Today, I’m thrilled to post my recent interview with an exciting and engaging new author, Deek Rhew. His new novel, 122 Rules, is not merely exciting, it’s addictive. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down, even when I wanted to – for instance, when I thought the suspense might actually kill me. Now I can’t get it out of my mind – and I’m nagging him for the sequel. If you like the darkness and suspense of a powerful mystery, some breath-taking thrills and chills, and a hint of romance-to-come, you do NOT want to miss 122 Rules.
Read on, discover this intriguing new author, find out more about the book, and check out my 5-star review.
An Interview with Deek Rhew … Author of 122 Rules
Greetings, leader of the Rhewination… oh, wait, that would be your all-knowing, all-powerful tabby cat, Trinity. So… Hi, Deek and thanks for joining me to talk about your new release!
Hi Paula and readers of her awesome blog! Thanks for having me on today!
122 Rules is not only an action-suspense novel, it’s a psychological thriller. It’s clear you’ve done your research on mind control and psychological manipulation. Are there really “122 Rules”? How did you come up with that concept? (And how will I know if you’re using those rules on me in this interview? LOL).
You are feeling sleepy, Paula. Sleeeeeepy. Now go get me the nuclear launch codes, the vault code for Fort Knox, and the secret 11 herbs and spices recipe for KFC extra crispy chicken. LOL!
Okay, here’s the deal: I completely made up all of it. There’s no research, just my own observations. Shakespeare was a people watcher, that was part of what made his work so great. Not saying I write like the great Bard, but I do love watching people. I like seeing how they react to given situations. In a crisis, some people fold and others rise. Sometimes people surprise you, but generally just talking to someone for a few minutes will give you the gist of who they are and what they’re about.
My books have a problem with lack of research. I don’t want to break telling the story for something as trivial as facts, and this has actually gotten me into trouble with one of my editors. She picked apart all the law facts, examining the minutiae of each rule and procedure until I had it just right. So if you learned anything about trial proceedings, you can thank Anya Kagan.
I have spent a ton of time working over the 122 rules, a lot of whom came to me while my mind was wondering about something completely different. I distinctly recall walking to my car after work and coming up with:
Rule #45: Frustrated people do not think clearly.
Rule #46: Angry people do not think rationally.
Rule #47: Furious people do not think at all.
I remember exactly where I was and to this day can envision the dirty road, the flash of guardrail, the bark dust, and the sound of traffic from the nearby highway.
As each rule came to me, I sent myself a text message. I have a “complete” list of rules that I change as the story requires. But once one is added to a story, it’s set. Maybe someday I’ll publish the complete list, but for now it’s a work in progress.
There are more than a few loose ends left in the story, implying a sequel is – or will be – in progress. Am I right about that? If so, do you have a working title, release date or deadline? (If not, I have SEVERAL more questions for you!!)
I finished my edits for 122 in October then immediately began working on edits for Birth of an American Gigolo. Erin and I birthed Birth in January, and it’s pretty much been non-stop marketing since December. I got to finish working on edits on Erin’s new historical fiction book, Restore to Me, a couple of weeks ago, and now that truly amazing book is in the hands of our content editor.
122 Rules – Redemption is the next book in the series, after that is 122 Rules – Revelation. Redemption is 2/3 of the way done, and I know how it ends but haven’t gotten to work on it in months. I’m a little sad about that. I want to draw this storyline to a close, and I really really miss writing. But that’s the life of a working-full-time-to-pay-the-bills-unheard-of-author and all.
Redemption will conclude the story left hanging at the end of 122. In it, Sam is chasing after a mad man and ends up in Monica’s hometown of Alabaster Cove. There, we get to meet a new set of characters, including the introduction of a future love interest for Sam. This relationship develops in Revelation, but things are not what they appear. Sam’s past comes back to haunt him in a really huge way, and things really get dark and gritty for our assassin.
122 Rules also has elements of a political thriller, particularly the existence of ‘The Agency’ – It makes the reader wonder if it’s legitimate, like a “CIA/NSA/DOJ” entity – or a front for something far more sinister. Do you consider yourself a conspiracy theorist, or a healthy political skeptic? Will that be revealed in a future novel?
LOL! I’m not a conspiracy theorist. What I believe is that there is a ton that we citizens don’t know and, for the most part, it’s for the best. I don’t I want to know about the near misses that I can’t do anything about and would keep me up at night.
