All posts by Severn River Publishing

Author Spotlight: After Dunkirk Author Lee Jackson

SRP: Where did you come up with the idea for After Dunkirk?

Lee: I have to give my publisher credit for pointing me toward writing World War II historical fiction. I had recently seen the movie “Dunkirk” and one element of the story that I had never heard before was the question of what happened to the roughly 200,000 left behind.

SRP: What can you tell us about the plot?

Lee: The story is as intriguing as the evacuation at Dunkirk itself. To evacuate 330,000 troops, Great Britain needed a rear-guard to provide protection as the evacuation progressed. Many of those troops composing the protective force, were green troops, just arrived in France. Others were non-combatants suddenly thrown into a combat role. I wanted to know what happened to them. My research revealed stories that were not only intimate to individual players, but also on a grander scale—i.e. small details led to a huge impact on the war. In the case of the Dunkirk, the effort to rescue those left behind led to Britain’s biggest maritime tragedy of all time eclipsing the Titanic. How that came about is detailed in After Dunkirk.

SRP: How did you choose this setting?

Lee: The story chose the setting, and it is larger than Dunkirk. The French Resistance (a term that describes loosely affiliated and independent groups) started up even before Germany crossed the Maginot by intelligent people who read the tea leaves of world events. Immediately, they were faced with hordes of British soldiers left behind who needed help to stay alive, healthy, and get home.

Getting home meant evading capture in sometimes overland treks across France to other places south of Dunkirk. Without food or shelter, those soldiers had no choice but to ask for help from French families, who aided them in abundance at great personal risk. And, as it happens, Winston Churchill had foreseen that this might occur and set up an organization to assist. The cooperation between those elements of British intelligence and the French Resistance is a large part of the story.

SRP: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

Lee: Boiling down the individual acts of courage and self-sacrifice in the context of the “big picture” was a challenge. For example, Neville Chamberlain is reviled for his appeasement of Hitler at Munich. However, much to my surprise, I found that a credible argument can be made that precisely that action bought Great Britain time to develop an advanced defense system that saved the country in its darkest hours. Simultaneously, they developed an intelligence system that, although it did not predict German actions regarding the invasion through the Netherlands and Belgium, it might have supplied information that led to the notion that the invasion at Dunkirk was feasible, with limited time to execute.

SRP: What’s next for the series?

Lee: The story, as I have written it, centers on a family of British subjects whose home is on Sark Island in the English Channel Islands. The Germans did, as a matter of fact occupy those islands for PR reasons—for bragging rights over taking British territory. The family on whose story I based this series has three sons and a daughter, all engaged in the war effort.

Jeremy, the central figure and youngest son in the family, finds himself on the beach at Dunkirk when the evacuation there is complete. His middle-brother, Lance, is only a few miles away. A very different personality, he relished the army and the thought of combat. Claire, their older sister, is a decoder for British Intelligence in London and struggles with national secrets that she cannot divulge which affect her brothers. Paul, the eldest son, is also in British Intelligence. He is diligent, intelligent, inquisitive, and does not hesitate to prod superiors to take action where it might shed light and assist with his brothers’ individual plights. Their parents, still on Sark Island, confront a different kind of Nazi threat— one that is more subtle.

The next book in the series, Eagles Over Britain, is a progression from After Dunkirk as the family continues to hold together as best they can while Hermann Göring unleashes the full might of his bombers against British airfields, and “the Few” struggle against overwhelming strength to fight. They fight for king and country, not knowing that the stakes are much higher than just losing England to a tyrant.

SRP: What are you reading now and/or what good books have you read lately?

Lee: Writing this series required an enormous amount of research, but I find it rewarding. The challenge then becomes incorporating salient points into a story that is as historically accurate as possible without burdening readers with pointless detail. To that end, these are just a few of the books I’ve read in recent months researching for After Dunkirk:

Dunkirk: The Men Left Behind by Sean Longden
A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm
When the Germans Came by Duncan Barrett
A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

SRP: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot?

Lee: The American Eagle

After Dunkirk by Lee Jackson is available now. Get your copy here.

Severn River Publishing signs USA TODAY bestselling author Jason Kasper

SRP is excited to announce the signing of USA TODAY bestselling author Jason Kasper, author of the Spider Heist, American Mercenary, and Shadow Strike thriller series. Kasper will introduce the brand new Shadow Strike series, featuring the fan-favorite character David Rivers, with The Enemies of My Country in early 2021. He will also continue to produce books in the bestselling Spider Heist series and launches a standalone psychological thriller Her Dark Silence later this month.

