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Tag Archives: Byzantine Gold

Byzantine Gold

Romance Lives
Forever welcomes Chris Karlsen back to the blog for an article on writing romantic
suspense books as a retired detective.
When I retired after
twenty-five years in law enforcement, I thought I was pretty much done with all
things police related, other than watching a couple of shows on television. I could
finally write the romance story I’d had in my head for three decades. Since it was
a romance and not a thriller or mystery, it never occurred to me that I’d wind up
applying skills directly and indirectly learned conducting investigations. How wrong
I was.
My first two books,
Heroes Live Forever, and Journey in Time, were part of a paranormal series. Heroes
had a reincarnation aspect to the story. The hero and his best friend are aware
of what is happening when they enter into the experience. The heroine has no memory
of her previous life and connection to the hero. In order to convince her that the
outrageous tale he tells is true, as I wrote the scene, I put him across the interview
table from me. I mentally returned to my detective time. I asked myself what questions
would I ask a victim/witness/suspect. What answers would they need to give me to
convince me they were telling the truth? To convince the heroine, they had to convince
me first. If I believed it, I could make it believable on the page.
By the time I started
Journey in Time, I knew I wasn’t done with my police experience. This story required
knowledge of evidence, along with another exchange involving an outrageous tale
to convert a doubter to a believer. In this story a modern couple has been transported
back to Fourteenth Century England, an England
preparing for war with France.
The hero in this book is the best friend from the first novel. He is a product of
reincarnation. He has lived in this time and place before, and retains his memories
from the period. The heroine is a modern London
attorney who has been caught in the time portal with the hero. This time it is his
turn to sit across the interview table in my mental interrogation room. I put myself
in her place and questioned him relentlessly. I searched for the answers I needed
him to give to make me believe that I am indeed part of a terrible and dangerous
situation with no clue how it happened or how to return to the modern world. Unless
they find a way out, he will die in battle. History cannot be changed, including
his death. She would be alone in the alien medieval world.
In that story, there’s
a scene where the king orders the heroine to stay as a “guest” of a wool merchant,
who’s a favorite of the queen. It turns out the man is a vicious brute who attempts
to sexually assault her. She fights off the initial assault but is badly beaten
in the process. The hero locates her and brings her back to court and the wool merchant
back to stand trial. The merchant falsely accuses her of a crime. His testimony
is nothing but lies in an effort to defend the beating he gave her. The heroine
must present her side of the case before the king and entire court. I used my experience
testifying in criminal trials and had the heroine ask the questions a prosecutor
would’ve asked me or the defendant. I had the heroine use evidence that I’d use,
if this had been my case to present to a judge or jury. Lacking the technical equipment
and scientific means we have at our fingertips today, I relied on the most obvious
physical evidence available that could be seen and touched. I didn’t want the trial
to be an easy time for her. In my head, I laid out the crime scene and visualized
what she could take from there back to court. I went over the scene again and again,
like a detective does looking for anything I might’ve missed.
My last two books, Golden
Chariot and Byzantine Gold, are from a different series. They’re romantic thrillers.
Golden Chariot involves the murder of a Turkish government agent, artifact smuggling,
and the kidnapping of the heroine, a nautical archaeologist. She has a loose connection
to a private collector who purchases looted relics on the Black Market. The Turkish
agent sent to investigate the first agent’s murder must also investigate the heroine
further. Between my detective background and my research, I was able to put together
enough of the foreign legal process to make the investigation relatively accurate.
It should be noted that much is different with regards to due process and the judiciary
system. I was also able to use the heroine’s ignorance of how a foreign agency employs
due process to create a great deal of fear in her.
Toward the end of the
story, she is kidnapped and taken to a contract killer’s compound. I had a very
basic, I stress very basic, idea of the tactics needed to extract her. Here my background
came in handy but not as a result of my personal experience but with who I knew.
I had a friend who headed up a SWAT team for a major city. He was also in the Marine
Corps Reserves. After the invasion of Iraq,
he was deployed to both Baghdad
and Fallujah. His job was to teach young Marines urban crisis entry. He had retired
from both the police department and the military when I was writing Golden Chariot.
I called upon him to help me with the tactics, including the use of explosives and
how the extraction team would deploy once they gained entry into the compound. Phone
calls, emails, and drafts went back and forth. He was a great help and I was and
am incredibly grateful for his patience and assistance.
Byzantine Gold involves
the contract killer from Golden Chariot, in addition to a terrorist cell. The killer
is hunting the hero, bent on revenge. In a scene early in the story, he plans to
shoot the hero. I fired several different types of weapons over my career. I was
able to use my knowledge of range capacity, in addition to types of weapons the
killer might employ build that scene. I also used my experience in a later scene
involving a sniper type attack.
In the end of Byzantine
Gold, there’s a tactical operation where the terrorists are involved. As I mentioned,
my tactical knowledge is limited. But once again, I was able to call upon a friend
who is more than a friend, I asked my husband. He spent three years in the military
and thirty-one in law enforcement. While we sat in a hotel bar in Chicago, he helped me lay
out the schematics for the operation on cocktail napkins. While I was talking about
terrorists and how they’d approach, I noticed the man next to me giving me a rather
strange look. I half expected Homeland Security or the FBI or someone from one of
the alphabet agencies to rush into the bar and drag me off for questioning. I quickly
inserted a code word for terrorist.
In conclusion, I can
only say that when I began writing, I was firm in my conviction that in no way would
I relive my career through my characters. I did not want to write cop stories. I
love to read them and have several favorite authors who write fantastic ones. They
weren’t for me. I laugh now as I see in every story a part of the last twenty-five
years coming through my character’s lives. Fortunately, it has been to our mutual
benefit.

