Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, there was one 9” Black & White TV in our house, in my parent’s room. I can recall my older brother (we shared a room) reading, late at night, under his cover with a flashlight. He loved Science Fiction. My father was also a voracious reader, although he preferred books like the Captain Horatio Hornblower series. So, ever since I was a little kid, books fascinated me. Of course, I chose Sci Fi as an easier read and early on became enthralled with the Tom Swift Jr. series. My reading quickly expanded to Mark Twain. My grandparents gave us a set of his complete works, published in 1922, that I read cover to cover. Today, although I still love Sci Fi, my reading interests have expanded to include mysteries, action/adventure, biographies of America’s founding fathers and even such esoteric subjects as The Dead Sea Scrolls. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling. In addition to the US, our travels have taken us to many areas that included famous site from antiquity. I became enthralled with the ancient world and searched for a way to express my interest. Travel logs are not my thing, so I began thinking about writing an action/adventure story in which I could express my love for the ancient world in some way. THE ALKANO LETTERS (begun in early 2004) is the result of this effort. I have been told that one reason agents would not accept this story (forcing me to self-publish) is that it is too close to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I did not even know that book existed when I was working on mine. I continued writing and produced the other two books of my action/adventure series, THE CARTHAGE CONNECTION and CARVED IN STONE. Every location in these stories is one I have visited. It is my hope that, relying on memories, I have incorporated accurate information in order to help bring a level of realism to my work.
What does your writing space look like?
A very sloppy desk overshadowed with a large computer monitor.
How long have you been writing?
I began writing in high school; Short stories that no one has ever seen. In collage, I spent some time attempting to write for the school paper but ended up just doing a cartoon for the class paper. During my working career (I’m retired now) I spent a lot of time writing Science Fiction stores, one of which I felt comfortable enough to self-publish on Amazon.
What inspired your current book?
A desire to incorporate my interest in the ancient world and my very amateurish excitement with archeology.
Please tell us about your current work in progress.
I am currently working on a Science Fiction story. Many years ago, I became involved with building our family tree. Today, between my wife and my family, I have almost 1,200 people, going back to 1790. I began thinking about how to incorporate the idea of a family tree into a science fiction story. The idea I came up with essentially takes place now. However, it is initiated with a grave problem in the 25th century. Man has spread out over 23 planets and has all but forgotten earth. I mysteries disease is killing people on almost all of the inhabited planets. After years of research and comparing notes, the medical establishment has determined that the illness is based on a genetic disease tied to DNA. In order to discover a cure, family origins need to be traced. Unfortunately, no such database exists in the 25th century. A doctor, working with an astrophysics, come up with a unique solution. Using a white hole, they slingshot a team of genetically altered people into the past – our time. The team is tasked with the responsibility of covertly promoting people to build family trees. Software is perfected and even a TV show is instigated. The story involves the investigation of a small supply ship sent to the team from the future. Ultimately, the existence of the team is revealed and the story goes into the reaction of the people investigating the ‘alien invasion’.
How do you name your characters?
That’s a very interesting question. When I began my Erin and Craig action/adventure series, my main characters has different names. I posted samples of my story on a number of writer’s forums and got a few comments about their names. Apparently, many people think the sound of a name helps denote the type of character. For example, action heroes should have one-syllable names and they should attempt to invoke something of the character’s attributes. This sounded like an impossible task. That being said, I realized a name like Bob was less appropriate that Craig. Erin invokes her Irish heritage.
If you could choose any actor/actress (living or dead) to play your protagonist, who would it be and why?
Ha, that’s an interesting question. I can see Julia Roberts as Erin and Harrison Ford as Craig. Although they’d be a bit younger than they are now, especially Mr. Ford.
Tell us something strange or interesting about yourself.
