ABOUT JOE NIEHAUS
Joe Niehaus, a veteran police officer in Ohio, is the author of six books and numerous articles in police and martial arts magazines. He holds certificates in fraud examination and clinical and forensic hypnosis. A graduate of Tiffin University, he is an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Ashford University and Sinclair Community College.
ABOUT MARY SIKORA
Mary Sikora is a former daily news reporter, freelance writer, and editor. A University of Dayton graduate and Cincinnati native, she is the author of A Mississippi Family and Orphan’s Gift. Previously, she and Niehaus collaborated on Beware the Whale’s Wake and Hypnosis Unveiled.
Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
This was a combination of things. First, the basic hypnosis story comes from an actual story about a therapist who was treated two different people who did not know each other but they shared the same past life memory. The memory was the couple got married and were going to take a riverboat cruise in the early 1800’s – while on that cruise he fell overboard and drowned. Turns out the therapist had the two meet and they got married after.
That story was just fascinating and I had heard it while I was going through my hypnosis training and I always thought it would make a good story. Now, the Viking part comes from my interest in medieval times and a draw to the martial arts.
The Viking time period has always held an appeal for me because it is a time of forging new beginnings. Much was in play in those days and nothing was truly secure but your own code of ethics and those that would follow you. So the idea of an unfinished piece of business from those days was just th thing to be paired with the hypnosis past life regression story.
What is the most important thing in your life right now?
This is certainly a deep question. The easy response would be that I am getting ready to retire from police work at the end of this year and so a 36 year career is something to reflect upon. But that is not the biggest thing in my life right now. Another easy answer would be my children or my youngest sister who is suffering from an incurable form of cancer right now. So I have to debate here – do I get deep with the answer or do I stay on the surface.
I think as a writer one should always go to the area where they are least sure of themselves. So with this question – I would say the most important thing in my life right now would be my faith. Having lost my dad to cancer two years ago, and my youngest sister fighting the disease, I have to admit that I am a bit more focused on what waits for us and I would like to think that when my time comes to close my eyes – it will not be the end but a welcome home where I will get to see everyone again.
Too deep? Guess I should have stayed with the retirement thing!
What are you currently working on?
I actually have started back on another mystery. This one picks up where my novel Fade Out, left off with Detective Rick Dietz. This time Dietz is thrown into the world of industrial espionage and of course a murder case.
Is there an author that inspired you to write?
I would have to start with the authors that influenced me. Early on of course it was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes stories but close behind him was Rex Stout and the Nero Wolf stories. That was pretty much what I would devour as a teenager.
Later I became influenced by the works of James Clavell and his Asian saga (Shogun, Noble House, Tai-pan, etc.) I found his plots to be very intricate and complex and that I found really enjoyable. Then I discovered Clive Cussler and his Dirk Pitt stories or as he often refers to his stories as a poor man’s James Bond. His books are fast action and designed to keep you turning pages. This style of writing was a big influence on me and I have tried to develop that same kind of writing.
But then there are the authors who I have met and developed friendships with. People like Stephen K. Hayes, Sharyn McCrumb, Sharon Short, Katrina Kittle and others. I attend the Antioch Writer’s Workshop in Ohio often and as a result of that workshop I have met many talented authors and even became part of a writer’s group as a result. What is nice is I get to discuss writing with them and sometimes get to see their works in progress which is always good to see how a story develops and is polished.
What are some of your long term goals?
As far as my writing goes, I would like to see the stories perhaps reach the big screen someday. I think it would be fun to see something I created in my mind translate to a movie for others. Of course it would be interesting to see how others interpret my characters.
I would like to create a series and I am starting to work on that with my Dietz character from the mysteries but I have to admit I like to move around when I write. Staying with mysteries can sometimes seem too much like going to work – which is why Shadow in the Reflection, was so much fun. It gave me a chance to stretch that imagination and who doesn’t like a good sword and sorcery story?
So I would like to reach out to as many readers as possible – but even more so I think the fun part of writing is getting to hear from readers about your story and character. When I have the opportunity to do this at a local high school who uses Beware the Whale’s Wake, a mystery by Mary Sikora and me for their English class, I really like the interaction. The students really get into the characters and I fill in the things they may not have realized about their backgrounds.
Of course being on the New York Times best sellers list would be a great long term goal – but I am focused right now on just getting the word out about Shadow, and reaching as many as I can.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?
I really don’t think I’ve made a great achievement as an author yet. I think I am still building and working. I think that is usually something people talk about after you have written your last book. I am quite pleased with the writing effort I have put forth so far – but there is always room from improvement. I think professionally the Investigative Forensic Hypnosis book was the best in the non-fiction department. I have heard from people around the world who have read it and used it for forensic hypnosis but I, myself, do not consider it a great achievement because I feel it is more of a technical manual on how to do hypnosis, what it is, and how it can be applied to our court system.
My novels have been fun and I really like my stories and characters (you have to as a writer because you live with them so long), but don’t know if I have written or if some project down the road will be my greatest. Shadow in the Reflection is certainly up there at the present time in my thoughts though.
What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
What I think sets Shadow in the Reflection apart is the use of past and future – blending the people from another time to complete the story. At its heart the story is a love story and shows that love is timeless and true love can overcome even time.
The use of hypnosis as the method to get into the story is a mix of truth and fiction as much of what is discussed about hypnosis and what it can do in the story is true. Mary Sikora also did some research into her family history which she traced back to England so there is also a bit of truth on the part an Anya’s story and her family. I think this mixing of truth and fiction adds to the realism of the story and helps to make it just a little bit different than your average fantasy.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would be remiss in my authorly duty if I did not encourage everyone who reads this to go out and get a copy of Shadow in the Reflection – you’ll be glad you did!