Author: Taylor Wilmering
ISBN: Print ISBN: 978-1467993838 / E-book ASIN: B006PIAFIS
Page count: 168 pages
Genre: Suspense/Political Thriller
Price: Paperback $9.99 / E-book $2.99
I have been writing since the age of 6 or 7 years old. My second-grade teacher was the first one to really encourage me to write down all of those ideas filling my head, and she always told me that she would “look for my books on the shelves at Borders one day.” My writing at that age was about typical girly things like adventures with my best friend, horses, princesses, and other “young-girl-related” things. Since I spent a significant amount of my childhood in and out of hospitals, a lot of my stories also involved people going to the hospital and having surgery for various illnesses and injuries!
I’ve been writing ever since, everything from 500-word short stories to novel-length projects. These days, my writing has matured and broadened a bit. 🙂 The majority of what I write now is Christian fiction, medical drama, and political thrillers.
When I’m not seated in front of the computer working out the details of another writing plot, I enjoy reading, camping, horseback riding, pistol target shooting, spending time with my friends and family, and traveling both nationally and internationally.
You can find out more about my writing by visiting my website at www.wix.com/taylorw1/tnwbooks.
Tell us about your book:
“No Safe Place” is a political thriller about sleeper-cell terrorism in the United States. Shortly before September 11, 2001, Joe Biden warned, “The question is not if we will be attacked by terrorists again, but rather when and where.” In the pages of No Safe Place, terrorism has come to America once again. Sleeper agents for a radical Islamic terrorist group that calls itself Ansar Inshallah (Followers of Allah’s Will) are carrying out specific targeted attacks designed to create general chaos and bring the United States to its knees. They have managed to blend into American society and go undetected – until now. As Ansar Inshallah’s sleeper cells awaken, Americans discover that appearances can be deceiving and the people around them may not be who they seem. Homeland Security Counter-Terrorism Division agent John Anderson and his field partner, Agent Erin Walker of the FBI, are racing against the clock to uncover and bring down Ansar Inshallah. But how do you fight a war when your enemy is hidden among you?
How long did it take to write the book?
Roughly 18 months from start to finish.
What inspired you to write the book?
I am a college student majoring in International and Cultural Studies, with a minor in Writing. Over the past several years, I have studied the Middle East in depth, learning about the history and culture of the region, as well as learning about radical Islam and terrorism. During a month-long trip to the Middle East in the summer of 2010, I met many wonderful and friendly people; moderate Muslims who harbor no anger against the West and want to see peace in the Middle East, but are frightened into submission and drowned out by the radical extremist groups who are far more powerful and far-reaching than people think.
The people and events portrayed in the pages of this novel are fictional, but they are based in fact, modeled after profiles of many real-world people and events. Islamic terrorism is a very real and present threat in the world today. I believe that this is what we will face in the future: not complex sensational attacks, but rather coordinated assaults designed to create general chaos and paranoia and undermine our way of life.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I don’t really have a specific schedule or routine for writing. When I’m working on a story, I write whenever I have free time and access to a computer or paper. For this story, I wrote out a basic plot outline and kept a file on my computer where I made notes about ideas for scenes or quotes that I wanted to include.
This story required a lot of research on a variety of topics; everything from travel time and distance between locations, to children’s toys! I did online research for some of the things that I needed to know. As I mentioned, I have learned quite a bit about radical Islam and terrorism, so I drew on a lot of that knowledge. I am the daughter of a former police officer, and have grown up around law enforcement members, so I asked them questions about specific tactics and procedures. Since June 2007, I have been a civilian role player for my local police and paramedics, and have played a variety of interesting characters for their training exercises. (More great writing material!) In fact, the events in the first three chapters are taken from a police exercise that I participated in in August 2008.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
As I mentioned, this is a fictional story, but it is based on real facts. Of course, the reason I wrote this book was not to frighten people and cause panic! I enjoy reading; I like exciting page-turner stories. I hope you will enjoy “No Safe Place” for what it is – a fictional story, a thriller with a dose of “ripped-from-the-headlines” realism!
Where can we go to buy your book?
“No Safe Place” is available on Amazon.com in both paperback print form and electronic format for the Kindle. It is also available in other electronic formats for the Nook, iPad, computer, and other devices.
Other devices: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/118412
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
-My author website is http://www.wix.com/taylorw1/tnwbooks.
