Upon the release of her new book The Freedom Broker, author K J Howe tells us a bit about the woman behind the books.
- I was a child of the world, living in the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and other interesting places. My father worked in telecommunications, so although I was born in Canada and consider it to be home, we rarely lived there was I was young. I thoroughly enjoy learning about the language, culture, and food of the different locales. Always the new kid, wanderlust is still in my blood, and I travel extensively.
- Is living for adrenaline wrong? Adventure is a huge passion of mine. It’s so inspiring to experience exhilarating moments. I’ve been cage diving with Great White sharks in South Africa, raced camels in Jordan, ziplined in Costa Rica, interacted with elephants in Botswana, studied combat training in the Phoenix desert…and I hope many adventures rest ahead.
- I believe that others can enhance our lives, and that’s why I thoroughly enjoy visiting book clubs, in person or via Skype. It’s such fun to commiserate with fellow bibliophiles, sharing stories that touch our hearts. And that social connection has the added benefit of being healthy for us—experts show that belonging to any group that meets at least once a month gives our lives more meaning and increases our happiness quotient.
- A die-hard sports enthusiast, I play tennis several times a week. The strategy in doubles is a fabulous puzzle to solve. Four people on the court with different skills and strengths. It’s also a great way to de-stress, as you need to focus on the game, which allows you to forget all your troubles. I also get so caught up in the fun, I forget I’m exercising!
- I’ve struggled with health issues all my life, so when I created my fictional character I wanted to incorporate this into my Freedom Broker thriller series. My protagonist, Thea Paris, an elite kidnap negotiator, has type 1 diabetes yet she doesn’t let it stop her from travelling the world to rescue hostages. People shouldn’t be defined by their illness—they should be defined by their indomitable spirit. The future is unwritten, and I love reading stories about people who triumph over their challenges.
- I’m an optimist at heart—or is it stubbornness? No matter how often I fail, I dust myself off and dig back into the challenge, trying to figure out where I went wrong so I can adjust my approach and try again. This “grit” helped me in my writing journey. Having a novel published was a lifelong dream—and I’m beyond grateful to have realized it. But it’s not all about reaching the goal. I also enjoyed the arduous journey of honing the skills needed to become an author, and I hope to keep growing as a writer and a person.
- When I’m not writing, I work as the executive director of ThrillerFest, the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers. Every July, over 1000 thriller authors descend on NYC for a week-long celebration of page-turning fiction. We call it summer camp for writers. We celebrated the illustrious career of Lee Child this year, and next year, we’ll be welcoming George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame to the conference. Come join us! www.thrillerfest.com
- I feel fortunate to call many suspense authors friends, and one of my favourite people in the world is the creator of Roy Grace, the talented Peter James. Peter and I bonded over our common passion for fast cars and love for travel, food, and adventure. Peter is a quintessential gentleman, and a brilliant storyteller. If you haven’t read him, you’re in for a real treat.
- As a former medical writer, I’m a research junkie, always interested in learning more about compelling topics. For the last four years, I’ve immersed myself in the world of kidnap and ransom to write my novel The Freedom Broker which tells the story of an elite hostage negotiator, Thea Paris. I have interviewed elite kidnap negotiators, former hostages, psychiatrists who specialize in the hostage’s mindset, reintegration experts, Special Forces soldiers who deliver ransoms and execute rescues, K&R insurance executives, and many others in this fascinating world. Few people know just how widespread and frequent kidnapping are: over 40,000 kidnappings every year!
- I love to laugh. Did you know that children laugh on average about 300 times a day whereas adults laugh only 15 to 20 times? Why let kids have all the fun? Laughter is so good for us, releasing endorphins—those feel-good chemicals—and improving our immune systems. Life is about being grateful. I’d highly recommend sharing a laugh with a friend today.
K.J. Howe is the author of The Freedom Broker, out now from Headline.