I have a lot of trouble telling people I am a writer. Someone suggested that when anyone asks what I do, now that I’m retired, I should simply say I write. If no further questions are asked, I should not offer an explanation. I can’t think of myself as an author. To me an author is someone that earns a living writing and I certainly don’t. I write because I enjoy the process of creating characters and seeing where they take me in the story. I didn’t even tell my wife I wrote until I received a few nice reviews on Amazon. Only my immediate family has been let in on my ‘secret’. No friends or relatives are aware. I can’t explain why I am uncomfortable thinking of myself as a writer or why I keep it a secret. Perhaps I’m afraid of what people might say about my work. I also don’t want to give away free copies – that’s a joke!
What was your most embarrassing life experience? Your proudest?
I can’t explain why, but I feel embarrassed when I react very emotionally to something. Sometimes silly things. My proudest moment has to be the birth of my first child. That was nearly eclipsed with the birth of my first grandchild.
THE ALKANO LETTERS is the debut novel in the action/adventure Erin and Craig series. Archaeologist Erin Mathews and ex CIA Agent Craig Johnson team up for these exciting and intriguing tales. On the tiny Greek island of Alkano, they discover ancient letters whose content could undermine the very foundations of Christianity. An ancient religious sect knows the esoteric message hidden in the letters and is sworn to protect it at any cost. Trouble begins almost immediately with a series of mishaps followed by deadly threats. A desperate chase through the back streets of Jerusalem leads to Erin's abduction. What began as a straightforward dig has become a dangerous and complicated mission. They must solve the two-thousand year old mystery, before it's too late. But time is quickly running out...
THE ALKANO LETTERS by Kenneth Joel Teicher proved to be quite different from my usual reviewing fare of romance, paranormal and YA fiction. I'm going out on a limb here in assigning a genre to this archeological action/suspense novel, which was set in the present day but contained notes of the ancient world. I want to compare it to a Dan Brown novel (which I confess to having read), but at the same time I don't want to insult the author by suggesting his careful and detailed prose belongs in the same category with drivel.
Am I qualified to judge the accuracy of the archeological information and theories advanced in THE ALKANO LETTERS? No, not by a long shot. But I will say that the story demands the reader's full focus because so much information is imparted in just the first few chapters. This is not a story to read with the television going in the background. Proper processing of all the plot elements really requires the reader to devote his undivided attention
Craig Johnson is a solider with a degree in ancient history who hires out as a mercenary. As a hero, he is smart, competent and likeable. I had no difficulty in developing an empathetic bond with Craig and I very much enjoyed his romantic relationship with archeologist/anthropologist Erin Mathews. It's always refreshing to see a woman over thirty portrayed in such a positive and attractive manner.
While the story tends to require a high level of intellectual commitment on the part of the reader, Teicher keeps the plot moving, interspersing the info-heavy chapters with action and romance. The Grecian setting fits perfectly with the themes of ancient unknowns and intrigue. The familiar trope of The Church Conspiracy is adapted to fit with the mystery surrounding the Alkano letters and then given a fresh twist that helps it avoid the cliché of paranoid priests everywhere. Throw in a few good chases, guns, and an employer known only by his initials (CV). It's a recipe for fun.
Secondary characters were well-developed and interesting. I especially liked Craig's mercenary buddy, Thaddeus, and Erin's grandfather, Professor Bannington. The prose is solid. The story is well written and well edited but the cover really doesn't begin to do the book justice. All in all, I'd definitely recommend THE ALKANO LETTERS for anyone interested in an exciting "what if" archeological thriller.
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Kenneth Teicher is the author of the reader acclaimed Erin and Craig action/adventure series currently including The Alkano Letters, The Carthage Connection and Carved In Stone. The series follows the exploits of archeologist Erin Mathews and ex CIA agent Craig Johnson. These stories are the result of the author's amateur passion for archeology that developed during more than forty-three years of travel to countless archeological sites in more than 37 countries. Science Fiction is the author's other area of interest. Books include Gateway: The Shaula Intervention, A Matter of Time, The Mission and his current work in progress, The Yesterday Tree. The author and his wife count New York City, New York as their primary residence and maintain a second home in Los Angeles, California. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Where you can find Kenneth Teicher on the Internet: