Afternoon everyone. I’m a bit later than usual due to a manic day but I’m here! Two posts for you today.- first up is, of course, a Meet the Author interview. Today I’ve been talking to Randall Krzak about past careers, candle making & pyrography, jumping out of airplanes, his most recent book Colombian Betrayal and more…..
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a U.S. Army veteran and retired senior civil servant, having spent thirty years in Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. My familiarity with various customs, laws, and social norms in these various locales provide me a unique perspective when creating authentic characters and scenery.
I’m originally from Michigan, but currently reside with my Scottish wife, Sylvia, and four cats in Dunfermline, Scotland. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a general Master in Business Administration (MBA) and an MBA with an emphasis in Strategic Focus, both from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
It wasn’t until I planned to take early retirement in 2011 when a friend and work colleague suggested I try writing a novel. Shortly after retiring, I gave it a try. I wrote about 200 pages and then shelved it for almost three years. Eventually, I decided to pull the document and started over, finally completing the entire manuscript (including editing) by March 2016.
One of my published novels is based on three sentences someone gave me to see what I could do with it. Other ideas have come to me based on the various locales where I’ve lived. Someone recently sent me a news article, saying it might be another idea for me to tackle. I agreed with them, and created a tentative title, synopsis, and three main characters.
How many books have you written and published?
I’ve completed four books. All have been published; one by Moonshine Cove Publishing, two by Solstice Publishing, and one self-published.
My first novel, The Kurdish Connection was released in 2017 and the sequel, Dangerous Alliance, came out in 2018. Both competed in the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs) in their Global Thriller category. I was absolutely delighted with the results—The Kurdish Connection finished as a Semi-finalist, while Dangerous Alliance was one of seven First-in-Category winners.
My third novel, Carnage in Singapore was published in 2019. It’s currently a Finalist in the 2019 CIBAs, also in the Global Thriller category. I’ll find out in mid-September whether Carnage moved forward.
My fourth novel, Colombian Betrayal, was released in March of this year. It will be competing in the 2020 CIBAs.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. My first one took over two years, but I’ve cut my time to under a year. However, that timeframe is fluid, as I’m currently working on three simultaneously.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
My first job (other than some summer jobs) was working in a family-owned grocery store just before my senior year in high school. I was hired specifically to work in their meat department. One of my main roles was to help with the production of a German-style bologna. Eventually, I switched to Bell Telephone Company, in their keypunch division, preparing long-distance phone bills for processing via IBM cards.
I didn’t work there too long before I joined the army. After three years, rather than re-enlist and head to Officer Candidate School, I left the service and worked on my degree. Eventually, I was offered a federal civilian servant position and accepted.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
When time permits, I make candles—all sizes, shapes, colors, and scents. I have also dabbled with pyrography (wood burning). Together with my wife, Sylvia who does a variety of crafts, until the lockdowns caused by the pandemic, we participated in numerous craft fairs, coffee mornings, etc., selling our crafts. History is also interesting to me, as is doing genealogy research.
You win a million pounds – you give half to charity. Which charity do you pick and why? What would you do with the rest of the money?
It would go to more than one charity. Most support animals. We’ve taken in numerous cats and dogs over the years. Currently, we have four cats—two were feral, one rescued before being euthanized at an animal control center, and the last came from a no-kill animal shelter. I also support charities helping military veterans. The rest of the money—put most into investments, and perhaps spend a bit on our son and ourselves.
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
I’d like to think all of my stories cover all three aspects. I definitely used strong characters and multi-layered plots which all come together by the final page. So far, the primary settings for my novels have stretched from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America.
What is your favourite genre to read and why?
I prefer action-adventure thrillers and have for years. Perhaps that’s why I write in the same genre.
What is your favourite time to write, and why?
I don’t have a favorite time to write. At the moment, I do most of my writing early in the morning and sometimes do an hour or so in the evening. I don’t set a specific time frame nor do I set word count goals.
Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane—twice! I still remember one of the instructor’s deadpanned comments before we jumped: “It takes two minutes to get to the ground with your chute and seventeen seconds without. Please take your chute.” I did and was the only one of the group to do it twice.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My latest novel is Colombian Betrayal, the first in a new series staring AJ Bruce and Xavier Smith (AKA Busch). We learn about a Columbian drug cartel run by Olivia Moreno, who ends up with undesirable business partners.
Colombian Betrayal tears the cover off the drug trade and exposes the death, and violence behind the twisted connections between governments, revolutionaries, terrorists, and drug lords. Watch as an unholy alliance is formed when Olivia’s profits begin disappearing and deadly new international competitors appear on the horizon. She strikes a deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Little does she know she is signing her own death warrant.
FARC has a group wanting a foothold in South America—the Islamic State, and she is in the way. On the run, Olivia is captured by a CIA team. She spins a tale to use her money and manpower to destroy ISIS in an effort to save herself. Laws and rules of engagement are meaningless to Olivia, her life and her family are her only concern.
Will the CIA leader fall for her offer? Will Bruce and Smith strike a deal to turn the tables on Islamic State? Can they stop them from launching an attack on the United States? Or will they be too late?
final words from chelle…
Thanks so much for coming over to Curled Up With A Good Book and talking to us Randall. I can’t believe you’ve jumped out of a plane twice! That’s definitely something I won’t ever be doing (don’t like heights or flying!). It sounds like you have some fabulous hobbies, and hopefully soon crafts fairs will start again and we’ll return to some sort of normality! And finally Columbian Betrayal definitely sounds action packed!
If you have any questions or comments for Randall then make sure you get in touch.