Danger is a way of life for Rock Pounder, so when the DEA asks him to recover $250 million in drug money hidden somewhere in Mexico, the 10% finder’s fee makes the risk worthwhile for Rock and his team. But when his beautiful publisher Penelope Dickens Frost finds herself in possession of a key that leads to the drug money, he finds trouble on more levels than he ever expected. Penelope is one of the only women who hasn’t immediately fallen for Rock’s charms, but things heat up as the two of them race across the Mexican desert on Rock’s dirt bike, with drug lord El Raton in hot pursuit. From Dallas to Cabo San Lucas and into mainland Mexico, Rock and Penelope follow the money trail, with Rock’s unique team aiding in the escapade. But someone on the inside is betraying them. And publisher Penelope Dickens Frost proves to be almost more than even Rock Pounder can handle in this high octane thriller, the second book in the Rock Pounder series.
Will the betrayal, his publisher and the challenge of money recovery prove too much for Rock Pounder? Will he live to see a third instalment in the Rock Pounder series? To debate Rock’s fate, I’ve been joined by Dave Harrold, author of Rock’s thrilling adventures in ‘The Key to Cabo’. Dave, thanks for taking a few moments out of Rock’s high-octane world to chat with me about your literary adventures. What fueled your imagination for this particular adventure?
I had travelled through Mexico on my motorcycle many times, so I knew the territory. With contemporary headlines, a drug cartel story seemed like it would work with the character of Rock Pounder. I also wanted to bring in Rock’s publisher, since she had been mentioned in the first book, but without any character development.
Looking back on the character development in the first book and continuing into the second, do you remember how the key characters like Rock or his publisher came to life?
Many of the characters are based on friends and acquaintances I have known throughout my life. For example, Lance is based on a real friend named Lance who travelled around the world with me on our motorcycles.
I’m sure that the real life Lance has so many stories from his motorcycling adventures that the fictional Lance will never want for a fantastic storyline. As many of the characters were borrowed from real-life, how did they interact with the plot? Were the personalities so strong that they simply wouldn’t take part in some of the events you had planned, or did the events infuse into characters and inform their reactions?
The plot was informed by their personalities. The group of characters is like an ensemble cast, and their reactions to their adventures together are as important as the adventure itself.
I love that you’ve used the words ensemble cast here to describe the team. When you think about the characters do you think of them in a movie context? And going down that route, who would you pick to bring these characters to life in this movie world?
Rock Pounder would probably be Jeff Bridges. If he were unavailable, maybe Bruce Willis. Penelope might be played by Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlett Johansson. Gertruda, possibly Michelle Pfeiffer.
Good, solid choices there. But even a solid cast might need some notes from the author. What would you tell the cast is the most important aspect they need to convey to the audience?
You never know where you might find your next friend.
Friendship is so important. What was the greatest moment you had while writing Rock’s adventure of action and friendship?
I felt when I finished it, “Son of a bitch! I finished it, and it’s good!”
*Laughs* It’s great when it’s good! What did you learn along the way that made sure it was good when you reached the finish line?
In the first Rock Pounder book, I feel like I was just beginning to learn how to write a novel. With The Key to Cabo, I felt like I had learned how to organize a plot from beginning to end.
It’s great that even with two books under your belt, you can already look back and see how you’ve progressed as a writer. If you could take back your current writer wisdom and apply it to the start of ‘The Keys of Cabo’, what do you think would change?
I would finish it faster, so I could start on the next one.
It sounds like that next one is jammed packed with awesomeness and action that it can’t be missed. What is it about?
A Rock Pounder novel set in Las Vegas and Cambodia.
More international action for Rock! That will be awesome! What is it about his adventures that keeps you coming back to tap out another one?
Writing is a good way to record and elaborate on many of my life experiences in a way that is both creative and fun.
When you’re thinking of a new adventure for Rock, do you start noting down ideas to form a detailed outline?
No, I’m generally pretty spontaneous.
So, no plan as to where Rock’s adventure will end up before your pen first hits the page?
No, I never know how a book will end. The plot unfolds as I write.
As you work without a solid target, are there any strategies you use to keep Rock’s action flowing?
I write every morning, and I write again late at night.
Do you like any musical accompaniment during these sessions?
Either lively classical music or real twangy country.
What happens when the country twang just doesn’t get Rock on that bike and everything just stops?
If I come to a stopping point, I will generally have a meeting with my publisher, and we will talk through the plot.
Having someone like a publisher to bounce ideas off of is fantastic. What other support does your publisher provide outside of publishing process?
I have worked with the same publisher on all three novels. She always hires a professional editing service, although she also thinks that she is herself god’s gift to writers.
*Laughs* I hope that she really does have god’s gift! Other than hiring an awesome publisher, what tips do you have for authors who are a few steps behind you and are still yet to publish that first novel?
Always hire professionals for the actual book production process. It will make a difference to bookstores, reviewers, and distributors.
Have your own professional skills helped you make a difference to your experience of the book production process?
I was a professional motorcycle adventure rider, although I spend more time writing these days.
Do you ever find yourself missing that high adventure lifestyle? Is there another path that you might like to explore one day to get a little more of that high adventure taste of life?
A guide through dangerous parts of the world–jungles, deserts, etc.
Oooh, that does sound like fun. Before I let you return to Rock’s next wildest adventure, I’d like to play tour guide myself through our wilder questions from the quick fire question section, starting with who decides what morality is?
What is your zodiac sign?
Where is the line between insanity and creativity?
That ship has already sailed.
*Laughs* So many authors have found the same! Keeping ourselves sailing, what is your favourite ocean?
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
The bottle is coated and there is no air.
I like the true scientific answer provided there. Have you tangoed in the snow?
No, but I’ve done other things.
Tangoing in the snow isn’t as high spirited as some of your other adventures, but maybe it’s something to consider doing one day. Here’s a good one, if you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
It would have dark hair, and I’d call it my wife. Just kidding, my wife is great.
*Laughs* Your wife would have to be pretty awesome herself to catch the eye of an adventurist such as yourself so I’m sure she’s no monster. On the topic of monsters, what happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
It depends on how good-looking the vampire is.
*Laughs* I thought Batman might have been more worried about being turned into a vampire, but perhaps there are other considerations like attractiveness that need to be made. What’s your favourite quote?
“Onward through the fog”
What is the best Jellybean flavor to eat in the midst of the fog?
And what ice-cream should accompany these jellybeans?
I think I could appreciate the fog better with that high sugar concoction. If all of the world is a stage, where does the audience sit?
On the stars
That would be a great view. Are you left or right handed?
What happens when you get scared half to death twice?
It happens a lot when I fall off my motorcycle.
The fear can’t be too fatal as you keep getting back on, or maybe that’s the key to kill the fear. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
A lion and a lamb
Fluffy and fierce, I’d like to see that combination come to life! And you never know, maybe it will come up in Rock’s adventures one day. Dave, thanks for chatting with me today, and I’m sure we’ve enticed some readers to consider following Rock’s adventures.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Key to Cabo ( ASIN: B071NLZGP6 )‘.
Want to find out more about Dave Harrold? Connect here!