About the Author

Chris Karlsen
I was born and
raised in Chicago.
My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader.
I grew up with a love of history and books.
My parents also
love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I
read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated
me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near
East, and North Africa.
I am a retired
police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two
different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired,
I decided to pursue that dream.
I currently live in
the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four
rescue dogs and a rescue horse.
I’m close to finishing the first draft of book 3 in my Knights in Time
series. After that, I hope to start book 3 in my Dangerous Waters series, which
the series Golden Chariot and Byzantine Gold are from.

Previous Books

Heroes Live Forever
(book 1 in Knights in Time series)
Journey in Time
(book 2 in Knights in Time series)
Golden Chariot
(book 1 in Dangerous Waters series)

Books Coming Soon

Knight Blindness
(Knights in Time series)

Find Me Here

Byzantine Gold
Chris Karlsen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We’re excited
to interview your character, Charlotte
Dashiell from the book, Byzantine Gold.
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Cover artist: Elaina Lee at For the Muse Design
Length: 72K words
Heat rating: 4
Tagline: A Turkish agent and an American archaeologist find themselves
in the crosshairs of dangerous enemies in this undersea thriller.
Blurb:
A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo
of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable
cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery
team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics
will buy them additional weapons.
Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover,
Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery
team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught
in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge.
Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is
a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal–seeing them both dead.
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Charlotte Dashiell, 30,
nautical archaeologist
Atakan Vadim, 38, Agent
for the Turkish Ministry of Culture
Maksym Tischenko, 40,
contract killer
Darav Binici, 27, PKK terrorist

