One question that I get asked more than any other is, “What is your process when writing a novel?” My answer might surprise you.
~ IE ~
Every Iron Eagle novel is plotted out on a single return envelope. That’s right! The entire novel—the characters and the key story details—is written on a plain white envelope like you receive in the mail to pay a bill. I write linearly, which means I write all of my novels from start to finish, and in that exact order. When I start a new book, I have the subject matter that the Eagle and other characters are going to deal with, but I never know who the bad people are.
“How can you write a novel if you don’t know who the characters are?”
I write out a list of my main characters, like this:John Swenson aka The Iron Eagle Sara Swenson Jim O’Brian Barbara O’Brian, and so on.
I then work from the prologue from the previous novel to start to build the next book. In most cases, the bad guys (and girls) reveal themselves through the course of the writing process. I don’t know who they are, or, in many cases, just what they are doing when I start a novel. The characters reveal themselves and their motivations as I write. And in ALL cases I am just as surprised by the content and the bad people who enter a new novel as you are. My wife always says, “No surprise for the writer no surprise for the reader.” I can’t tell you how many times through the past several years a character revealed him- or herself as I was writing and blew me away.
Why I Write Fact-based Fiction
While The Iron Eagle Series is fiction, it is reality-based fiction. I would be bored to tears if I were to try and be a true crime writer, having to stick to the facts of a case and the players and their roles. Every Iron Eagle novel is based in reality, and most of these crimes REALLY have happened. By fictionalizing my series, it allows me to weave fact with fiction, and it gives me creative license to write compelling prose. As I always state to readers, things that happen in the Iron Eagle Series can happen to any of us if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time (or have let our guard down).
Here are a few pictures of my desk during the writing process. The photo of the open black folder shows where I store each envelope after a novel has been completed. The envelopes you see on my desk are for books 18–20, and there is a stack of blank envelopes waiting for future books.
~ IE ~
I hope this gives you a little insight into my writing process and answers some questions about how the Eagle and the novels come to life. I really enjoy sharing the behind-the-scenes look at how novels come to life, and I hope you enjoyed this little trip into my world as an author.
Until next time,
Roy A. Teel Jr., Author
Greetings to all,
In this week’s installment of the justice files, I shared just how Special Agent John Swenson aka The Iron Eagle was birthed in my imagination. I am now sharing that same message with all of my additional readers here on the blog.
~ IE ~
An Atypical Fictional Hero Inspired by a Real Life Tragedy
It was Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend in 1979, and I was in ninth grade in junior high school. I was getting lunch in the cafeteria when Thomas (Tommy) Glenn Lundgren popped up in the lunch line next to me sporting a cast on his arm that he had painted with a rainbow in art class a few hours earlier.
Tommy was a redheaded, freckle-faced kid who loved skateboarding, hanging out at our local skate park, and occasionally got into trouble as did I. He was a small part of a group of fringe friends who I hung out with and one hyper little guy. He was a year younger than me, but we had been in the Boy Scouts together and had known each other since elementary school.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
Tommy showed me the cast and said, “Cool, huh?”
I laughed and said, “You’re crazy, Tommy. Aren’t rainbows for girls?”
He laughed, and we got our food, sat, and ate. He told me he was going to have some pictures taken of him at the local skate park, “Skater Cross,” as I recall. He said that he was going to be in magazines. I laughed it off, and when we finished lunch, he made one of his usual comments, which got him punched in the arm—a punch that he reciprocated as he laughed and ran off.
That was the last time I saw Tommy alive.
The weekend went on without any major drama. My old man was an abusive alcoholic, and my late mother was an alcoholic and speed abuser. My two younger brothers lived in their own world. I ran a small business mowing yards for a couple of local realtors, and I had a few neighbor kids who worked for me. The bucks we earned went toward pizza and sodas. We were nerds and not into drugs.
Tuesday morning was uneventful until lunch when one of my female classmates ran up to me in the cafeteria and asked, “Hey! Did you hear the news?”
“Your little friend Tommy is dead!”
I told her she was full of crap and started asking around school, but there were mixed messages. When I got home I opened the newspaper to see a snippet news story about the day before.
“Body of teen found on hiking trail in Agoura.” The small article described what the male child had been wearing when found, and then my blood ran cold.
“The boy had a bright multi-colored cast.”
The body was Tommy’s, and he was the first victim of William Bonin aka The Freeway Killer who would terrorize Los Angeles for over a year, raping, murdering, and emasculating teens and young men then dumping their bodies alongside the freeways of the San Fernando Valley and other locations. What little innocence I might have had left was gone with Tommy’s murder. I grew up fast as did everyone who knew him. There were no counselors for kids in those days. Shit happened, and you just had to deal with it.
