Let’s meet Jake Patrin from Encounter, a thriller/suspense by Alana Lorens. Welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! Please tell us about Encounter.
Encounter by Alana Lorens
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG (violence, not sex)
Teo Haroun and the other lawyers in his firm look forward in varying degrees to the retreat at the Sherman Ranch in northern New Mexico. The boss has laid down some rules–no phones, no computers, no communication with the outside world–that makes them uneasy. But the corporate team-building exercises are necessary for this firm to survive its inner sniping and turmoil–and to protect the secrets they hold.
Inez Suela and thirty other Mexicans have paid a coyote hundreds of pesos to take them across the border into the United States, where they hope to make a better life. The crowded truck heads north into New Mexico to meet their local driver, the occupants unaware that a freak March snowstorm is waiting in its path.
Jake Patrin, the caretaker of the Ranch, fights demons of his own as he struggles daily with addiction. Working far from the city on the lonely Ranch, hosting those who rent the facility, is his protection and solace. But he’s about to lose the only peace he’s been able to grasp.
Davi Pilar needs to make some fast money to appease a couple of St. Louis loan sharks, so he agrees to pick up a truckload of illegals and take them to St. Louis. He drives to New Mexico, not knowing that Inez, the woman who rejected him years before, is one of those on that truck.
The intersection of these people, the collision of their cultures, the revelation of their secrets–all these things lead to violence, death, and even redemption in their New Mexico Encounter.
When someone dies, we say they “kicked the bucket.” Therefore, a list of things that a person wants to accomplish, places to go, situations to experience, and so on have become known as a “Bucket List.”
Birthplace: King City, California
Profession: manager of the Sherman Ranch
Please provide a physical description of yourself.
What can I say? I’m a broken down old fart. Didn’t take care of myself very well, so I’ve got some pretty painful arthritis, hair’s mostly gray, though parts are still kind of ginger. Got a paunch from eating my feelings since I can’t drink or smoke. But I’m still breathing, and I thank God for that much.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was a trucker for many years, until I had a bad accident. During my recovery from that, I got hooked on drugs, and then slid over into alcohol. I pretty much ruined everything in my life, including my career, my marriage and my family. Fortunately the owners of the Sherman Ranch understood my need for solitude in the alcohol recovery process, and I’ve been able to be sober staying out at the Ranch, minding the guests who rent the place for retreats and gatherings.
Who is the significant other in your life?
For a long time, it was the bottle. Now I stay to myself.
If you haven’t made a bucket list before, perhaps now would be a good time. Who knows? It might inspire another book. While you’re at it, how about telling us about some of your other favorite things? Here are the questions.
What is your birth order?
First…I had a younger brother, but we’ve lost touch over the years.
Tell us about your favorite toy as a child.
I had a couple of metal toy trucks that were my absolute favorites. Played with them until I wore the paint off.
Describe your favorite food and how it’s prepared.
Hey, this is New Mexico–you bet I like chiles, the hotter the better! Put ’em on whatever, tacos, enchiladas, especially smoky chipotle ones.
Tell us about your best friend.
Back when I was trucking, I knew a guy named Frank Roberts–everyone called him Hooter. We ran together a lot, worked for the same companies when we could swing it. We had some great times out on the road together, always trying to find the next weird thing to make us laugh, like, you know, the largest thermometer in the West out in Baker, California or the World’s Largest Cowboy Boots in San Antonio. We even spent a weekend at the Mustang Ranch with a bunch of the prettiest ladies you ever did see….and neither of us ever told our wives.
What are two places you would like to visit before you die, and why?
You know, I spent a lot of time driving across the Great Plains and in the west but never did get into the northeast. I’d loved to have seen Niagara Falls. Never wanted to travel overseas much–I’m kind of a quiet guy, and America is plenty of country for me. Can’t really see myself on a beach, either. Maybe Mount Rushmore again–that avenue with all the state flags waving in the breeze and the presidents on the mountain? The program they do at night really pulls the heartstrings.
Where is a place you would never like to return, and why?
Rehab. It was awful. I didn’t get along with some of the men on the floor, and they made my stay a living hell–short-sheeted my bed, stole from me, raided my food trays. But I stuck it out because I had to get the monkey off my back.
Who is someone you would like to meet, and why?
I’d love to meet my daughter. After my wife left me because of the alcoholism, she took my kid with her. I’ve tried to contact her a few times since then, but all the letters just come back marked refused.
Who is someone you would like to avoid, and why?
Anyone who’s acting irrationally, especially if they’re violent. These kind of people stress me out, and when I get stressed, my addictions dial up.
If you could time travel to any date, what would it be, and what would you do there?
Oh, hell. It I could go back to that night I had my accident, I’d try like hell to avoid it. My life would certainly have turned out very differently. I can’t hardly imagine having a normal family life and family any more, but I sure would like a chance to try.
About Alana Lorens
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
I had to do significant research on the process of transporting Mexican illegals into the United States. The lawyer banter I already had down.
Why did you choose this character for the interview today?
Jake is the heart of this book–even though there are several other narrators–Mexican immigrant Inez Suela, lawyer Teo Haroun, coyote and bad guy Davi Pilar–Jake’s struggles and heroism really drive the forces onward until the end. My family has had its share of alcoholics, so I’m familiar with Jake’s path, trying to recover from addictions started when he took opioids after a bad accident. He’s finally evolved to the point of being just a really good man.
Are any sequels planned for this book?
No, this one is a standalone.
Why should readers who haven’t picked up one of your books before give this one a try?
I worked hard on the characterizations in this book–my others are mostly romance or sci-fi/fantasy and like most genre novels, they have a certain flow and expectation to them. This was something totally new, with a lot of different characters that must interact, and I’m very happy with how it’s turned out.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
I appreciate each and every one of them! If you decide to read this book, please leave me a review at Goodreads or the sales venues so others can see what you thought!
Where to buy Encounter
Alana Lorens Social Media
Alana Lorens always dreamed of being able to handle the drama and intrigue in everyday life. She lives as a post-modern hippie in Asheville, North Carolina, a single mother of her last child of seven, a daughter on the autism spectrum, finding that every day feels a lot like first contact with a new species.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alana-Lorens/e/B005GE0WBC/