Interview with Richard Blomberg, author of Terror Never Sleeps

Dr. Richard Blomberg has practiced anesthesia in the land of 10,000 lakes for twenty years. He grew up in an Iowa farm town, the oldest of ten, before serving as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War. For generations, Richard’s family has proudly served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and currently lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and family, where he is working on his next Jack Gunn thriller.
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About The Book

Terro Never Sleeps (updated)

TitleTerror Never Sleeps
Book 2: Jack Gunn Thriller Series
Author: Richard Blomberg
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press
Publication Date: February 15, 2015
Pages: 337
ISBN: 978-1592988952
Genre: Military Thriller / Suspense
Format: Paperback, eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF

Navy SEAL Jack Gunn’s life is turned upside down when terrorists kidnap his family and disappear without a trace. While Jack and his team search frantically for clues in Virginia, half-way around the world, his wife, Nina struggles to survive the terrorist’s daily persecutions as his hostage.

Terror Never Sleeps is an action-packed tale of Nina’s transformation into a warrior who is fighting for her life, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the terrorists from Mali to Diego Garcia to Pakistan. A military coup, propaganda, dirty bombs, and the launch of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal with one target—Israel—is all part of the terrorist’s master plan, who are hellbent on blowing the world back to the eighth century. The non-stop action keeps the reader constantly off balance with the bizarre and unexpected.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Dawley Corners, VA

