When I was a kid, I invented stories in my head all the time. I used to make up lies about myself to my friends! I transferred this tendency to writing short stories beginning about the age of twelve or thirteen. I remember writing a parody of the first James Bond movie I had seen: "Goldfinger." Probably I was afraid of having an ordinary life. As a teenager, I dreamed of either being a drummer in a rock band or being a best-selling author of popular fiction. Instead, I became a CPA and hospital administrator. My younger brother, author Stephen Wetta, was wiser and spent his career writing and teaching.
The first answer is "suspense/thriller." My stories will always have romance and steam and strong female characters. I want to grab anyone who will read! Finding readers is more of a challenge these days than it should be. Writing must be engaging. It has to compete with stories told in video games or in movies streaming over Netflix. The words of a book have to stimulate the senses like those media do.
Very true indeed! How many books have you published and which is your favorite?
(Smiling.) I have only published The Z Redemption and a short story using one of its characters. That story is "Awakening from the Golden Sleep," and it is set in Mazatlán, México during the 1980s. Next month will be published my new novel, Corvette Nightfire, set in Las Vegas, Barbados, and northern Mexico. The latter novel was a lot of fun to write. I exchanged story ideas with the editor, Robert Selfe, throughout. A climactic scene takes place with young Corvette Nightfire at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Since Robert is a poker player, he came up with the hands described during some of the dramatic scenes. I really enjoyed working with him.
Let's talk about your novel, The Z Redemption, with 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. It deals with kidnappings in Mexico and the drug cartel. You lived in Mexico and had a traumatic experience - how did the writing of the novel help you deal with your pain during that period?
I had not had the kind of life where any of my friends had been kidnapped from their job, tortured and killed. My friend Israel was 26 or 27 years old when this happened to him. I found out by reading the newspaper and seeing a picture of his body in an abandoned vacant lot. I kept thinking how alone he must have felt when it was happening to him. I loved the people I met and got to know in Monterrey. I wanted to tell their story. In order to write about my friend Israel's death, I told the story through the eyes of a fictional best friend and other people to show the horror in a reflected way. The story moves in a positive direction through dark events. The ordinary people in Monterrey at that time dealt with life in extraordinary ways. They were, and are, true heroes.
My character, Ana Valdez, uses that as a rallying slogan in the victims' rights and peace movements that she leads in Mexico. She is addressing ordinary people who have had to bear pain that no one wants to think about. They are heroes for the courage that they have shown, but Ana insists that more than that is required. Heroes must lead. Many people in leadership positions are not leaders and not heroes. We are all human. Sometimes our leaders fail us. My heroes are ordinary people who show courage even when they are afraid. I especially admire ordinary people who discover that they are leaders.
Okay, Andrea, you get the scoop! Here is what the rear cover of the paperback version will say to describe the story:
"Can Just One Dance Change Destiny?
As Corvette Nightfire approaches the casino in Las Vegas, the doors burst open to the sound of gunfire. A beautiful woman rushes to him and thrusts a heavy bag into his arms. Instructing him in Spanish, which he doesn't understand, she runs past him to a waiting car. A professional poker player in town to play in the Final Nine in the World Series of Poker, Corvette soon discovers that he is inexorably connected to Valentina, this exotic woman who has just put his life into a tailspin. He disappears into a vortex of international intrigues, a complex world of ordinary heroes and heinous cartel thugs, in a desperate race to find and rescue her.
They cannot speak each other's languages, but on the romantic evening on which they meet, Valentina tells her story through dance images. She becomes an animal spirit, an amber-eyed black jaguar that Corvette must ride to find the woman he inexplicably loves. His heart reveals that the millions of dollars in prize money in the tournament mean nothing compared to Valentina’s life. Not understanding what is guiding him through the vortex, Corvette comes to an unexpected destiny, one of reconciliation to generations of family sins.
A suspense-thriller, Corvette Nightfire takes up where The Z Redemption leaves off and straps the reader into another bumpy, exhilarating ride!"
My previous answers may have given me away, but I am hopelessly romantic and optimistic! I believe that in our darkest times, there is positive energy that we can grab to move us in the right direction even if our feelings have not caught up with our forward motion. The miracles that we witness in life all can be traced back to love. Physicists continue to search for the "unifying force." If we open our eyes we can see it. I describe it this way: Love is the ultimate healing force.
Robert Selfe and I this year are going to collaborate on the third novel that has some of these characters. After that, I would like to write one novel a year, always striving to juice the adrenalin in any reader who would get into one of my books!
Now that you've teased us enough about your writing, please let us know where we can find more about you and your books!
It's easy: Visit all the pages of my website on www.danielwetta.com. There is a lot there to enjoy, plus contact information for me, and instructions how to obtain the novels. I put a lot into making the website topical and fun.
Thanks, Daniel, it has been a pleasure welcoming you today! Good luck with your novels and keep on writing!