Tuesday, September 18, 2012

...you gotta read Nonofficial Asset from William Sewell

There's an old New Yorker cartoon that I love. Man sits on the edge of a doctor's examining table in his skivvies. The doctor stands in front of a lightbox.  On the x-ray of the patient's abdomen, letters float like alphabet soup. The caption: "Bob, that novel in you has to come out." Writers understand. A good story born from who knows where, perhaps taken from the pages of your life, becomes a constant companion. The tale persists. In the busyness of business, the story begs to be told. Finally, in airplanes and waiting rooms, on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons, the writing begins.

And you both live happily ever after.

[Insert: rolling on the floor laughing hysterically.]

Until you've written for months/years, edited, and ended up with a haiku, you can't conceive of the work that goes into writing, say, a short story. In fact, a short story, particularly a short short story, is incredibly difficult. The extraneous word flashes like a fifty year old woman in the tropics. Poetry? A rare gift. A novel is an altogether different beast. When that novel is a thriller, more challenges surface.

"I know a first-time author," my friend Eileen posted on FB. And I'm proud as punch that I introduced the two. The author's name is William Sewell and his new novel, Nonofficial Asset, has just debuted on Amazon (Kindle and paperback), Barnes and Noble (Nook), Smashwords (all e-formats) and will soon be available via Apple (iBook). Now I would like you to meet him, too.

I know him as Bill. Same name as my husband, yes. Actually they were both called Billy when young but we won't go there. I'll try very hard to refer to him here as William for the sake of clarity. 

Abiding friends, meet William.
William, meet Abiding friends.

William (gulp), Bill and I have known each other since the sixties. We grew up in Dublin, Georgia, a small town in mid-state, beneficiaries of an incredible school system. Our principal, Mr. Tom Stewart, is thankfully still with us. In an era when critical thinking skills were valued over standardized test scores, the two Bills and I were taught by an amazing array of teachers. Mrs. Afdahl, Dr. Barr and Mrs. Powell drilled grammar into us, took us around the world and through many cultures via literature, and taught us to write. Mr. Wooddy not only taught math but infused drama into us as sponsor/director of the thespian society.

See! Here's the cast of 1967's Thespian Troupe 669's production of
You Can't Take It With You. 
William and I are on the back row. 
Dressed in a black suit and dark-patterned tie, he played the G-man (hmmm).
 I'm the tiara-wearing, white-gloved impoverished (hmmm) Russian duchess next to him.
When we weren't rehearsing, we were painting the purple-plumed faux wallpaper sets.
And studying English, Math, etc.

His teachers would all be so proud. Mr. Sewell has written a wonderful first novel, Nonofficial Asset, a modern day political thriller drawn from current headlines. The book's protagonist, Peyton Stone, is a security contractor as well as a nonofficial asset, an operative selected for covert work on the basis of particular skills, with no legal ties to a government. And no protection. His business partner murdered in a Shanghai hotel and a Chinese arms dealer on his trail, Peyton has no choice but to reach out to his friend and former CIA handler, Harry Morrison, to find out who killed his partner and why. He soon finds himself once again under contract to the Agency, on the hunt for a stolen nuclear weapon. And an Iranian Admiral who is bent on thwarting the one best chance for stability and peace in the Middle East. As the clock ticks down to the signing of an historic peace accord, Peyton and Harry race to untangle the threads that lead from China through Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and into the Oval Office.

Eileen liked the book so much that she left a review on Amazon. In it she said this: "Often when I read a great thriller, I feel as if I'm in the hands of an experienced author who has done thorough research. Not with this book. I feel as if this is the author's life." On target, girlfriend. William, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force, has followed the age-old dictum: write what you know. After he left Government service, he was a contractor with the Departments of State and Defense and spent over a decade working with the U.S. Intelligence community. He has consulted on security matters with the governments of Kuwait, Australia, India, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, China, Canada as well as with the European Council of Mayors.

The book is well-written with flying pages (you won't be able to quit turning them). William has produced a fun read with depth and interesting characters. In today's publishing world, though, he has his work cut out if he's to get the word out. I hope y'all will order/download. You'll love it! By the way, I read e-books and still don't own an e-reader. I've downloaded the Kindle, Nook and iTune apps onto my iPhone and my Mac. I read on my iPhone and research via the cloud reader on my computer.

Click here for the Amazon Kindle version.
Or here for the Amazon paperback version.
Click here for Barnes & Noble Nook version.
And here for Smashwords (which carries all the e-publishing formats, including iBook. Downloading instructions are provided on the site).
Watch for it on Apple soon.

I'm really proud of my friend...one of the good guys: respectful of all cultures, a smart, hardworking gentleman with a great sense of humor. Here's to you and Nonofficial Asset, William/Bill/Billy/Peyton! I'm impatiently awaiting the next storyline.

Abiding friends, pass the word, please!!! Thank you!


eileensauer said...

What an awesome piece of history, along with that wonderful picture! Thanks so much for sharing, this confirms everything I thought and felt when I read Bill's book.

Celeste said...

Dear Anonymous who caught my misspelled word: thanks! This seems to be a trend with me lately, i.e., "there" for "their". I'm going to miss my mind. I already mind my miss(es)! My sister-in-law, a drama teacher, says she's experiencing the same delightful development. Isn't a sagging neck enough?

BrightSoul said...

Just bought Bill's book...just my cup of tea! I'm enjoying his writing style and when I'm finished I'll write a review...I like reviewing new books.