Monday, October 3, 2011

Interview with Lynn Hallbrooks, coauthor of "Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning)"...

I’m very pleased to introduce a good friend and talented writer to the Forum today. Lynn Hallbrooks has been writing for a long time, and she and her coauthor David McKoy have come up with a really great novel. Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning) is a sort of a military book, but it also has a lot of behind the scenes government conspiracy, too.

Tim Greaton: Lynn, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Lynn Hallbrooks: I'm a former member of the U.S. Air Force where I learned about the Health Information field. Basically, I started as a file clerk and worked my way up to be a coder (turning written symptoms and diagnoses into alphanumerical codes for insurance, tracking and research).   I learned a lot about medical terminology and how a hospital operates, both in the military and civilian world.  I gave that up after thirty years to become an author.  I've also taken on the challenge of writing a column for the Independent Authors and Writers website.

Tim Greaton: What is the most dangerous thing that ever happened to you?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  I was driving to work as a contract coder.  I went through a light that just turned yellow.  A driver turned left and slammed right into my car.  Both vehicles spun round and round each other.  It was surreal, like a slow motion replay.  When we final came to a metal-screeching halt, I tried to call 9-1-1 on my cell phone.  Suddenly, I realized people were screaming at me to get out of the car! The engine was on fire.  Still dizzy, I stumbled out and away from the wreck. Fortunately, the car didn’t explode. The ambulance arrived at the same time as the fire truck, and the medics rushed me to the hospital with skyrocketing blood pressure and whiplash, not to mention a dozen scrapes and bruises from the air bag exploding in my face.

What favorite book most influences your writing today, and why?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  Tim, that is a very tough question for me.  I haven't found a book that hasn't become a favorite in some way.  I don't think any of them really influence my writing, though.  I tend to write the events that I can picture on the screen inside my mind.  Unfortunately, my personal screen isn’t always short, neat or tidy, so I then have to edit my visions down. 

Tim Greaton: I understand that you and your coauthor both had your own strengths as writers. Could you tell us how you met and how those strengths played a part in your writing partnership?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  My co-author, David McKoy and I went to high school together, and have been friends probably since even before that.  David was one of the first ones to encourage me to write professionally, but as things turned out it was his brilliant storyline that really motivated me to do it.  David truly is phenomenal. He is able to invent a character in his head and then creates a solid background for him or her within minutes.  I tend to be really good at brain-storming, especially with David and particularly about certain aspects of a character or plot movement.  And that’s how we build a story. Though it can take some time, we enjoy bouncing ideas off from one another until we are both satisfied with the story.

Tim Greaton: Have you and your coauthor ever had a challenging discussion or fight during writing?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  I wouldn’t say they’re fights, but we’ve had some “lively” discussions, and they usually happen when I’m challenging his logic and he’s trying my patience.  Like I said, I'm good at brainstorming but I'm equally good at playing Devil's advocate.  For example: I'll say, "Jack and Jill can't run up that hill because Jack has a cast on. He'll have to hobble up the hill instead." David will say, "Okay, let's not make them run.  Let's have them take a tank up the hill."  I’ll say, "A tank…really? Isn't that a bit of an overkill?" David will respond something like, "Maybe so, but all the guys I know will love it.” Sometimes, I just have to shake my head and give up. 

Tim Greaton: Could you tell us the title of your book, and little about the story?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  Our book is entitled Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning), and I’ll tell you in advance, it doesn't fall neatly into any one genre.  I’ve been known to call it a Military/Action/Adventure/Political Intrigue book, and it is definitely only for a mature audience.  The story is about a CIA Special Operations Team, Call Sign: Wrecking Crew.  All the members of this particular team are former military special operations from different branches of the armed services. The team is sent on a top secret mission overseas.  During the course of our story, a mission goes terribly wrong and the team has to fight its way back home.  When the members learn that our government has gone amuck, things really get interesting.  

Tim Greaton: Where did the ideas for the story originate?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  The idea, as I mentioned earlier, originated with David's imagination but he then added in some things he learned while watching Glenn Beck and reading Richard Marcinko, who is a retired Navy Commander and a former Navy Seal.

Tim Greaton: Do you think a lot of the international and even U.S. intrigue really could happen?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  Tim, some of the stuff in our 'futuristic' book has already happened to some degree.  A good bit more could happen if people don't heed the underlying message in our book.

Tim Greaton: What was your favorite scene from the book, and why?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  In one scene, a team member is shot, and the rest of the team helps out.  I love that it shows what a tight-knit unit they really are, not to mention, it one of the scenes where my medical knowledge and imagination came together.

Tim Greaton: Are you planning more books in the series?

Lynn Hallbrooks:  Yes, we are currently working on a sequel plus maybe a couple more in the series.  The details are still percolating in David's mind.

Tim Greaton: Just for fun, if your book could be turned into a cartoon, which characters would best play which parts?

*Lynn hesitates then grabs the phone and calls her partner to repeat my question. She scribbles a long series of notes. Finally, satisfied, she hangs up.*

Lynn Hallbrooks: I needed some backup on this one. My coauthor says (she’s reading from her notes) J.T. would be Ben from Fantastic Four; Mac would be "Race" Bannon from Jonny Quest; T.K. would be Road Runner; Deb would be Jade from Jonny Quest; Larry would be Athos from the Hanna Babera version of The Three Musketeers; and, because of his strength, Deano would be Raseem from Hanna Barbera’s Arabian Knights. *She’s grinning*

Tim Greaton: I know I told you to have some fun with the questions, Lynn, but I’m not sure I meant that much fun. Maybe you should call David back and see if there’s some other character and another vintage cartoon we might have missed.

Lynn Hallbrooks: I told you he’s got a good imagination.

Tim Greaton: While I try to stop laughing, maybe you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books?

Lynn Hallbrooks:
Our website is:

Our blogsite is:

Our Facebook fan page is:

Amazon, U.K.:

Barnes & Noble, U.S.:

Tim Greaton: Thanks so much for being with me today, Lynn. As always, it has been really fun, and I know a lot of readers enjoyed it as well.

Lynn Hallbrooks:  Thanks so much for having me.  As you know, I'm a big fan of you and your forum, and even though I studied up by reading and rereading many of your previous questions for authors, you still surprised me and, as usual, made me laugh and think. It has been great.



  1. Tim - Great Interview!

    Lynn - I have your book and can't wait to read it. Best of luck to you.

  2. Tim, thanks for another great interview. Lynn is one of my Twitter friends. Although it can be hard to tell how people really are in 140 characters, I could immediately tell that Lynn was a great lady by her commitment to her Twitter friends. That same Lynn comes across in this interview. I wish her and David great success always!

  3. Enjoyed the interview, Tim.

    Lynn is also one of my great Twitter friends, and I could immediately tell also that Lynn was a great lady, even in 140 characters, as Martha pointed out!

    Best of luck on your book, Lynn! It sounds like a great one!

  4. What a wonderful interview Lynn and Tim I enjoyed it immensely.

  5. How did I miss this? Must have been hammering away on a book. Better that then never. Excellent interview and the book is good to. Read it over a year ago.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jeff. Lynn is pretty amazing and I absolutely don't know of an author who works so hard helping others along the path :-)


  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Charity. Lynn is a lot of fun. Definitely a great guest! Thanks for stopping by :-)

  7. Tim it has been almost a year since this interview. Thank you so much for having me on here and for coming not to mention visiting us about a month later.

    As always, I wish you and my fellow authors "bestsellers" in all your ventures.

    Everyone else, thank you so much for your kind words.