A Protector and Punisher Is Born
Growing up the way that I did in a massively dysfunctional and abusive home leaves its mark. And contrary to what some people think, people can not only survive trauma, but they can also thrive and use it to their advantage in life. I started to write about a character who would bring justice where justice could not be brought and give closure to those living in the darkness of abuse and neglect.
I wrote story after story through the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. I had the protector but didn’t know who he was. He wasn’t a superhero. He was flesh and blood, smart and well trained, and had compassion—a trait not found in a killer.
In the winter of 2013, I was up late writing on an unrelated topic when I saw him in my mind’s eye. My dog Chester was sleeping on the floor next to my desk, and our cat Oscar was up in my loft as well (rare in winter). My wife was sleeping downstairs in the bedroom. I opened a new Word document and typed the words, “What is an Iron Eagle?” and as I navigated the first several chapters of what would become the first novel in my series, I came face to face with John Swenson—a handsome, well educated, at that time LAPD homicide detective with clear blue eyes and a strong build.
As I wrote, he said, “You came to kill me?”
I shook my head and said in my mind, “No. I’ve come to give you life, so that you can protect the people of Los Angeles and beyond.”
It was 3:45 a.m. when John Swenson came into my life, and the Iron Eagle was born.
~ IE ~
Until next time,
Roy A. Teel Jr.
PS: Evil and the Details: The Iron Eagle Series Book Two is dedicated to the memory of Tommy.
This was also reported by the NRA, but the media has refused to report on it. WHY? Because it is an example of what happens when an active shooter meets a legally armed citizen. This isn’t a HOT topic for the media; they want blood, carnage, and the mass murder of innocent “unarmed” people to report about. It makes for much more compelling news and fuels the outcry to disarm Americans. A story about a guy who pulled a gun at a club, started shooting, and ended up being shot by an armed civilian who saved the lives of many is not what liberals want Americans to see.
Do you think that the man who shot the active shooter and stopped what could have been another mass rampage will be invited to Obama’s White House and applauded for his heroics? Hell no… an American citizen legally armed thwarting an active shooter undermines what Obama and the ‘demoncrats’ want – Americans disarmed and the second amendment amended or abolished.
Hello to all of my readers,
My newsletter is named the justice files for a reason, and I want to address it that way this week and for the next several issues as well. The events that have been unfolding over the course of the past week between the police killings of seemingly innocent black men and the cold-blooded ambush of 11 Dallas police officers by a well-trained black military veteran strike close to home for all of us. As an author, it is my goal to entertain but also to educate.
The Illusion of Safety
When the average person reads or watches the news, there is the thought that what is happening in another city, state, or country is over there … that viewers are safe where they are. The reality is quite the opposite. If there is one thing that the Iron Eagle Series is about it’s dealing with reality through fiction. Novel after novel (I am writing book eighteen in the series right now), I deal with real world subject matter. Yes, it is written as fiction, but anyone who has read the series up to its currently released title, “Rampage: Book Nine,” knows that the things that have happened in the first nine books have and do really happen every day. The series is meant to show all of us what it would be like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and the horrific potential ramifications of the same.
The Realities of Life
The Eagle Series brings my readers into the savageness of humanity. It gives readers a chance to peek behind the curtain at things that are really happening in the world … from the safety of a novel. The subject matter of the Eagle Series is as vast and varied as the stars in the sky – kidnapping, serial killers, domestic terrorism, pedophilia, rape, torture, prostitution, sexual slavery, drug trafficking, police corruption, cults, mass killings, cyber bullying, rampage killings, political corruption, and the devastating power that religion has over even the most rational person – and the list goes on.
As an author, I venture ever deeper into darker subject matter in each novel. There are moments where even I become worried and afraid. It might be fiction, but I do a tremendous amount of research while writing each novel so that I can make each one not just believable but also as close to a ‘True Crime’ novel as you can get without the books being nonfiction.
The Upside of Writing a Series of this Size and Scope
One of the things that I truly love about writing this series is the characters that I get to interact with and the inclusiveness of their relationships. ALL lifestyles are embraced in the Eagle Series – straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender – and all are respected and nurtured. There is an underlying love story between all of the main characters that grows stronger novel after novel as the series matures, and there is a natural maturation of characters and relationships that I feel is important to bring to the world.
The Eagle Series deals with heavy subject matter, but as the author, it is also my goal to interject humor as well as the positive side of humanity while at the same time giving my readers a reason to pause and think about what they just read.
