doubted the sound would carry far but it might cause someone in a nearby cabin to come investigate.  That wouldn’t do. 

He took a step to the side, giving Reginald space to move into the room.  Except… he didn’t.  Fisher couldn’t see much but he could sense Reginald frozen in the bathroom doorway, no doubt wondering what the hell was going on.  His room hadn’t been dark when he went into the bathroom so why was it dark now?  Was there a power outage?  Had he turned the lights off himself without being aware of the act?  Had something somehow come unplugged? 

Reginald was weighing the various scenarios.  That’s what anyone would do in that situation and had to be the reason he still hadn’t moved.  Fisher wished he could see the expression on his face but all he could really make out was an indistinct mass against a pitch-black background.   If Reginald were smart, if he had one shred of common sense, he’d retreat into the bathroom and close and lock the door.  What could Fisher do then?  It wasn’t like his target would sit there quietly while he went to work with his set of picks.  But whatever the guy was thinking, Reginald must not have felt threatened because he reached back into the bathroom and hit the wall switch. 

The room was instantly filled with bright, florescent light, as was a small area right in front of the door.  That’s right where Fisher had been standing a few moments before.  He’d moved but not far enough.  His left shoe and the lower part of that leg were now brightly illuminated.  Reginald stared at them dumbly and then his gaze slowly lifted.  He had time to take in the black shoes, black pants, black jacket and black gloves.  A question formed on his lips.  That’s when one of the shoes shot up and caught him squarely in the nuts.  His mouth hanging open, Reginald crumpled to the floor as Scott Fisher moved in.

