Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NATION OF ENEMIES: Q&A with Thriller Author H.A. Raynes

It’s all about the genetics. DNA. Black & white.

A decade ago the U.S. government mandated that all citizens be issued biochips containing all of their medical information and an ID number indicating a person’s health. Then they made the information public—the implications of which are wide-spread and devastating. 

Now on the eve of the 2032 presidential election, the country is deeply divided and on the brink of civil war. But as the two major political parties face off, innocent Americans are dying at the hands of masked terrorists. When the Liberty Party’s presidential nominee is assassinated in a highly-coordinated, masterful attack, it sets off a chain of events that will change the course of history and leave America’s inalienable rights—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—dangling on the precipice of extinction.

Title: Nation of Enemies
Author: H.A. Raynes
Genre: Thriller

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actress. My parents were very encouraging, despite my early performances in musicals and I can tell you right now that I have no business being in musicals. Oh, but I loved them. So when I actually did grow up and attempted acting (2 years in L.A., acting on rare occasion, waitressing all the time), I quickly learned I had no desire to be judged on my appearance the second I walked through a door. Also, turns out I don’t like to be in the spotlight. It was a childhood dream gone awry! But I have no regrets.

What are three things people may not know about you?
1. I once played spin the bottle with Nicolas Cage and Roman Coppola.

2. Because of a near drowning incident when I was a child, I didn't learn to swim until I was 34.

3. I've driven cross-country twice. Three times if you count the time my whole family moved from Massachusetts to California on a Greyhound bus when I was six.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
Finding time. Making time for myself, amidst the busyness of marriage, two kids, a dog, work, a house, and occasionally sleeping. It took me a long time, years really, to carve out about 8 hours a week that is mine and mine alone. In that time I write. I’m dedicated to it now and cannot imagine my life without it.

What has been your greatest pleasure in writing Nation of Enemies?
My writing life has been very private, almost secretive for years. People I’ve known for ages had no idea I write. I was apprehensive about sharing my work initially - writing is so personal, you really are exposing yourself when you share it, like any art. I think my greatest pleasure so far is the overwhelming support I’ve received since the release of Nation of Enemies. Friends, family and strangers have reached out and expressed their love for the book. The feedback has been consistently positive and it’s been a great pleasure to finally be recognized my writing.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Turn off the TV and write. Time goes by so quickly—cliche as that is, it’s true. So put down the remote and write as much as you can before you have two children and can only squeeze in eight hours a week!

So, this is freedom. No sirens pierce the air. Buildings in the distance are whole. Yet the ground beneath his feet feels no different. Dr. Cole Fitzgerald glances past their docked cruise ship, to the horizon. The sky blends into the ocean, a monochromatic swatch of gray. A chill in the air penetrates him, dampens his coat and makes all the layers underneath heavy. When they left Boston, pink-tinged magnolia petals blanketed the sidewalks, blew across overgrown parks and the burnt remains of brownstones. He’d reached up and touched a blossom, still hanging on a limb. It’s remarkable to see beauty amid war. 
The din of discontent is constant. On the vast dock of England’s Southampton Cruise Port, a few thousand passengers stand in line, all on the same quest to flee the United States. He’s heard that three million citizens emigrate annually. But no one documents whether those people are more afraid of the lone wolves and militias, or of their government bent on regaining control. Cole isn’t sure which is worse. But London is a safe place to start again. They have family here, built-in support. No point in dwelling.
Beside him, Lily’s usual grace and composure are visibly in decline. He reaches out and gently strokes the nape of his wife’s neck, where pieces of her dark hair have strayed from her ponytail. The coat she wears can’t hide her belly, now twenty-nine weeks swollen with a baby girl. Cole wishes he could offer her a chair. Instead she rests on one of their enormous suitcases.
Their son Ian sits cross-legged on the asphalt and reads a paperback. Throughout the journey, he’s gone along with few complaints. Ten years ago he was born the night the Planes Fell, the night that changed everything. Living in a constant state of fear is all he’s ever known. The joy and devastation of that night was so complete. To become parents at the same time terrorists took down fifty passenger planes … there were no words. It was impossible to celebrate while so many were mourning. 

H.A. Raynes was inspired to write NATION OF ENEMIES by a family member who was a Titanic survivor and another who escaped Poland in World War II. Combining lessons from the past with a healthy fear of the modern landscape, this novel was born. A longtime member of Boston’s writing community, H.A. Raynes has a history of trying anything once (acting, diving out of a plane, white water rafting, and parenting). Writing and raising children seem to have stuck.


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