Writing Seeing Double has been an adventure. Replete with double entendres, the novel explores the Middle East while pondering the realities and irrationalities of ‘Truth,’ as it is seen, defined and acted upon from various perspectives. From the moment Ari enters Elisabeth’s office, the parameters of the plot are anchored. As each character unfolds, additional layers of communal ‘Truth’ emerge. These ‘Truths’ weave their way through families, countries and terrorist groups, crossing borders, creating boundaries and declaring themselves ‘The Absolute’; the One and Only, Single, Solitary, Absolutely Perfect, Unquestionable ‘Truth.’ These ‘Truths’ stake out their turf, take over lands and demand total unwavering loyalty from their followers. Disloyalty is treason, and we all know what happens to traitors.
The problem with these unquestionable, demanding ‘Truths’ is that there are a lot of them and while in some ways they are unalterably contradictory, in other ways they are identical. Certain common themes apply to all of these ‘Truths,’ but because the theological power is attained through isolation, discrimination and elevation, their commonalities are distorted, rejected and denied. These ‘Truths,’ like the religions to which they are inextricably linked, are trans-generational, connected to the soil, traditions and embedded lifestyles. These ‘Truths’ are as simple and as complex as the religious beliefs from which they evolved.
Ari Ben Aviv is the first character you meet in Seeing Double, as he enters Elisabeth Reinhardt’s office. He’s strikingly handsome, tentative and in mortal danger. From the first encounter, Ari is not what he seems to be and the uncertainty about his reality follows the character deep into the book, until his situation changes and the truth about him becomes clearer. Brilliant, and rather bookish, this character evolves in critical, unexpected ways as he ultimately holds the course of world history in his capable, though ambivalent, hands.
In my next book, Seeing Double, you will meet Hadara Eliat, a strong, intelligent, courageous, intriguing character who will play a major role in her ongoing series ‘The Olive Branch.’ This series, based in the Middle East, stretches across the world, highlighting a myriad of international covert entanglements. Living as she does in a part of the world where political and cultural tensions broil incessantly, she remains calmly focused. Managing her mysterious personal life, however, poses a few challenges.
Hadara is a woman who, like Elisabeth Reinhardt, is guided by a vibrant set of principles and beliefs. She is a loving wife and mother, as well as a high powered, aggressive Mossad agent, dual roles that may conflict, dovetail and ultimately converge. Reading Seeing Double you will see how the power of this character radiates outward impacting and influencing the course of unfolding events in a most explosive part of the world.
A whole new cast of characters join the familiar collection of Chicago characters you met in Relentless and these characters are complex, compelling and completely unique in tone, mission and personality. I cannot wait to hear your reaction to this newest group and to hear which of them you love the most! Our newest novel, set in the Middle East will introduce you to characters from several different countries and cultural backgrounds and will walk you through a number of intriguing covert adventures that will leave you guessing until the very end. You will meet the leader of a new extreme Islamic faction and listen as their goals and views emerge. You will see into the personal lives of leaders and spies and peek behind the scenes into some powerful political and governmental offices and in the end you may still not know exactly who is doing what.
Seeing Double is a work of fiction, but it captures many of the concepts and conflicts that are real and apparent in the world today, it walks the reader through an inside view of those conflicts as they are experienced by the characters who are breathing life into them. This is a fast paced action packed novel filled with personable, engaging characters that will embrace you from the first page through the last. Be sure to get your copy of Seeing Double. It will be available in hardcover, Kindle and audiobook and please be sure to let me know what you think by rating the book on Amazon.com and by visiting me at NancyJAlexander.com.
A simple-minded woman, totally dominated by her husband, Hattie Raines emerges in Relentless as a central, albeit flawed character. She is pivotal to the plot. Were she not exactly who she is the story could not have proceeded as it did. Although she appears to be a rather dull, unimportant character she is exactly the opposite. Because of her conflict-avoidant nature she fails to protect her child which is central to our heroine’s decisions; and because of her naiveté, Hattie is manipulated into the dangerous role of killer’s secret-keeper. Hattie is first and foremost Earl’s wife and he rules his family with an iron fist. Accommodating to him is her life-long pattern and to maintain that pattern she is determinedly narrow in her focus. Uneducated and removed from the world around her, Hattie persists in maintaining fixed, rigid ideas about herself and the people in her life only questioning her perceptions at the very end.
In some ways, Hattie Raines represents ‘every-woman.’ She embodies the plight facing many women in the world today, those who are bound by culture, religion, economics or tradition, who are dominated and controlled by their husbands or fathers, who are rigidly role-bound and unable to see beyond the constraints of everyday life. As I wrote about her, I saw a woman caught up in moral dilemmas she didn’t even notice. And I think had she but seen one of these issues, had she but recognized one place where she could change, she could have turned the whole situation around. Earl knew that, most dominators/abusers do. They keep their women hidden away from other people, away from institutions of learning, away from books, newspapers, TV. Anything other than ‘their way’ is regarded as a threat to the status quo and the status quo is what preserves their power so it must be maintained at all cost.
If we look at Relentless from this angle, Hattie and Earl Raines represent flaws inherent in the human condition but they also highlight the importance continuing growth, learning and expanding beyond the boundaries of yesterday.
Look for Seeing Double to be available soon. When the Elisabeth Reinhardt series moves to the Middle East, more exciting characters are brought to life so vibrantly that they will soon be starring in their own ‘spin off’ series The Olive Branch, which will weave tales of love, espionage and terrorism that parallel world events in eerie, unpredictable ways.
