Monday, October 31, 2011

Introducing Greg Ballan author of HYBRID series

Happy Halloween to everyone in cyberspace!!!!  A special thank you to Hannah Howell for the great privilege of guest blogging on such a fun night.
Before I begin; a few quick notes about me.  Confession number one, I am not a romance writer.  I’m a Science Fiction / Horror writer which is appropriate for the given date.   When I’m not trying to launch a full time career as a writer I support myself and my family as a contractor for the United States Air Force.  I am privileged to work with the most wonderful men and women serving this country!  I am an avid outdoorsman and am at my happiest wandering around the woods with a recurve bow shooting at pine cones, old stumps or clumps of dirt.  
I am married (My poor wife) and have three children who all manage to tolerate me to some degree.  I live in the small town of Hopedale, which happens to be the same town where my novels are situated. 
As I stated above, I am not a romance novelist but I do incorporate romance into my novels and believe that the genres of horror and romance aren’t like oil and water but more like gin and tonic… they make a great mix if done properly.   The key is in developing believable characters a reader can identify with and feel sympathy for during the trials and tribulations of a story’s plot.  In my first novel, ‘Hybrid’, readers are introduced to Erik Knight, a divorced PI struggling to make ends meet after a bitter divorce and smear campaign that left him destitute.  Throughout the novel Erik struggles with real “day to day” issues such as paying rent, child support etc. as well as terrifying ordeals that would make any sane person turn to mush.  ‘Hybrid’ tells the tale of a regular man dealing with incredible circumstances.  In the story, Erik finds the strength to deal with both the changes in himself and the hostilities around him by leaning on a woman he secretly loves but has never had the nerve to express his feelings to her.  As Erik learns more about his true nature, he learns to open himself up to other people and allow himself to experience love once again.
HYBRID back cover blurb
Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.
Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.
      After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.
This isn’t a typical romance novel, but love is the underlying key and it’s the characters that draw in a reader as much as the plot lines.  If a character is interesting and credible his/her perils are gripping, drawing readers in and holding them captive through each turn of the page.  The reader feels each emotion and winces through each trial and shares in the joys of triumph.  If the character isn’t believable he/she can experience all kinds of trials and tribulations but they just won’t grab a reader.   In the world of ‘Hybrid’ things end happily and the good guy gets the girl… until the sequel.
Human/Esper detective Erik Knight has kept his bargain with the United States Government by functioning as an undercover operative and CIA Cooler for over two years. Erik has been using his inhuman abilities to clean up terrorist hotspots and break narcotics trafficking rings throughout the United States and countries with US political interests. While away on assignment, Erik’s life is shattered when he learns his wife died in a car accident.  Though he attended her funeral and burial, Erik can still feel a subtle trace of his beloved in his mind.

Threats against the life of the French President's daughter by terrorists result in the grieving Knight being assigned to protect her. After he foils two attempts on her life, he discovers that the radical group accused of the act is not involved. He joins forces with the group's leader and discovers the termination order originated inside the beltway in Washington DC.  As the CIA Cooler digs deeper he learns that there may be a connection between the assassination attempts, his deceased wife, and a threat against the entire planet from outside the solar system.

HYBRID FORCED VENGEANCE mixes romance, horror and suspense to serve a complicated cocktail that readers will find intriguing and plot twisting with each turn of the page.  This novel was the most fun I’ve had writing and, as a sequel, let me take characters developed in the first novel and expand upon them, developing their personas and their motives in a deeper character study which in turn created more powerful motives for the “bad guys” and allowed me to push the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ behavior with the “good guys”.  For all the plot intertwining, corporate scheming and combat sequences, Forced Vengeance is a hybrid romance novel paying homage to the power and belief that ‘Love conquers all’, after a great deal of trial, tribulation and intrigue.

‘Hybrid’ and ‘Forced Vengeance’ also pay homage to the horror movies of the 1950’s like ‘War of the Worlds’, ‘Forbidden Planet’, ‘Them’ and ‘The Thing’.  Each movie was a successful mix of horror ranging from an alien creature terrorizing a desolate Arctic outpost to Earth being invaded by seemingly invincible alien invaders in tripod saucers incinerating everything with a lethal heat ray.  In each of the above movies, the strength of our interest in the characters, made their peril more believable and more palpable.   These movies didn’t need excessive gore to make an impact, they relied on a good story and likeable characters, the same criterion apply to a good novel.  And… in the end, the guy gets the girl!

Happy reading and Happy Halloween, thanks again to Hannah Howell for allowing me to occupy her blog for an evening.

Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vengeance are available at Lachesis Publishing, Fictionwise and Amazon