Friday, July 29, 2016

Godspeed, Carry My Bullet by Ian Lewis Interview & Excerpt

About the Book:

Title: Godspeed, Carry My Bullet
Author: Ian Lewis
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 325
Genre: Thriller
Bobby Clyne has nothing to lose. Two illegitimate governments have taken the place of the fallen United States: The Directorate in the East and the United States Valiant in the West. And he's just learned that a man who once terrorized his family as a low-ranking member of the Military Police is set to become the Grand Marshall of the Ohio Region. Armed with his father's Dragunov sniper rifle, Bobby embarks on a mission of revenge with consequences far more reaching than his personal vendetta.

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Book Excerpt:
August 20th, 2013

Cleveland, Ohio

Listening to the yelps of rioters echo off of battered storefronts, Bobby Clyne stood motionless in the dank summer heat. His stale, one-room apartment overlooked the melee below, and he peered through the yellowed window sheers with an acrid taste in his mouth.

Bottles and other debris flew as instigators grabbed whatever makeshift weapons they could find in the gutters and garbage cans. Grimy, sweat-soaked skin met in rushed collisions as men elbowed past one another. There was no regard for decency or dignity as limbs flailed in greedy anticipation of what they might find.

The temptation was due to a stalled government supply truck that carried non-perishable food items. With a wheezing stutter from the motor, the rig had coasted to a stop, vulnerable in the left lane of Euclid Ave.

Traffic wasn’t the problem so much as the hungry riffraff trolling the streets in the mid-afternoon stink. When it was clear the boxy, tired truck wasn’t going anywhere, they made good on their desire to fill their stomachs and show their contempt for state discipline.

With his eyes narrowed on the street below, Bobby sat down on a metal folding chair next to the window. He wiped wet palms on his gray cargo pants. An olive-drab t-shirt clung to his back, and his brow shined slick with sweat beneath a tuft of chestnut hair. His face was unremarkable save for a pronounced lower lip.

Bobby hated the Directorate—the government of the East—but didn’t see fit to take part in such a public and stupid display of disrespect. Despite his deep-seated animosity, the sting of old wounds reminded him that he was helpless to do anything about his circumstance. He’d already watched his father try and fail.

Still, he fantasized about rising up against the Military Police. Their constant presence soured him. With round-the-clock patrols and a general disrespect for civilians, they were a gratuitous display of the Directorate’s power, and Bobby swore he’d never enlist with them even though he was a decent shot with a rifle.

Bobby nudged the firearm at his feet that leaned against the water-stained wall. It was a Dragunov, an old Russian sniper rifle that his father had given him before he died.

About the Author

Ian Lewis prefers not to be bound by a particular genre. Though the inspiration for his work varies, it often finds roots in something he dreamt. He strives for a gritty realism and maintains an interest in the humanity of his characters. His hope is that readers find themselves haunted by his stories in the sense that the narrative sticks with them long after they've finished reading, leaving them with a subtle restlessness for more. Mr. Lewis is the author of The Camaro Murders, Lady in Flames, and Power in the Hands of One, all novellas. His first full length novel, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet, was released in April of 2016. He has been writing since 2002.


Where are you from?
I hail from the great state of Ohio.

Tell us your latest news?
I released my first full-length novel this past April. The first of a two-part series, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet is a somewhat dystopian thriller that explores an alternate history of the United States. The recession of 2008 gets so bad that the economy collapses, which ultimately leads to the fall of the government. Two illegitimate governments rise in its wake: The Directorate in the East and the United States Valiant in the West. One rules with an iron fist; the other rules via social engineering. This is the backdrop for a thrill ride that includes a diverse cast of characters: a would-be assassin nursing wounds from the past, a nomadic survivalist trying to forge his own path, a single mother struggling amidst financial distress, a novice undercover operative working to restore Constitutional government, and an itinerant preacher turned vigilante tracking a predator who has kidnapped a young girl.

