Welcome, James! It’s good to have you with us this week. I’m excited to learn a little bit about your book, Over My Dead Body. Can you tell us what true event inspired this story?
James: The Keystone Pipeline, meant to carry raw petroleum products from Canada to the Gulf coast of Texas has been in the news frequently over the past three years. In fact, it is still a point of conflict between the Congress and the President.
It became a point of conflict for me several years ago when a Keystone representative informed us that the pipeline would cross our land. Their plan was to clear cut a swath of land one hundred and fifty feet wide and about a third of a mile long across our land. This meant bulldozing down thousands of hundred-foot tall pine trees and forty year-old oak and hickory trees. We argued, fought, resisted. But, the court had issued an eminent domain order giving the private company the right to do just that.
I decided I would write a book touching on the problems of eminent domain usage for private companies. I write murder mysteries for the most part. And as I thought about using the Keystone Pipeline as the backdrop for my novel, several points came to mind. First, I was unaware of any murder associated with the many protests citizens made over Keystone. Second, I did not want to bring in a real company where I might face a legal battle over what I included in the book. And third, I wanted the leeway to put in whatever I wanted to, without casting a shadow over real people and companies.
To my knowledge, Keystone had done nothing illegal. To me, the problem was in the way eminent domain had been subverted over the years. That was a failing of the courts to protect private property rights. I did not want to imply that Keystone had anything to do with that.
So, Over My Dead Body had its genesis from the problem eminent domain had visited on me. But the book would not address my particular interaction with it. The book would be a work of complete fiction.
Over My Dead Body released last week in both paper and Kindle editions. It has received many very favorable reviews, as did the first book in the Father Frank Mysteries, Cleansed by Fire. The pipeline has crossed our land. No one was murdered. Except the trees. The loss of the trees was difficult for my wife and I. But, if one looks on the bright side of things, I have gotten a very good book out of it – the silver lining, you might say.
And that’s the story behind the story.
Liz: Thanks, James! That’s very interesting. With a degree in English, James intended to write. But writing would not support a family. So, he entered a Ph.D. program in the field of mathematics. This led him on a forty-year detour which included serving as a consultant at the Aerospace Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, and the Water Resources Authority for the State of Oklahoma, a fifteen year career at a research center, and twenty years as VP of Technology for a data base company.
Along the way, he received grants from the National Science Foundation, The National Aviation and Space Administration (NASA), and the Data Processing Managers Association. He has been listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science, and Two Thousand Notable Americans.
He has four published non-fiction books and five published mystery/suspense novels. All of his mystery/suspense novels have been released in both print and e-pub editions. Two of those have also been released as audio books. One of the audio books reached number seven on the Books in Motion list. Two of his novels took first place honors in contests.
James and his wife, Earlene, split their time between their home in the middle of a forest in east Texas, and their condo on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
You can contact James at
Callan’s website: www.jamesrcallan.com
Callan’s blog: www.jamesrcallan.com/blog
Callan’s author page on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1eeykvG
And you can buy his books here:
Over My Dead Body – Kindle http://amzn.to/1BmYQ0Q
Over My Dead Body – paperback http://amzn.to/1c81TFJ