Both the Elisabeth Reinhardt, PhD series and The Olive Branch series will continue side by side, independent of each other (mostly), they spin complex plots as their characters face challenges and follow their passions. The third book in the Elisabeth Reinhardt, PhD series, Twisted Realms, provides a more in-depth look at Elisabeth the person, as her personal and professional worlds collide in frightening and unpredictable ways. Twisted Realms features a charismatic, religious cult leader with a compelling childhood history, a number of captive youngsters, members of Mexican cartel that’s smuggling drugs and guns and a psychotherapy patient who cannot contain his impulses. Twisted Realms leads our characters into isolated Northern mountain ranges that stretch into Canada, where they engage a Chippewa tracker and run into our old FBI friends from Relentless.
Be ready to get your copy of Twisted Realms toward the end of 2015 – beginning of 2016, available in hardcover, kindle and audiobook.
As we move closer to the time when you can read Seeing Double and embrace a whole new cast of characters to love, I find myself drawn to the horrors of what constitutes the new Middle East. As if the violence and cruelty of Sadam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, al Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the other violent radical factions wasn’t enough, we now have ISIS which has taken Islamic extremism to an extreme the world hasn’t seen for hundreds of years. This group takes us back to early civilizations when there was no regard for human life, no concept of ‘family values’ or ‘social values.’ This group has no meaningful guidelines by which to regulate personal or social behavior. Like a rage-filled, adolescent, psychopathic gang they are bent on destruction for the sake of destruction. Even our lower functioning primate cousins have more clearly developed behavioral sanctions and social rules than these guys. Protect the young would be one imperative. While there are occasions when a violent ape tribe member crossed that boundary, it is nonetheless a clearly understood principal among primates that this was bad behavior. The young are always to be protected. It’s a zoological imperative. It’s inbred; something every species has hard-wired into their brains.
ISIS as a collective seems to have a few of those brain cells missing. Actually, quite a lot of them. The news this morning reported that ISIS has ‘put a price’ on children, whole huge groups of them are now for sale. Nothing covert about these guys! Not like our sneaky pedophiles, who horrify us by kidnapping one kid at a time. Boca Harem move over, today’s award for the cruelest and most heartless transgressors against children goes to ISIS. You are now the official worst of the worst. Congratulations!
It’s easy to sympathize with Gina, to support her and cheer for her as she copes with her fears and summons up the inner resources to confront them. It’s easy to admire Elisabeth as the strong, caring therapist and leader she is, but what about some of the other characters that make Relentless the compelling novel it is?
What, for example about Custer? A sad, victimized character caught up in a whirlwind of forces and events he never seems to understand. One of my favorite characters to write about, Custer, was totally unplanned. He just happened. A fledgling character, he epitomizes the foundational conflicts embroiled in the plot. Identified with the underdog, Custer just wanted to belong somewhere, but found himself swept along with the forces of evil as he automatically replayed his childhood roles trying to appease the alpha dogs and stay out of the line of fire. His inner dialogue offers an accurate perspective of gang dynamics as he observes his ‘buddies’ struggle and tries, ineffectively, to guide the powerful psychopathic gang leader in different directions. Custer is fundamentally a likeable guy with a good heart who is ultimately controlled by his fears and insecurities. In the plot, he serves as the truth-teller, given other life circumstances he would have turned out differently. In the end, Gus speaks to the character’s essence as he wonders ‘what would have happened if he had given the kid a little job’ in his diner. Good point, Gus, that’s something we can all wonder about.
A few months have passed since RELENTLESS, An Elisabeth Reinhardt novel hit the marketplace and perhaps loyal fans and followers of Elisabeth Reinhardt, PhD have been wondering what’s next for the famed psychologist aka head of a secret underground rescue organization. Well, wonder no more. Coming soon to an Amazon.com near you is SEEING DOUBLE. In this adventurous spy thriller, Elisabeth continues to go beyond the call of duty for her patients and this time it’s way beyond as she and her crew, evade extremist pursuers and head toward the Middle East where they become entangled in the complex world of jihadists, Mossad, covert Russian arms dealers and foil a madman’s ill-conceived plot to destroy the known world. SEEING DOUBLE, the second book in the Elisabeth Reinhardt series, will introduce you to the charismatic characters who take the lead in our spin off series The Olive Branch, which will focus on the multifaceted, fast-paced and dangerous world of nations in conflict.
You’ll meet new and compelling characters and become invested in their lives and fates as this complex plot unfolds from page to page. SEEING DOUBLE will compound your reading pleasure in more ways than one, just you wait and see!
Coming to an Amazon.com near you is my first novel in the Elisabeth Reinhardt series, its action packed, mysterious and an interesting study in psychopathology, all at the same time. A complex plot weaves together the lives of a young doctor, the killers who are obsessed with her, the lawmen trying to stop them and the therapist who is trying to rescue her in more ways than one. Characters are well-developed and described in striking detail through a winding plot and a surprising ending.
Hardback and digital copies will be available through Amazon.com soon to be followed by the audiobook narrated by the author, herself, available through Audible.com and iTunes.
Readers have called Relentless “…a great read” and others have said they “couldn’t put it down.” I’d love to hear what you have to say. So please read it and feel free to leave me a comment here, or visit me on Facebook. I can’t wait to hear from you!