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Tuesday 20 July 2021

ℚ The Wall [1]- David Pereda

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Wall (, Drake Valley Press, 420 pages), a Mainstream Fiction Thriller.

"A beautiful story, flawless editing, and stylish writing." ~ Readers' Favorite

"Once more, David Pereda has delivered. His style is thoughtful, detailed, and meticulously researched... He pulls at our emotions, causing us to feel the fear... desperation... and finally, the triumph of a life-changing journey." ~ P.M. Terrell, internationally acclaimed author of Songbirds are Free and River Passage.

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to David Pereda; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for The Wall?

"My students inspired me to write this book. I’ve taught English to immigrant students from all over the world for more than a decade. They shared with me their usually happy, sometimes sad, but always poignant and courageous stories of coming to America.

Over the years of listening to their stories, I felt the need to write a meaningful but entertaining novel that would address controversial immigration problems in the United States. The Wall is that novel, and many of the most dramatic episodes described in the book happened."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Every page of this book has a piece of me in it.

First, I’m an immigrant myself, which helped me identify with the characters when writing The Wall. I was a penniless nineteen-year-old non-English speaker when I arrived in America, clutching my immigration papers. While that happened a long time ago, I have never forgotten those early memories. I came to the United States seeking the American Dream: to be successful and have a better life than the one I had in my country of birth.

Second, as I pointed out before, I have taught English to hundreds of immigrant students, many undocumented, who shared their stories with me.

Third, I’ve been to all the countries described in the book and speak all the languages.

Finally, the two main characters in the book, Thomas and Alex, are extensions of my personality. Like Thomas, I’ve been poor to the extent of going hungry at times; like Alex, I’ve been wealthy and married to a French aristocrat and hobnobbed around the world with European nobility. Like Thomas, I’m loyal and methodical; like Alex, I’m dauntless and love wine and women and danger. I am like those two characters, only at different times in my life. I have become more like Thomas in my later years, but there’s always Alex lurking in the background, waiting."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The Wall - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The artist is Canadian, the award-winning Dawné Dominique. She’s my favorite cover designer, and I always try to convince my publishers to contract her to do my cover. She has done several of them – However Long the Night, Twin Powers, Top Secret – and they are all outstanding.

I tell her what I’m thinking of and what the novel is about, and she always manages to capture the essence of the book with colors and images.

If you study the cover, you’ll see a wall and in the middle of the picture two arms swimming across a river, one seemingly an adult’s arm and the other a child’s; the colors are darker at the bottom and lighter as they rise up the page toward the rising sun, symbolizing hope and a new beginning. The focus of the cover is a dramatic scene in the book when Domingo Jimenez and his daughter Nancy swim across the dangerous Rio Grande river to seek asylum in the United States."
Why should we read The Wall and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"The Wall is unique in that it's both plot-and-character driven; includes a relatable American individual living abroad whose fiancée can't get a visa; explores the problems faced getting to the border, crossing the border, and the aftermath that lies beyond the border. The novel also includes a layered ending with unexpected outcomes.

Too many accounts of those fleeing their homeland are stereotypical and one-dimensional, driven by action sequences and violence as in American Dirt. Or, they're first-person narratives that primarily explore the adaptation problems first-and second-generation immigrants face in America, as in The House on Mango Street.

 Though entertaining, The Wall highlights America's failing immigration policy and it reveals what immigrants coming to the U.S. contribute. Are most legal and illegal immigrants hard-working, law-abiding citizens—or criminals? And, are immigrants with money and position more likely to be successful than those who are poor?"
Can you tell us something quirky about The Wall, its story and characters?
"Prince Stanislaw’s character is based on a real character, also a Prince with the same name. The real Alex stayed in my home for over a year and taught me how to fight with a knife and hand-to-hand combat. Like the Alex in the book, he was also a movie star in Mexico, where he usually played the nasty gringo. He was a soldier of fortune too. 

Life is stranger than fiction."
Who would you recommend The Wall to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I recommend The Wall to any reader attracted to immigration stories and those who enjoy a thriller based on real stories. Best-selling author Paul Levine described the book as follows, “Timely, tense, and tumultuous, The Wall is a family saga, a border thriller, and a novel of sizzling suspense.”

