I love discovering new-to-me authors--and sharing guest posts from them. Guest posts offer a little insight into the person behind the pen--and allow the author to open up and highlight some of the side stories and backstories of, not only their books, but their love of writing and motivations. Today, I am happy to spotlight author Chuck Barrett--and his latest book Disruption. Barrett shares a guest post about a book research trip to Italy that helped to create his settings for Disruption--but, also pushed him out of his comfort zone a bit--with some very positive results! Be sure to check out Disruption--and enter to win a prize in the book spotlight tour at the end of this post!
Welcome to Italy!
Guest Post by Chuck Barrett, author of Disruption
October 2, 2014—My wife and I are taking a European adventure, our first together and for both of us, the first time since we were young. Neither of us spoke a language other than English, and even that was riddled with a Southern accent. But, this trip and this 11-day tour was something we both wanted to do very much. Italy, here we come.
Our redeye flight arrived in Rome slightly before 6:00 a.m. local time and having heard so many horror stories about Customs at the Rome airport, our stress levels were hitting an all-time high. But, we pushed on from the gate, grabbed our bags, and headed for Customs. And there was no one home! Literally. We walked right out of the secure area, if Italy actually has a secure area, and straight into ground transportation. We looked at each other and smiled. What a relief, I thought. And then it happened…welcome to the chaos that is Italy. Three hours later, we finally got a ride to our hotel.
Our biggest fear heading across the Atlantic was the language barrier. I think even more so for me since I was also using this trip as a research trip for an upcoming book…upcoming, like in 2 years.
Thank goodness the man at the hotel desk spoke English. We were both pooped from the long flight and decided to take a nap, which we did, and I think that actually made the fatigue worse. Since our hotel was located in the heart of ancient Rome, halfway between the Vatican and Castel Sant'Angelo (you know the one, right out of Angels and Demons), we decided to take an afternoon stroll around Rome. Us, and thousands of other tourists. Which was awesome…and that's playing it down. We, by happenstance, ended up in front of the Pantheon, which took us both by surprise. Albeit, a pleasant surprise. After two or three hours of wandering around, we decided to head back to the hotel and figure out supper…I think the plan was to ask the man at the hotel. I mean, he spoke English for crying out loud. No language barrier there to contend with, right?
Wrong. We never made it to the hotel…not as planned anyway. Lo and behold, the sky turned dark and angry, thundered rumbled in the distance, and the bottom fell out of the clouds. I was amazed at how fast peddlers came from the woodwork selling cheap umbrellas. Of course, I bought one. My wife and I are huddled next to a stone wall under the umbrella wondering what to do next. I didn't really know where we were but my sense of direction told me we weren't too far from the hotel…a couple of miles, maybe. But, I was hungry and my blood sugar was dropping.
Food. I needed food and fast. One of the wonderful things about Italy…and Rome, if you want food, you don't have to look very far. We ducked into a small café and faced that dreaded language barrier head-on. Good thing, too, because no one in the café spoke a word of English. The place was half-full and they were all locals. Okay, some of them probably spoke some English, but no one pitched in to help out. I think we were there for comic relief.
We figured out the menu, in Italian of course, and ordered a pizza (which beats American pizza hands down) and, what we thought, was a glass of wine each. Turns out we ordered a bottle of Chianti. We had never consumed a whole bottle at one sitting before and we wondered what we would do with all the leftover wine. Unlike America where the wait staff tries to push you out the door so they can seat more patrons, in Italy, you have the table for as long as you want it. An hour, two, three. Rain stops. Bottle of Chianti empty. And it was the best pizza we had ever eaten. I fumble through the bill and Euro to dollar head calculations…you know, just for reference and decide that although it is slightly more expensive, it was worth it. I mean, it's Italy!
Instead of heading back to the hotel, we stroll back through this little niche of Rome. Back by the Pantheon, which is totally different at night. All of Rome is different at night. It turns into this magical world I had only ever read about or seen on TV or the movies. But, now I'm here and strolling arm in arm with my wife in ancient Rome. Nothing could be better.
We faced our language barrier fears head-on and made a wonderful revelation, it didn't matter.
Why all this and what does it have to do with writing? A lot. This was research for my last thriller, DISRUPTION, which hit the shelves on October 25, 2016. Everything I experienced on the first day in Italy set the tone for the rest of what remains the best trip I've ever taken. Most of the towns we visited ended up as settings in DISRUPTION. One, in particular, played a major role. No, I'm not telling which one, you have to read the book!
As writers, we face all types of fears, most unwarranted, but they are still very real to us. Face those fears head-on and don't quit. If it hadn't started storming on us in Rome and forcing us into that little café, the tone for our trip would have been considerably different, and I dare say, not near as satisfying.
Learn more about author Chuck Barrett, his novel, Disruption--and enter to win a prize in the book spotlight tour giveaway at the end of this post!
Quick Summary of Disruption. There are two types of people: those who have been hacked and know it, and those who have been hacked and don’t know it.
Former Naval Intelligence Officer turned secret operative Jake Pendleton finds himself in a pulse-pounding race to stop a cyber-terrorist from releasing a string of the most heinous cyber-crimes the world has ever seen. Crimes that could render the world’s advanced technology useless.
Jake teams with his partner, Francesca Catanzaro, to track down their only lead, a white-hat hacker in Italy known only as The Jew. A man who might hold the key to stop a group of black-hat hackers from causing worldwide chaos—tag named Disruption.
After a search of the hacker’s flat in Rome turns up empty, Jake and Francesca follow the clues—a trail of dead bodies that leads them across Europe. Along the way, Jake discovers a possible link between recent hacks and a Malaysian airliner that mysteriously disappeared.
In the final adrenaline-charged moments before Disruption, Jake and Francesca find themselves in a high-voltage race to stop these cyber terrorists from unleashing destruction against their sworn mortal enemy.
Meet the Author:
Chuck Barrett is the bestselling author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series—Breach of Power, The Toymaker, and The Savannah Project, as well as his latest award-winning blockbuster, BLOWN, the first book in his new Gregg Kaplan series.
In addition to writing thrillers, Barrett speaks and conducts workshops at book festivals, book clubs, reading groups, writers conferences, and writers groups. Some of his topics include Nuts & Bolts of Self-Publishing based on his book—Publishing Unchained: An Off-Beat Guide To Independent Publishing—as well as, Blueprint for a Successful Book Launch, Getting from ‘Idea’ to ‘Finished Manuscript,’ Mysteries & Thrillers: Fact or Fiction, and Adding the “What if” in Storytelling.
Barrett is a graduate of Auburn University and a retired air traffic controller. He also holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificate, and a Dive Master rating. He enjoys fly fishing, hiking, and most things outdoors. He and his wife, Debi currently reside in Colorado.
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