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Exclusive interview with political novelist Sally Fernandez (Includes interview)

The Beekeeper’s Secret, the latest release with multiple rave reviews, is the sixth novel and the second in the “Max Ford Thriller” series. It is preceded by the award-winning Climatized, soon to be a major motion picture, featuring Maxine Ford as the female protagonist. Fernandez’ prior series, The Simon Tetralogy, is comprised of Brotherhood Beyond the Yard, Noble’s Quest, The Ultimate Revenge and Redemption.

Each book provides an exhilarating platform for the next, with a gripping narrative that challenges the reader to put the book down. The development of the other characters has created a lasting bond between them and the reader, especially now that Max has taken center stage.

A world traveler, Fernandez has visited every continent and over 50 countries. Her adventure travels with her husband, also the content editor-in-residence, include a scientific expedition in Antarctica, four African safaris, archaeological digs in Majorca and Peru, along with high-altitude treks in Bhutan, Tibet, and Mongolia. They continue to travel extensively throughout the world.

She is gifted at combining fact with fiction to create thrillers that are spellbinding, but once upon a time she was in the banking business. “I’ve always been a political junkie and I trust the words of Pericles, who said, ‘just because you don’t take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.’ The writing part well that was a fluke. It started years after leaving the corporate world,” she said.

Fernandez continued, “It was in 2008, while my husband, Joe and I were living in Florence, Italy, and the U.S. presidential campaign was in full swing. The incessant news reports from both sides of the pond had my head spinning, at which point, Joe suggested I put my thoughts on paper instead of ranting about the insanity of it all. That’s how it all started.”

“So, instead of writing scintillating technical manuals and page-turning strategic business plans, I took up the challenge and ventured into the world of political thrillers. Using my conspiratorial mind and love of research, I discovered a new and exciting career,” she said.

“You asked about combining fact with fiction. That gestated from the words of another luminary, Francis Bacon, who said, ‘The truth is hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible.’ So I guess you could say that both old guys framed my style of writing along with my genre,” she added.

Maxine Ford is the badass no-nonsense protagonist in Climatized. On her inspiration for the character, she said, “I introduced Max in my second novel, Noble’s Quest, when I needed a formidable female to mix with my full male ensemble.”

“Then throughout the next several novels, she developed into a strong but complicated woman, rivaling some of the most beloved heroes of popular fiction and mainstream entertainment, including Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, Jack Ryan and Carrie Mathison. Most of all, she is intelligent. She is Imperfect. Vulnerable. Lethal! As Max’s character developed it was time to give her center stage in my new Max Ford Thrillers Series, beginning with Climatized,” she said.

“The names mentioned clearly inspired me when shaping her character. But I always saw Max as my alter ego, my wannabee kick-ass spy within. And you asked if we share any traits…let’s just say we share the same mouth,” she revealed.

During the writing process of this book, she acknowledged that she learned something new about herself. “The most surprising development was that I had a latent creative talent waiting to escape. Throughout my enormously successful career in technology, and project management in the financial industry, I never had a desire, nor would I even know how to begin to write a novel. Funny, as I now work on my seventh novel, it seems as though I’ve been a novelist all my life,” she said.

Regarding the key to her success in become a bestselling author, she said, “As I mentioned, my writing was a fluke but once I discovered a new vocation, I treated it as such. Not to fault others in the creative realm, but I know that armed with business skills, I had an added advantage in maneuvering the minefield of writing and publishing.”

She opened up about her experience speaking to a group of sciences and experts at NASA. “Well, unlike my previous novels, I altered my style slightly, by pairing up my fictional scientists with real organizations and a few real-life experts. So after the manuscript was completed, I set out to make contact and to explain what I had done,” she said.

“One of my experts was Dr. Hal Doiron, Chairman of The Right Climate Stuff research team comprised of former Apollo astronauts, scientists and engineers,” she said. “Hal and other members of his research team agreed to review the manuscript. Needless to say, I was thrilled at their willingness to read and fact-check. It turned out to be a remarkable collaboration. From their meticulous details, explanations, suggestions, and corrections, it was clear they had devoted the time and interest to read the manuscript thoroughly. Hal’s review of the book was so eloquent that it became the Foreword.”

“I opened my talk by saying that giving a presentation is not rocket science, but imparting information to a group of rocket scientists was quite daunting. However, once I got over my two seconds of stage fright, I was warmly received as they listened intently to my explanation of the misnomers of anthropogenic global warming,” she said.

“The excitement continued the next day, when Joe and I were given a private tour through the Space Center with two of the engineers who put the first man on the moon. I recall vividly, the goosebumps as they described designing the space capsule,” she added.

When asked how she avoids writer’s block, she remarked, “Shhh!…it’s the one practice I never think about. At most, I call it getting stuck and moving on. When I write, using MS Word, I create chapters that might only have a word or a phrase. If I’m not in that mood, I move to another chapter or create a new one. That’s the beauty of being able to move the chapters around later. Then, there’s God’s greatest invention…cut and paste.”

To learn more about award-winning novelist Sally Fernandez, check out her official website.

Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 15,000 original articles over the past 15 years. He is a consecutive five-time "Best of Long Island" winner that has won such categories as "Best Author," "Best Blogger," "Best Poet," "Best Twitter Account" and the coveted "Best Long Island Personality" twice.

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