Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"The Target" by Bill Bowen - Author Interview - Book Review

I am very pleased to host Bill Bowen, author of "The Target" today with both an interview and a look at his book. Bill's book was an excellent read that I enjoyed immensely. I jumped at the chance to read this book, as it was written by a Veteran that has a background in intelligence. What better way to give realism to a book than to get it from someone who has experience in the genre he is writing?

The Target is a story about a Veteran who loses his wife in a terrorist bombing and what he does to rectify his loss. At the same time, it also follows the sister of one of those involved in the bombing. It is a moving and powerful story that will appeal to both men and women. The characters are real and the scenario is something that I believe can really happen.

This is a book to put on your must read list as well as an author to watch!

The Target
Author: Bill Bowen
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN: 9781432734824
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Please visit here to find "The Target" in either paperback or e-book.

Author Interview:

What is your book about?

The story line begins with the explosion of a dirty bomb at Union Station in Chicago and leads to a plot by a group of “average” American to detonate a bomb in the Middle East to demonstrate that the combination of terrorism and nuclear weapons is a threat to all society, not just the West.

More broadly, The Target provides multiple points of view – a jihadist, a moderate Muslim woman, a liberal blogger, military veterans, a Catholic priest – about revenge, the killing of civilians, and terrorism in the nuclear age.

Why did you decide to write it?

During the Cold War we and the Russians had enough warheads to destroy each other; deterrence worked. In today’s world the perspective is one-sided and we are waiting for a bomb in a container in New York. I would like the decision makers in Pakistan, Iran, and elsewhere to recognize that they are also threatened by proliferation of nuclear weapons to other countries and terrorist groups.

Do you have a favourite character? Why is s/he your favourite?

I particularly like Aisha al-Rashid, the moderate sister of one of the Union Station bombers. I have a university professor daughter with a Harvard PhD in Islam who helped me shape the character by living with me in Cairo, introducing me to many of her friends, and guiding my reading. Some of the more interesting discussions at book signings have been about Aisha and the moderate Muslim perspective.

The main characters of your stories - do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

The protagonist, Mike Curran, is quite a bit like me but a greater commonality is the most characters are composites of people that I have known. One of the joys of writing is the ability to think back to old friendships or acquaintences and use those as a basis for interesting, complex characters. Some of my friends died young; many led ordinary but interesting lives; some experienced little glimpses of glory. I knew Karl Luedtke and his roots in Ripon, Wisconsin; I know Barbara Ryken, the liberal blogger; and I particularly knew several of the people who influenced Mike Curran’s development.

When I began writing I had too many characters. One important piece of wisdom from my editor, Ed Robertson, was to combine them. They then contain complexities and contradictions, just like real people.

What types of readers will be interested in your book?

The readers skew toward male between the ages of 35 and 70, particularly veterans. However, many women readers like the characters and their wrestling with moral issues. Those who like nonstop action are less interested than those who like to mix education with entertainment.

What is special about your book? What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

From a plot perspective, the tables are turned in that average Americans become the terrorists. The Target is also unusual in that it presents multiple perspectives on political and moral issues rather than only that of the traditional hero. Most readers will find the perspective and actions of a moderate Muslim woman to be particularly enlightening.

Have you published any other books? Do you plan to publish more?

I do publish a weekly blog at www.RightinSanFrancisco.com, but The Target is my first novel. I am currently working on a second which also features “average” Americans, a unique twist on a major issue of the day, and multiple perspectives. At least a couple of the characters will carry over.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?

The premise is that a group of Texans decide to exercise the option to seceed which the Lone Star State was given when it joined the Union. The story will present a range of perspectives about the state of politics and an undercurrent of conspiracy for and against. I plan to publish early in 2012.

And now, for a little fun:

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

Food; water; my wife.

What is one book everyone should read?

Other than The Target, the Bible.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?

Obi Wan Kenobi

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

Mindreading, but I would have to be able to turn it off.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?


One food you would never eat?

Monkey brains, an Indiana Jones staple.

Pet Peeves?

People who feel superior.

Thank you, Bill for sharing this with us and for a great book. I look forward to your new book next year.

About Bill Bowen

Bill Bowen holds degrees in foreign affairs from the United States Air Force Academy and Georgetown University. He has served in military intelligence and in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs … at the intersection of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the President’s National Security Advisor.

Bowen lives in San Francisco with his wife, Sue, where he enjoys the political theater of local and state government and shares his thoughts at www.RightinSanFrancisco.com.

Book was supplied by Outskirts Press for me to honestly review.

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