Archive for February, 2012

Interview: Valerie Bowen, Author of Tormented

I have a great deal of respect for people who do not let negatives in their life define who they become.  I am hugely impressed with Valerie Bowen and her willingness to share her personal experiences in her writing. Her novel, For the Sake of Amelia Tormented, has been an eye-opener for many people.  Her book gives the reader hope; it shows that one can find hope even in the most dire circumstances.

Can you explain why you wrote For the Sake of AmeliaTormented ?

I had a strong desire to make individuals who had been abused realize not all is lost. There is always hope. Although there are few people who have endured the magnitude of abuse the character Amelia had endured, I wanted the message to come across to the reader that your life is not carved in stone. I know Amelia’s character has touched many readers just by the comments alone. My ultimate desire is the For the Sake of Amelia series will help at least one individual escape from a dangerous or deadly situation.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Yes. I have been a victim of abuse basically from the time of birth. Although I have never been brutally whipped like the main character, I felt the need to enlighten the readers about the many emotions that race through a victimized person. The physical and emotional toll abuse takes on a person of abuse is inconceivable to people who have not had to go through that kind of trauma. Many readers have said the emotional descriptions that I allowed the character of Amelia suffered through were so vivid, that if they hadn’t felt the pain in real life they certainly felt Amelia’s.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
The first is titled “Patio Furniture”. In this chapter, Amelia puts Kyle’s love to the test. Amelia is barely five feet tall and Kyle is a six foot six muscular man. In this chapter she insisted on driving him around (she thought he could relax for a change). The way Kyle had to mash himself into the vehicle was quite comical…I must say I had tears running down my face when I was describing this little scene.

The second chapter in Tormented that brought tears to my eyes when I wrote it is titled “Reality Sets In.” Kyle and Amelia return to Colby, Kansas, to the very farm where she had been brutally whipped. Although Amelia isn’t able to go into the barn where she nearly lost her life, Kyle wants to see the actual site. I worked hard on the descriptions of all the barn scenes within the three novels, but for some reason description of the whipping scene in Tormented played heavy because I had to bring Kyle down to his knees and made him fully aware of just how much Amelia suffered. Let me tell you bringing a six foot six muscular man to his knees and make it believable is a task in itself.
Did you learn anything from writing your book?
Writing these novels and discussing them with the beta readers made me realize the words on the paper have to connect the readers to the characters. I have been told by many people who have read the three novels they were sad when they read the last page because they felt as if they lost a few close friends. With every rewrite I did on these novels, I added more realism to the characters. I wanted the reader to believe these characters could be their neighbors; I needed them to relate to not only Amelia but the other characters as well.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is to never give up. Anyone who has the desire to get away from a bad situation has to believe in themselves. They have to realize there are people willing to help them if only they take the first step. To quote myself “With love there is strength;” you just have to love yourself to gain the strength to help yourself.

 Can you name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
I would have to say that if it wasn’t for a man I met on a social network this entire series would have been a pipe dream. This is what happened…I posted one evening that I was signing off to go write. This man that I only knew through a certain game asked me what I was writing. I explained the novel and he requested to read Tormented. After reading he asked me if he could give it to his wife to read. I didn’t think anything of it, as a matter of fact I was kind of stunned that he actually thought it was “a great read”. Once his wife finished reading Tormented she sent my novel to an indie author (at this point in time I had never heard of indie authors). It was that author who mentored me and set me on the road to self-publish the Amelia series.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in For the Sake of AmeliaTormented?

I have read and reread Tormented more times than I care to say, and I still find extremely minor things I could change. As far as if I had to do it all over again…I wouldn’t change a thing.
What are your current projects?
I am currently writing another series titled Mind of a Madman, the first novel in the series Evil Unleashed that brings the reader face to face with a psychotic killer. Although you want to hate him for all the brutality, I make the reader actually feel sorry for the killer. Although as the series progresses and the murders get more and more brutal you’ll find yourself actually hating the man you once felt sorry for. As the main character’s illness progresses, so do his crimes. I am having a great time writing this series, although at times I am so mean and descriptive with the murders I wonder if I’ll get arrested.

Do you have a website where readers can learn more about you?
Readers can go here. I also would like your followers to know I have also written a young adult novel titled Faerie Wishes. In this novel you find Talia, a female faerie who falls in love with a human male (Cayden). She is willing to give up eternity as a faerie to live in the human realm with the man she has fallen in love with. But then she realizes life is far more difficult in the human realm than she had imagined. Cayden has to make a heartbreaking decision to save the woman that he loves more than life.

