Interview and Review of August Moore and Extreme Cruelty

"This story is true. I debated long and hard whether to share it publicly. My Extreme Cruelty journey led me from the highs of a wonderful job with significant leadership responsibilities, respect, confidence, trust, and moderate wealth to the lows of unproductivity, unemployment, multiple deaths, isolation, depression, financial ruin, and utter humiliation. Did I really want to openly share this with others?"After August Moore finds himself divorced and lonely, a budding online romance with a woman named Crystal reignites his lust for life. She is everything he wants—beautiful, professional, and willing to explore the adventurous side of life. The only problem is that her job places her thousands of miles away, and for months their plans to meet are mysteriously thwarted. In a state of love-induced naïveté, August is willing to go to outrageous lengths for the woman he loves.Discovering that she comes as a "package deal" with her best friend Leona, August becomes entangled in a web of duplicity and compromised values. Blinded by his new-found love, he is led down a path that yields bizarre experiences with every step. And at the end of the path, Crystal is not all that she seems…A true-crime story of love, deception, and redemption, Extreme Cruelty serves as a warning that professional con artists are actively seeking to take advantage of those who are vulnerable and willing to compromise their entire lives for the sake of love. Part I details how August falls into this elaborate con and the loss he experiences as a result. His story is real… and it could also happen to you.

Tell us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
I didn’t truly come to know the Lord until recently when I reached the lowest point in my life, addressed in my sequel, Extreme Cruelty II.  Oh sure, I prayed occasionally in my past for really important things like not getting caught at something when I was a teen, winning the lottery, getting a corvette, or the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl.  None of those prayers were answered. This time it was different.  My prayer was a desperate, sincere cry out to God to help me in my darkest hour.  Within sixty seconds He answered my prayer, I kid you not, but you’ll have to read the sequel to find out what happens.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
Actually, this is my first real story and it only took me five decades to achieve it.  I’ve never even written a short story before, even though I’ve always had a desire to write a book one day.  When my son was very young, I would make up long stories to tell him before bedtime instead of read the same old books.  I made him the hero in most of them.  I think it was equally fun for the both of us.

Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
Well, this book is a story of love, deception, and redemption that actually happened to me.  It’s my testimony, told in a true-crime format.  To be honest, I didn’t want to share my testimony publicly, let alone write a book about it.  However, I truly believe the Holy Spirit kept nudging me to proceed.  “We” wrestled round after round over this.   I lost.  So here I am, sharing this Extreme Cruelty journey and hopefully prevent others from becoming a victim as I was.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
In addition to the last response, there are two other key lessons to take away from my book.  First, never compromise your values for love… or what you think is love.  I’ve had a lifetime of instilled values, attending a private Missionary school for most of my childhood, nearly 30 years in the service with Army values, and a strong sense of right and wrong.  I chose wrong because I thought it would gain me the heart of a certain woman.  Secondly, don’t think for a moment that you are immune from being the victim of a scam or con.  It happens every day to people from all walks of life.  Even Churches get scammed.  Be wary of those you communicate with over the internet.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
It would have to be the Epilogue in the sequel, signifying I was finally done.  You see, writing this story has been incredibly challenging at times.  It forced me to relive many horrible memories and emotions.  I was surrounded by utter bizarreness, multiple deaths, deception, and devastating losses on multiple fronts, not to mention a legal war.  I was raised to believe that real men don’t cry.  The only time I ever saw my father cry was on his death bed.  While writing the book, I found myself crying… a lot.  At least there is some good news in the Epilogue, although some will be alarmed when reading the last few sentences.  We all should be.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
Jeremiah 29:11.  I have it hanging in my living room to serve as a reminder of Gods plan for my life, and to never go looking for love in the wrong places again.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Chinese and chocolate, 24/7/365.  Having been raised overseas with an integrated Chinese family, I would choose a bowl of rice over a slice of bread most any day. 

What are your hobbies other than writing?
I love to hike until my legs give out on me.  There is something about the solitude of hiking in the hills or mountains that really appeals to me.  It frees my mind and relaxes me, enjoying beautiful scenery.

How does your faith play into your writing?
Being a relatively new Christian, I really struggled with how to write this story.  I didn’t want to offend anyone or be an embarrassment to Christians.  At the same time, I felt led to share this story more from a secular perspective while playing the role of the “farmer”, planting seeds along the way to give the reader pause and at least think about God here and there.  Already some have rushed to judgment based on the book title alone.  Just as I predicted, some have been quick to judge me personally or label me, based on my story.  However, I’m not that man anymore.  I try not to concern myself with those ready to cast the first stone.  I’ve been saved, renewed, redeemed.  Never again will I abandon God.

My Review:

If I hadn't spoken to the author himself I would be tempted to write this story off as a work of pure fiction but knowing that these were real events made reading it that much more heart-rending. I found myself wanting to jump through the pages and warn August that he was being manipulated by a very evil and conniving woman.  Extreme Cruelty should be a must read for anyone entertaining thoughts of finding love through social media or even online paid services. This book will have you on the edge of your seat and ends on what has to be the mother of all cliff-hangers! Hang on to your pantyhose  because Book Two is coming out soon! Five stars!

