Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Five Secrets From Author L.A. Starks and Her Novel ~ Strike Price

Dear Readers, you know me well enough to understand that I simply had to have L.A. Starks on this blog. After all, who can resist another L.A.?  Not me, and I'm glad I didn't. Her books sound awesome and her secrets are provoking and revealing. 
Please welcome L.A. Starks!
Brought to you by L.A. Sartor :)

Thanks for hosting me today, L.A.
You asked for a bit about me to start off the post. Well, I've learned my parent brain, left brain (engineering), and right brain (thriller writing) experiences developed in me the heightened ability to find (and sometimes deflect, but at least articulate) risky behavior and situations. How high is that zip line you’re hanging onto with just one hand? Which colorless gas is deadliest in a refinery? Would one of my characters accidentally lock herself into a cooling tower? Or could she have been murdered and left there?

Both books in my Lynn Dayton thriller series-to-date, 13 DAYS: THE PYTHAGORAS CONSPIRACY and STRIKE PRICE, have received 5-star reviews. STRIKE PRICE also received the Texas Association of Authors’ First Place award for best mystery/thriller. I’m writing the third book in the series. Four of my short stories have also been published.

Hi, L.A., very cool news about your awards. Will you please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about STRIKE PRICE or you, but will after today!

1) History secretsStrike Place is all about secrets. Since it’s a current-day thriller, I had to relegate some fairly stunning history to endnotes. For example, while I thought I had a good grounding in Oklahoma history—I grew up there, heard stories from relatives, and was even required to take a high school class on the subject—a long-held secret I learned in the course of researching this book was the Tulsa Riot of 1921. A riot supported by the Ku Klux Klan. Part of that secret was the range of groups the KKK opposed—African-Americans, Jews, Catholics, Asians, Republicans, Congressional “radicals”, and union members. The uprising was shamefully provoked by a local newspaper that no longer exists. In several days of rioting, white citizens destroyed the Greenwood area of Tulsa that had been known as a “Negro Wall Street.” At least three hundred people, mostly African-American, were killed. Many thousands more fled town. The city government refused outside rebuilding offers but did nothing. African-Americans who remained eventually rebuilt Greenwood. The rioting was covered up and the stories of the survivors silenced until Tulsa state representative Don Ross pushed for and led the Oklahoma Legislature to authorize the Tulsa Race Riot Commission in 1996.

2) Cherokee language secrets: The Cherokees are one of the biggest and most influential tribes in the Oklahoma, with a tribal budget of nearly a billion dollars. Their rich history and language includes the continuous publication since 1828 of North America’s first bilingual newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix (published in Cherokee and English). Cherokee leader Sequoyah is honored as the inventor of the written Cherokee syllabary. Out of respect to the nation and to my readers, I thought it was important to authentically represent this language in Strike Price. In fact, use of the Cherokee language gives rise to key clues. Not only was I able to use actual Cherokee syllabary in the print edition thanks to the Cherokee Nation and to the first editors of the book at L&L Dreamspell, but I was also able to include the syllabary phrases in the most recent e-book edition, thanks to the efforts of my fearless book designers at 52 Novels.

3) Business secrets: What goes around comes around: Oklahoma first attracted attention from the United States government as a candidate for statehood when oil was discovered near Tulsa in 1901. More than a century later, the shale revolution again awakened interest in Oklahoma’s oil and gas reserves with prospectors even drilling some of the same areas that made the Osage the richest people on earth in the 1920s.

4) Osage murder secrets: The story of the Osage has attracted much interest. Among the nearly thirty Native American nations now headquartered in Oklahoma—most forcibly moved there at the tip of a gun—only the Osage retained their mineral rights. When oil was discovered on their land in the early 1900s each member of the Osage tribe, through his or her “headrights,” received a share of the royalties. The headrights became so valuable that outsiders married Osage women and then killed them to inherit the headrights. The newly-formed Federal Bureau of Investigation took on the Osage murders as its first case.

5) The final secret is that: Jesse Drum, one of the lead characters of Strike Price initially came to life in my short story, “A Time for Eating Wild Onions” under a different name, Mitch Oowatie. (Digging for and eating wild onions is a Cherokee tradition.) The short story is set much earlier than Strike Price: the early 1970s as the Vietnam War is winding down, and in a very different place: the intellectual cauldron of San Francisco with its war protests, Alcatraz occupation, and mix of the country’s most idealistic, and in some cases most dangerous, dreamers.

For example, Jim Jones and his cult were in San Francisco at that time and they appear in one of the scenes of A Time for Eating Wild Onions. Later Jones and his group moved to Guyana where, in 1978, Jones directed the massacre of over nine hundred of his followers. In A Time for Eating Wild Onions, Mitch/Jesse’s deadly interaction with his fellow soldier is foreshadowed when they cross paths with Jones. The events and culmination of the story serve as hidden (for a time) background between Jesse and another key character later in Strike Price.

Blurb :
Murder disrupts a billion-dollar oil deal. Strike Price is a story about a business deal turned deadly, concluding with a plot to destroy a hidden, crucial US oil center and bring the US into confrontation with another global power. To stop the plot and save lives, up-by-the-bootstraps Lynn Dayton must trust a Cherokee elder who carries a corrosive secret.

Strike Price
features authentic Cherokee syllabary text in clues that tie fascinating Native American history to global high-stakes drama today.

"If you're looking for big business wheeling-and-dealing, international intrigue, murder, mayhem, and high-geared action, you've come to the right place. Toss in a charming and nervy protagonist like Lynn Dayton and L. A. Starks' Strike Price is right on the money. Well-written, well-plotted and well worth a reader's time."--Carlton Stowers, two-time Edgar winner
"Strike Price takes the reader from Oklahoma Indian reservations to the streets of Florence, in an imaginative and well informed fusion of oil refining economics, Native American politics, and the potential for lethal mayhem in the global energy market."--Michael Ennis, author of New York Times bestseller, The Malice of Fortune



  1. Hi L.A., So good to have you with us today. So, my question is, since you made such an amazing effort to have authentic Cherokee syllabry in your story, are you Cherokee?

    I have a script that features a Washington State Native American and his ability of "sight", but I'm terrified of turning it into a book and messing up important cultural points. Thoughts on this?

    L.A. (SARTOR:) )

  2. Congrats on writing what sounds like a terrific novel! Short stories often do inspire us to write novels using familiar characters. Wishing you much success.