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Articles : Talking with Authors

Interview: Michael Archer, Author of 'Firestorm'
Published: Sat, 4 Dec 2004, 01:17 EST

By Beverly West
Staff Writer, Publishers Newswire
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An interview with the publisher and author of the 'Firebombers Inc.' series, which tell the dramatic story of a fictional firefighting company. The second in the series, 'Firestorm' continues the company's adventures.

Q: First of all, what is your novel about?

Archer: My novel tells the story of Joseph Talon, a billionaire entrepreneur and founder of a high-tech firefighting company called "Firebombers Incorporated." The story follows Talon's desperate gamble to stave off bankruptcy by leading the organization down to the Central American republic of San Pietro. However, his hopes of winning a long-term firefighting contract from the fledgling government are sidetracked by a revolt incited by drug lord's intent on wresting control of the country from the legitimate government.

When a group of his firefighters is trapped deep in the jungle, cut off from help, and surrounded by guerillas, Joe is forced to make an agonizing choice -- does he try to ransom his people from the drug lords... or rescue them in the face of an overwhelmingly powerful enemy force?

Q: Is there an underlying theme or message in your novel?

Archer: I think the message is that with a bit of forethought and planning, ordinary people who find themselves in desperate circumstances really can accomplish extraordinary things. This book is also a salute to veterans, and people who have put their country's well being ahead of their own, which is something that can be said of firefighters as well.

Q: Why did you want to tell this particular story?

Archer: I've always been fascinated by the military and have studied military operations for many years. And since firefighting tactics (especially in the wild land arena) mimic military operations, the two combined naturally for this story. Not being a firefighter or veteran myself, I relied on real firefighters and those who have been in the armed forces to comment on those aspects of the job with which they're familiar in order to add to the story's realism.

Q: Why do you think it is important for this book to be read at this time?

Archer: Both firefighters and the military need our support. Both professions consist of jobs that are dangerous, generally done anonymously, and in most cases with little fanfare or thanks. This story underlines the importance of acknowledging their efforts, and also brings up the interesting point that many of the people we work with day-to-day were in the military at one time or another. You never know when someone you pass in the street might have been a fighter pilot, a navy SEAL, an army Ranger.

Q: What has the feedback been like?

Archer: The reviews have been outstanding. Writer's Digest said: "In 'Firestorm," Mr. Archer offers a story of excitement and high drama in the back cover copy, and what the author delivers exceeds expectations. The concept is interesting and intriguing. Both internal and external conflicts are skillfully interwoven, creating a seamless story with a powerful impact. Pacing throughout the book is quick, with building tension driving the plot to a satisfying ending."

Q: What are your hopes for this book?

That firefighter causes will receive more press and financial support because of it. Aside from 9/11 and the California wildfires of 2003, firefighters work pretty much in the background, doing a dangerous job for which they are often underpaid, or which results in minimal disability or death benefits for the families of injured and fallen firefighters.

Q: Is this the first novel that you have written about firefighters?

Archer: No, "Firebombers Incorporated" was my first novel on the subject. "Firestorm" (ISBN: 0-9707980-2-4) recounts the latest adventures of this elite firefighting organization. I recommend reading "Firestorm" first, then going back to read "Firebombers Incorporated" to find out how this organization got started.

Q: Will there be a third novel about fire fighters?

Archer: There will be. I'm working on it now. In my third novel, (as yet unnamed) Firebombers Incorporated goes to Australia to help fight bush fires there. This story will be more of a mystery involving strange mishaps that keep occurring within the organization and will also tie up some loose ends left by the two previous novels.

Q: Where can we buy your book?

As part of a special program, it is only available at a few firefighter websites. Currently, it can be purchased at,,, and

Q: What has your experience been like with self publishing?

I find self-publishing to be the most exhilarating, aggravating, mysterious, and fulfilling thing I've ever done. There are many "how-to" books out there for self-publishing nonfiction books, but fiction is something of a wild card. Writing firefighting fiction is an even tougher sell. But if you can find a niche of readers that will buy what you write, or some marketing model that draws in readers, you have a chance to succeed at doing something many people just dream about - walking away from the corporate American lifestyle, having a much more flexible schedule, and being more in control of your destiny.

Q: Do you have any advice for other authors?

Think really hard before pursuing writing full-time. I had to save everything I earned for a few years before striking forth into full-time writing earlier this year. It has taken a long time to setup the distributors, the retailers, the marketing plan, etc. Nothing ever goes as fast as you would like and generally things cost a great deal more than you expected. You also have to be very careful about who you listen to about business decisions.

There are a whole bunch of folks out there who will promise you the moon (for a hefty fee) and only deliver a piece of cheese. If you can afford to hire professional folks to help you with writing critiques, public speaking, and all the other business aspects of being a self-published author, do so. Just be sure to read any contracts carefully so you aren't caught unawares (like I have been from time to time!).

* * *

Michael Archer is the founder of Firebomber Publications, a small press dedicated to providing exciting firefighting fiction to the general public. Fifty percent of the profits from the sale of Firebombers Incorporated books and merchandise go to firefighting relief agencies supporting the families of injured and fallen firefighters.

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Thu, 12 Oct 2006 03:33 PM EST