"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway & At the Round Table with Chris Lindberg

Welcome to Immortality and Beyond Chris. I'm glad you had time to stop in and join me at the round table. Now that we're all settled in my lair, let's get started. 

BK: Please tell us a little bit about your current release...

Code of Darkness is my first novel. It’s a dark thriller that also has elements of sci-fi and even a little horror. It centers around a mysterious vigilante only known as Rage, and Larry Parker, the Chicago Police officer who is hot on his tail. When Rage’s past catches up with him, a covert Black Ops division within the Pentagon is dispatched to find Rage, and eliminate Parker, who is seen as knowing too much. The deadly chase takes them cross-country to a top-secret military facility, where the greatest danger of all awaits.

BK: What inspired this particular novel/book?

I’ve always enjoyed stories about darker, misunderstood characters, anti-heroes. Stories about good versus evil, and all of the shades in between. Several years ago, Rage’s character came into my head, so I began writing him. Then another character came, followed by a third. Before I knew it, I had woven them together into a story, which ultimately became the foundation for Code of Darkness.

BK: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always had creative bones in my body. As a kid I wanted to be the next Charles M. Schultz. I started in college as a Graphic Arts major before realizing it wasn’t the right career path for me. Once I was out of the art world, I found I still needed a creative release. So when I began having to take long train rides every day, and had read a bunch of other people’s novels, I thought I’d try my own hand at writing one.

BK: How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

I like to use many points of view in my stories, and change voices often. I also like to set scene and tone for a particular chapter in the very first line.

BK: What was the hardest thing about writing this story?

I’d have to say writing one of the main villains, Elias Todd. I had to make him despicable, but believable at the same time. To do this I had to get into and understand the mindset of someone I could never be, and let my mind wander into dark places it would never otherwise go, in order to effectively write how this character would think, act, and react. One thing that helped me do this was to write an “origin” chapter that explained how he discovered his evil side. This chapter never made the final cut, but it was a good exercise to write it, and it wasn’t a bad read, if I say so myself. (I just had to cut it to keep word count down).

BK: What character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?

One of the two main characters in Code of Darkness is a vigilante named Rage. I honestly can’t remember what inspired me to choose that name, but over time I found that it fit the character better than any other name I could’ve given him. Rage is a loner, an outsider who doesn’t know much about his mysterious past until it catches up with him. He’s the archetypical anti-hero: he doesn’t want to be a hero, but he ends up being one despite his best efforts not to. I chose to write about him because I always enjoyed stories about darker, misunderstood figures who in the end wound up being forces for good: you probably shouldn’t have been rooting for them, but you found yourself doing it anyway, and in the end you wound up being happy that you did.

BK: Which was your favorite scene to write?

Oh gosh – there are quite a few of those, but I’d have to say it’s a tie between two: the first is a standoff at the police station which involves Rage, Mira (the book’s heroine), the Chicago Police, and the NSA … the tension on all sides made that scene fun to write (a piece of that scene appears in the Prologue, actually). And second is a scene where Rage tries to save three people from a burning bus which is about to explode. Of course, I can’t tell you the circumstances, or how it all turns out …

BK: Will this become a series? If so, what inspired it to be a series?

Originally it wasn’t intended to be, but I’ve gotten a lot of really good feedback and folks asking for a sequel. The door is open for one, and as of this writing I’ve begun working on it, along with a couple of other projects I’ve got cooking.

BK: Now for a little fun, and into your everyday life, What is a day in your life like?

My everyday life is really quite normal. I have a day job in the city of Chicago, I commute on the train (it’s where I am right now, actually), and then come home at night to my wonderful wife and two beautiful kids. I try to get an hour of writing in each day; sometimes it’s hard with work and family life, but I’m enjoying the writing I’m getting in these days, and excited to put out a second title soon.

BK: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Play with my kids. I have a 3-year old and a soon-to-be 1-year old. They are always making me laugh. If I were a family sitcom writer I’d have tons of source material.

BK: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

That I’m a pretty low-key, close to the vest type person. People that know me well had no idea I was working on a novel, and when they finished reading it, they had no idea that a person like me could come up with some of crazy things that happen in Code of Darkness. Especially some of the horror elements it contains.

BK: What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

I enjoy other thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, suspense, even some horror. My favorite author is probably Cormac McCarthy – his efficiency in character and scene blows me away, and reading his work pushes me to improve upon my own writing craft.

BK: Please tell us one piece of advice you were given as an author that you carry with you when you write?

It’s kind of a motto that one of my mentors, Jill Pollack of StoryStudio Chicago, shared with me on my first day at the writing studio, years ago. She said, “It’s not the story … it’s the telling.” And that has stayed with me until today, because when you think about it, anyone can tell a story … but not many can tell one effectively.

BK: What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers/authors?

Just keep writing. We’ve all heard the whole “your brain is a muscle” spiel, but that’s because it’s true. The more you do it the better you’ll get. And support other new writers. We’re not in competition with one another; we can learn a lot from each other, and you never know what kind of friends you might make along the way.

BK: What are you currently working on?

I’m bouncing back and forth between two projects: a coming-of-age space opera, and an apocalyptic thriller. But like I said earlier, I’m getting some very welcome feedback from readers that I should be doing a sequel to Code of Darkness, so I suppose I’d better get working on that, too.

BK: Where can readers connect with you?

You can find me at www.codeofdarkness.com, and on Facebook by searching “code of darkness”. I also have a Twitter handle, Chrislindberg7. You can also email me at chris@codeofdarkness.com – I’d love to hear from you!


