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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Mistaken Enemy by Dennis A. Nehamen


About
CONTROVERSIAL
BOLD
COMPELLING

A Story Exploring Both Sides of Fate

Free-lance writer Zach Miller doesn’t mind going the extra mile for a good story, but 7,500 miles is a bit more than he bargained for. Nevertheless, when his closest friend fortuitously points the way to Israel, reluctantly he goes.
In the caldron of intrigue, politics, and terrorism that is the modern Middle East, Zach uncovers a plot—one that potentially threatens the lives of perhaps millions. His problem? There are two sides to every coin, and at least two sides in every war. But in this kind of conflict, information is a commodity, and misinformation, a weapon. Zach might be the unexpected emissary, the man with an answer, but sadly, neither side trusts him. Worse still, both sides will do anything in their power to stop him.
Far from home, in a strange and at times incomprehensible land, Zach has no resources other than his own ingenuity…and a desire to be on the side of truth. That might be too tall an order in an encounter where both combatants are dead certain that there is only one truth: theirs.

Mistaken Enemy, the first of the Zach Miller Stories, is a heart-racing account of hate, revenge and destiny, ultimately testing the boundaries of human love and will.

Interview

Welcome to my blog Dennis.  Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself and your latest book. 

Q:
Tell us about your latest worktitle, genre, etc.  and why you wrote it?
A:
Mistaken Enemy is a thriller, in fact the first of five completed books in the Zach Miller Thriller series. Like all the stories I’ve created into novels, it might sound corny but they appears as gifts that were given to me with an instruction to write them. Mistaken Enemy began with the ending, which of course I’ll refrain from disclosing lest I destroy the amazing reveal. At first I struggled with what to do with the vision I had but then over time it became apparent that while there were innumerable settings for the drama to play out, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the correct choice. With that in place, Zach Miller was born, off and running—and he does run, faster and faster, right into the second book, Insatiable Hate, where the fallout from his role in a plot designed to destroy Israel and parts of America in Mistaken Enemy literally shows up on his doorstep back home.  
Q:
What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?
A:
I’m a forensic psychologist, been practicing for…quite a few years. Many of my characters incorporate traits and personalities derived from clients. Further, owing to the unique career I’ve had, amazing lives have passed through my office, many with truly “thrilling” tales to tell. Some I’ve tweaked more than others but so much is true that I’ve entitled the blog pieces on my website 97% True. So in answer to the question, life is thrilling, the individuals that have introduced themselves to me are thrilling, and their lives have often been thrilling—why not write thrillers?
Q:
What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
A:
While my profession requires a good measure of structure and precision, careful outlining and reporting in the event of having to present answers in a deposition or court hearing, my writing might better be described as free-wheeling—I’m like Al Pacino in Scent of A Woman driving a Ferrari…dead blind. I begin with the image or story line and hit the accelerator. I put on music—lots of favorites like Queen, Moody Blues, Pet Shop Boys, Adele or Brenda Lee…let it flow. Where I get tied up is with words and sentences. There is only one correct word for what you’re trying to say and occasionally it’s a trying task to find it. Thank God for the thesaurus, and even then it can take an hour. If I weren’t so compulsive in that area, I might not interrupt the process as much though I believe the forced breaks serve the purpose of replenishing the creative juices.
Q:
What kind of research was involved?
A:
For Mistaken Enemy, lots. I’ve traveled to Israel so I have a visual map but that was hardly enough. I read several books on Israel, the Palestinian people and the Middle East—Bernard Lewis, Thomas Friedman, Michael Oren to name a few. The first draft of the book was much longer and packed with historical and political material that had to be reduced otherwise I’d be producing a non-fiction book. Still, the process was invaluable—several readers from both sides of the conflict have credited the neutrality of the piece as well as the tone of authenticity from either perspective. Yet the more academic ingredients are subsumed within the key plot such that they don’t interfere with the smooth unfolding of the story.
Q:
How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
A:
