WITSEC, the witness protection program run by the U.S. Marshals Service, has been in existence for forty-six years. In all that time, WITSEC has never lost a witness who remained in the program, a total of 8500 witnesses in that time. What if, suddenly, two witnesses were murdered, execution-style, and an attempt was made to assassinate a third witness but barely failed…all in a span of two weeks?
There is a leak in the U.S. Marshals witness protection unit, or a massive breach in their computer system. Paul O’Malley, the director of WITSEC, must stop the killings before many witnesses lose faith in the program, and seek new sanctuaries on their own. O’Malley, with the keen help of a long-time ally and friend, retired FBI agent Harry Esten, team up to identify the leak and stop further killings.
Esten’s years of investigations significantly contribute to unfolding the assassin and the former marshal who is providing him with the names of victims who have continued to commit crimes while in WITSEC.
The trail of both villains becomes clearer to the bumbling O’Malley, while Esten’s thorough research gets O’Malley back in the chase more often than not.
There is non-stop action throughout, leading to a climactic confrontation between the two villains, and an ending that will surprise everyone.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Julien Ayotte whose book Disappearance thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love thrillers but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Julien Ayotte, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Julien Ayotte will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Julien Ayotte!
Julien Ayotte is the author of five books. His first novel, Flower of Heaven, was the 2013 New York Book Festival winner. His second novel, Dangerous Bloodlines, continues in Paris where Flower of Heaven leaves off. From France, Italy, Sweden, Ethiopia, and the Middle East, Dangerous Bloodlines is a fast-paced global sequel that will keep you guessing. His third release, A Life Before, takes the visions of a paranormal college student to great lengths to solve a long-closed cold case. Disappearance, his latest release, is about a leak in the witness protection program (WITSEC) and recent assassinations of two witnesses.
Now, how wonderful does Julien Ayotte sound?! Julien Ayotte is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of Julien Ayotte’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and Julien Ayotte, I hope that you enjoy Julien Ayotte’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself.
I am a retired executive who somehow found that he could write enticing mystery thrillers for readers to enjoy year after year. Following over forty years in the corporate, legal, and academic world, I found an old manuscript I had started in 1987. The first chapter was so old, the paper had started to turn yellow. Those were the days before computers and fancy copying machines. My daughter insisted I finish the manuscript, it was that good so she claimed. This was in 2002, the year I retired from being the executive director of a large law firm in Worcester, Massachusetts. I had held several high positions in the corporate world before turning to law firm administration and teaching finance and investments on the graduate level at five different universities. My three degrees, a B.S., an MBA, and a PhD, all in business, enabled me to reach these levels. Truth be told, I probably would have been quite content in retired life just playing golf and tennis. But writing suddenly came into the picture.
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
In late 2016, I read a newspaper article about a U.S. Marshal who had had too much to drink one night and revealed more than he should have about WITSEC, the government’s witness protection program. Unbeknownst to him, the stranger sitting on the bar stool next to him had connections to the mob. The marshal had jeopardized the safety of certain individuals in the protection system, and he was sent to prison for his actions. What a story this would make, I thought. Imagine a leak in WITSEC that could affect thousands under the watchful eyes of the U.S. Marshal Service. Thus, Disappearance emerged.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
To aspiring writers, my only advice is to do it sooner rather than later. How many times have I heard, “Someday I’m going to write a book about…” I wish I had started earlier in life. I’m 77 years old now, and I just completed my fifth novel in six years. In my mind, I could have easily completed dozens of books had I put my mind to doing so. But better late than never, although sooner would have been even better!
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
A novel must capture the attention of the reader right from the synopsis. You need to hook your potential reader so that he/she cannot wait to read more beyond the back cover dialogue. All four of my current novels did this, and the result was hundreds of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads reviews and high rankings. This has also resulted in multiple national book awards for several of them as well.
What is your writing process like?
I’m old-fashioned. I write everything longhand before I type onto my computer. My thoughts flow faster doing it this way, rather than sitting in front of a screen to write. I then use the computer to type and amend my written text as I enter each chapter. I have no layout or blueprint of the novel, I do one chapter at a time, oftentimes never knowing what the next chapter will bring. I have no clue beforehand how each book will end, until I end it, and I have yet to be disappointed in any of my four books’ ending.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Research is critical to any book, especially books that take you from one period to another, one location to another. My latest book, Code Name Lily, to be released this month in paperback form (already released as an eBook), had nearly six months of research before I started writing and putting it together. All of my books have been thoroughly researched. In Flower of Heaven and Dangerous Bloodlines, the sequel, it was the streets of Paris, the town of Orvieto, Italy, the remote hospital in Ethiopia. In A Life Before, it was the dangers posed by exposure to radon gas, and a young woman with reincarnation who helps to solve a cold case murder twenty years earlier. And in Disappearance, it is the inner workings of the witness protection system, the remote locations where witnesses are sent to begin new lives, and to the beautiful Roatan Island in Honduras.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
In reading tidbits about what writers should be doing, the rule of thumb, if there is such a thing, suggests you write a page a day, which would allow you to write a book a year. But when you factor in extensive research, you’re not writing pages on those days. And there are days, many of them, where you can’t write a word, it’s just not there. Other days, I have written fifteen or twenty pages. You can’t force it out, so be patient, it will happen.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I am always reading, not necessarily books, but newspapers, magazines, social media stories, etc. I got the plot for my last three books from reading stories that I thought would make a good book. My upcoming release, Code Name Lily, came from reading Lily’s obituary last November. This story touched my heart more than any other, because not only did my own mother come from Belgium in 1919, where the heroine comes from, but my mother’s nickname also was Lily. I had to write this book.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I have been compared to Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, John Grisham, and other mystery thriller writers. Someday perhaps, I will attain their success, but I’d better hurry, I don’t know how many years I have left!
World War II certainly had its share of deserving heroes and heroines, many of whom have received their due recognition. But how many civilian women have can say they saved the lives of at least 250 downed airmen in just over two years?
Code Name Lily takes you on an unforgettable journey from Belgium, into France, and over the Pyrenees mountains into Spain. An extremely clever and persuasive young Belgian nurse outsmarts the Nazis time and again, risking her life if she is caught, but protecting every airman she successfully aids to evade the Germans.
Code Name Lily is based on the true story of Micheline “Michou” Dumon-Ugeux, a legend in the Comet Line escape network from 1940-1944 who went only by the name of Lily. You, too, will fall in love with Lily.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Julien Ayotte! If you have liked what you have read about Julien Ayotte and are interested in learning more about Julien Ayotte and reading Julien Ayotte’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,