I started writing the book in 2016, when it became apparent that the Washington Administration had no understanding of the Border Region. No understanding at all. That administration was tearing the area apart in many ways without regard to the culture, the people, or the environment.
BJ Taylor – 3 May 2022
The Back Flap
Welcome to the mysterious realm of the Borderlands….
The SUV of the Border Patrol Agents suddenly careens out of control. One man is thrown through the window to meet his brutal death, while the other stumbles from the vehicle to land in a heap—his memories locked inside his own brain as he falls into a coma.
U.S. Federal Marshal Gabriella Zamora is ordered to investigate. Assembling her team—Marshal Alex Ranslow, a Native American shaman with the innate ability to sense things others cannot; Sam DeSilva, a genius who uses the power of technology to peel back the layers of a mystery to unveil the facts; and Cyn Beauvoir, a woman with experience in exposing the criminal mind—the quartet converges on the Texas border to find the truth.
What the marshals actually discover is a story with no evidence to back it up; a theory that accuses people seeking freedom as being the perpetrators of this brutal so-called attack. With Washington, D.C. on edge, the team must find a way to solve this mystery in a time of political upheaval, where those in charge would rather start an international incident than bring the truly guilty to justice.
When a secret recording is revealed that throws the case in an entirely new direction, law agencies get locked in a vicious battle of wills. From vigilante reprisals to pure revenge, the marshals will encounter powerful emotions and angry souls as they strive to solve their first Borderland Mystery.
About the book
What is the book about?
Hallelujah takes place in early 2019, and focuses on a special borderlands team of U.S. Marshals whose mission is to find truth behind an incident with a U.S. Border Patrol SUV crash that occurred in the middle of a rural area known to be a wait or rest station for immigrants walking from Mexico, across the Rio Grande, into the U.S. The U.S. Border Patrol, in its anger and bigotry, has assumed that the one agent who was killed on impact—and the other agent who lived, but suffered head injuries—were victims of immigrants entering the country. This is a period when the Trump administration combed incidents such as this one for pseudo political theater, and in this case, POTUS threatens to send the U.S. Army to the Mexican border in retaliation. The U.S. Marshals must find out the truth of the accident before the administration lashes out at innocent people.
This finely crafted marshal team is comprised of individuals who are designed to contribute skills that address the unique environment, the culture of the area, and modern technology to maximize the four-person group. The leader of the team is U.S. Federal Marshal Gabriella Zamora, who happens to be the illegitimate daughter of the Border Patrol’s most decorated and distinguished hero. With hysteria and vengeance flowing through the department of Border Patrol, Zamora knows the best way to placate them while giving her team time to analyze scenes, clues, and precipitate the truth. Marshal Alex Ranslow is a gay, Navajo shaman skilled at understanding people and the uniquely spiritual qualities of this region. Marshal Samuel DeSilva is the team’s brilliant IT specialist who works hand in hand with the FBI to analyze the raw data. Marshal Cynthia Beauvoir is the fourth member of the team; an ex-CIA operative, she is an efficient killing machine when the need arises. Suffice to say, she owns a mysterious ‘seat’ even in her own team.
When the truth about the SUV incident is reveled, it will shake the foundations of a federal law enforcement agency and offer a more peaceful way forward.
When did you start writing the book?
I started writing the book in 2016, when it became apparent that the Washington Administration had no understanding of the Border Region. No understanding at all. That administration was tearing the area apart in many ways without regard to the culture, the people, or the environment. The politics of ignorance and bigotry reflected most Americans’ knowledge about my region and, I felt, it needed to be addressed.
How long did it take you to write it?
It took a few years.
Where did you get the idea from?
The book and the idea of the book are the same. I know this region very, very well. Once I decided to write the book, it flowed naturally.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
The book was never a struggle. It really did flow naturally.
What came easily?
It all came easily.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
The characters are fiction set in a real world that most Americans do not understand.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
That’s a nice thought, but most readers arrive at the beginning of the book with no idea what to expect. If they like the book they will begin their own journey to explore more facets of this region, as they wish.
Do you have a target reader?
Not really. It is an adult book that I hope will resonate with all adults.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
My writing process is very much like the nature of the books. Each is short and sweet, by most standards. I do not try to address a great deal in any one book; it’s a series of mysteries that gradually leads the reader to a whole experience which they can expand upon as they wish. The writing process is linear and regional.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
No outline; no chapter headings. It is a novel and not a dissertation.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
Did you hire a professional editor?
Oh, yes! An indie writer/publisher cannot create her village without others. The Cavalier Poet’s assessment that “No man is an island,” is so true in this business. The professional editor selection, I think, is very important. I attempted to employ a few editors prior to finding the best professional editor for my work. The process, for me, was long and expensive because a few of those editors really did not know what they were doing. It was such a relief to find The Write Companion, Amy Lignor. This professional editor offered strong experience in the publishing/editing world with a solid academic background. Plus, Amy now resides in the Southwest, which was so important to me that the editor at least understood something about the geographic background of my stories. Adding a professional editor is so important and I’m very glad I found the right one for my novels.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
Sometimes, I do. Music has always been an important element in my life. For example, for Hallelujah, I listened to Ennio Morricone’s theme music to the film The Mission which incorporates the three elements of Hispanic America: the wood winds of the Native Andes; the classic music of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe; and the bongo drums of West Africa. Morricone’s music is powerful and has the right ‘texture’ I wanted to achieve as the U.S. Marshals resolved the mystery of the Border Patrolman’s death.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
No. I never wanted to.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
Always wanted to use the self-publishing route.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
The cover was done professionally as I wanted it done. I’m not an artist and needed a professional to help with the cover.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
With the help of my editor, we have formulated a marketing plan that entails many different elements. To me, being an author is a business and an art form. In business, one never just “wings it.” Rely upon those who have done this craft before and get a professional to help you.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
As with my U.S. Marshals, get a team together before you encounter life.
Where did you grow up?
Along the Texas Border between El Paso and Boca Chica
Where do you live now?
I live in Texas
What would you like readers to know about you?
Know the Borderlands, not BJ. In some ways, both are the same.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on Book Three, Reservoir, of the Borderland Mysteries. I’m also working on some short stories that add more color to the Borderland series, itself.
End of Interview: