Today, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to host a living icon upon my humble page: The one and only Gerry (Alan) Souter!
I’ll let him introduce himself in his bio, but let me tell you… you’ll never meet a funnier, wiser, or more accomplished person. I’m honored to call him my teammate at Black Velvet Seductions Publishing, and I’m beyond honored that he often makes time bestow both his wit and wisdom upon me.
So without any further ado, friends…
I give you GERRY!!!
Gerry (Alan) Souter Biography
“A Thread of Sand,” his debut novel, reflects his wealth of knowledge and empathy with the characters he has created as a professional author.
Gerry was an artist before he was an author, making his first clearly identifiable drawings of the steam trains that passed by his crib window at age three. From there, came a statewide-winning painting at age 13 sending him to the School of the Art Institute—his eventual alma mater along with the University of Chicago where he earned a bachelor of art education degree with graduate honors in photography.
A career as a photojournalist followed for thirty years traveling around the world on story-telling and award-winning assignments for newspapers: Chicago Tribune, Sun Times, magazines, world travel, and industrial collateral. He turned his story-telling to filmed documentaries, producing 14 award-winning video productions. With much of his photojournalism, he wrote the accompanying text, mentored by experienced editors.
His quality writing impressed a major publisher to request a non-fiction book: “The History of the America Firehouse.” It received rave reviews and went into four editions. More book requests were offered: American histories, military histories, biographies, fine arts, auto racing, a memoir. Gerry—and his Art Institute sweetheart, Janet, also an award-winning author—criss-crossed the United States and foreign locations doing research for their new company: www.avril1.com.
His world travels and experiences from the Arctic Circle to equatorial Venezuelan jungles and the desert sands of Egypt. Paris in the spring, sailing up the Nile, free ballooning over the Rocky Mountains, breaking the sound barrier in a jet fighter, astride horses over fences in competitions—all these experiences and many more are available to his fiction writing. “A Thread of Sand,” his 57th traditionally published book and debut novel, amzn.to/2L4WHHU reflects his wealth of knowledge and empathy with the characters he has created as a professional author.
A Thread of Sand blurb –
In 1891, a young gifted British artist, Lady Julia Carstairs, travels to the Wild West. She learns more than a young lady should about life as she survives the rigors of a Texas brothel. Julia escapes and flees the US to find work as an artist in Egypt. Follow her journey as she avoids the clutches of sinister Dervish rebels. Feel the temperature rise, as she is passionately seduced by both men and women on the way, finding true love in the arms of a British Lieutenant.
A seductive erotic story that spans half the globe. Can Julia’s love survive the turmoil of these perilous times?
A Thread of Sand review, by Virginia Wallace –
‘Her terror froze her into immobility as her sanity dangled by a single thread of sand…’ – line from Gerry (Alan) Souter’s A Thread of Sand
A Thread of Sand is a major favorite in my household. It’s the first novel I read from Black Velvet Seductions when I was hired on, and I was pretty well blown away by the fast-paced, breath-taking narrative.
Now, let me be clear here: A Thread of Sand is not a romance novel. I think it’s important to clarify that, because I’ve learned that bad reviews don’t come from bad writing. Rather, they come from disappointed expectations. It’s best to be clear about what a story is—or isn’t—right out of the gate, so the readers know what to expect.
So no, A Thread of Sand isn’t a romance novel, in the sense that the story doesn’t revolve around the pursuit of a single relationship. Rather, it’s a rollicking action/adventure tale with heavily erotic overtones. I think it’s best compared to a lot of pulp-fiction novels that were published in the thirties and forties. And therein lies its utter genius; you just don’t run across many stories like that anymore.
The tale revolves around a well-bred, English Countess named Julia Carstairs. She’s intelligent, artistic, strong… and very, very damaged! She’s certainly one of the darkest heroines I’ve ever read. What’s brilliant about the tale is that we’re told right from the get-go that she was once sex-trafficked in a ‘Wild West’ brothel, so the reader immediately gets a firm grasp upon that side of her character. It also explains her wildly promiscuous behavior, which would otherwise have been very unusual for the turn of the twentieth century.
Julia’s story is one of internal conflict, with the talented, genteel Lady ever struggling to overcome the traumatized creature within. I think that’s very relatable, because—as I’m fond of saying—we’re all a bit of the Walking Wounded.