Kasper uses his experiences as a former Army Ranger and Airborne Infantry and Special Forces officer to create incredibly authentic and action-packed novels that have sold more than a quarter of a million copies worldwide, landing him on the USA TODAY bestseller list.

Kasper said,

‘I couldn’t be more excited to have SRP supporting my work. With the success of my ongoing Spider Heist Thrillers series, and a 10-book outline drafted for the upcoming Shadow Strike series, I look forward to seeing the SRP team reach new readers as I spend more time doing what I love most: writing.’

Please join us on Facebook and Instagram to welcome Jason to the SRP Team!

SRP Re-signs Multiple Authors Through 2023

SRP is thrilled to announce that three of our outstanding authors have re-signed contracts with us through 2023.

LynDee Walker, best-selling author of The Nichelle Clarke Series and The Faith McClellan Series, has signed on to produce four more books with SRP through 2023, to include an entirely new mystery series. Leave No Stone, the second in Walker’s Faith McClellan Series, was selected as a finalist for the ITW 2020 Thriller Awards. Details on the new series are coming soon.

Brian Shea, author of the acclaimed Boston Crime Thriller Series and The Nick Lawrence Series, has signed on to produce four more books with SRP through 2023. The Boston Crime Thriller Series, currently with two books published, has been met with critical and reader praise. Murder Board, Book 1 in the series, was selected as a finalist for the ITW 2020 Thriller Awards.

Scott J. Holliday, author of The Stonefly Series, has signed on to write three new books with SRP through 2023, to include a new mystery series. The Stonefly Series is a mix of urban fantasy and traditional mystery that follows Jacob Duke, a man bound by a mysterious curse. Details on the new series are coming soon.

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Two SRP Releases Nominated For Top Thriller Award

Severn River Publishing is excited to announce that two of our releases have been selected as finalists by the International Thriller Writers for the 2020 Thriller Awards.

Leave No Stone by LynDee Walker and Murder Board by Brian Shea have been nominated in the Best E-book Original Novel category. The ITW selects 5 finalists for each category from thousands of submissions. It is an incredible honor to be selected.

You can see the entire list of 2020 Thriller Awards nominees here.

Interview with Chris Bauer: Binge Killer

Author biography:

Chris Bauer wouldn’t trade his northeast Philly upbringing of street sports played on blacktop and concrete, fistfights, brick and stone row houses, and twelve years of well-intentioned Catholic school discipline for a Philadelphia minute (think New York minute but more fickle and less forgiving).

Chris has had some lengthy stops as an adult in Michigan and Connecticut, and he thinks Pittsburgh is a great city even though some of his fictional characters do not. He still does most of his own stunts, and he once passed for Chip Douglas of My Three Sons TV fame on a Wildwood, NJ boardwalk. He’s a member of International Thriller Writers, and his work has been recognized by the National Writers Association, the Writers Room of Bucks County (PA), and the Maryland Writers Association. He likes the pie more than the turkey.

SRP: Where did you come up with the idea for Binge Killer, and what can you tell us about the plot?

Bauer: “Binge Killer came to life when I was looking for a way to showcase the growing number of vocal women who, paraphrasing Peter Finch as Howard Beale in the film Network, are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. A group of small-town female bowlers, quilters, and bingo players with similar ideals have taken to solving matters like violent crime, slow or ambivalent legal processes, and impotent politicians, into their own hands quietly and effectively, careful not to draw attention to themselves. The problem is their town is outed by a national publication as the “Safest Town in America” for its impressive no-crime record, and the anti-heroines (plus one male anti-hero), who all simply want to be left alone, find themselves in the middle of a fugitive recovery effort stemming from the town’s new notoriety. Protagonist Counsel Fungo, female bounty hunter, looks to capture a bail-jumping sexual predator with a history of aliases and identity thefts, and who is now more dangerous because he’s been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and has nothing to lose, with their chase reaching Rancor, a quiet, anonymous small town in upstate PA. The novel’s bones are from a short story I wrote years ago and submitted to local writers groups and a few select noir ezines. The peer writers loved it but the magazines didn’t pick it up. So I made some revisions to the characters when deciding to double-down by turning it into a novel, fortified by feedback from a content editor. Lots of mystery and violence, some twists, colorful language, gore, and dark humor.”

SRP: How did you choose this setting?