When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing right at the tail end of college, but didn’t get serious about it until four or five years later. I think I needed a creative outlet. Writing is a form of escapism, and it can definitely be cathartic. Writing has always come easy to me and I always enjoy reading, so it made sense to try my hand at it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I feel like I “made it” when Untreed Reads offered me a contract for my first novella, The Camaro Murders. I remember not caring whether it ever sold one copy; I was happy to claim that I was in fact a published author. Obviously I do care whether it sells, but you get the point. I felt validated.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I guess you could consider The Camaro Murders my first book even though it’s a novella. This was one of those pure inspirational moments where the basic concept of the book came to me out of nowhere. Even the title was that way. The Driver character (who also appears in Lady in Flames, my second novella) and his car probably have roots somewhere in Batman and Knight Rider, but he’s a darker individual. Though he means well, his actions in the last chapter of The Camaro Murders are pretty awful, but I think readers didn’t really pick up on it since he’s the protagonist and because of the format of the book. It’s told via four different characters’ inner monologues, which acts as an interesting counterbalance to the supernatural murder mystery that it is. Mood wise, I was listening to Jesse Sprinkle’s Corner of an Unlit World, which seeped through. The town of Deerfield, Ohio, which I have to drive through to get to my grandparent’s house, was the model for Graehling Station. The list of inspiration could go on…

Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think I do, or at least I don’t try to have a specific style. I find that often times when authors try to go for a certain style or voice, it becomes distracting. I just finished reading the Wayward Pines trilogy. Though the premise was intriguing and there was enough suspense to keep me turning the page, the author’s habit of starting sentences without a subject drove me up the wall. No offense to him, but I was thinking, “They made a T.V. show based on these books. I can write just as well if not better than this guy.” I try to write clean, straightforward prose. My hope is that the “style” or “voice” comes through in the dialogue. This approach sort of goes out the window if you’re writing first person, though.

How did you come up with the title?
Again, this was one of those pure-inspirational moments. Godspeed, Carry My Bullet just came to me. I had this rough idea for a grandiose thriller, and I wanted to have a title that carried some type of urgency and finality to it. To me, it sounded like it had a sense of purpose, even against all odds.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. Godspeed, Carry My Bullet and its sequel are meant to be an allegory of failed partisan politics. Our two-party system has done nothing but divide us as a nation. We fight over issues that will either never be addressed by government or are otherwise not the government’s business to begin with. To me, it just seems like the divisiveness is another method of control that allows elitists to remain in power.

How much of the book is realistic?
As much as humanly possible. The narrative is devoid of fantastic elements like my previous releases, though one might argue that the “link” shared by two characters who are twins is a little out there. Aside from that, I think the biggest critique is how Bobby, the character who is bent on assassination, is able to do the things he does for as long as he does it. My answer would be that the Military Police (the primary law enforcement group in the East) are largely made up of conscripts. Not all of their number have actual police or military backgrounds. And though I don’t go into a lot of detail about how the economy collapses or how the government falls, some readers might balk at my accelerated time line (full collapse by 2009, with the story picking up in 2013). At any rate, I consider fiction to be “good lying.” If you can get the reader to turn the pages and forget he or she is actually reading, then you’ve done your job well.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The plot itself has no basis in personal events, but a good number of the characters are based on coworkers. We had an inside joke where we were characters in a dystopian version of the United States, and I told them that I’d write a book about it.

What books have most influenced your life most?
The Bible, the works of C.S. Lewis, and most recently those of William Lane Craig.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
William Lane Craig.

What book are you reading now?
James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I don’t read a lot of fiction these days, so I’m not up on who’s who.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Godspeed, Carry My Bullet. I also have a completed novel that will stand as the third entry in the Driver series (The Camaro Murders and Lady in Flames). I hope to have that out next year.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
My critique group. For nearly a decade, they have provided so much great feedback and encouragement. I’ve improved as a writer largely because of them. I think every aspiring writer should join a critique group, preferably one that’s been around a while. It’s the fastest way to improve you writing.

What would you like my readers to know?
I really appreciate when readers take the time to leave a thoughtful review. Even if he or she didn’t care for the book, a constructive critique is always insightful.

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