tactical nuclear weapon has gone missing somewhere
in the Middle East and is thought to have been smuggled
into the United States by a small group of Iranian
terrorists intent on chaos and destruction. The target?
Unknown, but the FBI’s local director is convinced
that it’s the Sequoya nuclear plant and that
the clock is ticking. Convinced that the threat is
real and that his only link to the terrorists is Harry
Starke’s nemesis, Shady Tree, he turns to Harry
for help. But Harry has demons of his own to deal
with, and the hunt for Tree quickly turns into a race
against time. Apocalypse is the 13th
standalone novel in a series
of hard-boiled thrillers. If you like tough-as-nails
heroes and twists you won’t see coming, then
you’ll love Blair Howard’s
latest gritty, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Blair Howard
is author of more than 40 books and more than 4,500
magazine, newspaper, and web articles. For seven long
and dreadful years, I ran the Golf Travel channel
for the New York Times company, and I continued to
do so, even after the NYT sold the company in 2013,
for 3 more years – 10 in all. My work has appeared
in many national and international publications, including
Delta’s Sky Magazine, PHOTOgraphic magazine,
The Mail on Sunday, The Walking Magazine, Petersen’s
Hunting Magazine, The Boston Herald, The Detroit Free-Press,
The Anchorage Times and many more.
Lowe: How did you began writing?
Howard: I was a journalist for a great many
years, eight of them for the new York Times company,
but I’ve always wanted to write fiction but
never could find enough time. I made several starts
– short stories, one of which became my sixth
Harry Starke Novel, Family Matters
– but it wasn’t until 2015 that I
began writing fiction in earnest. Harry Starke Book
1 was completed in September that year.
What is the takeaway to Apocalypse,
and the inspiration for it?
Apocalypse is a thriller rather than a crime/mystery
novel, and it’s the latest book in the Harry
Starke series having been published only six weeks
six weeks ago. It’s the result of a half dozen
or so comments in reviews that stated that, “Harry
Starke is no Jack Reacher.” Of course he’s
not; he never was meant to be. He’s a detective,
and a damn good one, or so his fans tell me across
more than 6,000 four and five-star reviews on Amazon
and Goodreads. I never take negative reviews personally
– you either like the stories or you don’t
- but those comments started my juices flowing. “If
you want Jack Reacher,” I thought, “I
can do that,” and I did, and quite successfully
too judging by the reviews: 115 so far at 4.8-star
average on Amazon alone; even more on Goodreads.
Why Indie and not a major publisher? Creative control?
Over a period of twenty years, I had three
different traditional publishers for 24 of my books.
After each initial book launch, they promptly forgot
about them and they ceased to sell. Now, as an Indie,
I sell more books in month than I did in two years
with a traditional publisher. I write the books, employ
a professional editor, book cover designer, audio
narrator (Tom Lennon) and I do my own marketing.
Since I went Indie, I’ve sold almost 200,000
copies of my books (ebooks and paperbacks), including
more than 6,500 audio books. I think I’m doing
fine on my own.
thoughts on the writing and marketing process?
I do all of my own marketing and promoting.
In fact, I spend almost as much time marketing as
I do writing. I’m like the “My Pillow
Guy” for my books.
Anecdotes about fans of Harry?
Anecdotes? I don’t know. What amazes
me most is that so many of Harry’s fans think
he’s a real person. Now that’s a complement
any writer would be proud to receive. I know I am.
What's next for you?
I’ll continue to write Harry Starke
novels, and of course I’ll continue to add to
the spinoff series, The Lt. Kate Gazzara Novels. One
day, I may even try my hand at SciFi, or even a spy
thriller. Who knows? I do know that I’ll continue
to write until I am no longer physically able, and
I hope Tom Lennon will continue to narrate the Harry
Starke audio books. He is the audio Harry Starke;
he does a great job.