Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Deadfall by Robert Liparulo

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is featuring Deadfall by Robert Liparulo. Bob graciously answered some questions for me (and you) last week. Please make sure you read his interview below. He give some great, thoughtful answers. It my privilege to present to you Bob's third book, Deadfall.

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

He is currently working on his fourth novel.


Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armes with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-aclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

Get Downloads and EXCERPTS at

"DEADFALL is drop-dead great!"
-In The Library Reviews

"What if Mad Max, Rambo, and the Wild Bunch showed up-all packing Star Wars type weapons? You'd have Robert Liparulo's thrilling new adventure Deadfall."
-Katherine Neville, best selling author of The Eight
"A brilliantly crafted thriller with flawless execution. I loved it!"
-Michael Palmer, best selling author of The Fifth Vial

"In Deadfall, Robert Liparulo gives us a fresh fast paced novel that instills a well founded fear of the villians and an admiration for the people who refuse to be victims. It truly deserves the name thriller.
-Thomas Perry, best selling author of The Butcher's Boy and Silence

"Another brilliantly conceived premise from Robert Liparulo. Deadfall will leave you looking over your shoulder and begging for more."
-Dave Dun, best selling author of The Black Silent
And now for our interview:

I first learned of Bob's work when I was given Germ to proofread for Thomas Nelson. I liked his style, his ability to tell a good story, so I bought Comes a Horseman. Liked that one, too. Then Thomas Nelson gave me Deadfall to proofread. I'm firmly hooked on Bob's books. I always wonder what makes a successful writer, so I took this change to ask Bob some questions.

How did you get started writing, and where has that journey taken you that you may not have expected starting out?

In fifth grade. I wrote an article about the Concorde landing in the Azores Islands, where my dad was stationed. It wound up in an Air Force publication, and I was hooked. A couple years later I read I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, and that’s when I got the bug to write novels.

The best part of this vocation is getting to meet great people—readers and leaders in their fields. As a journalist, I got a chance to talk with Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Daltrey, Charlton Heston . . . too many talented authors, musicians and film makers to remember them all. When I became a published novelist, I got to hang out with authors I’ve read for years: Thomas Perry, David Morrell, Clive Cussler. Meeting readers and booksellers is always a blast, as well. Very smart, sincere people.

How do you balance family life with writing?

It’s taken years, but I finally figured out how to achieve that balance: They help me with the business of writing. My kids proofread, my wife helps send out books, setting up my travel, stuff like that. Since they’re so invested, a lot of our dinner conversation is now about the current story I’m writing or the conference I just attended. It’s become a family business. Of course, we also try to get away from it, go on vacations. I try to get involved in whatever my kids are into: soccer, music, Boy Scouts. Keeps me young.

How does your walk with the Lord affect your writing? And how do you balance time with the Lord with your writing schedule?

Years ago, I prayed fervently for direction in my writing career: Should I put God in my stories overtly, or be subtler. I felt God wanted me to take the path less traveled and write adventure/thriller stories designed to entertain, while He puts himself between the lines in ways I could never have planned. Every day, I pray that God keeps His hand on my heart as I write. I have a prayer team who prays for me and my writing. My pastor reads my manuscripts. Nothing in my books screams about my faith, but I believe, though the characters, the redeeming nature of the stories, the way people behave—He’s there.

Since my blog is geared to writers who want to improve their self-editing skills, could you briefly take us through your process of writing a novel—from conception to revision?

Conception is the most difficult to discuss, because it’s so ambiguous. Somehow—in a dream, by reading an article, watching an interview on television, something—the seed of an idea gets planted. I think about it for a while and if something forms—if it starts to sprout shoots—I started sketching a skeletal outline. I try not to be too detailed with the outline, just four or five pivotal scenes. I’ll let my characters figure out how to get from one to the other. I start thinking about the characters, and I try to live with them, be them for a time: how would they respond to this or that situation? I write slowly, editing daily, as I go. I rarely go back over what I’ve already written, unless an editor says something’s not working for him or her. During the writing process, I constantly ask myself: Where’s the tension in this scene? Does it either move the plot forward or develop the character better? Have I touched on more than the sense of sight (I try to get at least two senses in each scene—smell, touch, hearing, taste; sight’s a natural sense in prose narrative)? Am I using the correct words? Is there a way to cull some words and still make the meaning clear?

