Interview with Peter Riva, Author of Kidnapped on Safari: A Thriller

 

 

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The third book in the Mbuno & Pero series pulls terror from headlines to create a gripping international thriller for readers of John le Carré, Daniel Silva, and Iris Johansen.

Expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar are filming on Lake Rudolf in Northern Kenya, East Africa, when they receive news that Mbuno’s son, himself an expert guide, has been kidnapped while on a safari five hundred miles away in Tanzania. After gathering the clues and resources needed to trek through the wilderness, they trace the kidnappers back to an illegal logging operation clear-cutting national park forests, manned by sinister Boko Haram mercenaries. There, they find not only Mbuno’s son but also a shocking revelation that has terrifying and far-reaching consequences.

Relying on Mbuno’s legendary bush skills, the pair must overcome the danger both from inside and outside the camp to bring Mbuno’s son out alive. In doing so, Mbuno and Pero discover that kidnapping and deforestation are only the beginning of the terrorist group’s aspirations, and they realize a threat that would herald an even more dangerous outcome for Tanzania—a coup. A rescue might just risk the entire stability of the region.

Exciting and expertly plotted using facts ripped from news’ headlines, Kidnapped on Safari is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller set in deepest, darkest, Machiavellian, East Africa.

 

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Group of giraffes in the Serengeti National Park on a sunset background with rays of sunlight. African safari.

 

 

 

Interview with Peter Riva,
Author of Kidnapped on Safari: A Thriller

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

As an adult? No. However, as a child I was always writing and making up stories based on real events, machines, animals. My mother, of course, loved these, as did my much younger brothers. Then school took that hedonistic pleasure away. It was only in later years, post-40, that I found that pleasure of writing for fun again. It’s a slightly guilty feeling to allow myself the pleasure…

Have you ever written a screenplay?

Yes, at UCLA film school 1969-70. Those years were interrupted by the anti-military riots and it went nowhere. I did critique other young TV/filmmakers—like Steven Spielberg (at USC- he used to come to see original films at UCLA)—with my opinion of films and their perspective. My advice to Steven was useless. He always had a steel-trap memory, remembered every credit of every film he had seen. Steven, who worked with my brother Michael, is a storyteller at heart. We have that in common.

How did you become a literary agent?

As a gopher on Monty Python’s Flying Circus for BBC TV—and I mean a gopher, I had, for example, to fetch two ladies of the night willing to dress as nuns for the penguin tennis sketch… and bare their chests (BBC 2 allowed that, it was aired, but never in video). When the TV season was over they asked my help in getting a book published. My father was a toy agent and he was able to steer me in the right direction. Things went on from there…

How did you develop a love for wildlife in Africa?

I first went to Africa age 16 and then returned –this time to East Africa with a client Peter Beard. There I met some wonderful people, real people, people of the land and adventure, who showed me their connection with nature. Three times I walked solo across the Maasai plain to the Ngong Hills and back, eight miles each way. Lions let me pass, hyenas paid me no heed. I walked through herds of gazelles. There I also met Mbuno who, as you can see in my stories, had a profound impact on me. The stories of his exploits and those of his father (who guided Teddy Roosevelt) are awe inspiring.

What are your favorite animals?

Let’s start with those I hold in my heart… a succession of wonderful companions since I was 18, dogs, currently Lil Lady and Tay, both Golden Retrievers. Except for those dog friends who I consider much like family members (I do not own them, we share life), I have always admired, studied, and been fascinated by animals. I had a farm back east with a rescued pulling horse, Big Jim, 1500 pounds of muscle, along with cows, ducks, chickens and wonderful goats. Where I live now on a ranch in NM we have Pinzgauer cattle that I hand feed when they turn up early morning. 

How did your writing process develop? Or has it always been the same?

I am afraid as a writer I binge. In work I read 100k to 150k words a week, write maybe 10k words at least. I have written for the past 20+ years a weekly op-ed piece, 800 words, for the Millerton News and often the Lakeville Journal. It all adds up. But writing a story? I sit down, pluck events I know about out of the thin air, write them down and let the characters construct events. Sometimes that means I’m still typing at 3am… sometimes I need to stop and mull it over for a day or more.

Do you always write what you know? And if not, would you write something outside your direct knowledge base?

Yes, I rely on what I know, have studied, learned about or—and this is the fun part—connect the dots on. Take two separate events, especially when everyone assumes that there is one event and that’s final—and there is another event and that too is final, self-contained. If you then find the link between them, if you can find that thread that mysteriously (plot twist) connects them, then you have great fun allowing the threads to be woven into a good story. If I reach a point where my personal knowledge fails me, I have resources, people I can talk to of course. Quite often that gap not found on Google until you get to the 20th or more page down. I often prefer my 1956 Encyclopedia Britannica. Research is never frustrating, it is always illuminating.