Interview with Charlotte Dashiell

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a nautical archaeologist
who recently received my PHD in the subject. While working on my doctorate, I met
Atakan. We were dive partners last year on the recovery team of a Bronze Age ship
wrecked off the coast of Turkey.
I had a controversial theory regarding the Trojan War and hoped the ship carried
the proof of that theory.
I come from a family
of police officers. My father was a Chicago policeman,
my step mother was a policewoman in Chicago
and my brother is a SWAT team member for Chicago P.D. My mother is a housewife and
remarried to a wealthy businessman.
I currently live in Istanbul with Atakan. Our next
project is a Byzantine shipwreck off the coast of Cyprus.
When the dive season
ends, I’m employed at a lab in Istanbul
where I work on the preservation of artifacts, which includes cleaning, identifying,
tagging and cataloging.
Atakan and I share a
love of history, like to travel and enjoy skiing and water sports.
Tell us about Atakan Vadim.
He’s also an archaeologist
and is an agent for the government. He works in the Ministry of Culture. His job
is to oversee the legitimate archaeological sites and make sure the artifacts are
processed safely and correctly. Site preservation and safety is part of the job
in addition to proper handling of relics. When not in the field, he monitors smuggling
operations and persons or groups involved in the illegal sale of artifacts to the
Black Market.
He is 38, the consummate
professional in his job and very reserved. People tend to see him as always serious
and perhaps a bit cold, but to those who know him, we see his humorous side and
he does have a wicked sense of humor.
Although we live in Istanbul now, he grew up in the southwestern part of Turkey, in the Izmir area. His mother tends to orchards on their
land. His father is retired military. Like me, he’s close to his family but doesn’t
get to see them often due to his job and the fact they live several hours away as
does his married sister and her family.
He is one of the most
honorable men I’ve ever met with an unshakeable code of ethics.
He’s also a pretty darn
good cook.
What do you think is your strongest point?
My intelligence.
What would Atakan say is your strongest point?
I imagine he’s likely
to say my love for him. I’d agree with that, but I suspect, knowing how reserved
he is, he’ll say my determination.
What would Atakan say is your biggest weakness?
I’m too secretive at
times.
What was it like where you grew up?
I grew up in Chicago on the northwest side.
I love that city. It has everything: great restaurants, theatre, fabulous museums,
fun to watch sports teams, friendly people, and the best skyline anywhere.
When my parents were
still married, we lived in a brick bungalow typical for Chicago in a lovely neighborhood with nice lawns
and good sidewalks for riding our bikes. We had a smallish fenced backyard with
a fancy BBQ because my dad liked to grill and a colorful flower bed for my mom.
We always had dogs adopted from the shelter. The smaller ones slept with me, the
bigger ones slept with my brother, Nick.
My parents divorced when
I was a teenager. Then, I split time between my dad’s house in the city and my mom
and step father’s in the suburbs.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I’m pretty happy but
if I had to change one thing, it would be for Atakan’s mother to like me.
If you were given your fondest wish, what would it be?
I think this is where
I should say world peace but I’m going to wish for an end to the extinction of animals
everywhere and an end to the slaughter of elephants and rhinos etc. for their ivory
and horns.
Describe a place of perfect refuge.
Home–our place in Istanbul. We have a covered,
half-moon shaped patio with a view of the Bosphorus. When the weather is warm, we
like to sit there with a glass of wine and watch the ferries cross the Strait. Some
of the private boats coming and going are stunning to see. They’re sleek and elegant
as they skim along the water. You’d think working wrecks I’d get my fill of looking
out over water but I don’t. I love the sea.

About the Author

Chris Karlsen

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and
my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and
books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me.
I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time
periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout
Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in
law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early
teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest
with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.
I’m close to
finishing the first draft of book 3 in my Knights in Time series. After that, I
hope to start book 3 in my Dangerous Waters series, which the series Golden
Chariot and Byzantine Gold are from.

Contest

The history of what place intrigues you as a reader?

Answer this question for Chris, and win a download of Golden Chariot, the prequel to Byzantine Gold. You can email Chris directly at chriskarlsenwriterATgmailDOTcom or leave a comment and your email on the blog. She will contact the winner personally.

Previous Books

Heroes Live Forever (book 1 in Knights in Time series)
Journey in Time (book 2 in Knights in Time series)
Golden Chariot (book 1 in Dangerous Waters series)

Books Coming Soon

Knight Blindness (Knights in Time series)

Find Me Here

Byzantine Gold

Chris Karlsen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let’s talk about
your book, Byzantine Gold.