The government is tasked with the impossible job of keeping us safe. They protect our borders, protect our citizens, protect our economy, protect our information, on and on and on. The number of threats—external and internal—is completely overwhelming, and I believe that there are times that things have to be done that would be less than popular but are still necessary.
Our military does an amazing job. They are out there every day, putting their lives on the line, giving up time with their families, and making sacrifices that make our lives possible. But they are incredibly visible and under heavy scrutiny. There are other agencies that do things that are less visible but still must remain within the boundaries of the law.
Of course I don’t know for sure, but I imagine a small group that does these unpopular-and-unlawful-but-necessary tasks, hence the birth of The Agency.
How did you come up with the “Chet” character, as Sam’s alter ego? (He’s unique and serves the story really well…it’s a very inventive device to reveal Sam’s internal conflicts!)
Thank you! I love Chet. Before my publisher was my publisher, the owner, Zara, was reading my submission. She started to tweet about her first ever book boyfriend, Chet. Seriously, that is beyond cool.
I don’t really recall the first time I met Chet. I do remember Sam mulling things over and arguing with himself, and at some point, Chet just emerged. His evolution is really pretty similar to the way it’s described in the story. Since I don’t try and force my stories any one direction, and I can’t make my characters do something—they dictate to me—Chet has always existed. I just didn’t know it until he told me.
I think one of the things that I love about him is that he simply can’t be buffaloed. He has access to all of Sam’s thoughts and feelings, thus he can accurately sling poo at Sam if he needs it slung. And sling it he does.
I also really dig that he gives us a little comic relief. I love love love a good sarcastic character, and Chet fits that bill nicely.
Now for the predictable question: What inspired you to write 122 Rules? Do you remember when and where the idea first came to you?
I tried writing before but got lost during the storytelling process, and the books died. This time around, I didn’t have an inspiration per say; I had that flash, that vision. At o-dark 30 in the morning, on my way to work one day, a scene popped into my head. It was so startling and so vivid I couldn’t ignore it. So I pulled over into a dark alley and typed the scene out on my phone. After that, the story just unfolded and took a life of its own. I realized all to quickly that I’m merely a transcriber for my characters!
I’m a bit of a rabbit trail follower. In the middle of writing 122, a side story of a woman and her cheating husband emerged. Even at the time, I knew I’d have to pull it because it didn’t fit, but Lindsey is a bit forceful and would not rest until her tale had been told. This became Birth of an American Gigolo, which we published this last January.
Who do you write for — in other words, who is your “ideal reader,” and what do you hope they take away from writing? Marketing wisdom says every reader has a need that the writer seeks to satisfy. What distinguishes you in terms of meeting those needs?
My Ideal Reader is my bride, Erin Rhew. When I’m writing raw content, the characters are dictating their stories to me. But during edits and rewrites, Erin is the one I think about. What would be her reaction to saying something this way? Would she like the way Chet is razzing Sam here? When she’s reading my stories, the happiest times for me as an author are when I make her laugh. I so totally love those moments. Actually, my happiest times are when she laughs. I love the sound of it.
What I want her to take away from my writing is just plain satisfaction. I want her to feel like she’s met new people and gone on an adventure. My stories simply aren’t any deeper than that. There’s no morals or other underlying message.
Are there any contemporary or classic authors who have inspired your writing style or genre(s) of choice?
Erin Rhew is my biggest inspiration and hands down my fav author of all time! We joke that I loved her writing so much I had to marry the author. 🙂
Other than my bride, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Nelson DeMille. You will see each of these gents’ influences in my writing.
Mr. King could write the danged phone book, and it would be an awesome tale. He’s one of the most brilliant storytellers of all time. IMHO.
Mr. Koontz is an amazing storyteller, but what he does is create incredible characters that you think about long after you’ve closed the cover. Christopher Snow is easily my favorite character of any book ever. Dean also has an elegant, beautiful writing style and description capability that I could only dream of matching.
Mr. DeMille weaves these intricate action plots with humorous but serious characters. If you’ve ever read the John Corey novels, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. John is tough and complicated and funny.
Are you a plotter or a pantster? Do you outline some, extensively, or not at all?
Pantster all the way! I don’t come up with the stories, characters, so forth per say. It’s more like they find me. In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he talks about how stories are found things. He describes it like this:
You’re walking in the desert and you find the tip of something sticking out of the ground. You uncover it a little and see that there is more buried deeper in the soil. You dig and dig uncovering more, discovering the object’s details. You brush away sand revealing intricacies and fine lines. Eventually you have revealed all there is to reveal.
