One of the cool things about having a publisher such as Black Rose Writing is you come across a metric butt-ton of exciting indie writers. They ain’t all winners, to be sure, but the ones that are worth reading are really solid and I’ve shared a number of them with you in the past. I recently came across Cam Torrens. His work revolves around Tyler Zahn and his work as part of a search and rescue team in the mountains of Colorado.
Let’s start at the beginning. Who are ya?
I’m Cam and I’m a writer. (All together now: Hi Cam!)That’s my newest mantra and sometimes I feel like I have to repeat it over and over among other writers to make myself believe.
I’ve spent most of my life being other things. I’ve always been a voracious reader and usually read over 100 books a year. 2023 is the first year I’ve cracked 150 and about a third of them are from new authors. This has been one of the unexpected benefits of writing with our publisher—I now have 400 instant friends looking for people to read their work. I usually raise my hand; first, because of my love for reading, and second, because I really find joy in giving feedback to new and seasoned writers.
Thirty years (and one month) of my life belonged to the Air Force. I was a transport and refueling pilot for most of my career with additional jobs as a military diplomat at the US Embassy in Beijing, China, and as the Professor of Aerospace Studies at Virginia Tech.
Now I spend my time writing, volunteering on the board at our local library, and working on our county’s Search & Rescue team. Here in little Buena Vista, Colorado, we have 10 fourteen-thousand-foot peaks within a thirty-minute drive and people do the darnedest things while climbing these mountains. Keeps us busy. My wife is an airline pilot (which helps give me time to write) and we have six kids, four adopted from China and Russia.
What’s your book, Stable, about?
My debut novel, Stable, transports the reader into the Colorado Rockies and introduces them to Chaffee County’s renowned mountain Search & Rescue team. A 911 call sends the team on a search for a missing girl in the Collegiate Peaks. They find a child…but not the one they seek. My protagonist, Tyler Zahn can’t get the missing girl he found—and the one he can’t find—out of his mind. Someone in this mountain valley is collecting children, and Zahn is gradually drawn into the case while still trying to break through to his estranged daughter.
That’s the plot…but really the story of Tyler Zahn came from my leadership experiences as a 30-year pilot and commander in the United States Air Force. When I retired, I wanted to be done with making the big decisions involving potentially life-threatening consequences and just focus on family. I’d had enough drama in the desert. Tyler Zahn feels the same way, but quickly discovers he can’t just stand aside and let bad things happen.
While I follow the thriller arc, I like to think I spend most of my time on controversial and current themes such as integrity, judgment and grace, forgiveness, and combat stress. When my readers meet Tyler Zahn, he’s already overcome so much…the loss of his son, the loss of an aircrew in combat, and years of depression. Now that he’s “back,” he just wants to rekindle a relationship with his daughter and lead a normal life. In Stable, I want to show that you can pull the veteran from the battlefield, but it’s hard to quell his or her desire to continue to serve—and the inherent conflict of service before self or family is still there.
It was an exciting book and had some unexpected twists. The story sounds personal to you.
I covered the emotional roots already, but the setting also has a story. One of the first missions I went on as a new SAR member was for a missing 7-year-old girl in the same area I use in Stable. I took a real mission and fictionalized the participants and the outcome. The real-world mission turned out better than the one in Stable.
Who do you read? Share it with the readers…
I go through phases of favorite authors, but most fall into the category of mystery/suspense/thriller. I’m a huge fan of John Sanford, Lee Child, Louise Penny, CJ Box, and Craig Johnson. I’ll also read anything by Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell, Mary Kubica, Riley Sager, Sally Hepworth, or Lianne Moriarty. Michael Koryta is my latest craze. In the last year, I’ve had fun reading AJ McCarthy, Gail Ward Olmsted, and David Shawn Klein. And of course, I loved my first foray into books about a certain werewolf detective.
Aw shucks, thanks. That’s some good company to be in. Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Stable was my debut novel. The second book in the series, False Summit came out last fall. I’ll release #3, Scorched, in August of 2024, and a prequel—Death Spiral–to the series releases in early 2025. I’m working on the fifth novel now. You can follow along with my efforts (and my reading) at www.camtorrens.com . I’m also on Facebook , Goodreads , and Amazon.
Hey, the third (and final) book in the Werewolf PI Series is now available for Pre-Order. Buy it from my publisher and get a 15% discount. Just use the promo code PREORDER2023. It will be available to pre-order on Amazon soon. Use the form on the left side to get on my newsletter and learn more.