Chris Lindberg was born and raised outside Chicago, Illinois.  After graduating from Northern Illinois University in the mid-1990s, he headed out to the west coast for a couple of years, where he began writing as a casual pastime. 

Some time after returning to Chicago he began attending writers workshops at StoryStudio Chicago, where he wrote two character studies, both of which have since been developed into key characters in
Code of Darkness

Chris now lives outside Chicago with his wife Jenny and their two children, Luke and Emma.  You might catch him working away on his second novel while commuting on his morning train into the city. 


When a routine bank robbery takes an unexpected turn, veteran Chicago police officer Larry Parker witnesses a heroic act by a mysterious intervener. But seconds later the Samaritan disappears, leaving Larry only with unanswered questions.

Suddenly, vigilante activity begins popping up all over the city – including several murders. Larry begins to gather the missing pieces of the puzzle, and finds evidence the Samaritan might be tied to them. When he learns the man’s identity – a loner known only by the name Rage – he prepares to move in for the arrest.

But there is much more to Rage than meets the eye: the case has also drawn the attention of a covert Black Ops division within the Pentagon. Their mission: find Rage, while keeping their operation out of the public eye. Seen as knowing too much, Larry suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs as well. After a deadly standoff, Rage is captured, forcing Larry to search for answers while on the run.

The deadly chase leads cross-country to a top-secret military facility in Virginia, where Rage and Larry uncover the greatest danger of all -- and only they can stop the unthinkable from happening.


As the frantic teller pulled the stacks of bills from the drawers and dropped them in the smaller man’s burlap sack, the large man kept one eye on Rage and the others.

The teller’s drawers empty, the small man took the sack from the counter and moved toward his accomplice. At this, the large man grabbed the young woman’s arm and pulled her up to him. “Gimme your purse. Now,” he said to her, then addressed everyone else. “That goes for all o’you. Take ‘em out, put ‘em on the floor. Do it now.”

Face to face with the large robber, her right wrist being held tightly, Mira handed her handbag to the man, who tossed it into the burlap sack. The small one picked up the wallets, purses, and handbags the others had laid on the floor.

The large man eyed Mira, a smile coming to his face. “Lucky for you we ain’t got room for ya in the bag,” he sneered.

The small man folded up the sack and took it under his arm, still pointing the shotgun, and nodded to his partner. As the two men made their way toward the front doors, a screech of tires came from the front parking lot.

Son of a bitch, the cops!” the small man roared.

Outside, Larry and Gino took up positions behind the squad car. Through tinted bank windows and glaring morning sun, he made out about nine or ten figures inside. Larry radioed in for backup, ordering units to every possible exit. The hostage negotiators would be arriving any second.

Inside the lobby, the small robber barked to his partner, “We gotta get outta here before they surround us. We need leverage. Take the broad and head for the back.”

Cocking the shotgun, the large robber pulled Mira tight. “Looks like you’ll be comin’ with us, after all.”

At this Rage stood up and grabbed the large man’s forearm. “If you’re gonna take someone, take me.”

BANG. The shotgun went off. Startled by Rage’s sudden move, the large man had fired it inadvertently, right into Rage’s stomach. The lobby seemed to freeze in time. Rage fell backward. The teller screamed. The elderly woman fainted.

Shit!” yelled the small man. “Head for the back, now!”

The large man pulled Mira, squeezing her under her right arm, overpowering her struggles. They made their way toward the rear exit as more sirens approached outside.

Outside, Larry heard the gunfire erupt inside the bank. Signaling to Gino, he rushed toward the back entrance, taking cover at the alley’s edge.

The emergency exit door boomed open, and two men with black stockings over their heads emerged, the second much taller than the first. Both were armed. Larry pivoted into the alley entrance, his revolver pointed directly at them.

Freeze!” he screamed at the two men.

Larry saw the young woman being held under the large man’s arm.

Drop your guns, and let the woman go,” he ordered them.

Without warning the small man pointed the gun at Larry and fired. From out of nowhere a third man appeared between Larry and the robber, taking the shotgun blast in his right shoulder. In one blinding motion, the newcomer ripped the gun from the small man’s hand then spun into a kick that connected with the large man’s jaw. Larry could hear the sickening crunch as the jawbone shattered. Completing his full spin, he rounded up on the small man and punched him square in the chest, sending him flying into a brick wall. As the large man fell, he turned back to pull the woman free while kicking the shotgun from the robber’s limp hand.

Larry stood there, thunderstruck. His gun was still pointed at the spot where the two bank robbers once stood, both now lying unconscious on the worn pavement. The intervener set the stunned woman down near the alley wall.

The man, maybe mid-twenties, was wearing a black t-shirt and torn jeans. Both his right shoulder and lower abdomen were bleeding, as if he’d been shot moments before also. He wore a shocked expression, but showed not even the slightest sign of pain. He was maybe five-foot-six, with matted black hair. He looked down at the two unconscious bank robbers, then over to Larry, as if analyzing whether Larry would become a threat himself. He took up the burlap sack and pulled out what looked to be a wallet, then tossed the sack in Larry’s direction. Then, before Larry could utter a word, the man leapt all the way up onto the adjacent building’s roof, and was gone.

Giveaway Time!

Leave a comment for Chris with your email address for your chance to win an e-book copy of 
Code of Darkness!

Chris will also be offering a $50 Visa Gift Card to one lucky follower that commented during his entire tour!

Follow his tour HERE!


Jennifer said...

Great interview BK!

Sounds like an awesome Chris. My fellow Illinoisan or is it Illini? Whatever we call ourselves..great to "meet" you and you are definitely on my TBR!!

Happy Holidays!


Jennifer said...

*read..awesome read..my bad..:)