About By A ThreadThe streets of Vienna: A handsome Kuwaiti walks up and introduces himself to Mormon missionary Kevin "Red" Davis. A week later the U.S. President is dead, the Vice President in a coma. Chaos reigns as the Supreme Court overturns the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, and a power struggle ensues. Is a conspiracy afoot? The Kuwaiti holds the key to the mystery, and everybody wants him. When the missionary gets him, the real trouble begins. Everything hangs... By A Thread! At 19, Davis is sent out into the world to change it. He discovers, however, that it has changed him-in ways he never imagined. Everything he believes-about himself, his religion, his country-is challenged when he's forced to prioritize his loyalties to each of them in a life and death situation. All of this unfolds amid a fast-paced tale of espionage and betrayal, where no one is who he seems. The plot's many twists and turns leave the reader unsure of who the good guys and bad guys are, until the very end of the story. Even then, moral certainty may seem suddenly less certain.
Marty Beaudet is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and communications consultant. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he has lived in Damascus, Oregon since 1998 with his husband Chuck.
Marty's published titles include the political thriller By A Thread and a novella, the psychological thriller Losing Addison.
What will readers like about your book?
Statistics show that men like plot-driven action, women prefer character-driven personal journeys. By A Thread has both. It also brings together elements not normally found in a single narrative. Mormons, Muslims, spies and politicians, terrorists, and more. Moreover, it sustains suspense and thrills without gore and gunfire. Its tension is psychological.
Why did you self publish?
It just kind of happened. I was unaware of the extent of POD opportunities while I was writing the novel. By the time it was done, those opportunities were everywhere. I started sending query letters, but my husband bought me a domain name and a blog, and I set up Twitter and Facebook accounts to go along with them. Before I knew it, I was publishing! Meanwhile, the query letters were not generating a response, so I stopped sending them. Self-publishing is a lot more time intensive, but there's payoff in personal interaction with my readers and fellow authors.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
By A Thread was the product of many aspects of my life experience, combined with what-if scenarios conjured by my vivid imagination. In almost all respects, the story is based on real-life facts and locations. I was once a Mormon missionary. My college major was Soviet Studies with an eye toward intelligence work. I have spent a fair amount of time in Vienna, where most of the book takes place. I have Muslim acquaintances abroad. And I am an avid student of politics and constitutional issues. All of these things combined to produce By A Thread.
In a city that oozed Baroque at every turn, Café Kafka's interior was a stark, modern contrast. Bright, clean, and cozy, though a bit nondescript; it was a neighborhood hangout easily missed by tourists.
The unlikely trio was seated in a booth by the front windows, a floor-to-ceiling grid of panels that had been swung open to allow access to the cool breeze. Only a row of movable planters separated them from the sidewalk, allowing for indoor-outdoor dining.
The café’s name struck a chord with Davis. An undeclared drama major during his one year at Central Oregon Community College, he had read plenty of Kafka. At the moment, he felt like a Kafka character, caught up in a vaguely absurd situation over which some unseen, mysterious entity had taken control. He didn’t know why he was here, yet he’d felt powerless to refuse.
Their host however, while admittedly peculiar, was not proving to be unpleasant. At the very least he was good for a meal, and Davis was grateful for that much; he didn’t get to eat out very often. By the parsimonious standards of a self-supported missionary, restaurants in Vienna were an expensive proposition.
True to his word, Jassim had returned precisely at one-thirty. But the missionaries, contrary to their own agreement, did not break the lunch date. As the junior companion, Pearson had expected Davis to take the lead. Davis, for his part, had meant to say no, but for reasons he couldn’t explain, he found himself unable to. And in the midst of his awkwardness, Jassim had taken charge. Davis simply fell in beside him as the trio headed down Capistrangasse toward the restaurant. As they walked, Davis avoided looking at Pearson who, he was certain, was lasering silent disapproval in his direction.
When the waitress arrived, Jassim ordered without even having opened the menu. Clearly, he was a regular here. Davis, not wanting to abuse the hospitality of their host, ordered an inexpensive Käseteller—a plate of local cheeses with fruit and bread—that cost only nine euros. Pearson, whose proficiency with even High German was still only marginal, was clueless when it came to the local Wiener dialect in which the menu was printed. Too proud to ask for assistance with translation, he resorted to his default request: bratwurst and sauerkraut.
Their server, recognizing another hapless American’s dilemma, explained to him in English what was clearly printed on the menu in German: this was a vegetarian establishment. When Pearson sighed and slumped in defeat, she gave him a sympathetic smile and suggested the lunch special: lentil soup, Greek salad, and pita with hummus.
After the waitress had gone, Jassim resumed the line of questioning he had begun earlier. But while he had been speaking English on the way to the café, he picked up now in German. Given Pearson’s language constraints, this shifted the bulk of the responsibility for the conversation to Davis.
R20;You two live like you are married, no?” Jassim probed. The missionaries had explained earlier that they weren’t permitted to be apart, except to use the bathroom. Jassim was incredulous at this, and seemed obsessed with it, peppering them with additional questions.
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The By A Thread blog presents interesting articles and musings on issues related to the book's content, as well as other writing-related issues.