The Wall has elements of the following books:

It is perhaps most reminiscent of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins in that the central characters are escaping homeland gangs and seeking a better life and safety for their children. It is different in that The Wall has less explicit violence and instead focuses on the methods the families use to arrive at the US border – caravans, coyotes, vans, trucks, buses – and the problems they face along the way – money stolen, persecution by Mexican police, life in an encampment in Matamoros.

The Wall is also similar to the non-fiction book, The Faraway Brothers by Lauren Markham, in that the key characters escape gangs from El Salvador and embark on dangerous journeys through gang-controlled zones in Guatemala and Mexico and illegally cross the Rio Grande and the desert with a Coyote. It is different in that in my book there are two families involved, one with a 4-year old daughter, instead of two twin 17-year old brothers, the problems they face along the journey are different.

Other books with similar elements are The Beast and A History of Violence by Oscar Martinez, which tell the story of thousands of migrants who try to escape violent gangs in El Salvador and describes similar scenes like crossing the jungle and partially has the same theme: to escape violence and possible death and seek a better life. It is different in that The Wall focuses on two specific families.

While partially like these other books, and likely appealing to the same readers, The Wall has its own voice and personality. It is based on my own experiences as an immigrant and on real stories from my fourteen years teaching English as a Second Language to undocumented students from all over the world.

For contrast, I chose two families from different socio-economic backgrounds fleeing from gangs in El Salvador, so they would have to cross the Guatemala and Mexico borders before attempting to cross the US border. Some of the characters are Americans and others from El Salvador. One family has money and the other is poor, and each family makes a different journey to the US border. And, like in life, not all the characters make it."
If you could / wished to turn The Wall into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"If my book were to be turned into a movie, these are the actors I would suggest for the roles:"
Liam Hemsworth
as Prince Stanislaw (Alex)
Christian Bale
as Thomas Bertram
Michael Pena
as Domingo Jimenez
Rosario Dawson
as Cecilia
Eva Longoria
as Blanca
a Latino child star
as Nancy
"As for the director, I believe either Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu or Alfonso Cuaron would do a great job interpreting this book into a gripping film.

Location: Mexico"
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 like to explore different genres. I have written novels in the following genres: romantic suspense, mainstream, Young Adult, and thrillers. My novels often combine genres—like in The Wall. However, they have one thing in common: whatever type of novel I write, I try to make it exciting and entertaining.

I read everything, from Shakespeare to Dickens to Hemingway to Kazuo Ishiguro to John Grisham, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, and Ken Follett."
What is your writing process?
"I’ve tried different methods of writing throughout the years, from detailed plotting to seat-of-the pants.

I have settled on having a general idea of the book, a solid first line, great characters, a climax and an end in mind. Once I start writing, I let the characters tell the story. I try to interfere with them as little as possible. I learned that from my years jumping horses in equestrian competitions: the best riders are the ones who interfere the least with their horses. I apply the same principle to the characters in my books.

Something else worth mentioning is that I prefer to write between 2:00 am and 7:00 am in the morning, when everyone is asleep, and everything is quiet."
I can understand working during the night as it also used to be my favourite, when there is the deepest silence.

What is in store next?

"I’m halfway through writing another novel with the main characters of The Wall, a thriller titled Golden, already scheduled for publication in 2022. Someone is trying to kill Alex, and he doesn’t know who—so, he enlists the help of his best friend Thomas and they chase around the world following leads looking for the responsible individual until they finally find who the person is: and it is shocking. You can read the first chapter of Golden at the end of The Wall."
Brilliant; thank you for sharing it all with us. We hope you are having a great tour!
A deadly desert. Murderous vigilantes. Encampments riddled with crime and disease. A treacherous water crossing. Their journey is urgent and his fraught with danger.

The saga of two immigrant families and their quest for a better life.

The Wall
Available NOW!

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David Pereda said...

To BooksChatter: I loved the way you laid out my interview and took the time to post photos of the actors I believe would be perfect for the movie version of The Wall.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today!