Author: James Boedeker, 49, lives in Meshoppen with his wife, Sunee, and stepdaughter Natty. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after high school and, after serving honorably, has worked as an industrial mechanic and technician for Procter and Gamble.
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing
Available: Through Amazon.com as an e-book and paperback, through Barnes and Noble, and various sites online.
Suitable for: Mature readers due to language and adult content
Plot: When U.S. Navy SEAL Robert O‚??Leary is kicked out of the service, he vacations in Thailand and finds himself declaring war on some of the natives. He falls in love with a disfigured woman named Mina, whom he sees as his last shot at redemption in a horribly broken life.
Additional books: The second in this three-part series, ‚??Jai Dee,‚?Ě will come out this month.
Q: You have no prior experience as a writer. What made you want to write a book?
A: I have a Kindle, and when I read stories on it that I like I leave a positive comment on the book. One of the authors replied to my post, and we got to know each other. He eventually told me he wanted to write a sequel to his book but didn‚??t know where to start, so for laughs I wrote two paragraphs and sent it to him and he said to me, ‚??You need to write a book of your own,‚?Ě so I did.
Q: What was the writing process like for you?
A: Well, a title actually popped into my head and I started to think about a story to fit that title. It‚??s backwards, I know.
Q: This book takes place in Thailand.
How are you so familiar with the culture?
A: I‚??ve been there seven times, and my wife and stepdaughter are Thai. They‚??re a very humble people. Their motto is ‚??land of the smiles,‚?Ě and it fits because they smile all the time. One thing I learned, though, is that the smile is also a damn good poker face. They‚??ll grin at you but be thinking the worst thoughts because you just committed a taboo act or put your nose where it didn‚??t belong. That‚??s one thing about Thailand: You‚??ve got to mind your own business, especially if you‚??re a foreigner.
Q: You were in the military, and so is your lead character ‚?Ľ
A: My years in the U.S. Navy were the most valuable of my life. That‚??s the first time I ever felt proud to be me, when I was at boot camp. One thing I‚??m good at is history, and I can run like a deer; when you get chased every day you learn how to run.
Q: Is the character Robert like you in any way besides a military background?
A: His childhood is mine, for the most part.
Q: He has a rough childhood, so I‚??m assuming yours was, too.
A: Growing up was embarrassing; my life wasn‚??t easy. I had a cleft palate so I was a target to begin with. Then add that my parents were really hard on me ‚?Ľ It wasn‚??t a good childhood at all.
Q: The character of Mina very much shows signs of someone who‚??s been ridiculed for her appearance. Did you use any of your experience for that character?
A: When I talk about how every time someone looked at her, her shoulders slumped like she‚??d been slapped, that‚??s how it feels. I definitely imparted some of how I felt into Mina. To this day, everyone tells me I look fine, but that‚??s not what I see when I look in the mirror. This is also true for Robert.
Q: You have a strong opinion about bullying, then?
A: One of the things I‚??m strongly in support of is the anti-bullying laws because I‚??m a victim. I love when people say ‚??fight back.‚?Ě How does a kid that weighs 119 pounds fight half the football team? You just swallow it day after day, and you either turn into a bully yourself or you take my route and decide you‚??re going to stick up for the underdog.