Write something outside my direct knowledge base? Yes, sure, insofar as data and facts are concerned. That’s fun. My SciFi stories fit that bill, tons of learning (all fun).  Write something outside of my personal emotions and experiences as a character or those of characters I have known? Not sure I can make up a human out of whole cloth. Can anyone?

I believe storytelling originates out of some kind of appreciation. What do you appreciate about Mbuno?

Mbuno embodies—both the real man and the character I write which is an amalgam of Mbuno, his father and stories of pre-colonial East Africa—that which is most honorable, most deliberate, least constrained by false values levied in modern society. I’m not talking about PC here, but let’s take an example. The real Mbuno was asked to help the British powers during the Mau Mau revolution. This was a terrorist faction of the Kikuyu tribe, set on upending British rule. Mbuno didn’t care who wanted to rule the country. Like ownership of land which he believed to be nonsense—“Only the gods own the land they created.”—ruling a country didn’t interest him. However, Mbuno could not stand by and watch Mau Mau butchers hacking up women and children in the dead of night. He had no hesitation in tracking those killers down. Nothing to do with sides, just moral right from wrong, nothing PC about his thinking.

What do appreciate most about the setting in your book?

It is so hard to convey the true majesty of real nature. I live in New Mexico, abutting the Gila Wilderness, 3.5 million acres set aside as wilderness. To be here, to inhale unspoiled air, revel in the scenery, watch the wild animals (bears, coyote, fox, javelina, snakes, and 1/3 of all the bird species in N. America come through here)—it’s like a meal for the senses. The difference between here and East Africa’s wild places? On foot, almost nothing, but Africa has that primordial connection to a part of your brain that you cannot escape. The senses can be overwhelmed with the beauty and majesty. In a zebra-painted tourist minivan, your TV is better.

Is everything in Kidnapped on Safari real?

Oh, of course, real yes and actual fact? No. Times, events, places are moved about. A similar coup in Tanzania was a real possibility until it was stopped in the ‘70s. Boko Haram kidnapped girls (news events). Transporting the girls to Tanzania as a means to effect the coup? My imagination and that connection thread no one expects. The trains, the places, the parks, the animals, all real, researched or experienced first-hand. Mbuno’s ability to communicate with elephant? As told by him true and, in his old age (approaching 80 when I knew him), no longer fully possible—but the prowess of his father to do so—taught to him—always astounded me and even him. He used to explain, “You need the beat of the land, of nature. Without that, they will not listen.” Mbuno was the real deal.

 

 

Peter Riva author image headshot

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Peter Riva is the author of Kidnapped on Safari. He has spent many months over thirty years traveling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books, including the previous two titles in the Mbuno and Pero Adventures series, Murder on Safari and The Berlin Package. He lives in Gila, New Mexico. For more information, please visit https://peterriva.com

 

 

 

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Story of the Writer Series: Author Lynda Filler

 

 

Please Welcome Lynda Filler

Author of the  Jet World Series & Target in the Sun

 

 

 

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Glad to have you with us Lynda!

 

 

 

 

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Are you fluent in Spanish?

No, I speak Spanish poorly but with a Canadian accent and say “eh” at the end of the sentence.

I’ve never heard a Canadian accent before.

 

 

Can you share some pictures of Mexico with us?

Lynda dwells in the lovely land of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

 

 

 

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Why did you chose to start writing?

I’ve been writing all my life. Poetry in my twenties and my first novel. I tossed it by accident last year preparing for a hurricane!

Oh no! That’s too bad, but it’s understandable given the circumstances! Glad you’re OK.

 

 

 

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How has bestselling author Russell Blake influenced your career?

Now that’s a great question. I think RB personalised the process for me. Because of his invitation I started writing JET Exposed  in Kindle Worlds.  The story was super fun and seemed to take on a life of it’s own. I have three novellas for his World, and two for Toby Neal. As a matter of fact, I may have to write another this year.

Wow. It’s not everyday you have a bestselling author invite you to write books! 

