After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years and published several non-fiction books. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his fourth book released in February, 2013.
Can long forgotten, old folk tales affect the lives of people today? In A Ton of Gold, one certainly affected young, brilliant Crystal Moore. Two people are killed, others threatened, a house burned and an office fire-bombed – all because of an old folk tale, greed and ignorance.
On top of that, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back. This time he can destroy her career. She’ll need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, her streetwise housemate and her feisty 76 year-old grandmother.
A Ton of Gold
By James R. Callan
From Oak Tree Press, Feb. 2013
Jim, what inspired you to write A Ton of Gold?
I had long thought about writing a book where the protagonist was involved in information retrieval. I had done a little research in that area while working on a Ph.D. and have a son who is a professor directing research in the area of information retrieval. I thought it might be fun to incorporate some of that in a novel.
Two years ago, I read an old Texas folk tale about a wagon load of precious metal being pushed into a lake to avoid having it captured by the Mexican army. It was an interesting tale, and I began to wonder, how such a folk tale could affect the lives of people today.
For some months, these two ideas mulled around in my head and eventually they merged. I would let information retrieval bring up the folk tale and people would take action based on a belief that the story was true. It is a contemporary novel, but the old folk tale does play a role.
Next, I wanted a bright young woman with some baggage to take the role of the protagonist. And her problems of the past come back to attack her once more. Crystal Moore has to overcome these problems, while confronting the life and death problems brought on by the folk tale.
Clearly, she would need some help to deal with all this. I gave her a former bull rider, a street wise friend, and a very feisty seventy-six year old grandmother who takes no guff from anybody. Yes, of course, the grandmother has a tender heart. Crystal has to grow in the novel, or else she doesn’t survive.
It was a fun novel to write. Crystal is brilliant in her chosen field, but naive in many ways. Her street-wise friend, with little book-learning, provides valuable help to Crystal.
Crystal learns a lot from these three. So did I. In developing these characters, I found myself immersed in their view of the world. Each of the three has a different point of reference, a different attitude, a different reaction to the events occurring. In looking at the situations from varying angles, I broadened my view of the situations. So, I learned as I wrote.
Fascinating plot line, Jim! Isn't it fun to learn and grow along with our characters!
What fun thing might my readers not know about you?
My wife and I like to travel. Our mode is to decide to visit some place and two weeks later, we are there. We don’t plan ahead, usually having no reservations except for our air tickets. We rent a car and just see where our fancy takes us. When we lived in Connecticut, we often got in the car, drove to a major highway and flipped a coin to decide whether we went east or west, or perhaps whether we drove north or south. This unplanned mode allows for unexpected events, most of them a delight. It is like a good mystery. You don’t know the outcome, but you enjoy the ride, and are often surprised by the ending.
Yes, I can see how this fun mode of travel fits nicely with your interest in writing mysteries.
Thanks for sharing with my readers today, Jim!
For more information about Jim and his books, visit the following locations:
On Amazon, in paperback, at: http://amzn.to/UQrqsZ
Or the Kindle edition at: http://amzn.to/12PeHJb
Or from Oak Tree Press at: http://bit.ly/WJXcWl
Blog site: www.jamesrcallan.com/blog
Book website: www.atonofgold.com
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