“I’m scared, Mommy.” Barett sat back up in bed, clutching his dinosaur pillow under one arm and his frayed security blanket under the other.
“Don’t cry, honey. Daddy will be home tomorrow.” Nina brushed her son’s tears aside with her fingers, cupped his tender face in her hands, and gave him a kiss on the forehead. She inhaled the scent of baby shampoo from his tangled wet hair and snuggled him to her chest. Barett’s Mickey Mouse night-light cast a buttery glow across the carpet. A constellation of
fluorescent stars and planets were already glued to the ceiling of his brand-new bedroom and floating like luminous jellyfish in the dark above.
“But what if the bad guys kill Daddy?” Barett chewed on the fringe of his blanket.
“Nobody’s going to kill Daddy,” Nina quickly answered for the umpteenth time as she stroked his black hair. Barett nodded, locked on Nina’s eyes. She closed the bedtime storybook and put it back on the nightstand.
Barett’s lower lip quivered. “What if you die, Mommy? I heard you and Daddy talking.” He started crying again.
Nina gasped. “You don’t need to worry anymore, sweetie. Mommy’s cancer is all gone.” She crossed her hands across her chest and threw them up into the air. “Poof! And Daddy is a brave Sioux, just like you.” She poked Barett in the chest. “If the president of the United States trusts Daddy to protect his country, I don’t think we need to worry.”
Sorrow instantly overwhelmed Nina, sad that Barett’s last thoughts before falling asleep were to fear for his mommy’s and daddy’s lives—even though Nina frequently cried herself to sleep with those same fears. Barett, Nina’s angel throughout her chemotherapy, reached up and brushed her tears away with his baby-soft fingers as he had done so many times before.
If Jack was Nina’s soul mate, Barett was her heart mate. Nina’s first pregnancy ended horribly with a devastating and unexpected miscarrage. Her second ended the same way. So after nine months of living on the jittery edge of sanity, wondering what would go wrong the third time around, Barett was her gift from God who miraculously joined the world on Nina’s twentysixth
birthday. She loved her little bear more than anything. She loved Barett more than Jack.
Trying to stay strong and keep up a good front for Barett while Jack was away, Nina snatched the dreamcatcher hanging from a tack in the wall above Barett’s pillow and fanned his face with its eagle feathers as if she were trying to start a fire.
“Remember, Uncle Travis had a very special medicine man make this to protect you from bad dreams.” She tickled his chest until he giggled.
“He’s funny.”
“Now go to sleep, honey. Daddy will be home tomorrow.” She leaned over and gave him one last kiss.
Nina left his door half open, just how Barett liked, and went downstairs to lock up for the night. Everything in their condominium smelled fresh and new. The paint on the walls, the polish on the floors, and the carpet on the stairs. It was their first home and their first mortgage. Nina smiled, thinking of her husband, Jack, and how he had gone over the top to buy the most
expensive door and window locks.
Being a Navy SEAL and the head of the Counterterrorism Task Force (CTF) made it nearly impossible for Jack Gunn to trust anyone. The only people he trusted were the other SEALs on his Ghost Team and Native Americans, like Nina and him.
“I’m not going to be a prisoner in my own home, Jack. Spend all the money on locks and guns and whatever else you think we need, but take a look around. We’re not living in Afghanistan.” Nina had opened the blind so Jack could look out and see their front yard of new sod, their one-inch elm sapling held vertical by three posts and gardening wire, and the empty lots across the street staked out for new construction. No one else had even moved into their
building yet. They had first pick in the new ocean-view community in Dawley Corners, south of Virginia Beach.
“This is what I’ve always wanted, Jack,” Nina had told him. “I know it’s not Montana, but there’s no place I’d rather be.”
“The perimeter is secure,” she could almost hear Jack saying.
Her smile vanished as she pulled back a corner of the curtain and watched a windowless panel van slowly cruise past their condo. It was the type of hammer-and-nail-laden van construction crews drove through their neighborhood on a daily basis, but not after dark at nine thirty on a Saturday night.
There was something about the van that sent a shiver up her spine as it crawled around the cul-de-sac and came back. She let the sheer curtain fall back into place and watched the headlights. They stopped at the end of Nina’s driveway. With a growl of the engine, smoke puffed from the tail pipe into the chilled air. Now hiding behind the front door, she began to hyperventilate as she fought off the suffocating feeling of panic.
Nina felt guilty for cowering like a scared little girl. She knew if Jack were home, he would have put one of his patented kill looks on his face, stomped out the front door, and challenged the guys in the truck. He did stuff like that all the time. Most of the time, the other guys took off before he got close enough to do any harm; he looked that intimidating. Far from being politically correct, Jack was the man who backed down to nobody. Who feared nobody. Who suspected everybody.
Nina swallowed hard, checked the lock, and glanced up the stairs to make sure Barett was still in bed. Fingers trembling, she fumbled to get her cell phone out of her pocket to call Jack, but dropped it. Pieces of plastic and glass blasted in every direction, like a grenade exploding in the dark, when it hit the porcelain tile.
“Oh my God!” she gasped. That was her only phone. The van still rumbled in the street, not moving. She made out the silhouette of a stocking-capped, bearded man in the passenger seat. Her brain swelled like an expanding water balloon between her ears.
“Think, dammit. Think.” She heard Jack’s words reverberating in her head. It was late Saturday night, her phone was trashed, their home Internet was not scheduled to be activated until Monday, which had not been a big deal because her smartphone functioned as a mobile hot spot for her laptop. All that had changed the instant her phone crashed.
Her feet felt as if they were stuck in cement, nailing her to the floor behind the door.
“The gun. I’ve got to get the gun.”
She looked through the curtain at the van one last time, then stumbled up the stairs, went into their bedroom closet, and turned on the light. The gun safe still had the manufacturer’s stickers on the anodized steel door.
She dialed three numbers stuck in her head. Nothing. She tried again. Nothing. The combination to the safe lay splayed across the entryway floor downstairs in a worthless cell phone microchip.
A noise outside spooked her. Her fingers trembled on the dial.
She tried the lock one last time and prayed. “Hallelujah!” The door opened. She grabbed the loaded shotgun. Jack always said it was the best gun for home protection. Point the scattergun in the general direction of your target and pull the trigger. It would blow a hole in the door the size of a basketball.
Nina had pulled the trigger on a shotgun once before. She blasted tin cans and beer bottles with her brothers back at the reservation garbage dump in Montana when she was a kid. The gun kicked like a mule and knocked her on her butt. It seemed funny at the time.
She flipped the safety off, racked a shell into the chamber, turned off the light, and tiptoed back out of the closet. The gun went first, with Nina’s slippery finger on the trigger. Her eyes dilated to adjust back to the dark.
The condo was too new. Nothing looked familiar. Every shadow, every noise made her jump. The furnace kicked in. The bedroom curtain fluttered over the heat duct. She heard a noise in the hallway. Nina opened the door with the gun barrel.
“Barett. Oh my God. I almost . . .” She covered her mouth, overcome by a sudden wave of nausea. Nina swallowed hard to push the bile back down as she propped the gun up against the wall behind the door, out of Barett’s sight. She grabbed Barett, hugged him hard, and carried him back to his room. “Stay in bed, honey. Mommy will be right back.”
Nina snatched the gun with her shaking, sweaty hands and quickly crept back down the carpeted stairs, trying her best to keep quiet.
The front door was still locked. The van was gone. She held the shotgun against her chest and fixed her eyes on the doorknob, dreading movement of any kind. Her heart raced as she waited in the dark.
The wind blew. The furnace kicked off. The doorknob did nothing.
She turned on the entryway light and scraped together all the pieces of her phone.
I can’t call the police. The phone lines are down till Monday. I can’t call or text Jack. He’ll be pissed. It was probably nothing. No need to get all worked up. Just go to bed. Get a new cell phone in the morning before Jack gets home. And put that stupid gun away before you shoot someone.

Buy The Book:

Author Interview

Q: Can you tell us what your book is about?

My latest Jack Gunn thriller, Terror Never Sleeps, was born on the mistaken assumption of every deployed soldier; terrorists would never attack their families back home. Right? Wrong! To take it up another notch, my protagonist, Navy SEAL Jack Gunn, has killed many terrorists and made many enemies in the past. In Terror Never Sleeps, revenge-seeking terrorists kidnap Jack’s family and vanish without a trace. Jack is wracked with fear and guilt for not protecting the ones he loves. Nina Gunn, Jack’s wife, faces torment and torture as she fights to survive each day at the hands of the terrorists. But, Jack and Nina have secret weapons. They grew up on the same Indian reservation in Montana. They draw on the power of their ancestor’s spirits to face the biggest challenges of their lives.

