Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today's Guest: David Pereda

Today, I have a guest, David Pereda. David was so kind as to give me an interview. He's a fascinating man and I think everyone will find his interview interesting. So let's welcome David. (clap)

1. Welcome David, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure. I was born in Havana. I came to the United States as a kid around the time Castro took over -- January 1, 1959. My family and I moved to Tampa, Florida. I did the usual things immigrants do. I worked, I learned English, I studied, and I dreamed of a better future.

I won’t bore you with the gory details of my life. I’ll just give you the highlights. I attended universities in Florida and California from where I emerged with degrees in Math and English Literature, and later an MBA. Ultimately, I became a hotshot international management consultant, jetting around the world to advise government institutions in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Along the way, I picked up a couple more languages, a few wives, and plenty of experiences.

A few years ago, I decided that I’d had enough of that life. Although I’d been highly successful as a consultant, I felt like a failure. I felt like a failure because what I really wanted to do was write.
So I quit consulting and, with the support of family and friends, devoted myself to do what I really wanted to do -- writing and teaching.

And here I am.

2. Wow, you've held some very interesting job positions and have a number of degrees. What made you want to write a novel?
I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first book at 10, a western in the tradition of Max Brand and Zane Grey. I grandiosely titled it David Patterson, the Temerarious. As I mentioned before, I got sidetracked by life, but now I’m doing what I love to do.

3. Your latest book is Havana: Killing Castro. Tell us about this book and how it came about.

I never know, exactly, how one of my books comes about or why I write it. I can tell you how the idea germinated on my mind. My ex-wife was a successful plastic surgeon, and thanks to her, I was able to witness several complex surgeries. Since I was born in Cuba, I started thinking, “Why not a face-disguising surgery to Fidel Castro?” And the idea for the Havana Series of thrillers was born. So let me tell you a little bit about the series before I tell you specifically about Killing Castro.

In Top Secret, my main character, Miami surgeon, Raymond Peters is lured to Havana under false pretenses to perform plastic surgery on an ailing Fidel Castro and his friend Pepe…and switch their respective identities. While in Havana, Raymond, a recent widower, rekindles his romance with his childhood sweetheart Sonia and meets the son he never knew. Despite untold complications of extreme danger, the resourceful Raymond manages to carry out the double surgery and escape Cuba on a speedboat with Sonia and his son.

Killing Castro continues the adventures and misadventures of Dr. Raymond Peters – and focuses on who killed Fidel Castro. Here’s brief synopsis:

An old fisherman is gunned down on a Mexican beach, and prominent Miami surgeon Raymond Peters becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Why? The dead fisherman is believed to be Fidel Castro, whom Peters helped disguise through clandestine plastic surgery two years earlier. In order to save his own life, and protect his family, Peters must find the killers and retrieve a missing mysterious journal while outwitting the ruthless woman assassin Marcela, sent by Castro’s brother, Raul.
4. Does the reader need to read the first book Havana: Top Secret before reading Killing Castro?

No. Each of my books is self-contained. There’s enough backstory in Killing Castro to understand the plot nuances without having to read Top Secret first.

5. I hear that Havana: Killing Castro has been made into a screenplay. Can you tell us about the process you went through to get a screenplay for this? Did you start the process or did someone contact you?

Hollywood producers have been contacting me for several years now, but somehow, I have never been able to get past the frantic phone calls. This time someone I know, a close friend of my son Luis (a young Hollywood producer), contacted me about writing the screenplay for the book. We did it together. I had never done a screenplay before. I was gratified when we entered it in a screenwriting contest in Hollywood and it made the quarter finals. My partner is now trying to find the money to make it into a blockbuster film. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

6. Well, I’m sure everyone will be waiting to see what you come up with next. Would you share a bit about what you’re working on now?

With pleasure. I’m already at work on the sequel to Killing Castro. Titled Twin Powers, it’s a dramatic departure from the previous books in the series. The locale switches to the Middle East and the centerpiece of the story moves away from Castro to the twin girls born to Sonia and Raymond in Killing Castro.

7. Now something a little more personal. Would you give us a peek into a typical day for you?
My typical weekday would be kind of boring to you.

In spring, summer and fall I typically get up around 6 AM to exercise and go for a 2-3 mile jog around a lake nearby. In the winter I stay inside and run on a treadmill inside the house. After breakfast, I go to work at the community college where I teach, usually until noon. After a quick lunch at home, I sit down at my computer to answer dozens of emails, phone calls, work on various projects and write – usually until 5 PM or so. At that time, I rush to pick up my 7-year old daughter Sophia at her school. Then it’s Sophia’s time. I work with her on her homework, play checkers, or hang out. I get back to writing, and my computer, around 8, sometimes till beyond midnight.

Weekends are different, of course, except for the exercising and the long hours working at my computer.

8. You are one busy man, and everything sounds very interesting. Thank you so much for stopping by today, and good luck with the screenplay and the next book. Is there anything else you would like to say our guests before you go?

Thank you for having me. I’d like to give some advice to all the wannabe writers among your guests. Chase your dream and never give up. Somebody told me once that I would never be a published author because English was my second language. I have published five novels and won six writing awards already. What happened to the person who told me to give up, you may ask, a budding writer himself? Nothing.

So don’t go for nothing. Chase your dream.
Put some mystery in your life

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