I’ll cover questions about other books in later blogs but I received the most requests for more information about THE TAKERS. So, here it goes. The three books in the series, at least so far, are THE TAKERS, THE TAKERS: RIVER OF GOLD and THE TAKERS: SUMMON THE DEMON. The first two books have been reprinted and are available from Speaking Volumes and the third book, SUMMON THE DEMON will be available sometime late November. This installment is all about Zombies and Devil Worshipers and Voodoo and Nuclear Submarines. SUMMON THE DEMON was done as an audio adaptation but this will be the first time ever that it will be available in print or e-book format, I’m looking forward to seeing it myself!
The TAKERS books were by far the most fun to write. We had characters that --at least to us -- seemed perfectly normal who we could throw into completely outrageous situations and know that they would somehow stumble through and save the day. Did we see them as counterparts of Jerry and Sharon? Looking back, I think we took little pieces of ourselves and gave those pieces to Josh and Fanny but we pushed them way beyond our comfort zones. They also had a lot more money to play with.
You don’t see a lot of Josh’s house on Georgia’s Lake Lanier until the third book, SUMMON THE DEMON and the short story SIEGE PERILOUS where Father Damascus Santini, a major character from RIVER OF GOLD, finds refuge from a bunch of bad guys. Of course the house is gorgeous right down to the great room with the fireplace and the bearskin rug on the floor in front of it. We had a mounted bear’s head once. A friend’s wife wouldn’t let him bring it into the house so he gave it to Jerry. I hated that thing. It kept staring. It also shed and when I found its nose on the floor I made him take the semi-balding, noseless bear head out of the house. He found someone else to give it to. I sometimes wonder where he lives now. If you walk up three steps from the great room to the kitchen you can pour yourself an inch or two of Myers’s Dark Rum which was a staple in our house during the winter months. Our house lacked central heating at that time and some nights some extra warmth was necessary.
We also housed graveside recording that were sent to us that were very interesting (more like they scared the sh-- out of us) as well as Zuni rain dance music. We did interviews with a real vampire hunter and had an extensive tape collection of interviews with experts on Voodoo and the Occult. In other words we had the typical home library that everyone in a small town in Georgia had, not to mention a Rolodex with some of the cards listing fake names.
The multi-million dollar house that they share overlooks Lake Sidney Lanier, named for the poet. It is a Mecca for outdoor recreation. Some of the rowing and canoeing events for the 1996 Summer Olympics took place there. Josh and Fanny don’t live in a really secluded area since 7.5 million people visit this lake each year, most during the summer months. Of course when they stand out on their balcony, all they see is the lake and the surrounding mountains. When we had severe drought conditions here two years ago, they could see boats stuck in the mud with no chance of coming ashore until the rains came along. Something you may not be aware of is that if things get really rough, they’re pretty close neighbors to the Rourke Retreat. Lots of adventure in Northeast Georgia!
The idea for the first book, THE TAKERS, came about while doing research for something else. I can’t even remember what the something else was but I came upon a reference that William Gladstone who served as the British Prime Minister four times between 1868 and 1894 had, based on the findings of a lawyer named Ignatius Donnelly, gone to Parliament asking for funds to send out an expedition to find Atlantis. Gladstone was turned down. I told Jerry and we started kicking around the idea that what if Gladstone had gotten the ok and an expedition had been sent off. That was all it took to get started. Going from there to ancient aliens with horns really wasn’t much of a stretch. Nazis and crazy psychopaths just naturally followed.
Josh Culhane spends a lot of his time trying to live up to his fictional adventure hero. When Josh is in a tough spot he wonders what Sean Dodge would do. He usually comes up with a plan and occasionally feels elated that he’s one upped Sean. Jerry related to Josh’s character in that he was the one who always tried to be sensible and was usually ignored. Jerry would try to work out a problem and look at it from all angles then find out that someone solved the problem using a hammer or baseball bat or whatever. Josh has a lot more money and got to travel extensively but Jerry was happy to have a family and pets and friends and a load of interesting characters.
If there is something I’ve missed that you would like to know about the TAKERS, please, feel free to ask.