You can buy Extreme Cruelty directly from the author (autographed) here 
Or from Amazon here

Interview and Book Give Away with Matthew R. Horn

Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus. 
My parents raised my sisters and I in the church.  I was baptized when I was nine, and have never looked back.  I think nine years old might have been a bit early for me, because it wasn’t really until college that I started reading and praying daily.  I’ve always had a relationship with him, and I plan on keeping it that way.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about? 
Of course I had always tried my hand at writing stories, but never got anything real until 2009.  I was 29.  I’m not sure why the Lord had me ready at that point, but I had a powerful inspiration and ended up writing a 700 page epic fantasy novel titled Heroism.  It is as of yet, unpublished along with its sequel.  My main goal was to write a story where the hero is who he is because of God.  The world they are in is a future/past earth where certain men have special abilities.  The main characters ability comes directly from God and spends his time discovering what God’s purpose is for his life.  The symbolism is, as always for me, indirect allowing the reader to see it or not see it for themselves.

Where did you get the idea for your latest book? 
My latest book, Nothing Good is Free, is the sequel to The Good Fight published by Brighton Publishing in September 2011.  I got the idea for the series sitting with my wife and our church youth group at the 2009 Indiana Christian Youth Convention.  I was listening to the keynote speaker and was immediately hit with an idea to write a story about a young hero coming of age with the help of a mentor.  I wanted to use his story to symbolize how hard it is for a Christian to mature in Christ and make the right decision day in and day out.  My wife helped me tweak the storyline by adding some conflict with the mentor.  Three months later I had The Good Fight.  Since then I’ve added the second title, Nothing Good is Free, and am now working on the third installment, The Price We Pay.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular? 
First and foremost I want my readers to enjoy a solid adventure.  I hope they are simply happy to read about Jeff.  However, I also hope that Christian readers can see past the surface and into the symbolism of our Christian walk with Christ much in the same way that CS Lewis captured in his Chronicles of Narnia series.  It’s there for those who want to see it, and for those who don’t it’s still a wonderful read.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why? 
In the first book, the city’s vigilante is my hero’s troubled mentor.  He had no real relationship with the Police because he didn’t trust them.  My hero, Jeff, on the other hand builds a relationship with a detective.  As a result, Detective Martell, while not even having a name in The Good Fight, has an expanded role in Nothing Good is Free.  He is put at odds with Jeff by the department, and the conflict and resolution were both enjoyable and fully satisfying for me as an author.  

What is your favorite Bible verse? 
My favorite verse, and this is not a plug for my book, is I Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight for the faith. Keep holding on to eternal life, to which you were called and about which you gave a good testimony in front of many witnesses.”
I think it applies in a wonderful way and is very uplifting.

What is your favorite comfort food? 
Hands down, pasta.  I’m not sure how that happened, but I love it plain with some Parmesan Cheese or as a part of a dish. 

What are your hobbies other than writing? 
I’m a pretty active fellow.  I grew up on a lake so swimming and skiing are big hobbies.  I love playing basketball and tennis as well.  All in all, I think reading is my biggest hobby though.  I’m always in the middle of a good book.  I love to read before I go to bed and I always try to get time in the mornings to read the Bible.

How does your faith play into your writing? 
I like to write books where God exists.  My characters may not pray to him religiously or even profess to know him, but he exists and works on them none the less.  I think it’s important to create worlds like that as an author because readers that don’t know Christ can be exposed to him in a fulfilling and unobtrusive way. 

What is your favorite book by another author and why? 
Currently, because this has been known to change, my favorite book is Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I loved it and I think it’s truly amazing how that book single-handedly built the publics perception of pirates, incorrect as it may have been.  It’s a wonderful tale and truly well written. 

Favorite childhood book? 
I started really reading when I was in the 6th grade.  My father was reading Clive Cussler books at the time and I read his book, Pacific Vortex.  I went on to read all 19 of his Dirk Pitt books, but Pacific Vortex remained my favorite.

Which movie has inspired you the most and why?
I really like the recent Batman movies.  I like to think that my hero, Jeff, is a less broken hero and more realistic, but along the lines of Batman.  I think the way Christopher Nolan advanced the storyline and the way he ended it were very well prepared and thought out.  I hope to be able to achieve some of the same things just in different ways.

Where do you get most of your ideas for your books? 
Inspiration comes from strange places.  I am the type to keep a journal close by because the smallest things often create the largest ideas, and I try to write them down as they come.  Dreams, songs, commercials, anything really can stir an idea.  It’s a compilation of experiences and senses that come together.  The only other explanation is that God wanted me to write something down, and I want to be able to say that I did.

Out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why? 
My favorite is my first work, Heroism.  The hero, Mark, is based off of me and my experiences and dreams.  I used friends and family members for my characters and I simply love having done that.  It’s like telling your life story in Christ, but getting to do it in a fantasy book with special abilities.  It was so much fun.  It’s just such a large and special project that it’s taking me forever to get it read.

Have you ever had a mentor when you were first starting out? Who was it and how did they encourage you? 
If I had a mentor then it was my mother.  She has her Master’s in English, and although she never knew I was planning to write a book, she always encouraged me to do things like this.  It’s hard for her to read for anything other than content because I’m her son, but I usually push all my chapters past her desk for approval before I move on.  

Matthew R. Horn, Author

Nothing Good is Free Now in E-Book