Our guest today is Bud Bradshaw, author of RIVERWALKER a thriller/mystery with some paranormal activity. In his candid interview Bud share with us his writing technique, his characters and the road to publication. Bud will be on book tour with Pump Up Your Book throughout September and October.
You can find Bud Bradshaw at his website www.budbradshaw.com/blog
RIVERWALKER features the character debut of San Antonio PD veteran detective Gifford Holloway, a former Special Agent with Army Intelligence. Holloway is in pursuit of the most despicable of criminals, a savage murderer who victimizes children and dumps their remains in the water and along the banks of San Antonio’s beautiful and world-renowned Riverwalk attraction.
Frustrated at the lack of progress on the case and spurred on by an encounter with the mysterious Madame Candelaria, a local psychic, Holloway contemplates calling upon his special gift of “seeing”, though officially off-limits within the SAPD, to help solve the case and end the terror. Along the way, Holloway finds an ally in the capable and sensuous newspaper reporter, Salma Veramendi, who carries her own history of abuse
On the bend of the river looms Adler’s Antiques, a historical landmark owned and operated by Wolff Adler, a drug-pumping psychopath descended from a familial line of predators dating back to post-World War I Germany. Himself a victim of horrendous child abuse, Adler is the offspring of a Nazi father and a Mexican bruja, a witch who practiced the “old” religion. Operating from deep within his secret lair beneath the Alamo, San Antonio’s most recognizable and sacred shrine, Adler assumes the guise of Tlaloc, Aztec god of storm, thunder, and … child sacrifice. Adler’s demonic reign of terror, acting upon a distorted internal belief system – a synthesis of Norse mythology and ancient Aztec practices – has a stranglehold on the residents of San Antonio. Wolff Adler has become the RiverWalker.
When his own daughter is suddenly abducted, Holloway pulls out all the stops and, with Salma by his side, closes in on the killer in a gripping climax.
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Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
The book began as something far more straightforward and less complex. “Bowie’s Ghost” was to be the title: a simple story of the vindictive ghost of Jim Bowie prowling the dark alleys and streets of San Antonio, Texas, seeking revenge for his loss at the battle of the Alamo in 1836. Having been a lifelong student of the battle – as well as things that go bump in the night – I thought I could have a little fun constructing such a story set along San Antonio’s beautiful River Walk attraction, the perfect foil for something dark and dreadful. Of course, Bowie’s Ghost would have to wield the weapon that made Jim Bowie famous – his knife; this would be tailor-made for a simple “slasher” story, a la Jack the Ripper. There. Easy. Now, put an edge on it (pun intended). No “predictable” or “routine” here.
I wanted to paint this character as more than a vengeful killer, something purely evil. In my opinion, the most monstrous evil conceivable was – is - the child predator. At this point I realized this could be a “ghost story” no longer, and would require much more work than I had initially anticipated. Now, the real research began: the history of child abuse…who are the abusers? and why?…where do the abusers find their victims? familial child abuse…cultural child abuse…the churches, the schools, the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, NAMBLA… . The list seemed endless.
And more questions: What motivates the monster? What is the monster’s conflict? Is he a sympathetic character? Do we really care? Who shall be the monster-hunter, and why?
Woven into the fabric of the story are certain elements of characters’ backgrounds as well as those of the region, including local neighborhoods, historical sites, and the history of the River Walk attraction. There is a specific blend of Mexican and German cultures – along with parental abuse - which strongly influence the development of the killer.
As to motivation and conflict, each of the main characters has issues with which to wrestle; some of those sub-stories are taken from my own personal and family experiences, while others come from people I have known.
It took me several years to develop the story, once it got rolling. As for the simple ghost story? It proved a phantom.
Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
Most of the time, in the beginning, a simple outline works best for me, no great detail; like thumbnail sketches for a painting. I once heard it stated like this: “There was a little girl. She lived. She died. The end.” Not much, but it’s a start.
Do you know the end of the story at the beginning? Even with non-fiction, the ending is at times unknown until you work out the options. Occasionally, your subconscious gives you the entire story up front. You wake up and – bam! There it is. Other times, it has to be worked, bit by ever-loving bit.
Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters?
What works for me is opening my ears to hear them first, rather than try to force words out of their mouths. Imagine a movie scene. Listen. Hear them talk.
Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
In RIVERWALKER, much of Gifford Holloway’s military experience is based on my own, not to include the parts dealing with remote viewing; some of Brother Bob’s art experience is based on mine.
Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?
It gives me great pleasure to dispose of the villain. Good can triumph over evil.
Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
The biggest struggle has been in maintaining patience with myself and my work; having faith in it, knowing that it represents the best I can do, whatever that might be worth. It was never my expectation that the uphill fight would take quite as long as it did (about 16 years for the first book). Writers need to be faithful shepherds of their own work.
Q: What has been the best part about being published?
That the work produced over many years has resulted in something of lasting value.
Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
Those who have read RIVERWALKER should carry with them a sense that there is always more we can do to protect children, be they our own, or from other families. We should not hesitate to use our talents and resources – whatever they might be – to that end.
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
The next book has been steadily developing in outline form, currently at about 30-40 pages; Gifford Holloway will be back.
About Bud Bradshaw
Bud Bradshaw’s fictional work, “RIVERWALKER,” is his second work, the first being “BRANDISHING,” the true-crime story of the California Highway Patrol’s worst tragedy. His previous formal writing experience consisted of med-legal report writing – chiefly as a Qualified Medical Evaluator and Disability Evaluator – and Intelligence report writing while he served as a Special Agent with the Army’s 109th MI Group from 1969-71.
As an artist, Bradshaw’s work focuses on military history and the American West. Many of his paintings, prints, and Giclees appear in private collections and museums in the U.S., Canada, England, Europe, Hong Kong, and Australia. He is a member of the Western Artists of America.
Along the way, Bradshaw worked as a professional musician while earning his B.S. and D.C. degrees. You may view his web site and blog at budbradshaw.com/blog