If you are a true fan of the series and have read all the novels to date, then you know that all you have to do is read or watch the news and you see everything that happens in my fiction playing out in reality every day. For me, when I read a news story or turn on the news and see my fiction unfolding in reality, it is very, very unsettling, yet at the same time it inspires me to write novels that draw attention to our socioeconomic disparities as well as the deep divides in this country, from race relations to political and social situations that while not new, allow for a more openly narcissistic society with the advent of all forms of social media. I deal with this novel after novel in new and, I hope, unique ways that are both entertaining and thought provoking. I’m not a religious man, but I do keep those who are suffering in my thoughts and try to learn what I can as an outsider looking to write novels in the series that offer answers, not more questions.
Until next time,
Roy A. Teel Jr., Author
PS: If you’re enjoying the Eagle Series please forward this newsletter to your friends whom you think will like the series as well.
A recent article I came across on ABC: Read It HereNow for my thoughts:
Jerry Brown is a recurrent nightmare for California. This idiot was governor of California after Reagan was elected president in 1981. He is a perfect example of the old saying, “He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it.”
I do believe that Jerry Brown has some form of dementia. He’s old; he rarely makes sense, now he has just made California the most dangerous state in the U.S. for its law abiding citizens. San Bernardino is the murder capital of California followed by Oakland. Both cities also have the most corrupt police departments in the state.These laws are not going to do anything but put law abiding citizens in even more danger.
Brown and his ‘demoncratic’ cohorts don’t get it. Criminals don’t obey laws. That’s why they are criminals. His ban, and demand that law abiding citizens give up their second amendment rights and surrender their ammunition clips, which hold more than ten rounds, to the state, is nuts. Why not pass a law that California is a “gun-free zone?” Then criminals and mass killers could just murder with impunity as ALL citizens would be ‘unarmed.’ Jerry Brown is either a complete moron or does have some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
No one is going to give up their weapons and ammunition clips. These laws will be overturned by the courts before they ever go into effect. If any of this were to go into effect, the only thing that Brown and the ‘demoncrats’ will have done is made this state more dangerous for law abiding citizens while strengthening the criminal element. Jerry Brown is the most dangerous governor in U.S. history. He and his ‘demoncrat’ bedfellows live in some make believe world where they think that laws like this will save lives. They won’t…they will only weaken an already weakened law abiding gun owners’ rights and leave law abiding citizens easy prey for criminals.
Until Next Time,
Roy A. Teel Jr.
After completing book 17 in my 30-novel Iron Eagle Series, I have learned a great deal about terrorism – both foreign and domestic. I dealt with this subject matter head on in books three and four, Rome Is Burning and Operation Red Alert. While the stories are fiction, these novels show how terrorists really operate as well as what terrorism is really about.
The Truth About Terrorist Networks –
These people never work alone. They have mainstream supporters as well as those lurking in the deep web (TOR). I wrote about this more in depth in book nine, Rampage, which released this month. One need only read a news article or watch television to see the inspiration for these homegrown terrorists. The media is constantly hyping their acts of terrorism. Obama and the rest of the bleeding hearts get outraged every time one of these acts takes place. Then the federal government gets all riled up and talks of taking away guns from law abiding citizens and abolishing our second amendment rights.
What’s Really Happening Here –
First, violence breeds violence, as does hatred and intolerance. Killers get their 15 minutes of fame (granted, they’re usually dead), but they’re not the media’s target audience. It’s sad to say, but the real audience includes people or groups looking (and plotting) to outdo the last mass killing. This also accomplishes the direct goal of terrorism: to create a sense of terror within a target community.
The media stokes the fire of hatred and anger. Couple that with a weak president, a dysfunctional government, and a nation too busy posting selfies while one community mourns – and the wheels on the bus go round and round as the obliviously self-absorbed fail to recognize the danger going on right around them: a nation breeding hatred and terrorism that no one is going to stop.
It’s Time to Tune in for Real –
It’s easy to feign outrage and condemn barbaric acts while posting a photo of your lunch or sharing what your favorite celebrity is doing in the world of make believe. It’s easy to feign outrage against the machine, calling for or against gun control. It’s easy to cry out that we should abolish or amend the second amendment while scrolling through posts on social media. After all, it’s a safe haven. None of that is really going to happen, right?
While we passively and peacefully check our social status on the litany of social media platforms, the next mass killing is being plotted and planned. Soon, we’ll once again be outraged – for 15 minutes – but that anger will never lead to any type of resolution.
Is There a Way to Stop the Violence?
