I thank Britt for inviting me to write this guest-post as part of introducing The Mountain Place of Knowledge, Book I in my Ancestor Series of adventure-thrillers. In order for readers to get a feel for me, I’m going to say a little bit about my background, how I came to be an author, what “The Mountain” and Book II, The Ice Cap and the Rift, are about, what I’m writing now, and offer short answers to several questions I’ve been recently asked by readers and writers.
SO, ABOUT ME AND HOW I BECAME AN AUTHOR:
Way before taking up the pen, I received graduate degrees from Michigan State University and The American Graduate School of International Management, served as an officer in the USMC, and spent many years in investment banking and finance. Today I live and write on Estero Island, better known as Fort Myers Beach, in an apartment near the water I refer to as “The Writing Rock.” Believe me, it was never my intent to write fiction books. I had dabbled with a novel in my late twenties, and during my career in investment banking I put together many business documents and published several metaphysical articles. But on August 14th, 1998, anchored and living aboard my thirty-foot sailboat, The Shard, in the back-bay off Fort Myers Beach, my habit was to dingy in, get in my car and go about my business. On that day I sat reading in the Fort Myers Beach Public Library when a story involuntarily began surfacing, and it spewed from my pen as fast as I could write. In a year and a half’s time the first draft of the four-book Ancestor Series materialized. Since then, it has been a long road to learning how to effectively edit and enrich a story, and prepare and guide a completed manuscript through the publishing and promotion processes. Along the way I found the need and time to author and publish the trade paperback, Creative Self-Publishing in the World Marketplace.
NOW THE BOOKS:
Although I’ve labeled the books in the Ancestor Series adventure-thrillers, they would fit well in one or more of the other thriller sub-genres: action, suspense or mystery.. BOOK I, The Mountain Place of Knowledge, centers on discovery of a mysterious place of knowledge created by “The Ancestors” 180,000 years ago and located inside a mountaintop in Belize. The plot focuses on two feisty scientists, unable or unwilling to acknowledge they care for each other, who are recruited to investigate the mysterious death of a UN administrator vacationing in Belize. The unfolding adventure turns perilous with the discovery of an ancient Mayan codex, describing the secret entrance to a mountain and unfathomable wonders inside. The two stalwart characters are forced to deal with the encroaching interests of the CIA, a local museum curator afflicted with a case of avarice, and a strange Indian monk sent to assist them. A small force of NATO troops is sent to provide security at the mountain site; a covert attack is feared from major powers intent at any cost to gain possession of what lies inside the mountain.
In BOOK II of the Ancestor Series, The Ice Cap and the Rift: A comboquake rakes the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. A fifteen-mile rift rips open across an Icelandic ice cap, dissecting a huge cavern holding mysterious ancient technology. A UN scientific expedition discovers the cave was occupied 180,000 years ago and contains a perfectly-preserved high-tech habitat and an inter-planetary traveling machine. Deceit and violence manifest as nations and terrorist groups ferret out the existence of the discoveries and mount operations to seize control of the ancient treasures. Lives are expendable in frantic action across oceans and air-lanes, from Iceland to the US, Libya, France, Spain and China.
The STORIES IN THE ANCESTOR SERIES contain scatterings of plausible technological gadgetry, are sprinkled with eastern metaphysical philosophy, and run for readers like raging rivers. Themes of the existence of mythical ancient races, adventure in strange inhospitable environments, discovery of arcane ancient technology and instruments of immense power, encounter with various forms of evil and heedless slaughter, and attraction and growth of a young man and woman sharing experiences of hazardous sojourns are ageless attractions for avid thriller readers. I’ve attempted to make the stories riveting, the characters captivating and real, and to stir the strings of excitement by luring readers into a personal sense of presence in the adventures and their mysteries.
WHAT I’M WRITING NOW:
After returning home to the “Writing Rock” on Fort Myers Beach in July of 2008 from a great conference in New York City called ThrillerFest 2008, I decided to apply my efforts to a new book I’d been taking notes on since 1999. Several authors at the conference liked the “what if” I’d developed to describe the heart of the proposed book, motivating me to put my half completed Book III in the Ancestor Series away for a while. The new book is entitled The Apothecary. It’s about a demented scientist disappearing from a DOD top-secret project along with an inventory of proprietary hi-tech nanites. Eluding his trackers, he produces a line of designer drugs for the Mafia and gains the interest of the North Koreans in the development of the ultimate soldier. When the DOD learns the scientist’s nanite replication process could easily run out of control and lead to a catastrophic event, his capture and containment become a major national security issue.
SOME QUESTIONS I’VE BEEN ASKED LATELY:
Often I’m asked about my favorite books and movies, especially ones that inspired my writing. To boil it down, I learned the most about plot development, concise writing, twists and turns, and character development by reading books in the thriller genre by authors Michael Crichton, Lincoln Childs and Douglas Preston. Outside the genre I favor James Patterson, Patricia Cornwall and Greg Isles, especially for their character development. And then there’s Faldo on Golf —sorry that just slipped in. For movies I like action and intense drama, unique stories that hold my attention and don’t rely heavily on just gory or spectacular special effects. Recent notables that come to mind are Avatar, Blade Runner, Braveheart, Jurassic Park series, Star Wars series, Terminator series, Minority Report, Man on Fire, Paycheck, Predator, Gladiator, The Kingdom, and alas and of course all of James Bond.
After checking out my Facebook profile, several curious readers wanted to know something about the “Writing Rock.” Well, it’s a generic name I’ve given to where I do most of my writing, i.e. Estero Island, better known as Fort Myers Beach, Florida. The name derives from my sense of the island as a place of power; the Seminole Indians were possessors of the land for hundreds of years. I’ll also offer this: During my years of searching for meaning I have become sensitive to “loose spots” in the fabric of reality, power spots that facilitate and foster contemplative clarity and spontaneous imagination. I am at great peace living in such an island environment.
Some readers have asked me if the Ancestor Series is part sci-fi, and if the books were influenced by the Raiders of the Lost Ark books and movies, and why I choose Belize as the setting for Book I, The Mountain Place of Knowledge.To answer, all the books are indeed part sci-fi but within plausible reality — in other words not at all far out, and they were not influenced by any other books unless my subconscious has an agenda beyond my understanding, which I’m sure has to be the case — but which leaves me unaccountable. As far as Belize is concerned as the setting for Book I, it came about from some of the first story pouring out so long ago and that I later cut from the manuscript; the beginning of the first draft of Book I was originally about Myakka, a young girl on her path to becoming a powerful sorceress. I got the name from a river in Southwest Florida. The name sounded Mayan, so I set the first book in Belize because 600 years ago the area supported several powerful city-states.
I hope readers here will enjoy the Ancestor Series books and periodically check at my website on how The Apothecary is coming along. I look forward to any feedback — always looking to sharpen my skills to better entertain avid readers. The following links should help you searching for more info:
My Facebook Page, “Marshall Chamberlain Writes:”
My Website “Weekly E-book Gift” on the Home Page
My Website “Sample Content” Page with Book-trailers and Sample Chapters
Purchase E-books in Multiple Reading-device Formats at Smashword.com:
Book I in the Ancestor Series, The Mountain Place of Knowledge
Book II in the Ancestor Series, The Ice Cap and the Rift
YouTube.com for Book-trailer Videos
Contact Me, Marshall Chamberlain: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers to All,
Thanks so much for stopping by!!