Please tell readers where one can purchase your novel?
All of my novels are available through AmazonBarnes and NoblesSmashwords and Lulu.

Read more:

Interview: Dr. Allen Malnak, Author of Hitler’s Silver Box

It is with great pleasure I introduce Dr. Allen Malnak. Below is some background information on Dr. Malnak. After learning about him I was compelled to conduct an interview to find out more about his amazing book.
Following his internship and residency, Dr. Malnak served as chief of internal medicine at U.S. Army Hospital, Fort Sill, OK, and then was a clinical investigator in liver disease at Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago. He was a board-certified internist in the Chicago area for more than 35 years. He was a clinical instructor at Chicago Medical School for eight years and an assistant clinical professor at the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University for 25 years. Dr. Malnak was medical director of a number of medical organizations, including Principle Health Care of Illinois and the emergency department of Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital. His interest in the Holocaust was sparked by the fact that his father came to the USA from Lithuania at age 16, leaving behind a large family. All the men, women and children of that family were sent to a death camp by the Nazis and exterminated.
Thank you Nicole for interviewing me on my novel.

Can you explain why you wrote Hitler’s Silver Box?

The project started while taking a local fiction writing course taught by an outstanding novelist and previous short story editor of “The New Yorker,” Hollis Alpert. One of several topics for a short story was “A Silver Box.” Perhaps because my father’s entire Lithuanian family had been murdered by the Nazis, I wrote the story about a concentration camp prisoner who was forced to make a silver box as a birthday present for Hitler.

The teacher suggested it had the making of a novel, and I changed the protagonist to a nephew of the victim and while the silversmith’s experience in the camp is told in his journal, basically the historical thriller is about a search for the box and it’s horrendous contents with the young ER physician going up against present day Nazis, who are willing to torture or kill to get their hands on the silver box, which his uncle was able to bury near Prague as the Second World War was coming to an end some fifty years before the novel begins.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The emergency room scene as well as a road accident scene were based on my personal experience. Also I suffer from claustrophobia in tunnels just like Bruce in the novel. While the scientific information that would result in a worldwide Nazi resurgence is fictional, it’s based on many scientific endeavors actually ongoing during the war that Hitler counted on to eventually help the Nazis win.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why?

My favorite chapter was Chapter 35. It was the climactic chapter, and Bruce was in a very tight spot with the odds stacked against him. Figuring out if there was a way out required a great deal of thought. Bruce was wounded, bleeding, unarmed and trapped in a room against a vicious armed opponent.

The most difficult chapters for me to write were the two that made up Max Bloomberg’s journal. Max is Bruce’s uncle and the silversmith who was forced while a prisoner in Theresienstadt concentration camp to make the silver box. Many aspects of Max’s fight for survival were gut wrenching. The provenance of the silver he had to use almost drove him and me mad.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned a great deal about life in Theresienstadt concentration camp and despite the fact that it was not literally a death camp, prisoners were treated cruelly and often died of starvation as well as many diseases such as Typhus. Many victims were transferred from Theresienstadt, the so-called model concentration camp, to a death camp and murdered.

I also needed to learn a great deal about the art and craft of silversmithing, since the production and vile contents of the silver box was at the heart of the story.

Naturally, as happens with every author of a historical novel, one learns and reviews a great deal more about the era than is ever used in the actual writing. For example, I’ve always been interested in the psychology of Nazi physicians who were involved in a great deal of planning and carrying out of the concentration camp murders, as well as undertaking experiments on prisoners that were more torture than of medical value. I studied more about this topic and even wrote Bruce’s reactions to it, but decided to totally remove it from this novel.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Despite what the world knows about the horrors of Nazi Germany, there still are in many communities of our great nation neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Ku Klux Klan members wanting nothing more than to finish what Hitler couldn’t. Perhaps Hitler’s Silver Box will throw a little light on just how devoted to evil these types are.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My wife was and will always be my main support with her encouragement and love. Second to that are members of local writing groups. Their reactions and feedback is invaluable.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Hitler’s Silver Box?

Probably not.

What are your current projects?

I’m seriously considering a sequel. I purposely left some loose ends to keep the option open.

Do you have a website where readers can learn more about you?

The direct hyperlink to the novel’s trailer is

Please tell readers where one can purchase Hitler’s Silver Box?

The book’s website:,, and many local bookstores.

Dr. Malnak, thank you so much for doing this interview.

Nicole, it was my pleasure. Thank you.