Interview with Michael

What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
            The thing that is the most challenging for me is coming up with a plan and sticking to it.  Despite my best efforts, I am very much the discovery writer.  I didn’t know that when I wrote “A Shot at Redemption,” my first suspense novel.  Of course, at that time, I didn’t know much of anything and I made every mistake there was to be made.  That’s probably why the manuscript took me a decade to complete.
            When I started “Parlor City Paradise,” novel No. 2, I employed an entirely different strategy, which is to say I had a strategy… or so I’d thought.   Prior to beginning the \first draft, I knocked out a lengthy synopsis and also created character sketches for all the key players.  Such attention to detail made me feel quite proud and accomplished, and that lasted until I actually started writing and I was off script before the end of the first chapter. 
I would describe my novels as character driven, and I’ve learned I can’t really know my characters until I get them on paper, insert them into various situations, and start to see how they react.  That makes it difficult if not downright impossible to stick to a given plan.  I deal with that by not even trying.  So, when I began work on “Blind Switch,” my latest release, I just sat down and let the words flow.  Admittedly, that flow was sometimes little more than a trickle, and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments of frustration and uncertainty.  Still, I put my faith in the muse, mainly because I had no choice, and the result was my strongest novel to date.   Honestly, I’d rather be a plotter than a pantser but, as writers, we have to do what works and play the hand we’re dealt.  
What have you learned about promoting your books?
            The first thing I learned about book promotion is that no one is going to do it for me.  It’s like pulling teeth just to get someone to post a brief book review.  In a perfect world, you write your version of the great American novel, get your masterpiece published, and then sit back and wait for the sales, awards, and accolades to come rolling in.  Sorry to be a bubble-burster but that ain’t gonna happen.  Promotion is tough.  It also never ends and there are no easy answers.   Best you can do is keep chipping away at the stone in hopes that, with persistence and a bit of luck, some larger shards will eventually start to break off.  It helps to write good books too.
            I know I painted a pretty bleak picture but it’s not all gloom and doom.  Do what you can to get your name out there and never be afraid to think outside the box.  Remember that it’s a lot tougher to blaze a new trail when you follow in the same footsteps as all those who came before you. 
My two most successful promotions were about as atypical as you can get.  A lot of the action in my first novel takes place at a racetrack in Upstate New York.  I arranged a signing event at that track and sold about 150 books in a span of a few hours.  I also did a signing event at a tiny independent bookstore.  I’m a realist and I was keenly aware very few people would come out just to see me.  Solution?  I reached out to the music department at a local high school.  Long story short, several student musicians performed at my event.  Of course, they all brought friends and/or family members with them.  The event was a success all the way around. 
            One last thing.  When it comes to book promotion, you have to learn to put your pride on a shelf. 
What are you most proud of as a writer?
            I suppose the thing I’m most proud of is that I truly can refer to myself as an author.  As I’ve already said, it took me ten years to finish my first novel.  During that exceedingly long and drawn out process, I felt more like a bungler than anything else.  The book was finally introduced to the world in January of 2014.  Since then, I have written and published two subsequent novels, a really funny football-themed cookbook called “21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food: Celebrating the Foods and Follies of Professional Football,” and I just finished revisions on an 8,000 word multi-author collaboration for a new Christmas short story.  I don’t have a release date for that yet but I’m thinking early November.  In the meantime, I’ve begun work on a currently untitled manuscript that will eventually be a “Parlor City Paradise” sequel.  I’m at no risk of hitting the bestsellers list anytime soon but I feel very authorly and that does make me proud.        
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
            I should probably try to score a few literary points here and say someone like Shakespeare, Hemmingway, or Dostoevsky.  In reality, the author I would most like to sup with is Dick Francis, who unfortunately went to that big bookstore in the sky in early 2010.  Francis was a member of the Royal Air Force and flew Spitfires and Hurricanes during World War II.  I’d love to talk to him about those experiences, or about his celebrated career as a champion jump jockey.  He won over 300 races, and for five years (1953 - 1957) he was even jockey to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother herself.   He retired from racing and, rather than resting on his laurels—whatever that means—he became one of the most beloved and successful mystery writers of all time.  It would be fascinating to hear about all of that.  Mostly, though, I’d just like to say thanks.
            In case you are unfamiliar with Francis’ literary legacy, he wrote dozens of internationally bestselling novels and they all had one thing in common: horse racing.  I don’t know or quite frankly care much about what’s often called the sport of kings.  I’ve still read all the Dick Francis books because he was such a brilliant and engaging storyteller. 
When I decided it was time to try to author my own book, the first thing I had to figure out was what to write about.  We’ve all heard the saying.  “Write what you know.”  That’s bad advice but I believed it at the time.  I was an auto racing fan back then and even dabbled in racing journalism.  I knew a lot about the sport.  What I wasn’t sure about was how well it could lend itself to fiction.  That’s when I started really thinking about Dick Francis and the wonderful yarns he spun about sabotage, deceit, betrayal, murder, intrigue, and drama in all its various forms.  As I’ve said, I didn’t and still don’t give a hoot about horse racing.  However, I was completely engrossed in that world anytime I opened a Francis novel.  Why couldn’t I use short track auto racing as my backdrop and work some of that same magic?  Why indeed.  Much of the action from “A Shot at Redemption” unfolds at the Oswego Speedway.  If I had the chance to break bread with Dick Francis, I’d like to thank him for that inspiration and for unknowingly helping to launch my own writing career.                        
When and where do you do your writing?
For me, it’s more about the when than the where.  Full disclosure: I do have a small home office, some Minnesota Vikings memorabilia on the walls, and that’s where 100% of my writing takes place.  That’s out of necessity more than comfort or routine.  I have a pretty significant visual impairment which you can learn more about if you read “Blind Switch, my latest thriller novel.   I always write in my office because I rely on my big computer monitor and my screen magnification software.  Were that not the case, I’m sure I wouldn’t be tethered to the same desk day after day.   I would still write every day, and that’s the part that’s really important. 
I don’t want to keep beating the same dead horse (sorry Dick Francis) but my first novel took a really, really long time to finish.  There were a lot of reasons.  The biggest by far was my almost shameful lack of… sticktoitiveness I suppose.  Simply stated, when the going got tough, I didn’t.  I’d hit a wall and, instead of trying to find a way over, under, around, or through it, I might spend the next two days—or two weeks—checking my email, perusing social media sites, or repeatedly revising and re-revising the stuff I’d already written.  I’d end up with a much fancier road leading up to the wall but the wall would still be there and I was really accomplishing nothing.   
I think it’s important if not crucial to have a writing schedule.  In my case, I’m at my desk five days a week and I’m most productive in the morning hours.  However, it isn’t enough to simply block out that time.  You have to make good use of it too.  Think of it this way.  Let’s say the goal is a 100,000 word novel.  Adding just 300 words a day, you can put that puppy to bed in under a year.  That may sound painfully obvious and pretty basic too but it took me quite a while to figure out.   Here’s something else I’ve learned.  It’s okay to write crap and I’ll tell you why.  First, it’s probably not as bad as you think.  And second, for me anyway, it’s easier to revise something imperfect than create from whole cloth.  The key is to keep moving forward.  Otherwise, you have no hope of reaching the end.   

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