That’s a very personal question—I’m laughing. What makes writing so irresistible, in my opinion, is that you can use your characters to do, say, feel, think anything you like. Then, if you are the character, or have the character reflect much of who you are, then it’s a free-for-all, the best of all worlds for you can invent yourself as you see yourself, as you believe others see you, as you would like to see yourself or wish others to see you—in other words, you can have it any way you want, which is the closest to reality in think because in the end we are just creating our own reality as we unwind our lives. Short answer—quite a bit. Zach is me as I am, and me as I’d like to be. Likewise, his relationship with the other characters he interacts with is composed of my realities and fantasies. I’ll just share one point in that regard. If only…his relationship with Kaye Miller, his mother, has the richness and love I could only dream to have shared with my dear mother—who was a wonderful woman but not at all demonstrative with her emotions nor as heroic as Kaye.
Q:
How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
A:
Balance? It’s hardly that. The pendulum drops full weight when I write, as it does alternatively when I deal with my wife and children, and career. I see it more as a contest than an equilibrium. I love my family—I love to create my books. In the end, thankfully, I’ve been able to do both.
Q:
Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
A:
I’d list John Steinbeck for masterful storytelling and character development, Tom Robbins for inventiveness and imagination, and John Fowles for precision of language.
Q:
Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
A:
I’m not sure it’s a story so much as an observation. Examining what I’ve composed to date, I notice a strong voice speaking to fate, destiny and magic. I delight in endings that bring everything together in a way that is least expected yet charming and logical. Most important to me is that there are no “cheats” when the manuscript is complete—no loose ends dangling and no questions left unanswered; every element of the story must have a reason for being there.
Q:
What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
A:
Last year I completed two books in another series, The Murray Broudy Stories. The first is The Making of A Madman, the tale of two college friends, one that in the end goes off on a rampage and the other who insists that he is to be prosecuted for those crimes owing to having not taken action to stop his friend; the second, a story of love healing old wounds. I want to write! I want to write! The “business” of promoting my work is hugely consuming presently to the extent I can’t focus on my next project. I know the demands of marketing will soon pass and what I’m planning is the third Murray Broudy story. I have some ideas where he goes next—after hardship and love, he has to make a splash into the world by doing something for the betterment of mankind.
Q:
Could you share some of your marketing strategies?  Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?
A:
I think of Amazon as a core element to attain exposure, and then key bloggers are a big part of the puzzle. The goal as I see it at first is simply to encourage people to read my work. Then God willing when they appreciate the product, my efforts will be immaterial—it’s a fact that once people find something they like, they delight in sharing what they have discovered with others—word-of-mouth.
Q:
What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
A:
You better absolutely like yourself because you’ll be spending much time alone with…you. Understand that there is a fine line between revising to make a story better and hitting the point of diminishing returns—you can destroy a novel by seeking perfection. I nearly did it with Mistaken Enemy but fortunately after innumerable revisions a writer-friend rapped me on the noggin and said, “Enough.” She was right.
 Again, thanks Dennis for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you and your work.


Good luck with your current and future publications.

Bio:
Dennis A Nehamen was born and raised in Los Angeles. He attended U.C.L.A. After earning his Ph.D. in psychology he began his practice, specializing in forensic and clinical casework. Dennis has served as an expert witness for high-profile legal proceedings and consulted on traumatic situations; he’s also been a guest on numerous media shows. His experience treating criminal and deviant behavior has contributed toward an unusual depth and authenticity in his writing, an adventure into the fictional arena that began almost a decade ago. He’s created screenplays, novels and an award-winning musical. Mistaken Enemy is the first release of his Zach Miller Stories, due in early 2016. Dennis enjoys the outdoors, hiking especially. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and their English Cocker Spaniel dog, Henry Higgins—named after the cranky yet adorable phonetician of My Fair Lady. He has a grown son and daughter.