Terror Never Sleeps is a sizzling tale of Nina’s transformation from a victim into a warrior, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of Rolf El-Hashem from Mali to Diego Garcia to Pakistan. A military coup, propaganda, dirty bombs, and the launch of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal with one target—Israel—is all part of El-Hashem’s mastermind’s plan, who is hellbent on blowing the world back to the eighth century.

Q: Why did you write your book?

I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman during the Vietnam War. I come from a family and people who honor those who volunteered a portion of their lives to serve in the military. Memorial Day is a patriotic day in my hometown. I write to honor those who serve, and their left-behind families. I try to unearth the emotions that drive Jack Gunn to greatness and reduce him to tears.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

My characters are an amalgamation of the people I know or have met, the things they have said, and my vivid imagination. I know many people who have served. Some have been SEALs or Delta Special Forces. Others, like me, were the support staff. Whatever their job, the level of sacrifice and commitment was the same.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

My wife’s family is Native American. Her father grew up on the reservation. Her relatives fought at the Battle of the Greasy Grass—Little Big Horn—with the Indians. We’ve walked those lands and witnessed their struggle. It’s not a casino-wealthy reservation, but one infested by alcohol and drugs and poverty. If by creating a strong Native American protagonist, I can promote their cause or give even one person the motivation to make a better life for them self, then I will have succeeded.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

The exhilarating thing about writing thrillers is that my characters shock me every day. When I sit down in my favorite chair at five in the morning with a cup of coffee and my laptop, I may have a general idea of where the story is headed, but I have no idea of how I’m going to get there. I try to let something unexpected happen on every page to keep the readers off balance. Since I can’t plan for the unexpected, I just sit back and record the craziness, like watching a movie, as my characters go at it and the story unfolds. It gets pretty chaotic on the first draft, but my editors then go to work, paring a bit here, asking for a little more there, until everyone is pleased. The whole process, from first draft to publication, is a miracle.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

My stories tend to take place overseas, since SEALs, like the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines aren’t permitted by law to operate within the borders of the United States. The terrorist-rich Middle East has served me well for Warpath and Terror Never Sleeps. In the book I’m working on now, the story is moving to the Far East. While I have never been to those places, I like to research and then take the readers on a journey to an exotic place of my imagination.

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

Writer’s block is like deciding what to have for dinner—you wait for inspiration. Sometimes, while taking a shower, a light bulb turns on in my head. Sometimes, it comes during my internet research or in recalling past experiences. At others, it’s writing, deleting, writing, deleting, until the story slowly unfolds. Most of the time, my characters start to talk to me when I slow down and let myself be transported to the time and place where my characters are already waiting. It may take two hours of staring at my computer, but once I get there, it’s like the director yells action, and away they go.

Q:What do you like the most about being an author?

I still call myself a doctor first, then an author and husband and father and friend. But I do love to hear the thrill is some one’s voice when they’ve finished one of my books and tell me how much they loved it. I consider it a huge complement, because I didn’t bore them to death with a bunch of side-story drivel to the point where they lost interest and stopped reading.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

My Rule #1 for thriller writers: start in the middle of the action. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t begin a chapter with what Jack ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start with Jack bashing down the door and kicking butt. Use spare dialogue where every word has a reason to be there.

Rule #2: stick to the plot line—keep the action moving forward. Any side-story lasting more than two paragraphs and you risk losing the reader. Stick to the story.

Rule #3: use active verbs—it speeds up the pace. Whenever possible, eliminate words like: be, is, was, were, been, are, am, isn’t, wasn’t, weren’t, aren’t.

My main message in both my books, Warpath and Terror Never Sleeps, is one of hope. No matter how impossible and desperate a situation may seem, never give up. You may think you know what’s going to happen today, tomorrow, next year—but you don’t. As an anesthesia doctor for thirty years and counting, I see miracles happen every day. Who knows, today may be your day.

There’s a rule of the road on the backpacking trail that applies to life; people climbing uphill have the right-of-way.

Going downhill is easy. Starting takes no effort at all. In fact it takes energy not to move. That’s how life is for many. Everything is going their way. They have it all. If you’re cruising down hill, step aside and pull someone up, don’t mow them down.

Living an uphill life is another matter. Believe me, I’ve been there. Getting going is hard enough, and if someone gets in your way, you might just quit. You’re hungry, tired, sick, poor, oppressed and alone. You may be exhausted, but don’t give up. You’ll never get to the top of the mountain if you don’t keep pushing on.

That’s my dream—that people would lend a helping hand to one another.

Like the lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine—You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.

Go to I’d love to hear your story. I’d love you to read mine.

Terror Never Sleeps - Updated