I didn’t originally plan on writing a series. I was going to write one book, and then move on. The more I wrote though, the more I realized I had to much to tell in one novel. I wrote All In, but realized I couldn’t get everything in that I wanted to. I also realized that there was much left unsaid.
Yay our heroes win in the end, but then what? What happens afterwards. I’ve always been interested in afterwards. I went to war with much training. I’ve seen war on TV, and on movies. I had an idea of what was going to happen. Then it ended. We came home. I had no clue what to expect, or how things would be like. How do you turn the switch, and live normally? How do you ignore those few moments of chaos that you survived? Ever since then, I’ve always been interesting in knowing what happens next.
In the first book, my characters went through a tremendous struggle. They weren’t super heroes nor were they super soldiers. They were regular people in irregular situations. They saw themselves through it. They made it. Then I wrote the ending of the book and decided I wasn’t happy with it. I wanted to know what would happen next. What would Warden, Diaz, Marcs, and Madson do now? Would they go to jail? Would they have successful businesses? How would Warden live on a new island? What would he go through on it? What would life be like?
Cash Me Out: Life and Death in Paradise evolved out of that curiosity. Now I had an idea, and I started to write my notes, story line, plot ideas, synopsis, and character’s bio sheet. I actually sat there, and put myself in their shoes. How would I go about this if I were in their shoes? I thought about Diaz, Marcs, and Madson in the US. I knew what their dreams were, and what they wanted to do with their businesses.
With Warden being a non US citizen, and having offshore money with an off shore company? That part was too easy. These guys could have their businesses now. Things worked out great. Diaz went home after book 1, and impressed his parents. He started his company, and they went to work. Marcs went home, and bonded with his family. He always felt distant with his step father, but realized that it wasn’t ill will that kept them apart. It was just hard having an older step son. He and his family enjoys their time now that he is home in Houston with his gym. Madson is living the dream. Surfing, working with surfing material, and being a carefree beach bum.
Having a friend, and a bar and grill on the island also led me to thinking about staff. I had to plot out characters, and their backgrounds. Nicknames, personality traits, and how they would interact. I thought about what other friends could Warden possibly make. Befriending the police isn’t that far of a stretch either. I liked the staff I created as well. I believe I made convincing characters, and tried my hardest not to make your stereotypical bar staff from a local area.
Then there was Warden… That was a tougher nut to crack. What would it be like for him? I thought about it. No family, and no ties. I’m sure the money he was sending would have been looked at in some point of time. I also thought about the amount. 10 million in a mansion? In real life us military members were finding hundreds of millions in palaces. This led to the investigation part of the story. No evidence, so no case right?
I started doing research on Dominica, and realized that there was a university there with many western European, Canadian, and American students. It was also located near the beach town Warden was in. So it was obvious to me that he’d run into some students, or staff members at some point. I also realized that a young man such as himself would most likely develop a love interest. He’s only human, and how could he not with the amount of tourists, and locals visiting his place.
So I worked that into the story. I also wanted to go more into the Economic Citizenship aspect of the country. That’s how I discovered Dominica in the first place. I read how people would buy citizenship to get a passport to travel. The same people who may have a very hard time traveling with their passport of their origin country. Shady characters might use this program as well. I wanted to show that the there are bad people out there, who could try to take advantage of something like that.
So I introduced the Central Asian drug syndicate. I have nothing against Central Asians. I have personally met, and worked with people in Iraq (coalition forces) from Kazakhstan, Georgia, and a few other places in that region. I almost worked in Kyrgyzstan at one point on a US military air base there. I just wanted people from somewhere different. Who are usual bad guys? Communists, Soviets, North Koreans, Chinese, German, Iranian, etc. I thought why beat a dead horse? Good people come from any country, and so do bad people. Why not introduce some characters from places no one has heard about.
The “Stan’s” as they are known, have a diverse population. Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan comprise Central Asia. They’re also former Soviet Republics. Some are finding their Muslim roots, while others are still clinging to vestiges of the old USSR. They may speak different languages, but they all know Russian. They probably all served at one point in the countries military, or in the Russian Army. Now these guys weren’t Russian. I’m not jumping on the anti-Russia band wagon either. They’re as much Russian as English speaking people near the US are American. They’re not. I like Russian people. That’s just the nature of where these people grew up. They may have Asian, Turkic, or European ancestry as well because of how the USSR used to move populations of people around in the past. They could have a mix of all of those ancestries.
