Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Tour: The Erroneous Talibani by Richard Asner Interview


    The Erroneous Talibani showcases all the essential components of the classic espionage novel. Exotic settings, broken hearts, treacherous allies, love, violence, redemption and vengeance spin through the book, which moves at a breakneck pace worthy of the best examples of the genre.
    Greg Damet, an Annapolis graduate with eight years in Naval  Intelligence is recruited by the CIA where he meets and falls in love with Jacquie Dean. Together they are sent to Afghanistan to work with the Special Forces. Greg is sent into the field while Jacquie remains at Bagram Air Base.
    During Greg’s tour of duty, his plane is shot down, eats raw snake to survive and is ultimately captured and beaten nearly to death by the Taliban. He is discovered by Aysha, the daughter of a tribal chieftain and she nurses him back to health. During his recovery, the two develop a romantic attraction for each other. It is also while he is recovering that he is able to obtain information that has dire international consequences, information supplied by a CIA mole. Armed with this information, Greg is forced to kiss a tearful Aysha good-bye and do whatever it takes to get to the American Embassy in Islamabad. Greg’s initial action there is key to unraveling the mystery of the mole’s true identity.


1. Where did you get the idea for the novel?
     It was my concern over the rising tide of the Taliban in Pakistan and the remote possibility of them getting control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

2. Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change it?
    I came up with the title. It was exactly what Greg Damet became, an erroneous Talibani. The title was never changed.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
    They evolved together.

4. Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
    I am a veteran of the Marine Corps and I was also a naval aviator. In addition I have done some skydiving and bungy jumping, so the genre is a natural extension of my past lifestyle. A like writing about a person who lives on the edge.

5. Since becoming a writer, what's the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
    As a beginning author, it's exciting to hear how well people appear to be enjoying my book.

6. What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
    The last book I read was "The Last Patriot" by Brad Thor.

7. What was the first book that you ever wrote (very first one, not published)?
    The book you are reviewing is the the very first book I ever wrote.

8. What is your writing process?
    a. Generate an idea that will make an exciting plot.
    b. Draw up the plot in outline form.
    c. Take each segment of the outline and expand it.
    d. Pull the segments together to make sure the story rings true.
    e. Refine the entire story to add more depth and detail where needed to help it tie together.

9. Who are you favorite authors of all time? 
Of all time, just one, Tom Clancy!!!

10. At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
    I generally mention the person's name and add something like "Hope you will enjoy it."

11. What is something people would be surprised to hear about you?
    My age! I am 85 and am in perfect health. I work out at a local health club Monday through Friday.

12. How do you react to a bad review?
    Not everyone is going to like what I write, so I expect to see a bad review. It doesn't bother me at all. I'm sure it would affect me some if that's all I saw. It would certainly tell me I had some work to do.

13. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
    I believe I had dinner with my girl friend.



Wednesday – April 4 
    “Father, come quickly. Bubba has just discovered a badly wounded Taliban soldier who desperately needs our help”
    “Where is he?”
    “He’s in a cave, not far from here.”
    “How badly is he hurt? Can he walk at all?”
    “No, Father, he can’t. He barely move.”
    “Alright, we’ll take the wood cart we have for hauling wood. It’s about the right size.”
    The cart looks as if it were made 100 years earlier, boxy in shape with side boards, two large wooden wheels in front and two sturdy handles at the rear, looking pretty much like a big old-fashioned wheelbarrow.
    “Hazar and Bannu, grab the wood cart and come with me. Very well, Aysha! Show us the way.”
    They start out heading north. The cart shakes and rattles as it passes over some rather rough rocky ground. Occasionally, one of the wheels becomes wedged between two rocks and it takes some effort to force the cart forward. In about twenty minutes they reach the cave. They find Jamal in great pain. Gazni asks him in Urdu, “Where does it hurt?”
    Jamal responds, “All over.”
    “What happened to you?”
    Jamal struggles and speaks haltingly, “I got separated from my group. The Americans found me, brought me here and beat me to give them information.”
    Aysha says, “You’re in good hands now. We will take care of you and make you well again.”
    The four of them lift Jamal off the ground and carefully lay him down on the surface of the wood cart. Aysha starts to get in next to Jamal to comfort him, but decides against it, thinking it would be too much of a load. Hazar and Bannu each grab a handle and begin the jolting trip back to camp. On the way back, they stop at various times to tend to Jamal and give him a chance to rest a bit before traveling on. After about an hour of this rather arduous journey for Jamal, they reach camp. They carry Jamal into the camp’s only two room cabin, reserved for Gazni, the tribal leader and Aysha his daughter. It is also used on occasion for tribal meetings. Gazni asks Hazar and Bannu to place Jamal on his bed for now. Then Gazni says to Hazar, “You have an extra bed in your place. Bring it over.”
    A few minutes later, Hazar along with Bannu return with the extra bed.
    “Place it in the corner next to the door. This is only temporary until his condition improves enough for him to move in with Bannu.”
    “Move in with me?”
    “Yes. It will only be long enough until he’s ready to travel. Then he will be joining his Taliban friends when they return.”
    Jamal hears this with no small concern. I don’t want to be here when they return. I wonder when that might be. Jamal mumbles something and Aysha bends over Jamal.
    “What is it Jamal? I didn’t hear you.”
    In a voice barely audible, “What day is it?”
    “It’s 16 Rabi one. (April 4 on Gregorian calendar.)
    Jamal studies the situation. Okay! What’s 16Rabi one? That has to be their Islamic calendar. I don’t dare ask her what year it is. Anyway, I know as much now as I did before. I remember it was April 2 the day Joe and I were ambushed in the cave. I don’t know how long I was out before Aysha found me. I’m going to guess a day. Then it was another day or two that I was in the cave with Aysha watching over me. I have to say it’s about the fourth or fifth of April. The Taliban have left their winter haven and have probably started their summer offensive. Chances are they won’t be back for some time, unless they return at some point for a little R and R. I’m going to estimate a couple of weeks to recover.


    Richard Asner describes himself as having led a “very fruitful life,” and it would be impossible to dispute him. A veteran of the U.S. Marines, which he joined at 17, he went on to graduate from the Naval Academy, like his hero Greg Damet. He then spent eight years as a naval aviator teaching midshipmen at
Northwestern University during the last three years of his flying career.
    Mr.Asner moved his focus to engineering and spent thirty years working in that field in the Chicago area before retiring. His primary enthusiasm is working out in his health club, but the keyboard will continue to compete with the weight room as a focus for his energy.


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