 

 

 

According to Goodreads 

Jet: Exposed (Jet World #) Book 1 

JET EXPOSED, A SUSPENSE THRILLER, UNCOVERS A DARK AND DANGEROUS WORLD OF HIGH-LEVEL INTRIGUE, PASSION, POWER AND GREED

 

 

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The US government is in the throes of cyberwarfare with China. Luke Raven, a high-tech billionaire, is the only man that can save America from the deadly fallout. Jet, a highly trained operative, returns from Kosovo to retrieve two hundred and fifty million dollars in diamonds safely stored in Uruguay. Spotted by a drug cartel, she is chased up the Pacific coast of Mexico where she is saved by ex-Navy Seal Zach, a member of ‘Raven’s Group’.
Luke and his team recruit Jet to help execute a dangerous, highly classified special operations mission that is crucial to national security…Jet completes the critical Team Profile. They take their high-paced adventure across the USA and over the ocean to Paris. The action culminates in Shanghai, China where an ultra-wealthy and ruthless business tycoon possesses highly sensitive information that would have catastrophic results in the wrong hands. But will they get there soon enough to secure the information from their enemies?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Russell Blake

 

 

 

“A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.”-Vladimir Nabokov

 

 

 

 

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What is your goal in becoming a writer?

My goal is creative expression. I want to tell stories that entertain, inspire, create wonder and border on magic. I want my readers to be transported to a place they’ve never been and feel the story as it enfolds.

YES. That encapsulates it perfectly. I love it. I don’t think I could’ve said any better.  Creativity unbound.

 

 

 

 

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Did you write poetry before fiction?

I think I did but I started writing so many years ago that it all blends in for me. I published poetry first The Love Fix in 2009, then Love Rehab 2011 and I (Spy) Love in 2013. Poetry for me is prose in short bursts, sometimes rhyming, more than often stream of consciousness. I wish there was another word for what I’ve written so more people would be inspired to read it. I know they would enjoy my sometimes senseless or emotional or erotic writings.

I began with poetry as well, then progressed to fiction. 

 

 

 

Share two of your favorite poems.

 

Someone Forgot

someone forgot

to rewind my clock

instead my time

is time/warped/locked

is cut in half

is set to explode

when all I asked

was time to reload

the memories

the mistakes to fix

time to love deeply

time to mix

what is soul

important

what is naught

mundane

money chased

now seems so lame

someone forgot

to rewind my clock

Tick

Tock

 

 

The Love Fix

too many have come before you

and left before you

and promised nothing

and in the past, nothing was enough

 

I love these two poems. They really say a lot, especially the second. Words can be very powerful when used to convey meaning, experience or the past. Well done.

 

 

 

 

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Landburg

 

 

 

What motivates you?

Love. Love of life, and the amazing men I’ve loved. The Creative Process for creation itself.

Wonderful. You can’t beat love of life! There’s something about the ability to create that’s so exhilarating isn’t’ it? 

 

 

 

 

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What’s your antagonist? Or what’s in the way of achieving your dream?

Time. Never enough time for all I want to create on so many levels.

Ah yes, father time. They say time and tide wait for no man. 

 

 

 

 

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Name three of the most difficult things as a writer.

  • Time to learn to hone ones craft.
  • Time to learn to market ones work.
  • Belief that you are good enough

These are all great opportunities to learn throughout our writing life. You have a great beginning! 

 

 

 

Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching-purehappylife.com

 

 

 

What is it about thrillers that you enjoy?

Oh the fun and the mystery and the thrill of the unknown. When I write I have no idea, even when I plot, where the story is really going to go! Thrillers are only limited in your mind.

I love thrillers too!  The fun, mystery, intrigue, action and suspense all wrapped into one. 

 

 

Have you learned to write from the heart?

Absolutely. My poetry is totally from the heart. And that is both the strength and weakness in my writing, it’s from the heart. If I don’t cry at some point in my story I didn’t get it right.

That’s amazing. I’ve heard several authors say they cry when they write. I’ve definitely been there. It must be the release of passion from us to the page. Sweet isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

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Why do writers give up?

Lazy. In it for the wrong reasons.

Tough love.  

 

 

What would you say to them?

  • If you think you can, you can.
  • Don’t listen to criticism.
  • Write for the love it it, the art of it, not the money.

I especially appreciate your last statement. It definitely rings a bell. Art is beautiful; you never know where it might take you.

 

 

 

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Write for the love it it, the art of it, not the money.- Lynda Filler

 

 

 

 

What’s your next project or book release?

Thanks for asking. My novel TARGET in the SUN is amazing. Great reviews. I thought it was a one-off but favourite readers have been asking me what happens to Carlos and Mia. And what about Sofia and Lucia. Without giving any of the story away, I’ve been surprised by events in several of the chapters. I started with a newspaper story and moved on from there. I LOVE this book VANISHED in the SUN. Pub date expect December 1st.

Can’t wait! Drop us a line when it’s ready!

 

 

THANKS LYNDA!

 

 

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Lynda Filler
Best Selling Kindle Worlds Author, Novelist and Poet

Amazon author page

 

 

 

 

THANKS FOR RIDING THE TRAIN FOLKS!

COME BACK AND SEE US!

 

 

 

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PS

Check out my other site: Mysterythrillerweek for more fun and action!

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com