The thing you first find is an idea. A question. Erin and I talk all the time, and sometimes out of those conversations come questions or situations. What-if’s. What if this? What would happen if that? So we explore that. Sometimes, there’s not much there, and we cast it aside. But other times, we find there’s something significant buried in the sand.
I don’t work from an outline. I just start with the idea and see where it leads. Usually I’m as surprised by what happens in the story as my readers!
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Edit, edit, and even when you think it’s perfect, edit some more! Erin says this all the time, and she’s dead right.
Having made it through the debut novel phase – quite successfully, I might add – what advice do you have for those of us who are still in the terrified phase of their own first novel?
I think that the best advice I can give is what I put in my dedication page of 122:
For the tenacious: Never give up.
Erin and I have “Tenacious” tattooed on our wrists. It takes someone with some serious fortitude to get hit and hit and hit and keep on getting back up. It’s because of our tenacity that we’re together, and it’s because of our tenacity that our books got published.
Thanks so much, Deek – I absolutely loved the book and can’t wait for the sequel. With your writing talent and your soulmate, Erin, ou have a bright future ahead!
Thank you SO much for hosting me today, Paula. I’ve had the best time!
Also from Deek … Here’s a bit more about 122 Rules!
In his black and white world, Sam Bradford–former Marine turned government assassin–finally sees a speck of grey. He has always followed orders without question, but his latest assignment threatens to disrupt the precision of his universe and may either severe or redeem his last remaining sliver of humanity.
Using his mastery of the 122 Rules of Psychology, Sam hunts down everyone The Agency sends him to find and eliminates them. Just as he has his rifle scope focused on his latest victim, Monica Sable, a SoCal girl entangled with the mob, his long-dormant conscience reappears for a final performance…one last ditch effort to save the sinking ship of Sam’s soul. He’s killed innocents before, but tarries on pulling the trigger this time.
When Monica escapes his crosshairs and fumbles her way across the country in a pathetic attempt to elude capture, Sam gives chase. But he’s not the only one after her. Ruthless henchmen, hired by the mob, froth like bloodhounds and nip at Monica’s heels. Now Sam is faced with a choice: turn his back on the rules and jeopardize his way of life by helping her or join the pack and rip her to shreds.
What are readers saying?
122 Rules is a fast-paced thrill-ride, filled with rich characters living in an expertly woven world of mystery and suspense. Deek Rhew’s debut novel will take readers by storm, and keep them coming back for sequels.
~Michelle K. Pickett, Bestselling and award-winning author of PODs and Unspeakable.
The perfect, fast-paced novel for fans of kick-butt heroines, creepy killers, and getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. An absolute must-read!
Visit the 122 Rules Web Page
122 Rules, by the relatively new and very promising author Deek Rhew, is a fast-paced, action-packed mystery-thriller that’s so full of twists and turns it just may make you desperate enough to read ahead. This book was absolutely riveting – a political thriller, a psychological thriller, a mystery, and so much more. Twists and turns? Plenty of them! Intriguing, complex well-developed characters? Every one of them. It’s clever, edgy, unique and unexpected.
I was looking for something new – a break from the traditional romantic-suspense that fills my TBR list. I found it in 122 Rules. It’s not merely exciting, it’s addictive. I couldn’t put it down, even when I wanted to (for instance, when I thought the suspense might actually kill me).
Now, nearly two weeks later, I still can’t get this riveting story out of my mind. It left me with almost as many questions as answers. The author’s skillful story-telling rivals some of the most highly acclaimed, best-selling mystery-thriller authors in contemporary fiction. Take my word for it, you’ll be tempted to check out the ending simply to spare yourself the gripping anxiety and get some of your questions answered. But don’t give in to the urge to cheat. just sit back and enjoy this captivating thrill-ride. I promise you it’s totally worth it.
If you like the darkness and suspense of a powerful mystery, some heart-pounding, breath-taking thrills and chills, and a hint of a potentially explosive love story yet to come, you do NOT want to miss 122 Rules. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel.
Buy 122 Rules…
Deek lives in a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest with the stunning YA author bride, Erin Rhew, and their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.
He and Erin love to share books by reading aloud to one another. In addition, they enjoy spending time with friends, running, boxing, lifting weights, and exploring the little town–with antique shops and bakeries–they call home.
Connect with Deek!
For the latest and greatest, visit his web page: