New Zealand’s Romantic Past- Vicky Adin

One of the pleasures of historical fiction is delving deep into time periods you’re fascinated by. Another is learning about things you didn’t know. The shelves are full of tales retelling the US Civil War or the exploits of Edward Longshanks, and that’s fine, but I love finding stories that I don’t know. That’s where Vicky Adin comes in. How much do you know about the founding of New Zealand? Yeah, didn’t think so…..

Vicky Adin is a New Zealand author living on the North Shore of Auckland within walking distance of the beach, the coffee shops and inspiration.

Vicky Adin at home in Auckland NZ
Vicky Adin at home in Auckland NZ

Three words sum up her passion in life: family, history and language. After decades of genealogical research and a life-long love affair with words (she actually enjoyed writing essays at school) she has combined her skills to write poignant novels that weave family and history together, based on real people, with real experiences in a way that makes the past come alive.

Give us the short version, what’s “The Girl From County Clare” about?

It’s the story of Brigid, a talented eighteen-year-old Irish lacemaker, who fled starvation and poverty to seek a better life in Australia, but life didn’t run smoothly in that harsh new landscape either.

Brigid must learn to overcome bias, bigotry and tradition as well as her own fears if she is to survive. She looks to one man for inspiration and protection: a man who, once her champion, soon became her adversary. She gathers those who matter to her most and moves to New Zealand. Gradually, her dreams become reality and tranquility prevails – until the day the man who seeks her downfall finds her.

What intrigues you about this story?

Living in New Zealand, I’ve always held a fascination for the 19th Century pioneers of our country, especially the women. They needed strength of mind as well as body to survive the journey, let alone flourish in the densely bush clad new country they came to. Being a genealogist in love with history, these men and women, and their ancestors, drive my stories.

The Treaty of Waitangi between The Crown and the indigenous Maori was signed in 1840 and only 40 plus years later, New Zealand was still a nation coming to terms with itself, defining what it meant to be a New Zealander and inventing its history as it went. How could I not want to write about such beginnings and the ordinary people who shaped our nation?

As a fellow colonial (albeit the nothern, completely opposite

The Girl from County Clare, part of the Pathfinder Series
The Girl from County Clare, part of the Pathfinder Series

corner of the planet) I agree that there are wonderful stories from around the world no one has heard. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

“Get out of the way, girl,” a man shouted pushing at her. She had no idea in which direction she was being pushed, but it took all her strength to stay on her feet. Above the storm’s turbulence, voices shouted, calling out for people they couldn’t find. Mud oozed underfoot, people lurched and skidded as they tried to escape the confines of the market place. Shrieks and wails rang in her ears – “Help me, God. Help.” Was that her own voice she recognised? – and still the relentless push persisted…

Brigid is caught up in 1887 Brisbane floods – one of the worst experienced. The damage done to the economy, the infrastructure and many families was immense and took a huge toll on the town. Brigid’s thoughts and feelings bring life to the facts of this natural disaster that nearly took her life, but instead gave her strength and hope.

How can we learn more about you and the PathFinder series?

Website –

Facebook –  

Vicky Adin on Linked in –  

Vicky’s Amazon Author Page

The Roaring 20s With Johann Laesecke

There are some fun comparisons between author Johann Laescke and myself. Both of us have written a ton of non-fiction and business stuff before tackling our first novels, both our debut novels take place in the 1920s and have a passing (or more than passing) connection to Hollywood. We tackled the novels partly because our spouses were tired of us talking about it. Also, there is  a high level of smart-ass in what we write. If you enjoyed The Count of the Sahara, you’ll probably dig his work. Figured it was high time to introduce you to him…..

So what’s the Johann Laesecke story?

Writing novels came late in life for me. For a very long time I thought that I could

Author Johann Laesecke wearing a hat frighteningly similar to mine
Author Johann Laesecke wearing a hat frighteningly similar to mine

write a book and must have said it too many times because the love of my life felt she had to tell me to “Stop talking about writing a book and start writing it!” She added a couple more descriptive words that I have left out of the quote, but I immediately recognized her wisdom and her exasperation that was vented at me in the directive. A few years later, after writing or partially writing five novels that I regarded at the time as hopeless failures, my inner muse (named Laure) began relating The Roaring Road storyline to me. Previous writings included business books and research papers, software design process books, training manuals, project proposals and other exciting dustbin trivia. Today, I am writing the third book in The Roaring Road series, and have found that all of those first five hopeless failure novels might yet come to life with a careful application of lessons learned.

Well, having a name for the voice in your head is certainly a start. What’s the series about?

Dan Lindner, a young sheba-chaser and fan of the late film star Wallace Reid is grabbed by thugs and taken to the local mob chief, who threatens him with dire consequences if he doesn’t undertake an unusual mission. Seeing no way out he reluctantly decides to go but his new flapper girlfriend Laure leaves him, thinking he is joining the mob. With his German Shepherd Dog named Raider (aka The Road Trip Dog) Dan begins his journey on the roaring road from his home village of Long Grove Illinois, driving a prototype Duesenberg Model X to the Wine Country of Napa and Sonoma.

Book 1 The Road West is the story of Dan, Laure and Raider’s adventures on their way to California and up to the time they begin their return to Long Grove. The young couple must contend with road bums, prison escapee bank robbers, a corrupt sheriff, Laure’s father who catches up with them, and a gang hired to take Laure back to the Chicago crime boss’s son who has become both enraptured and enraged with her. Dan undertakes to rescue Laure from a rustbucket ship on the rough San Francisco waterfront. Seeking a few days of fun before their return journey from Napa to Chicago, Dan and Laure take a trip to Hollywood, meeting silent era film stars like Douglas Fairbanks, W.C. Fields, Buster Collier, Alice White and Billie Dove. They also make friends with sexy Louise Brooks, who devises a prank that succeeds and delivers major unintended consequences reverberating through the series. Spiced with speakeasy visits and served with Napa wine to make a thrilling road trip tale. “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

OOOOOH, extra points for use of “sheba-chaser.” I know why I enjoy reading about the 20s, but what is it about this time period that you find so fascinating? 

The nation was still recovering from World War I when the Eighteenth Amendment made Prohibition the law of the land and the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote. Young women who had been trapped in the strict social mores of the early 1900s seized their new freedoms and ran with them. Lois Long, flapper and reporter for The New Yorker magazine in 1925 wrote “All we were saying was ‘Tomorrow we may die, so let’s get drunk and make love”. Many of the citizens who publicly wanted Prohibition found that gangsters had stepped in to provide them with the booze they secretly sought. Other factors included the explosion of automobile ownership and road travel in the 1920s, stories from writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the burgeoning popularity of the movies (aka ‘flickers’). Law enforcement struggled to catch up with the wildly profitable organized crime mobs. It was wild times for everyone and I weaved each of these catalysts into the story.

Volume 1 of the Roaring Road Series: The Road West
Volume 1 of the Roaring Road Series: The Road West

I admit to have fallen in love with Dan and Laure. They are young and initially naive but thrown into situations where they learn to respect, trust and rely on each other while becoming best friends and falling in love. But this is not a romance book. It is a hard-edged sexy historical fiction thriller, spiced with mayhem and humor influenced by my exposure to W.C. Fields, Rocky and Bullwinkle and Gary Larson’s The Far Side comics.

Without spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

The event that really begins the adventure and mayhem is when Dan meets Laure. I had a lot of fun writing that scene. Reading it still makes me laugh. There’s another scene related to that, but sorry, no spoilers!

Where can we learn more?

The Roaring Road website: includes the Road Trip Dog Blog.

Twitter: @johannlaesecke

Facebook: Johann C M Laesecke


Amazon Author Page:

Wayne Grant- Robin Hood, Viking Lads and Rampaging Welshmen

I am a sucker for any time period with swords, arrows and buckles being swashed. No big surprise, then, that I really enjoyed Wayne Grant’s “Saga of Roland Inness” series. It takes place during the same time period as Robin Hood, the Third Crusade and various unending wars in Wales.  What’s not to like?

So what’s the Wayne Grant story?

Author Wayne Grant
Author Wayne Grant

I grew up in a small cotton-farming community in Louisiana and escaped the cotton patch by going to West Point.  After graduation, I spent five years in the US Army during the post-Vietnam, Cold War period, stationed in West Germany and later, South Korea.  I later went on to a civilian career in government, including a senior position in the Pentagon during the Reagan years.  I’m retired from that world now and have been writing full time for the past two years.  I live in Raleigh, NC with my wife and have two grown sons.

So what’s the series, and in particular your first entry, “Longbow” about?

Longbow is the first book in a four book series (The Ballad of Roland Inness) that follows fourteen year old Roland Inness as he comes of age in 12th century England, where the Normans maintain a tight grip on their subjects. Roland tries to feed his starving family by poaching a deer on the Earl of Derby’s land, which brings down disaster on his family, as his father is killed by the Earl’s son and Roland is forced to become a fugitive.

Roland manages to elude capture with the aid of a strange monk named Tuck and ultimately finds refuge with a gruff Norman knight.  Sir Roger de Laval recognizes the boy’s skill with a longbow and other qualities that make Roland valuable as a squire.  Roland hates the Normans for killing his father, but comes to recognize through his new master that not all Normans are tyrants.  This is a story about vengeance, but also a tale of courage, and loyalty and family—all played out in a world of violence and intrigue.

I was corrupted early by Errol Flynn (that’s what she said…. sorry couldn’t help myself) what’s your excuse? What is it about that period you find so entertaining?

Longbow actually began fifteen years ago as a serial story for my two young sons.  I had just read a great history of the 3rd Crusade, so when they asked me for a story, I decided to tell them a tale about a boy squire who goes on Crusade.  The battles in the Holy Land and the events back in England are filled with larger-than-life characters (Richard, Saladin, evil Prince John, Queen Eleanor) that have inspired myths and legends ever since.

In a slight departure from historical fiction norms, I’ve incorporated both real and some legendary characters from that time in my story. I did not want to do a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, though Tuck and Robin are characters in my books, and so created my own hero, a young boy descended from the Viking invaders of England who has extraordinary skill with the longbow.

I don’t think it’s much of a departure, I did the same with The Count of the Sashara. It’s fun sometimes when history and pure nonsense mix, and you’ve done a good job.  Without giving away the store, what’s one of your favorite scenes in the book?

Longbow, the first book in the 4-part series.
Longbow, the first book in the 4-part series.

Roland witnesses Sir Roger’s daughter being taken prisoner by Welsh raiders.   Millicent de Laval has not been very kind to the new squire, but Roland knows his duty, and sets out on foot after her.  He uses all of his skill as a woodsman to track the girl and her captors into the wilderness of the Clocaenog forest of northern Wales.

Where can people learn more about you and your books?

You can find my books on my website,

or on Amazon

or on Amazon UK at

or on Goodreads at

What Does It Take to Write Your First Novel? Damned If I Know, But I Talk About it Anyway

I’ve had a couple of requests to share this interview with people. My buddy, Phil Gerbyshak, interviewed me on his video podcast about how to make big changes in your life and tackle challenges like completing your first novel at age 54.

Phil Gerbyshak and I talk about what it takes to take risks in your life, like writing The Count of the Sahara
Phil Gerbyshak and I talk about what it takes to take risks in your life, like writing The Count of the Sahara

Here’s the whole thing on YouTube. I hope you’ll find some inspiration and a little entertainment.

If you’re properly inspired, you can get The Count of the Sahara on Kindle or Paperback from Amazon or direct from my publisher, The Book Folks.

The Count of the Sahara is now available in Kindle format. Also available in paperback from Amazon or direct from the publisher.
The Count of the Sahara is now available in Kindle format. Also available in paperback from Amazon or direct from the publisher.