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Welcome to It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
I like to explore different genres. I have written novels in the following genres: romantic suspense, mainstream, Young Adult, and thrillers. My novels often combine genres—like in THE WALL. However, they have one thing in common: whatever type of novel I write, I try to make it exciting and entertaining.
Variety and inspiration drive me to the genres I write. My reading taste is like my genre selection. I read everything, from Shakespeare to Dickens to Hemingway to Kazuo Ishiguro to John Grisham, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, and Ken Follett.
What research is required?
Most of my books are based on my own experiences. I’ve been to more than thirty countries, have lived in six of them, and speak four languages. The exotic locations and characters in my books are based on my observations. When necessary, I augment details by doing research on Google or reading journals.
When I wrote Freaking Fast, which mostly takes place fifty years in the future, I relied on journals and magazines I subscribe to—like Quanta and Mensa – and my own imagination.
Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
I learn many things from my characters since I allow them to tell the story. Specifically, to this book, I learned a lot from the character of Alex--in real life.
Alex’s character is based on a real character, also a Prince with the same name. The real Alex stayed in my home for over a year and taught me how to fight with a knife and hand-to-hand combat. Like the Alex in the book, he was also a movie star in Mexico, where he usually played the nasty gringo. He was a soldier of fortune too.
Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
I like to write between 2:00 and 7:00 in the morning when everything is quiet and only Deirdre and, sometimes, the leprechauns keep me company. Although, to be honest, I prefer it when only Deirdre comes—the leprechauns get kind of rowdy sometime.
During the workweek, I roll out of bed between 1:30 and 2:30. I have a quick breakfast and work until 6 or 7 am, shower, get dressed and start teaching at 8. At night, I sleep maybe 2 hours, sometimes 3. In the afternoon, between classes, I sleep one or two more hours. During weekends, I may linger writing and checking emails until later.
It is now precisely 6:02 am on Thursday morning.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I’ve tried different methods of writing throughout the years, from detailed plotting to seat-of-the pants.
I have settled on having a general idea of the book, a solid first line, great characters, a climax (or two) and an end in mind. Once I start writing, I let the characters tell the story. I try to interfere with them as little as possible. I learned that from my years jumping horses in equestrian competitions: the best riders are the ones who interfere the least with their horses. I apply the same principle to the characters in my books.
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
It’s not what is sitting there; it’s who. Deirdre, my muse, is sitting there. She’s red-headed and has green eyes and visits me often. She’s Irish and sometimes brings along a couple of Leprechauns who are a riot.
Anything new coming up from you? What?
I’m halfway through writing another novel with the main characters of THE WALL, a thriller titled GOLDEN, already scheduled for publication in 2022. Someone is trying to kill Alex, and he doesn’t know who—so, he enlists the help of his best friend Thomas and they chase around the world following leads looking for the responsible individual until they finally find who the person is: and it is shocking. You can read the first chapter of GOLDEN at the end of THE WALL.
Do you have a question for our readers?
I have a question for your readers: Do descriptive sex scenes in a novel titillate you or put you off? And why?
DOMINGO JIMENEZ and his wife BLANCA own a small repair shop across the street. Domingo's dream is to move to America as well so that his seven-year-old daughter NANCY can grow up speaking English and having a good education and a better life than he and Blanca had.
When armed gang members invade their neighborhood to demand "protection" money and threaten them with death if they don't pay, Thomas and Domingo's dreams for the future take on a new perspective. They decide to flee the country with their families through Guatemala and Mexico to seek asylum in the United States.
But their journey is more challenging than expected, and they face a myriad of difficulties and must overcome multiple obstacles that put not only their dreams but also their lives at risk.
Read an Excerpt
Domingo didn’t know how long he’d been asleep when the sound of the sputtering engine and the jerking of the trailer woke him up. The trailer was shuddering and shaking back and forth. He sat up and listened as the engine faltered and crackled and finally died.
“I think our truck broke down,” José said with alarm. “I’m going to go check.”
He rose to his feet as if on springs and rushed, jumping over bodies and backpacks, to the front of the trailer and banged loudly on the metal, trying to attract Carlos and Teofimo’s attention.
“Hey, Carlos and Teofimo, what’s happening?”
There was no response for a few moments, and then Carlos answered.
“The truck broke down,” Carlos said. “The Mexican police are coming. Our local contact just called to let us know. We need to go.”
“What? You need to go where?”
“Police are coming, didn’t you hear? We’re running away. We’ll come back for you!”
“Where are we?”
“Where in the hell is that?”
“Close to Mexico City. We gotta go!”
“Wait! Unlock the trailer before you go. We’re trapped in here.”
“We don’t have time. If the Federales catch us, they’ll have to put us in jail for a couple of days. That will delay our trip.”
“Let’s go!” Teofimo screamed at Carlos. “We’re wasting time. We’re going to get caught! Don’t you hear the sirens?”
People in the trailer were awake now and aware of the situation. A group of men took turns trying unsuccessfully to kick open the trailer doors. Women and children were screaming and yelling.
Domingo heard distant sirens getting closer.
A woman shrieked, “We’re all going to suffocate and die in here! There’s no air. We won’t be able to breathe.”
Domingo tapped José on the shoulder to attract his attention as he was still yelling at Carlos and Teofimo to come back and unlock the trailer doors.
“What’s happening here?” he asked. “Is it true what that woman said?”
José took his time to reply as if he was measuring his words and wondering how to respond to Domingo’s question.
“The truck broke down, and our two coyotes ran away,” he finally said in a gloomy voice. “We are surrounded by the Mexican police and trapped inside this trailer without ventilation.” He took a deep breath and exhaled. “That’s what’s happening here, my friend. In other words, we’re fucked.”
About the Author:
Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, Pereda had a successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Qatar, among others.
A member of MENSA, Pereda earned his MBA from Pepperdine University in California. He earned BA degrees in English literature and mathematics at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events.
Pereda lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where he teaches mathematics and English at the Asheville-Buncombe Community College.
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