Bauer: “Upstate Pennsylvania in and around Scranton has a rich coal mining heritage, a surplus of bowlers, and a reputation for tough-minded residents known for being able to handle themselves. Plus it has the Pocono Mountains, utilized well here during the climax. There are abandoned coalmines, a real-life geological wonder turned tourist attraction with the word “pothole” as part of its official title (Archbald Pothole State Park is renamed in the novel, although I kept “pothole”; how could I not?). Plus it has nearby Centralia, PA, where a coal seam fire that started in a strip mine in 1962 is still burning “hotter than the planet Mercury, its atmosphere as poisonous as Saturn’s,” per David DeKok’s Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986.”

SRP: What’s next for the series?

Bauer: “An unsolved murder committed in Philadelphia comes back to haunt one of the town’s inhabitants whose daughter is now an FBI special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia region. The daughter’s adult relationship with her father is strained, one, because of her suspicions about the town, and two, because this knowledge goes against everything she’s ever believed in regarding legal law enforcement. I’m still noodling on this one with no words on page yet.”

SRP: What are you working on now?

Bauer: “Working on the follow up to crime thriller Hiding Among the Dead, a second novel in what I’m calling the Blessid Trauma series, title TBD (see below). A certain female mob cleaner-fixer has skipped out on Ka Hui, the Hawai‘ian mob that resurrected itself on the US mainland in Philadelphia. Ka Hui wants her back for typical macho mob bullsh*t reasons, but also because the top mob guy is in love with her. The setting is the Hawai‘ian Islands and involves a small, storied leeward island that is privately owned by a family who purchased it in the 1860s and promised to maintain its third-world culture in perpetuity, but is struggling now to keep this promise. After WWII’s Pearl Harbor attack, when a Japanese pilot crash-landed his mayday-ing Zero there and perished a few days later, the US Navy located its early missile warning radar apparatus on the island’s tallest elevation, and this current-day relationship is a major source of the inhabitants’ income, which is supplemented by ultra-expensive shell leis crafted from special mollusks found on its beaches and nowhere else on the planet. The island’s small population and its descendants are being brutally murdered one-by-one. The murders are allegedly committed by Ka Hui, but the mob denies responsibility. Tentatively titled Her Twelve-Letter Alphabet, as a nod toward the real-life Hawai‘ian language alphabet, this crime thriller will release in 2020.

SRP: What are you reading now, and what good books have you read lately?

Bauer: “Now reading a trio of books. Wool, a post-apocalyptic thriller by Hugh Howey set in a ‘ruined and toxic future.’ Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because I was told Larson’s female characterizations are phenomenal. And a re-read of one of my favorite novels, Chance, a story about the most famous baseball shortstop of all time, even if it’s only in the mind of the storyteller, by Steve Shilstone. I love the voice of Shilstone’s character’s biographer, an ‘old weird poet.’ I have to mention Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem as one of the great books I’ve read lately even though it’s been out for a while and is soon to be a movie (11/1/19) starring Edward Norton and Bruce Willis. It showcases Lionel “Freak Show” Essrog, billed as a detective, but he’s really more of a mobster. This character had a major influence in characters I created for Binge Killer. I loved Motherless Brooklyn!

Binge Killer Synopsis

A bounty hunter and a maniacal killer come face-to-face… in a town with its own dark secret.

​Counsel Fungo is a unique woman. She’s a narcissistic bounty hunter suffering from Tourette syndrome, and she’s very good at her job. Her two canine companions are officially her therapy dogs, but unofficially she considers them to be her partners. She’s suffered intense loss and has been the victim of a horrible crime. These experiences now drive her unquenchable thirst for justice. She’ll do anything to stop criminals from preying on the vulnerable.

Randall Burton is a binge-killing rapist who has evaded the law and is not long for this earth. Just out of prison and diagnosed with a terminal disease, he’s jumped bail and decides to go out in a blaze of glory. He heads to sleepy Rancor, Pennsylvania, named one of the “Safest Towns in America,” for one last depraved hurrah. A quiet town tucked away in the Poconos, its citizens are mostly widowers, bowlers, and bingo players.

With Randall about to start his bloody killing spree, bounty hunter Counsel Fungo arrives in town, hoping she’s not too late.

But Rancor, Pennsylvania is not as ordinary as it seems.

There’s a reason it hasn’t had a major crime in the past 50 years. And neither Counsel nor the killer are ready for what this quiet town has in store…