So I developed the stories for our heroes, developed the love interest story, and the bad guys. Now I had to put it together. I knew that Warden would be away from his friends, and I had a hard time not putting Madson, Marcs, and Diaz back into the story for the first half of the book. It didn’t make sense to do that, because they moved on with life. So this was going to about Warden for the most part.
And if you read the book, then you will know about the revenge, and what happened. It even surprised me when I had that idea. It’s not your typical twist. It’s usually the other way around. That’s when I was able to reintroduce our old friends, as well as a blast from the past. These guys were all in the Marines together. I thought about it. What would happen in real life? In real life, it would just be sad. But in this special circumstance in a foreign locale? What would these war veterans do? I’m sure anybody in the military has thought similar things in the past when tragedy struck home. I feel like many veterans would have thought of doing the same thing. Who knows, maybe a handful would have done the same!
If you know what happened at the end of the book, I want you to think of what you would have done in the same situation. Could you have done what they did? Could you rush off into the unknown with nothing but your bare fists, and wing it for the rest of the way? If you had any kind of fight or close quarter combat training, would you have done what they did? Could you have pulled it off? Some people might not like how my guys had the element of surprise, and basically came out of nowhere. They took care of business while the people they went up against were probably not ready at all.
I wanted to show that aspect, and I think military veteran’s will recognize the importance of what they did, and how they did it. The element of surprise. Speed, and intensity. Maneuver warfare. Violence of action. Dispatch your enemy as quickly as possible. Do the unexpected. What they did is what anybody in the military would have done in a military situation. They fell back on their training. They were sober, and pissed. They were out to kill.
Oh and another thing. I didn’t read or hear of that Fort Shirley story. It’s a real fort. I just made that Commander story up. I was going to have Warden talk about something else during that moment, but I had a change of mind at the last moment. I wanted them to forget about the awkwardness of what just stopped from happening. I wanted Warden to focus the attention somewhere else. I was going to go with whales in the bay! Then I decided why not talk about the fort? That’s where they had their first real date at. It holds some kind of significance for them. Then I thought of about what he could talk about. He could point it out, but then what? Talk about their date? I started talking about the fort’s creation. I googled it, and found information on a revolt. But nothing else about it. Then I thought about the name. It’s a girls name, and I wondered why. I started to think that a man might have named it after his loved one. Or it was someone’s last name… But I liked the loved one idea. So I typed out the first sentence, and a story just started to form in my mind about a Commander in the 1700’s and his love interest. The story literally was put down as I typed it. I didn’t think it out beforehand, or think about how I wanted it to go or end. I just typed, and let the story lead itself. If that makes any sense….
So there you have it. I had another idea I wanted to get out of the first novel. I thought about what would happen, and introduced old and new characters. I wrote it out as realistically as I thought plausible. I wanted to show how they could move on from the first book, and make new lives with their recently acquired wealth. I think it’s perfect. If you read the novels back to back, you cannot imagine any other way that things could have gone.
Stories over right? Nope. I have another novel in mind. I want to write about the Invasion of Iraq and what our heroes went through. From being asked to volunteer before the war, to heading to Kuwait. Then invading Iraq from Kuwait, and fighting the war. Then coming home. In the first book, they didn’t fight much. I didn’t want to write a war story. I wanted to write a heist story! I didn’t want to drown out all of the other scenes in the book with interesting combat scenes. I wanted it to be a suspenseful action story that just so happened to take part in a combat zone. So I put a few scenes in that let readers know how difficult the situation was for the characters. The next book though? It’s a war story.
I also have several novellas planned for the series. I want to tell side stories of certain characters. I want to take a peak into Ibrahim, or Waleed’s life. What are they up too? What happened to that Commander from Fort Shirley? What was a party trip to Germany like for Parker and Warden? What does Laura’s future look like? So have a few side stories in the works. Some will be from the past, and others will be set in the future.
I love characters, and what they go through. I like to hear what happens to them after the story ends. You usually read something in the epilogue. It’s never enough though. I want to give my audience a more complete look into the characters outside of this story to learn more about them.
I hope I didn’t give out any spoilers. I wanted to give you an idea of how the book came about. Now go read it, so you can see what the heck I’m talking about. If you have already read it? Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed it!!!