We have had the privilege of visiting with James Callan a couple of times, discovering his previous novels. A Silver Medallion is his eleventh novel, and I am happy to have him back to visit with us again today! Before we begin, here’s a quick look at A Silver Medallion.
Young, bright, unadventurous Crystal Moore comes face-to- face with slavery in today’s Dallas, Texas. A woman is held, not by chains, but by threats to her two small children left behind in Mexico. Should she escape, or even tell anybody of her situation, her children will be killed.
Crystal would like to walk away and forget she ever heard this. But her conscience won’t let her. Her parents were killed when she was just seven. She knows the heartache these children suffer. And she can’t sleep without hearing the cries of the two young girls and their mother.
Crystal knows the woman will never try to escape as long as her children are held hostage. Crystal realizes the only way to free her is to go to Mexico and rescue the girls first, for only if they are safe will the mother ever be free.
Crystal goes to Mexico and secures the help of the mysterious Juan Grande. But now, two powerful and ruthless men, one in Mexico and one in Texas, want Crystal dead.
In the midst of all this, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back. This time, he can ruin her career.
She will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, Crystal’s streetwise housemate Brandi, and Crystal’s seventy-six year-old, feisty grandmother.
Welcome back, James! What inspired you to write this novel in particular?
Several years ago, I read a short piece in the L.A. Times about a woman held as an indentured slave. I was appalled. I began to do a little research and to my dismay, I found there are more slaves in the U.S. today than in 1860. They are held not by chains but by threats to harm their family who remains in a foreign country. Much like Crystal Moore, the protagonist in my suspense series, I tried to put it out of my mind. But it kept inserting itself in my thoughts. Ultimately I wrote A Silver Medallion, a fictional look at how slavery exists today in the U.S..
I imagine that is as shocking to many of us as it was to you! Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
This is one of my favorite books because of the characters. So I have a lot of favorites. If I have to pick one, it has to be Crystal. The why is easy. She learns about a mother who is a slave, kept in place by threats to kill her two young daughters left in Mexico if she escapes or even tells anyone of her predicament. Crystal tries to put this out of her mind, but her conscience won’t let her. Her parents were killed when she was seven. She identifies with these two young girls who may never see their mother again and who will most likely be slaves themselves.
But Crystal also knows the mother will never escape unless her children are free and safe. Crystal, an unadventurous person, decides she must go into the Mexican jungle and try to rescue the two young girls. She’s afraid. But she goes. I love her spirit, her gumption, her emotions, her need to help people in distress – people she doesn’t even know.
She sounds like an admirable character. Who is your favorite secondary character in A Silver Medallion, and do you think you’ll include that character in a future story?
Crystal’s street-wise housemate, Brandi, and her no-nonsense grandmother are great characters, as is the mysterious Juan Grande who agrees to help Crystal rescue the girls. Both Brandi and the grandmother were in the first Crystal Moore Suspense book, A Ton of Gold. And, yes, they will appear in the next book in this series. I’d love to use Juan Grande again. We’ll see how that works.
It’s so fun to read more about characters we’ve come to love through a previous book. Did you do any traveling for research? If so, could you tell us about it?
My wife and I have a place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. So that phase of the research was easy. But Crystal has to go up the mountain to San Sebastian and then into the jungle to rescue the girls. So we made a trip to that area to make certain my descriptions and the locations were accurate.
That would be an interesting trip, although I’m not sure I’d want to hike through the jungle… Do you have personal experience with any of the events in your story, and if so, could you share about that?
I am happy to say that I have no experience with the events of this book. While I have been all of the places mentioned in the book, I have had no experience with drug lords, virtual slaves, or hired assassins. I wouldn’t be as brave as Crystal or her grandmother.
I’m glad to hear you haven’t experienced any of that! Oh my! Let’s end with a quickie. Favorite color? Favorite writing snack? Favorite beverage? Favorite movie? Favorite vacation destination?
First, let me say what a pleasure it has been to visit with you and your readers. Thank you very much. Now for the answers: color – blue; snack – ice cream; beverage – Dr Pepper; movie – Cryano de Bergerac with Jose Ferrer; and vacation – Puerto Vallarta. Again, thank you for having me on your site.
Ice cream and Dr. Pepper? That sounds like float fixin’s. 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us today, James!
Your turn! Dr. Pepper float? Root beer float? Do you like floats? And if so, what’s your favorite combination?
More about James:
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 has had four non-fiction books published. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense. His eleventh book is scheduled to release in June, 2016.
Also by James:
Can a 185 year-old folktale cause murder, arson and kidnapping in 2012? In A Ton of Gold that’s what happens. As S. Sehon, an Amazon reviewer, said, “From the git-go, this story grabs your attention and hangs on to it through to the very end.” Another Amazon reviewer, Nickolina, said, “It is on my ‘read it again’ list now, and not that many books make it to that list.”
Crystal Moore, a young computer scientist, learns that someone is trying to kill her 75 year-old grandmother, and no one has a clue who or why. As she struggles to answer those questions, the man who drove her out of graduate school just short of her Ph.D. is coming back. This time, he is in a position to destroy her career.
As she tries to find clues, her office is fire-bombed. Then, someone is murdered and another kidnapped. Rather than collapse, she enlists the aid of a former bull rider. But in the end, it is Crystal and her no-nonsense grandmother who must capture the killers. As for her former professor, it will be up to Crystal and her street-wise housemate to deal with this famous authority.
Caleb Pirtle, Editorial Director of Venture Galleries, said about A Ton of Gold, “James R. Callan is a master of understanding human conflict and the raw emotions that everyone faces, especially when they are on the brink of losing everything.” A Ton of Gold is a contemporary mystery/suspense but its genesis was a folktale from before Texas was a state. It’s a smooth read that will have you either holding your breath, or laughing out loud.
‘A Silver Medallion’ Giveaway:
James has graciously offered to give away a paperback copy of A Silver Medallion. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy. If you are unfamiliar with Rafflecopter or have trouble entering, you can find help here: How to Enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway.
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