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Sunday, 4 October 2015

ℚ Nation of Enemies - H.A. Raynes

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Nation of Enemies (, Witness Impulse, 528 pages) a Thriller.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Tour Stops

Hello Holly, welcome to BooksChatter and thank you for joining us at short notice today.

What was the inspiration for Nation of Enemies?

"My inspiration was a five foot tall, white haired eighty year-old named Beatrice.  About ten years ago we were talking and she was recounting the story of her family fleeing Poland during WWII.  Everything and everyone she knew was suddenly gone.  The houses and streets were empty.  Regardless of their hopes and fears they had to escape.  In what must’ve been a whirlwind, they emigrated to the United States.

Now, I’ve heard stories about WWII, seen the movies, as we all have.  But something about her story resonated with me.  She looked directly into my eyes that day and asked, “Imagine that?  Everything you know, just gone one day?” And I did.  I brought the war home to the United States.  Imagined people emigrating en masse from this powerful, “safe” country of ours.  And Nation of Enemies was born."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
Structure of part of
a DNA double helix
"I’m in advertising (video production) so other than one conversation between Taylor and the Reverend Charles Mitchell discussing marketing…there’s nothing about my professional expertise in Nation of Enemies!  It took a lot of research to learn about the medical profession, DNA, technology, the FBI, and the government.

Personality-wise, though, I think there are pieces of me in each of my characters.  I’ve lost loved ones, like my characters, so I know how they “feel” and hope that comes through on the page.  I like to think of myself as being somewhat brave about things in life, how I face circumstances, and I think that comes through in both Taylor and Hannah.  And Steven has my sense of humor. ☺"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Nation of Enemies - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"HarperCollins / Witness Impulse designed the cover.  To me, at the core of the book is the government – who has control, who wants it.  And what the government has done to spur civil war.  The lighting can be read as either a dawning or a twilight…so ultimately it can be seen as being the end of something and the beginning of another."
Why should we read Nation of Enemies and what sets it apart from the rest?
"This is not a formulaic journey.  It’s not a “typical thriller” (for the record, there is nothing wrong with those!).  But Nation of Enemies is really and truly about the characters.  Their journey.  Their personal struggles and how all of us relate on so many levels – love, loss, instinct for survival and to protect family – no matter what our experience has been.

Then came the plot.  It literally grew from my characters and where I started the book, where I discovered them in the middle of this war.  How they were coping.  The world I created is near future.  An imaginable future.  As I wrote, technology and news of refugees and school bombings were all happening as I finished a new page.  For that reason, Nation of Enemies is relevant to all of us.  Frighteningly so, I’m afraid."
"Boat No 14, 5th Officer Lowe, Mrs Compton, Mys. Compton,
Mrs. Minahan, Mys. Minahan, Mrs. Collyer, Mys. Collyer,
W.I. Hoyt (who died), about 25, Towing Engelhardt-D.
Can you tell us something quirky about Nation of Enemies, its story and characters?
"Many of my characters take on names of people I know.  But in name only.  I would say the one “quirky” thing is that my husband’s great grandfather was a survivor on the Titanic.  I thought of his voyage, his desperation to flee his country for a new life.  I felt that when writing the initial cruise ship scene.  Even though his great grandfather had a very different journey...!"

Who would you recommend Nation of Enemies to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?

"I think anyone between the ages of 14 + would enjoy it (I say 14 because that’s my youngest reader so far and she loved it!).  It’s a page-turner, easy to read and I think anyone who likes conspiracies and mysteries would enjoy Nation of Enemies.

As far as a warning…there is a religious fanatic at the heart of the novel and so anyone who might take offense at that should not read it.  Though I would also say that theme is more about control and less about that man’s love of God (though he would claim otherwise).  Otherwise, it has a few scenes that are remotely violent/graphic but I don’t like to get into the gory details so I don’t think that would put anyone off."
If you could / wished to turn Nation of Enemies into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Locations: Boston, outskirts of Boston, D.C.

For casting, for a few I had to list two! Here goes:
Dr. Cole Fitzgerald: Matt Damon
Lily Fitzgerald: Amy Adams
FBI Agent Sebastian Diaz: William Levy
Taylor Hensley: Jennifer Lawrence
Richard Hensley: Gary Oldman or Ralph Fiennes
Jonathan Hudson: Logan Lerman or Dylan O’Brien
Steven Hudson: Edward Norton or Robert Downey, Jr."

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I’m sort of an equal opportunity writer and reader.  At the heart of any book I love, or write, there’s a good story with good characters, people to root for.  For Nation of Enemies, I started out writing about a young girl caught up in a war in the United States.  I ended up with a thriller, the center of which is the girl and the war.  My first novel (far away, hidden on my hard drive), was something I guess you’d call Women’s Fiction (though I hate that term).  The next one (I finished 2/3 of), was more of a Literary Novel.  My next one…well.  See below!"
What is your writing process?
"First there’s a nugget of an idea I can’t let go of.  I play with it, experiment.  Then when it begins to feel like something I can commit to, I do a very loose outline.  But it’s something to guide me, gives me an idea of where I am heading.  I try (desperately!) not to go back and revise until I have a first draft.  Sometimes I will, but only if it’s something major that has a ripple effect in the book.  I’m in an amazingly supportive and highly critical writers group.  I submit about 25 pages to them every month, and when I’m finished they read the entire manuscript.  Once I receive all the feedback (along with my own notes I keep throughout writing, things to go back and check/fix), I begin revising a second draft, working out the kinks in the structure and refining plot as well as characters.  My writers group gives it a last once-over to catch any major issues.  Then after a final revision and read-through, it’s ready to be sent out!"
What is in store next?
"There may be a sequel to Nation of Enemies.  Readers, my agent and my editor keep asking, so it’s good to know there’s interest!  Right now I’m working on a self-contained novel.  I’ve been working on this one from an idea I had several years ago.  I can’t say too much about it at this point but I can give you some details.  It’s told in multiple points of view.  Takes place in New York City.  And it revolves around the lives in an apartment building.  It’s different from Nation of Enemies but still has an air of mystery woven throughout."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I am proud parent of one adorable cockapoo named Arno.  He is twelve.  And he was my first baby.  He, in all his cuteness, is attached. ☺"

He is gorgeous! Hello Arno!  Thank you for sharing him with us :-)
Many thanks again for talking to us today - I look forward to reading Nation of Enemies!

"Thank you so much for having me on the blog!!!!"

Nation of Enemies - available NOW!

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