The action and historical details are both gripping and engaging, certainly on par with writings from the likes of Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs. I really enjoyed the fictitious portrayal of Winston Churchill. Some of us history buffs might view Churchill as an overweight lush with dubious leadership abilities, but he wasn’t always like that. It was fun to see him as the fit, competent soldier that he was as a younger man.
A Thread of Sand is a must-read for fans of historical fiction, action/adventure, and erotica. The tale just roars along from beginning to end, relentlessly dragging the reader pell-mell toward a thrilling climax and satisfying ending.
When you’ve finished reading, you can almost close your eyes and feel the desert wind on your face…
AN INTERVIEW WITH GERRY (ALAN)!!!
(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)
When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?
Age 4. I did a drawing of a locomotive – three cars and a caboose-underneath it, I wrote “Train”
What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?
“The DISConnection” 1990 About all manner of discs from Videodiscs to CDRs and their hardware. Very good—In print for 10 years
How do you balance writing with your personal life?
I don’t. I have no personal life. My wife has a life. I tag along with her. She’s also a prize winning author.
Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?
Pieces of them. A bit of bone and a hank of hair
Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?
They flee when they see me coming
Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?
Yes, but they sit in my head and scream to be set free
Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?
No, I’ll embarrass anyone and I don’t owe anyone money
Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?
All the time. YA, Veterans, women… I’m an all-purpose author. No one is safe.
Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?
I’ve written 56 non-fiction traditionally published books, almost all histories, biographies, or one memoir
Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?
I left “normal” when I graduated grammar school. I am a complete story-telling loon. I have a beat-box mouth, I shoot all manner of weapons, I used to jump horses over fences for ribbons. I write books and magazine articles about everything I’ve done. I paint and draw every week for four hours. I’ve broken the sound barrier in a jet fighter. I’ve traveled all over the world as a photojournalist. I love popcicles. Driven? I’ve driven an Indy race car an average of 111 mph at the Joliet Speedway.
Do you drink? Why or why not?
I drink about four ounces of Rye whisky every two weeks. I would drink more, but my kids will only buy me so many bottles a month. Same goes for pot. My wife’s a wine junky.
Are you married? How does being a writer affect that? Has your marriage affected the way you write love stories?
Yes, No and No
If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?
“Thread of Sand”. It has everything in it a good movie in today’s market requires Second would be “Kilgore’s Colt”
How does your life experience influence your writing?
My life experience is my writing. I’ve experienced great bags of life experience. I once drank snake blood for Christ’s sake!
Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?
I write for the reader
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?
I need dead silence. I used to play the viola.
Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?
Virtually all my stories reflect in part my personal experiences (except biographies of course.)
Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?
The closest I’ve come to world events was the “Troubles” in Ireland when I was arrested for being a suspected terrorist.
Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?
I always start out with a plan and structure and I am always surprised.
What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?
The look on people’s face when I say I am ”an author.”
Who is your favorite author, and why?
Ernest Hemingway . He had basketball-size cojones in his life and writing until he eventually let all the air out.
If you could pick anyone to narrate one of your books, who would it be?
Anyone without a lisp
Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?
Lady Julia Carstairs OBE Countess of Ashford I would pick any good actress under 30
Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?
I dissolve on vacation and usually write poetry.
Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?
Different types. Who wants to read better fiction then I can write?
What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?
I have a crush on Virginia Wallace
What’s your favorite movie? Why?
Citizen Kane. I identify with Kane.
Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?
You mean face to face? Jan and I are always at book fairs. We see them then and are always pleased with their good taste
Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?
All the time. That’s what history writers do
What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?
My shoe size is 11-1/2
THANK you, Gerry, for gracing the pages of virginiawallace.com! Here’s to your success thus far, and may you find more in the future!
A Thread of Sand is available on Amazon.com. (Sorry no link, but a title search pulls it right up. Amazon’s links are CRAZY invasive, and play hell with my page!)
Gerry’s impressive career in both fiction and non-fiction can be viewed here: www.avril1.com
To see more of Gerry on virginiawallace.com : https://virginiawallace.com/2020/08/23/eating-bugs-and-drinking-lava-by-gerry-souter/