Genre: Romantic Thriller
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Cover artist: Elaina Lee from For the Muse Design
Length: 72K words
Heat rating: 4
Tagline: A Turkish agent and an American archaeologist find themselves
in the crosshairs of dangerous enemies in this undersea thriller.
Blurb:
A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo
of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable
cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery
team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics
will buy them additional weapons.
Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover,
Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery
team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught
in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge.
Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is
a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal–seeing them both dead.
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Charlotte Dashiell, 30,
nautical archaeologist
Atakan Vadim, 38, agent
for the Turkish Ministry of Culture.
Maksym Tischenko, 40,
contract killer.
Golden Chariot

Interview

What is the most important thing you do for your career now,
as compared to when you first started writing?
I allocate time for promotion
work and I start asking for reviews as soon as I can.
What websites do you visit daily?
The Animal Rescue Site
and the Rainforest Site, I click on the pages. For every click a bowl of food goes
to a shelter animal and every click goes to purchase rainforest land at risk. It’s
free to the person who clicks as corporate sponsors and/or private contributors
take care of the costs.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
When a reader tells me
they felt like they were there, in a scene, with one of my characters or when they
say they felt part of the setting from the narrative description.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it
be?
Tough call but I think
(if you mean another author) it would be either Bernard Cornwell or John Sandford.
I have several favorite authors but they combine setting with action remarkably
well.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what
would it be?
Start writing now. Don’t
wait.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
It’s pretty good. I do
allocate time every day if I can to write, generally the afternoons. I don’t set
page goals and don’t allow myself to not write because I’m “blocked.”
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
No.
What are some jobs you’ve done before (or while) you were
a writer?
Before I became a writer
I was car rental agent, a receptionist in a law firm, a switchboard operator, a
grocery clerk and a police officer.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn’t
normally read your genre, and why?
I’d recommend Golden
Chariot or Byzantine Gold. They are romantic thrillers and the romance is the subplot
rather than the main plot. I think it’s a nice way to introduce someone to romance
and the thriller aspect has wider appeal.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your
own writing?
I read historical fiction,
like Bernard Cornwell’s books, Mike Connelly, John Sandford and Joe Wambaugh’s cop
books, Julia Quinn’s historical romances along with Julie Anne Long and Deanna Raybourn.
I also like Stephen Coonts’ thrillers.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only
one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview.
What will you take with you and where will you go?
A couple pair of shoes
as I wear a 10 and can’t always find that size abroad. Toothbrush, toothpaste, some
other toiletries and my makeup so I look halfway decent when I arrive. Kindle and/or
Nook, tablet for emails, and my iPod with my music. A couple of changes of clothes.
I’d go to Bodrum, Turkey,
where I can lounge by the Aegean Sea and enjoy
the sidewalk cafes at night.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Driving around England and Scotland is a fave. I love it there.
I love there’s so much history and castles, and picturesque villages, and nice people.
I can never see all I want in a visit.
What good book have you read recently?
Death of Kings by Bernard
Cornwell and I’m currently enjoying Mad
River by John Sandford.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new
century started?
Watching a Castle rerun.
Dull I know.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Stana Katic
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Bright Copper
Please underline which statement is more like you:
“I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed.”
“I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because
I do things as fast as possible.”

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with pepperoni, sausage and onions.
I’m always ready for a glass of champagne.
When I’m alone, I listen to music and read.
You’d never be able to tell, but I’m not at all talkative
at parties where I don’t know many people
.
If I had a halo it would be ornate
like Byzantine jewelry
.
If I could get the courage I’d take a hot air balloon
over part of Turkey
.
I can never dive because I cannot manage to clear my
mask properly
.

Previous Books

Heroes Live Forever
Journey in Time
Chris Karlsen
Golden Chariot

Books Coming Soon

Knight Blindness

Contest

Commenters will have a chance to win an ebook copy of Golden Chariot.

Find Me Here

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