-I have a blog with pictures, quotes, amusing stories, and “after action reports” from the role-playing exercises that I participate in. They’re an interesting glimpse into the world of law enforcement and medical work! If you’re interested in that, the blog link is http://www.moulageandadrenaline.blogspot.com.
-I like getting email! If you have read my book and want to talk with me about it, have a question for me (about role playing, my writing, whatever), or anything else, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I check my email daily, often multiple times per day, so you should get a response soon!
Excerpt from book:
“In the span of about an hour, unmarked packages were delivered to four different television stations. Padded manila mailing envelopes. No delivery or return address, no stamps, and they all were just left there.”
“Mail bombs?” John asked, dreading the answer.
Officer Lakin shook his head. “No, thank God. At least a few people had the same thought, though, and called the police to report delivery of a suspicious package.”
“Not the best delivery method,” another officer spoke up. “You’d think they would want to attract as little suspicion as possible.”
“Somehow, I don’t think Ansar Inshallah is too concerned with postal regulations,” Erin replied dryly.
Officer Lakin handed her a plastic CD case. “This is what was in all four envelopes. A case and a DVD, both with the same Arabic writing on them.”
Erin turned the clear plastic case over in her hands. “Al-Tanbih,” she said, reading the Arabic script that had been written in bold red marker. “It’s Arabic for ‘alert’ or ‘warning.’ Looks like this is a message from Ansar Inshallah.”
“You speak Arabic?” Officer Lakin asked her.
Erin nodded. “I can’t pass for a native speaker, but I’m fairly fluent.” She glanced at the laptop computer that sat open and booted up on the table. “Have you watched the video?”
The officer nodded, reaching over to pull up the computer’s video player. “Here, take a look.” John leaned to peer over Erin’s shoulder as the video began to play.
A man appeared on the screen, his face concealed behind a black khaffiyeh scarf. His ink-black eyes, glittering with malice and determination, were all that could be seen through a narrow gap in the carefully-wrapped fabric. Staring boldly into the camera lens, he sat up straight in his chair and addressed his audience. “People of America, by now you have learned the name of Ansar Inshallah.” His tone was measured and even, calm and confident. “You have seen what we are capable of.”
Several still photos and an assortment of video clips flashed across the screen, a compilation of images from the recent terror attacks.
All of these were images that had been previously shown on television news broadcasts and the front page of newspapers, but that didn’t make them any less shocking. Erin shuddered and John grimaced.
The images faded away and were replaced by the unidentified man sitting before the camera. “I am just one of the many faces of Ansar Inshallah. Who am I? I am your neighbor, your friend, your coworker. I stand next to you in the elevator, and ride with you on the bus, train, and airplane.”
More pictures appeared on the screen. The first two side-by-side images were of Mahmoud al-Qasim. A photo of him with glasses, a short and neatly trimmed beard, a friendly smile, and the caption, “Mr. David Ahmad”, had been placed alongside a picture of him with a longer beard and holding a sleek black M4 rifle. The next two images were of Anika Jankovic. One showed her dressed in jeans and a simple but elegant pink blouse, her dark blond hair hanging loose down her back as she smiled at the camera. The other had been taken in a barren dirt field and showed her with her hair pulled back, wearing dark green military fatigues, and carrying an AK-47. The final two pictures were of Abdul Hamad: One of a photo ID badge, showing him in a neat and professional-looking coat and listing his name as “Jordan Miles”, and the other of him standing confidently with a large and powerful .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol.
The message was unmistakable: Ansar Inshallah was hidden in plain sight. Three people, all of whom had been either partially or completely responsible for each of the three terror attacks, had managed to blend into society and go completely undetected until the day that they had stepped out to fulfill their assignments.
The man continued, his tone still calm and even, but now he sounded smug. “When you are in your office, waiting in traffic, or sitting on your train, bus, or airplane, you will see me and wonder what I am thinking, what is in my briefcase or on the seat next to me.”
More pictures and video footage, these of cars on the highway and crowds of people walking, and several close-up lingering shots of random purses and backpacks.
“You think that I am like you, but you are mistaken.” The man’s tone grew more intense. “You are safe nowhere. Trust no one.” He leaned forward in his chair. “And remember that I am one man, and there are thousands more like me.”
The video faded to black.
Erin exhaled hard as Officer Lakin silently removed the DVD from the computer and replaced it in its case. “It said ‘Warning.’ That’s a warning, all right.”