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Into Hell’s Fire is a story of heroism, tragedy, bravery and brutality. It describes many facets of human nature, such as the positive attributes of self-preservation, adaptation and the will-to-survive as well as the negative attributes of greed, deceit, cruelty, and how these traits intertwine. While the story is fast-paced and action-packed, the plot unfolds using the ideal dosage of descriptive detail of foreign cultures and exotic locations to create a fabulous page-turner.

The story’s hero, Lucas Martin, is refreshingly atypical in the sense that he is not a glamorous, indestructible Hollywood invention, but rather a seasoned veteran of state diplomacy and foreign affairs. He is a multi-lingual, culturally-diverse specialist who has ties to Bosnia and Croatia by birth and family. Therefore, he has compelling reasons, both personal and professional, for his mission to succeed.

What genre is it?
The novel could fit into several genres, but I think the action/thriller genre suits it best. Persuasive arguments could be  made for both espionage and war genres, too.

What kind of readers will it appeal to? 
I think readers who are interested in past and current world events will find this book very fascinating. Readers who have connections to the region, especially those from Bosnia and Croatia, or those with family still living there, will find this book most appealing. People who have visited or are planning to visit these countries may find this novel quite attractive.

Based on the feedback I’ve received so far, women and men have enjoyed the story   equally. With a war-time setting, that may surprise some people. But war disrupts the lives of both sexes equally, and my female readers have not been put off by this fact. Many also know how their lives can be turned upside down by war and how fast it can happen, usually when one least expects it.

In general, readers who like the action/thriller/espionage/war genres in an international setting will undoubtedly be satisfied with the story I’ve created.

Tell us a little more about Lucas Martin. 
Lucas Martin is a Croatian-born American and a U.S. military veteran. Later on, he becomes a State Department security specialist who intends to finish his career while working at the U.S. embassy and consulates within Yugoslavia. After war breaks out in the region, he retires from his post and heads to S.E. Asia for a permanent vacation…or so he thinks. At the onset of the Siege of Sarajevo, his former state department employer lures him back to active duty on an observation assignment. Now past his physical prime, Lucas re-enters the war zone for personal reasons. Little time passes before he is entangled in a deadly affair that will test his physical abilities and his mental acuity.

Many readers aren’t, perhaps, as familiar with the disintegration of Yugoslavia as they should be. 
Into Hell’s Fire was written for an international, English-reading audience, so I assumed that many of my readers would be as uninformed about the tragic wars that raged in ex-Yugoslavia as I was when I moved to Croatia in 1996. Having lived here for many years, I felt compelled to give readers a general history of the region so they could follow the plot better. Moreover, I wanted to weave this history into the story without lecturing or making the readers feel they were reading a history book. So far, the feedback has been very positive.

Secondly, the main character is partially American to reach the wider American audience. His Croatian side justified his expertise in the region and gave him a personal motivation to re-involve himself in the dangerous events underway. I am very pleased with the development of this character fusion.

We’ve visited the Balkans and were amazed by how different it was from what we are used to over here. 
The importance of numerous cultural differences in the story may be difficult for the average American to grasp. For example, the high consumption and importance of cigarettes and coffee in the daily lives of people in the Balkans may be hard to appreciate for someone who has not visited this part of the world.  There are many others examples of cultural differences that are important in the book, but I’ll let readers discover those on their own.

Tell us about yourself. 
Writing a novel had been on my mind for years before I finally decided to give it a try. It wasn’t until I moved to Croatia that I found a topic interesting enough to pursue such a daunting challenge. I grew up in the state of Iowa, but I’ve lived in Croatia for the last seventeen years. Interestingly enough, the plot of my next book will be set in Iowa. Funny how life works, huh?

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
Yes. Viewers can find my personal information and writing there. They can also find my recommendations about other great books written in English about Croatia, books written in English by Croatian authors, and even fantastic music by Croatian musicians I’ve befriended since moving here.

You said something about a book set in Iowa. 
I hadn’t planned on writing another book until last week when a new idea occurred to me. I’ve already laid out the first several chapters for my next project. I have a full-time job, and I’m a full-time husband and father, so it takes time for me to make serious gains with my writing. I tend to chip away at things over a period of time.

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