What kinds of things do you have to revise once the editor at a publishing house gets done with your manuscript?

Honestly, not too many things. I’m a very careful, meticulous writer. Usually, it’s a turn of phrase that he or she doesn’t quite get, or a complicated action scene needs to be explained a little better: who’s doing what where and to whom?

Would you tell us a little about your future projects?

I’m really excited about a young adult series coming up. It’s called Dreamhouse Kings, and the first two books, House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods, will be out in July 2008. I’m planning on six books in the series. It’s about a family who moves into a strange old Victorian house with a wicked history. They find a hallway of rooms that turn out to be very different, in terms of what they experience when they enter them. It’s part-horror, part-fantasy, part-family drama, and all suspense. I have a team of young readers who have read the first book. I was blown away by their positive response to it. They’re excitement got my heart thumping for the story all over again.

I’ve decided my next adult novel will be a follow-up to Deadfall. I’m totally charged about revisiting some of the characters from Deadfall. I like them a lot.

Then there’s the story that seems closest to making it to the big screen, even though I haven’t written yet. All the elements are in place: Mike Medavoy and Phoenix Pictures are the producers, along with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian). I’m working with Andy to write the screenplay. We have some incredible actors in mind and I have no doubt Andy will land someone big, based on who he’s already worked with. It’s a dream project that came together the way only dream projects can: Mike Medavoy liked Comes a Horseman and asked what else I had in mind. I pitched this idea to him and he liked it. Then Andy, who worked with Mike on Holes, went to him with a similar idea, and Mike told him, “Go talk to Bob, see if you guys can put something together.” So he did and we did. It’s going to be a killer novel and movie.

And after that, I’ll return to the big, global adventures I explored in Horseman and Germ with a story that takes a look at vigilante justice on a grand scale. I have enough to keep me busy for years, thank God.

Finally, would you discuss Deadfall? The research, the idea, and the scope of the project?

It's about four men who head to the Canadian wilderness to get away from it all after a tough year. The run into a group of people who are field-test a weapon and terrorizing a small town with it. The bad guys run a video game company and besides having some sick fun, they’re filming the death and destruction to make a game they’re developing more realistic than anything that’s come before. The campers have to decide whether to run for their lives or help the townies. They do help and the fun begins.

For research, back up to northern Canada, where I’d been before to camp and fish. It’s beautiful and isolated. I remembered thinking when I was up there that there is something intriguing about how it’s both peaceful and potentially fatal. If you get lost up there, you’re gone forever. In the fall and winter, you could freeze overnight. I’ve bow-hunted and a good friend of mine, who goes up to Canada every few years, is a big-time bow-hunter. He’s also the game warden for the Cheyenne area, so he’s knowledgeable about outdoor survival, camping, hunting, all of that. I spent many hours picking his brain. I also did a lot of reading and called a few bow-hunters who are internationally known. For the satellite laser canon, again I read a lot and interviewed about a dozen people working in the field, both civilians and military personnel. It’s as important to me to be accurate as it is to tell a good story and develop characters people care about.

Comes a Horseman and Germ were big, global conspiracies. I wanted Deadfall to be more intimate. It all takes place in a few days, and all within about a twenty-mile radius of a tiny, isolated town. I think it gives us a chance to understand the characters better than in my other books. I’m very please with the way it turned out.

Thanks, Bob. I look forward to many more years of great reading.

A NOTE from Bob: I’d like to give away five signed copies of Deadfall to readers of CFBA blogs during my tour. All they have to do is sign up for my e-mailing list (they won’t be inundated!) by going to my website ( and going to the “Mailing List” page. Or email me with “CFBA giveaway” in the subject line.

And a second NOTE from Bob: I wanted to let you know that I’m holding a contest on my site:

**one winner a week till the end of the year for a signed Deadfall
**one winner a week till the end of the year for an unabridged audio MP3-CD of Deadfall
***and on Dec. 31, I’m giving away an iPod Nano, pre-loaded with an unabridged audio recording of Deadfall

Winners are selected from my e-mailing list—sign up at my site. If a winner has already purchased what he/she wins, I will reimburse them for the purchase price (or give them another—whichever they choose), so they don’t need to wait to see if they win before buying Deadfall.

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