Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview With Author Daniel Palmer

Last week I posted an interview with fellow author/physician Michael Palmer. Today I'd like to introduce you to his son, Daniel. Daniel's second book has just launched, but as you'll see from the interview, there's more to him than just a guy who writes books.

Daniel Palmer describes himself this way on his website: “I'm an author (thrillers), musician (songs and such), father of two (boy and girl), husband of one, baseball fan (Red Sox), pro football fan (NE Patriots), and aspiring pet owner.” Some of you may also recognize his name from my interviews with his father, Michael Palmer.

Daniel’s first book, Delirious, was described by noted author Lee Childs as “Smart, sophisticated and unsettling . . . not just a great thriller debut, but a great thriller, period.” That’s high praise. I’ve read the book, and think it’s well deserved. I’ve persuaded Daniel to visit with us a bit, and I hope you enjoy getting to know him.

RM: Daniel, as I recall, you didn’t set out to be a writer. Matter of fact, you’ve held a number of jobs, some of them more memorable than others. Would you tell my readers a little about that?

DP:  Sure thing, Richard. I used to play guitar and hand out leaflets for lunchtime harbor cruises dressed as pirate. Business people would often try to kick my peg leg out from underneath me. I opened and closed a juice bar, and then auctioned off the remnants of Juicy Juice when my business partner failed to pay his storage warehouse bill. Oh, did I mention that I used to work in that storage warehouse? Worst of all, though, was the “Barmuda” Triangle, a college dive where I tended bar and which was so cash strapped, a repo man from our vending machine company once carted away the sanitary napkin dispenser. That was a real low point for me. 

RM: Despite the fact that you root for the Red Sox while I’m a diehard Texas Rangers fan, I do respect the work you do with the Red Sox Home Base program. Tell us a bit about that.

DP: The Home Base Program is a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital.  The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of veterans who deployed in support of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and live with deployment- or combat-related stress and/or traumatic brain injury.  My father and I became involved with the organization while I was helping to promote his book, The Last Surgeon, which featured a former army trauma surgeon who suffered from debilitating PTSD.  We had the idea to coincide his book launch with a fundraiser to support the Home Base Program since his novel dealt with themes specific to the organization’s mission. The event was a tremendous success and helped to raise thousands of dollars and increase public awareness about the Home Base Program. We continue to support Home Base and hope to do another big fundraising event at some future date.

RM: In addition to being a writer, you’re a talented musician. One of the highlights of the International Thriller Writer’s meeting each year is when you and your dad join together to sing a parody song, adapted to the writing life. I believe you’re the genius behind those words. Would you give us a sample?

DP:  Thanks, Richard. I’m glad you like the music. I collaborate with my father on these songs, which makes the writing and performing all the more fun.  Here are some verses from our last parody song, THE WRITER, to be sung to the tune of the classic Kenny Rogers song, THE GAMBLER.


On a warm summer’s evening at the bar in the Hyatt
I was feeling like a failure when a man slid next to me
His face was worn and weathered and his eyes glowed like a two embers
I sensed he was a writer, the kind I’d like to be

So he ordered off my bar tab and sighed as if he knew me
Then he tapped my manuscript and made a knowing smile
I heard you on that panel and you really were quite boring,
If you want to be a winner, you gotta learn to write with style.

The rule you’ve got to follow was written by Sam Johnson
If you don’t want folks to think that you’re a total dunce
Just circle every passage that you’re especially fond of
Then take a big eraser and get rid of them at once

You've got to know when to send it, know when to mend it.
Altering your perfect prose ain’t a lot of fun
You shouldn’t check your rankings, fourteen times an hour

They’ll be time enough for checkin’ when the writin’s done.

RM: All the writers in the audience are still laughing, Daniel. On a more serious note, your debut novel has been out now for a couple of years. What have you learned about the publishing industry that surprised you?

DP: I’ve followed my father’s career for years, so I knew quite a bit about the publishing industry before I became involved with it myself. Even so, it was surprising to see the number of people involved with making a book launch happen. From cover design to distribution, it’s definitely a team effort.

RM: Your second book of your three-book contract with Kensington, Helpless, has just launched. The premise is disturbing, to say the least. Want to give us a preview of what it’s about?

DP: As a former computer guy turned novelist, I like to show my readers the hidden perils of commonly used technology. I don’t want to lose people in the jargon, so I keep the computer stuff factual, but understandable. To write Helpless, I worked closely with a former Navy SEAL and current FBI special agent and the result is an utterly realistic look at the dangers of sexting. This is a book that parents and teens should read together. It’s a cautionary tale about the vulnerabilities of our reputations to online attacks and the power of a single image to destroy a life.

 Jeff Ayers, of AP, called Helpless a deeply puzzling thriller. Here’s an excerpt from his review.

Tom Hawkins is a former Navy SEAL who is battling his ex-wife, Kelly, for visitation rights with his daughter, Jill, who wants nothing to do with him. He coaches soccer at the local high school, and Jill becomes one of the star players – though she would rather have someone else calling the shots. During a practice session, the police arrive and tell Tom that his ex-wife has been murdered. He immediately realizes that he’s the No. 1 suspect.

Tom’s nightmare has only begun: The police discover a blog detailing his secret love affair with one of the players on the soccer team. A search warrant uncovers tons of teen pictures, with several team members in provocative poses. Tom is arrested for distributing child pornography, and he has to find out how someone could frame him so completely – and why. Even the FBI’s forensic computer analysis team believes he’s guilty.

Trust plays a key role in the narrative of this compelling and deeply puzzling thriller.

… Palmer has a gift with realistic characters – and a writing style that guarantees a sleepless night.

 RM: And, as I always ask my guests, any last words? 

 DP:  I really appreciate the opportunity to tell your readers about my novel, Helpless.  I love to hear from readers, so I hope you’ll give the book a read and share your thoughts with me. You can reach via Twitter, Facebook, or on my web site .  Thanks again! 

My pleasure, Daniel. And I hope your days of bartending and playing a pirate are over. Thanks for dropping by, and good luck with your writing.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Richard, what a great interview! I normally don't lean toward reading thrillers, but I'm intrigued. Daniel, the Home Base Program that you're involved in with your dad sounds amazing and so very needed. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your wonderfully diverse life. Now off to Amazon to check out Delirious... Be blessed!