This week we welcome romantic suspense writer Harry Wegley.
H. L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life he performed research in atmospheric physics. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked 20+ years in systems development at Boeing before retiring near Seattle, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, grandchildren, hiking on the Olympic Peninsula, snorkeling Maui whenever possible, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels.
When Lee Brandt’s bright, beautiful bride disappears on their wedding night in Maui, both Lee and the US government want her back, albeit for different reasons. Each takes drastic measures to find her. But Jennifer, an NSA research scientist, is in high demand. An international trafficking syndicate wants her for revenge. A wealthy, Middle-Eastern prince, who collects women, wants her for what she looks like. Foreign intelligence agents want her for what she knows. As the clock ticks down to Jennifer’s impending sale, her soon-to-be adopted daughter, Katie, flies to Maui and joins the search, ending up in the traffickers’ crosshairs. Could Lee choose between his bride and his future daughter?
A few hours before, Jennifer promised herself to Lee, until death parts them. Could she make death part them to avoid the horror and degradation of what the traffickers have in mind? If she did, would God forgive her?
How long did it take you to write?
I used scene cards to plot this story and I knew the setting well. The research and writing out scene cards took only about two weeks. The story took about four weeks to write and polish sufficiently to submit. So about 6 weeks from research to submission. This is by far the least time I’ve spent on a contract-winning novel. But I found that the short time frame kept the story logically tight and cohesive, which is what readers generally want in a thriller.
Is Moon Over Maalea Bay part of a series?
This is book 3 of a 4 book series, the Pure Genius Series. Though Moon over Maalaea Bay can be read and enjoyed by itself, the reader will realize there’s a lot of interesting back story mentioned.
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Originally, I had planned to end a 3-book series with this story. While looking for an exciting way to end it, I thought about all the horrible things my hero and heroine had endured just to survive until their wedding day. Why had I treated them so badly? I wiped the tears from my eyes and then felt a sadistic grin spread across my face. Why not have my heroine abducted on her wedding night in Maui? The grin turned to a smile. Maui … research trip … the wheels began turning … tax deduction. All that aside, Maui was a great setting for a thriller once I found a way to create intense danger in a tropical paradise where bad things seldom happen. And I made a promise, then and there, that after this book, I would be nice to Jennifer and Lee. I kept that promise, because book 4 is all about their brilliant daughter, Katie, who is now 21-year-old Dr. Kate Brandt, a beautiful woman with a greater propensity for finding danger than her parents.
LOL. How long have you been writing?
I’ve published in the scientific literature since the late 70s, but only started writing fiction in 2010. I’ve completed seven novels and am currently planning my eighth. My scientific publications list is several pages long. As a computer systems programmer, I wrote over a million lines of code in several programming languages. But only when I started writing fiction did writing become a true delight.
What is your favorite genre to read?
That’s easy—thrillers and high-action romantic suspense. I do like characters with some depth to them and also enjoy the relational issues in a story. But what can I say? I’m a guy. There needs to be some action to keep my interest—more than just that final battle scene at the climax of the story.
What is your favorite part of being a writer?
By far, creating characters and plotting stories for them to live in is my favorite part of writing. There’s no other way to take people and make them do whatever you want without going to prison … or being committed to mental institution. In a sense, we get to play God. But we should take that role seriously, being careful about both how we fill it and what we are saying about Him in the process.
This question is from my 16-year-old son. He wants to know why all Great American Novels (the ones they teach in schools) end in death. Any opinions why these books are popular literature. i. e. Macbeth, Of Mice and Men, The Crucible.
I’ve not read anyone’s opinion on this, so I’ll just give you mine, for whatever it’s worth, first from a philosophical viewpoint, then using examples from real life.
Justice often demands the death of someone, particularly if that person has caused the death of another. Even after the fall, human beings still retain some sense of justice, a desire for it to prevail so that things can be set right. But we also retain, deep within us, the knowledge that we’ve all sinned and, ultimately, the punishment for that is death. Though Jesus can pay the penalty for us, many writers won’t acknowledge that and so they see death as the solution to their story problem. Granted, some writers are trying to make a social or political point, and they use death for the opposite reason, to highlight injustice. But the saddest thing is there are still other writers who end their stories with death simply because they have no answer to the human condition. They see no meaning or purpose to life, thus they have no hope. Consequently, their stories give us no hope, just death and a great sense of loss.
Next, let’s examine the worldview of those who write death and hopelessness into their story endings, writers such as Hemingway and Faulkner. Faulkner’s life was anything but exemplary—he lied about his life, shirked his work, and was removed as a scoutmaster for immorality. He believed human beings were too guilty of too many evils to deserve happy endings. To be fair to him, he did come down on the right side of some social issues. Hemingway was a modernist writer, helping to lay the groundwork for existentialism, which essentially says life has no meaning, so we each have to make our own. When he was no longer able to do that, he committed suicide. What I’m saying here is that it matters a great deal what a person believes. It impacts their life and their writing. The beliefs of these people, considered great American writers, provide them no basis for writing happy endings. Consider Christianity, which is all about the ultimate happy ending. Consider Christian writers and their stories. Big difference!
Wow, thank you so much for tackling my son’s question with such depth. I really enjoyed reading the answers to the questions Harry, and I think your book sounds fantastic!
Okay everyone Harry has agreed to drop the 10 comment minimum and he will send either one print copy to a U.S.A. mailing address or and Ecopy of his book anywhere that it is legal. Void where prohibited by law. The drawing ends June 15th. The winner will be notified by email June 16th and have until June 22nd to respond or forfeit the book.