We recently had the pleasure of talking to our author, Jeremy Engel – author of the new crime/thriller – A Dangerous Man.
We asked him some questions about how he started writing, why he chose to write a thriller and if he has any aspirations to write another book!
1) What inspired you to become an author?
I was inspired to become an author back in the sixth grade. That’s when I wrote my first story. My teacher had given us a pseudo journal to work on every day for about twenty minutes. I had no idea what to journal about in my life, so I decided to write a story. She loved it and was impressed by it, often handing it back to me to work on when I was finished with my class work. I learned the concept of suspense by drawing it out farther and farther, which kept her interested. When I did finish, she typed it up and submitted it to a friend who happened to be employed with Reader’s Digest. They had a section to feature youth writing at the time. They wanted me to change a couple of things, and I stubbornly refused, so it never got published. But that told me I had some talent, and I enjoyed it. It became something I knew I would do one day.
2) We understand you are a father, what do your children make of their father being an author?
I have one daughter, who’s recently graduated high school, so she’s learning to make her way in the world. She’s excited for me and knows how hard I’ve worked at making this happen for myself. I hope it inspires her to pursue whatever she may become passionate about regardless of how long that might take.
3) There are some heavy topics in your book – as heavy as they are, it is important that they are spoken about. Did you have any inspiration in any other books or films to the topics you chose to write about?
When the idea for A Dangerous Man came to me, which was about 16 years ago, books or films didn’t have any initial inspiration. The idea sparked from seeing horrible newscasts relating to kidnappings and trafficking. Those realities impacted me as a father, seeing that they existed, and God forbid anything like that ever entered my life. Subconsciously, the inspiration I may have drawn from came from films. I’m a big movie fan. Notable films I could site are the late Tony Scott’s Man on Fire with Denzel Washington, and Pierre Morel’s Taken with Liam Neeson. The latter, in particular, made me second guess my idea. I’d only outlined so much of what I’d wanted to create when that movie came out (2008) that I almost scrapped it because there were so many general similarities. I was forced to make some creative alterations, and I think my story, especially as a film, would be better.
4) In dealing with the sensitive topic of human trafficking, did you take any extra steps with your research that enabled you to feel confident that what you were writing was accurate?
I didn’t do any special research to address the subject matter outside of the basic facts of its existence. Those were fairly straightforward, and there are so many ways in which it occurs that, if you can imagine it, it’s probably true to some degree. I didn’t take from any specific scenarios, either. In regards to the scenes where victims were depicted, over time I had read articles, listened/read interviews, and saw some documentaries that gave enough of an impression of the horrible conditions traffickers put their victims through that it gave me ideas. I let those inspire my imagination to visit an even darker region to bring what I decided to depict in the novel, and then I exaggerated it a little more from there with fictional liberties. My goal with those parts was to instil a sense of discomfort, which is difficult in our desensitized society saturated with the ability to view any number of horrible things at the touch of a button. I think, in reading about such things, it empowers the reader to use their own imagination to fully realize the descriptions for themselves. That could then heighten the experience and make it more realistic for them.
5) Have you ever thought about writing other genres too?
Yes. I have and I will in the future. In years past, I was a personal trainer at a local gym starting out and I would have a lot of downtime between building a clientele base. I would write, and I actually have a dark fantasy/adventure story that spans three binders, handwritten. Sadly, it’s unfinished. I’ll revisit it in time, though. I have a science fiction novel or two in my queue, as well. There’s also a western, one blending horror and superheroes, a couple of other horror/supernatural related stories. I think I also promised my mother I would write a romance novel at one point. She likes to read what I write, but she has to read them during the daytime so she doesn’t have nightmares, and she skims the more violent aspects because she’s squeamish. My books are not in her wheelhouse. Her speed is more Danielle Steele or Jean M. Auel from what I remember growing up – totally out of my wheelhouse, but you can’t disappoint mom, right?
6) Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Absolutely. Actually, I think I still have it buried away somewhere and it was titled The Guardian. I mentioned it in a previous answer regarding the journaling I did in sixth grade. That story was my own iteration of a Dolph Lundgren movie called I Come in Peace, but I’ve recently seen it retitled as Dark Angel. What I remember the best about the film was Dolph’s one-liner when he killed the alien. For context, when the alien would kill it would say, “I come in peace.” It was the only thing it would say, if I remember correctly, so it was also ironic and darkly funny. The alien says this right before it’s decimated, and Dolph’s renegade cop, Jack Caine, says, “But you go in pieces.” Gotta love the 90’s awesome cheesy action flicks.
7) Finally, do you have any aspirations to write more?
Oh, without a doubt. Novel number two is finished, which I’m editing for submission. I plan to have it done before the end of December 2021. It’s another crime thriller, but it’s not associated with A Dangerous Man (ADM). It’s a story all of its own. I am also working on outlining the sequel to ADM, which will be titled A Violent Man. Those will be my immediate future releases. Some I mentioned previously, but I’ve also got some old works that need to be finished. Some dream projects that I’ve wanted to write for much longer than ADM, too. I think that made it as my debut because of how powerfully the subject matter impacted me. I have a queue of about sixty-plus ideas ready to draw from any time, so there’s a lot of exciting things to come. I hope more and more people will come along for the ride.