Following a 40-plus year career as a cardiovascular nurse specialist, Richard Alan Hall took the advice of his wife, Debra, and wrote his first novel, titled Remarkable, which was released in June 2013. This coming Saturday, October 14, 2016, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City, Hall will release his fourth novel, For Better or Worse.
We asked Hall to share some thoughts as he prepares for the next big thing.
Beyond good storytelling, do you have an overarching mission with your writing?
“I think the overall mission is to show, with everyday individuals, how great they can be when faced with what seems to be insurmountable odds. Through these characters, you see the strength of the human spirit and the power of love, and what friends will do for each other when faced with the fact that horrible things happen in life. That’s really the theme of the series.”
What sets the new novel, For Better or Worse, apart from the other novels?
“This particular novel is a battle between good and evil more so than the other novels. After the first novel, my wife said, ‘You don’t think this way, but there needs to be more evil in the book.’”
Can you give us some specific plot points?
“This one takes head-on the drug cartels and how they try to subterfuge pharmaceutical companies. It hits this small town of Big Bay, and the people never saw it coming. The book shows how they reacted to it and how they rallied together, and the friends they called. Part of the intrigue is the fact that this cartel and the pharmaceutical companies have developed a mosquito-borne virus they can use as a threat against a government that won’t cooperate, and only the cartel has the cure.”
How much of that desire to display the enduring strength of the human spirit comes from your years as a critical care nurse and the things you saw people face?
“I’m sure it is completely based on my career. All of these characters are fictitious, but they are an amalgamation of all the people I’ve treated and worked with over the years. But these characters are real to me. I can see their faces and hear their voices.
“The soul of this book is a bar called Poor Joe’s, the community center of Big Bay. The guys upstairs are war vets, Vietnam and Korea, mostly. And I took care of war vets my entire career. I know how they think. I know the pains they hide. I know the face they put to the public and what they reveal behind closed doors, and the alliances and allegiances they have to each other and what they would do for each other without question. That’s where the book’s personalities come from.”
Do you outline your books?
“No, I don’t. I have no idea what’s going to happen. None whatsoever. Even chapter to chapter I don’t know what’s going to happen. I read where Stephen King doesn’t know either. He said he just puts on a seat belt and starts typing. I know what that’s like.”
So we hear you like to go above and beyond with your book launches. What kind of fun can we expect this Saturday?
“Well, you can expect some fantastic music from Miriamm Pico singing, David Chown on keyboard, Charles Lakritz on harmonica and Chris Selby on sax. Maxbauer’s Market and the Shine Cafe will provide the food. There will be plenty of treats, and I’ll read some portions of the book. I’ll give some teases, some spots I think are intriguing, introduce some of the characters. It’s a party — a nice party.”
Book release details: Saturday, October 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Horizon Books, 243 E. Front St., Traverse City, 231.946.7290.
Learn more about Richard Alan Hall and his books at richardalanhall.net.
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