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In Conversation With Novelist Allen Wyler Author of Deadly Odd Series
From:
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Friday, June 11, 2021

 

Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Allen Wyler. Allen is a retired neurosurgeonturned author with several works of fiction. He practicedneurosurgery at the University of Washington, University ofTennessee, and finally at Swedish Hospital in Seattle before leavingpractice to become Medical Director for medical device start-up 2002.He has written several technical books and articles, publishedmultiple novels, and twice nominated for a Thriller Award. His latestwork, Deadly Odds 4.0 has just been published.


Goodday Allen and thanks for taking part in our interview.

Allen:Thanks for the invitation, Norm. I appreciate it.

Norm:How did you get started in writing? What keeps yougoing? 


Allen:Interesting story. Unbelievably, I majored in English during premedbecause of my love of reading, yet remained focused on becoming aphysician. Finally, one day after coming home from Saturday morningrounds, I decided, what the hell, why not try writing a novel? Neverregretted the decision.

Norm:What did you find most useful in learning towrite? What was least useful or most destructive? As a follow up, didyou read any special books on how to write fiction? 

Allen: No,instructional books, just read a ton of authors I resonated with,then analyzed what appealed to me about their styles. So, in a way, Ilearned by following examples, the ultimate trial and error process.

Norm:Do you write more by logic or intuition, or somecombination of the two? Please summarize your writing process.  

Allen:Given that Arnold, my protagonist, is a brilliant but sociallystunted hacker, I try to approach drafting my works logically, theway I imagine he programs computers. Logic sometimes hamperscreativity for me, so I do a bit of ceiling gazing to drum up someideas.

Norm:Where do you get your information or ideasfor your books?  

Allen:My ideas come from real present-day cybercrime. With the recent surgein such crime—particularly ransomware—it’s timely for 4,0’splot line to be centered on that topic.

Plus,I get truckloads of assistance from some very cool dudes anddudettes, ranging from a retired FBI agent to a real honest-to-Godhacker.

Norm:How has your environment/upbringing colored yourwriting?  

Allen:Given my subject matter, my scientific training has helped meapproach my subject matter more objectively, which, I believe, is anasset to writing about hacking.

Norm:In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers veryoften take liberties with their material to tell a good story or makea point.  

Buthow much is too much? 

Allen:If, by liberties, you mean exaggeration beyond what’s realistic,then I don’t commit that sin. I run questionable scenarios by myappropriate sources and if he or she claims it’s unrealistic, Imodify the plot accordingly.

Ipainstakingly adhere to reality. It’s true that some very crazyactions really are stranger than fiction, but they’ve always passedmuster by the appropriate consultant.

Iamass some twists from listening to war stories from my contacts inthe cybersecurity world and by reading all that I can about hackingfrom various sources.

Norm:Has a review or profile ever changed yourperspective on your work?”  

Allen:Yeah, actually, it has. A specific criticism of an earlier work mademe think hard about it and then conclude that the reviewer was spoton. Never happened again.

Norm:Please tell our readers a little about your recent novel, Deadly Odds4.0.

Allen:This 4th installment in the Deadly Odds series continues thecharacter arc of a socially stunted (particularly in dealing with theopposite sex), 24-year-old computer genius who flies to Las Vegaslose his virginity and, in the process, becomes embroiled withterrorists.

Bythis episode he’s growing an IT business and, in the process,maturing as a result of the truly weird circumstances his casesembroil him in. As mentioned earlier, this case deals withransomware.

Norm:How did you develop the plot and characters? Didyou use any set formula?  

Allen:When writing medical thrillers, the publisher did set a formula. Butin this series Arnold’s personality has grown organically as eventshave forged him.

Ilove and am constantly surprised by how his personality and approachto others is constantly evolving. But I suspect his greatestdifficulty is dealing with a mild case of (as yet diagnosed)Asperger’s.

Norm:What was your main focus when you created theprotagonist Arnold Gold? Is he based on someone you know orknew?

Allen:Yeah, in fact he is a very weird, but very cool dude I’ve knownsince grade school.

Norm:What did you know going in about your theme?

Allen:Back in the day, when running my neurophysiology lab at the UW, I waswriting proprietary programs for my lab computer. That’s when Ibecame interested in hacking and hackers, having cut my teeth onClifford Stoll’s 1989 book, The Cuckoo’s Egg. Been hooked on thesubject since.

Norm:Do you agree that to have good drama there must bean emotional charge that usually comes from the individual squaringoff against antagonists either out in the world or within himself orherself? If so, please elaborate and how does it fit into Deadly Odds4.0?

Allen:To me, good drama is conflict and should mix internal and externalturmoil. I try for a realistic blend in my plots.

Oneof my favorite authors, Michael Connelly is masterful at concocting aperfect mix of these ingredients. I recently reread his entire Boschseries, looking for hints to how he’s so successful at this.

Norm:What will you be doing for promotion and how muchof it is your doing?  

Allen:Promotion is difficult. Having left a big NY publisher for a smallerone, promotion rests entirely on my shoulders. I do what I can, soreally appreciate opportunities like this one to expose myself topotential new readers. Thanks again!

Norm:Are you working on any books/projects that youwould like to share with us? (We would love to hear all aboutthem!)  

Allen:Just finished my first draft of 5.0, and so while it’s on the backburner simmering, I’m working on the plot kernel for 6.0. I’mexcited about where Arnold is taking his new company Gold andAssociates.

Norm:Where can our readers find out more about you and your novels?

Allen:Check out my WEBSITE

Norm:As this interview comes to an end, if you could invite three authors,dead or alive to your dinner table, who would they be and why?

Allen:Michael Connelly, John Sanford, Robert Crais, all writers I avidlyread and admire.

Norm:Thanks once again and good luck with all of your novels.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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