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July 17, 2016

Interview & Review: The Torch is Passed by Bill Powers

by Susan Roberts

cover of The Torch is Passed
The Torch is Passed by Bill Powers is a contemporary suspense/thriller that explores a family story of surviving death and seeking revenge. It is the second book in the Harding Family Story series, but the book can be read as a stand-alone.  Before I give you my review, let me introduce the author Bill Powers:

How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
I tried to write my first novel about 20 years ago and stopped halfway through because it was horrible. But the idea wouldn’t die. I tried again about 10 years ago and finished my first novel, The Pharm House. I got it published with a small independent publisher about four years ago. Earlier this year, I came out with my second novel, The Torch is Passed. Both novels are suspense/thriller (Pharm House has a medical thriller orient) and are part of a trilogy. I’m working on the third installment now.

What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?
My happy-place both for reading and writing are mystery and thrillers. As a kid, I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories and was fascinated. For my fiction reading, I pretty much stay in the mystery and/or thriller range. I also enjoy political thrillers and sometimes military thrillers, such as Tom Clancy. For my reading, I also love reading history. I’m fascinated by the Gilded Age of America and have read a lot about the Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, Edison, Ford families and more. I find there are too many books and too few hours in the day!

Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it.
The Pharm House and The Torch is Passed are stories about the Harding family, primarily Nicholas Harding and his daughter Andrea. Nicholas Harding, who in The Pharm House is a scientist and executive at an international pharmaceutical company, gets caught up in a plot to take over the company that threatens his career, his life and his family.

The Torch is Passed opens with young Andrea Harding having just graduated college. Her world is turned upside-down when her father, Nicholas, and her uncle, Michael, are shot in a surprising and puzzling attack. As the only family left other than her paternal grandmother, it falls to Andrea to not only investigate who would want to kill her father and uncle, but also to oversee Harding Industries, the family company—and navigate an often dangerous fast-track to adulthood.

The Torch is Passed and other books in The Harding Family series carry the basic theme of “family” and what people may be driven to do to protect their family.

I’m currently working on the third installation of The Harding Family trilogy with a working title of The Lost Codicil. The first story focused on Nicholas and the second on Andrea. Both Nicholas and Andrea are featured in The Lost Codicil and have to face their demons—some of their own making. I intend to wrap up the trilogy there, at least for now. After The Lost Codicil, I intend to spin off a character that I introduced in The Torch is Passed—Deirdre Southington. Deirdre is an eccentric southern heiress with a Ph.D. in forensic psychology from Oxford University and an on again, off again working relationship with the National Security Agency. Her favorite mode of transportation is The Liburnia—her private rail car.

What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
I think you have to listen to your own inner voice. There are always going to be those around you, most of them who know nothing of the writing world, telling you what you should or should not do. One of my pet peeves is when someone tells me, “You should write about ‘fill in the blank.’” I have tons of ideas and the last thing I need is someone telling me what I should write about. I usually politely tell them maybe they should write about it themselves.

Get advice from experienced authors if you can. I have gone to several talks given by Steve Berry, who in addition to being tops as a thriller author also teaches about the art and craft of thriller writing. I have learned a lot from listening to him. I also attend a first-rate thriller writer’s conference each year, ThrillerFest (CraftFest Session). It’s held in New York each July and some of the top thriller authors teach sessions on the art, craft and business of writing thrillers. I suggest that budding authors find something similar for their genres.

Learn the craft of writing. It takes time and practice, just like learning anything else. Just keep writing.

Also learn the business side of writing. If your book reads, looks and feels like you did it on your laptop in your spare time, chances are that’s not going to cut it. The writing world today is like a vast ocean and we’re each little fish trying to get noticed.

Most importantly—do it for yourself. Don’t waste your time trying to please others. Writing is not a team sport. It’s a very solitary activity. Most of your motivation and inspiration will have to come from within.

Bill Powers worked in pharmaceutical Research & Development (Johnson & Johnson) for 26 years, rising to the position of Vice President of Global Preclinical Development. Bill has a Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Cincinnati and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
Bill’s love of words and books started in childhood, stimulated by parents who were both teachers. A voracious reader, he enjoys both fiction and biographies. Now that he has moved away from his industrial career, he plans to aggressively pursue his passion of being a fictional author. Bill’s first novel, The Pharm House: A Harding Family Story, was named a Finalist in the Medical Thriller category of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards. Bill’s second novel, The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story, was named Best Book in the Category of Thriller of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Winter 2016
Website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  LinkedIn  *  Goodreads

My Review:
The Torch is Passed is the first book that I've read by Bill Powers but I plan to go back and read the first book in this trilogy and am anxiously waiting for the third book.  This is a suspense thriller with lots of mystery and intrigue and really bad guys who are targeting the Harding family.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was not sure who the person was that started the chain of events that led to the shooting until the very end of the book.  It was a difficult book to put down once I got started.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Andrea and her friends who acted as her extended family after her father and uncle were shot and she was attacked in her own home.  She started out the book as a student on her way to law school and ended up as a  woman with attitude.

My favorite two characters were Beth and her daughter Riva - the interplay between the two of them was so snarky that I looked forward to their scenes together.

Overall it's a great book full of interesting characters working together to solve the mystery of who wanted to wipe out the entire Harding family.

The blog tour for The Torch is Passed continues on to Cupcakes and Books.

Buy The Torch is Passed at Amazon

Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan grew up in the Detroit area but after deciding that city life wasn't for her she moved to North Carolina after college. She and her husband have several acres of land and they enjoy gardening and canning vegetables in the summer. They travel extensively. Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook or Twitter.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (300 pages)
published: February 2016 by Bookbaby
ISBN13: 9781682226780
genre: suspense/thriller
source: Netgalley

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