Man is at his core an animal. A mystic-loving creature who believes in God(s), rituals, and absolutes that in many cases lead to these types of situations. Can these events be stopped? Yes… but only through the use of logic, tolerance, education, and the necessary removal of one’s head from bibles and religious dogmas, so we can see each other for what we are – human beings with individual thoughts, feelings, and emotions with the right to live our lives the way we choose.
It sounds like wishful thinking, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s because it is.Roy A. Teel Jr., author of the 30-novel Los Angeles based Iron Eagle suspense, thriller, crime series.
Read the Reuters Article here.
On April 26th, Dr. Roy A. Teel Jr. had the opportunity to be interviewed by David Alan Binder for his personal blog. Binder uses his blog to promote up and coming authors like Roy and helps get these books into the hands of readers and reviewers. Roy would like to take a moment to not only share this interview with his fans but also to thank David for the opportunity and the interview.Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
DB: What was the motivation to write your thirty novel Iron Eagle Series?
RT: The idea for the Iron Eagle was first hatched in my imagination though tragedy. One of my childhood friends was abducted by William Bonin aka The Freeway serial killer here in Los Angeles on Memorial Day 1979 and was brutally raped, emasculated, and murdered, with his body left on a hiking trail in the Agoura Hills. This was a turning point in my life, as it was for many people who knew my friend, and at the impressionable age of 14, the world was no longer a safe place. It would be more than 30 years before I would start the first book in the series, “Rise of The Iron Eagle,” which brings an anti-hero in the form of FBI Special Agent John Swenson, aka “The Iron Eagle,” to life.
DB: Where are you currently living?
RT: Lake Arrowhead, California
DB: What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
RT:Writing is a business and while the creative process is wonderful, as an author, I have to remember that I write because I love it, but it is a business and must be treated as such.
DB: What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
RT: All of my novels are written on a single return envelope like the kind you receive in the mail to send in a payment. A plain white envelope is all that I use to write all of my books. When a novel is completed, the envelope is placed in a black binder as a reminder of where it all began.
Writing is a business and while the creative process is wonderful, as an author, I have to remember that I write because I love it, but it is a business and must be treated as such.
You can read the entire interview HERE.
The Iron Eagle Series will be exhibited at Book Expo America May 11-13th in Booth B469. We will have the first thirteen titles in the thirty novel series on display in our booth as well as in the New Title Showcase at the entrance to the show.
For more information go to www.bookexpoamerica.com/en/Exhibitors/1757041/Narroway-Publishing-LLCImprint-Narroway-Press
Tips on how to self publish are everywhere. Even in self-published books guaranteed to make you a hit! And while everyone is trying their hardest to break into the world of self-publishing, Roy A. Teel Jr. has been at it for years.
On March 14th, Roy was interviewed for the Strand Mystery Magazine website in an article titled;“Tips for Self-Published Authors”.
The article begins with some background on Roy before diving into his great tips.
“I began self-publishing in 2004, long before Kindles and Nooks, back when email, personal websites, and social media were in their infancy. Before I opted to self-publish, I worked hard to find a publisher or agent. I sent out query letters using guidebooks such as Writer’s Market and spent thousands of dollars mailing manuscripts only to receive boilerplate rejection letters. In the beginning, I really doubted myself, thinking, Is my writing that bad? Do I not have what it takes to be an author? The reality was, I was attempting to do what many people told me was impossible: to get a book deal or land an agent to help sell my writing.
There was nothing wrong with my writing. I was simply competing in the now-archaic traditional publishing world where it’s more about “who you know” than what you wrote. It was the order of the day, and the rules were set by the “Old Boys and Girls Club,” those traditional publishers and agents known as gatekeepers. Happily, things have changed. I now have more than twenty books in print, with great reviews on all of them, and have been accepted into the Authors Guild. I’ve earned my way into the company of some of the most respected authors, so I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped me, and I hope they’ll help you succeed as a self-published author.”
Read the full article here.
Iron Eagle Series author, Roy A. Teel Jr. was quoted. Here’s an excerpt:
From unpublished research to financial influence, there are a number of ways clinical trials can be manipulated to get a new drug on the market.
For 12 years, Roy A. Teel Jr. was involved in human research trials at the University of California, Los Angeles, but he didn’t don a lab coat.
As a research subject with progressive multiple sclerosis, he was involved in five medical trials.
When his condition didn’t improve, he retired on disability in 2011. The whole ordeal left a sour taste in his mouth.
Read the full article at http://www.healthline.com/health-news/whats-wrong-with-drug-trials#1.