Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Book Tour + #Giveaway: Reap the Wind by Joel Burcat @JoelBurcat @RABTBookTours


Date Published: 02-06-2024

Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc.




The novel  is an action/adventure thriller in which three lawyers flee Houston heading to Cincinnati in a rented Lincoln Town Car. They must drive across Texas and the Midwest in the midst of the worst climate change-induced hurricane of the century so Josh Goldberg can be with his girlfriend who is giving birth to their baby. They have to survive a hurricane, tornado, hailstorm, driving rain, and each other to get there.

Josh’s travel companions are his best friend—an alcoholic, drug-addicted lawyer—and his boss who connives to derail his plans so she can get to Philadelphia for a business meeting with a Norwegian billionaire. The odyssey is dangerous on many levels and may be a suicide trip.

Interview with Joel Burcat

    Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

    Yes. Several books have really altered how I write and think about fiction. Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union really showed me how a writer could create a whole world that was similar, but different than ours. Philip Roth wrote several books that inspired me and other writers to write regardless of the consequences. His Portnoy’s Complaint is important that way. So is his The Ghost Writer. Some books are just so good they inspire you. Stephen King’s The Green Mile is one of those.

    How do you select the names of your characters?

    Some names just come to me. I research other names. If I want an ethnic name, I will sometimes go to the National Soccer (football) Federation for a country (or its Olympic team roster) and look for names that have the right sound. I have an important character in STRANGE FIRE from Louisiana named Norby Lafleur. His name came from a list of legislators in Louisiana (first name of one Senator, last of another).

    Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    Yes! For example, in REAP THE WIND, there are many hidden references to Homer’s The Odyssey. Sometimes it’s a name of a character, sometimes it’s an incident, sometimes a theme. I may have a contest one day to see which reader can pick out the most hidden references!

    What was your hardest scene to write?

    There is a scene in REAP THE WIND in which my characters drive into a tornado. I’ve seen many tornados in film and TV of course, but have never been in one. I did a fair amount of research to separate out fact from fiction and watched many on the internet. When I wrote the scene, I wanted to make it as realistic as possible and I think I accomplished that. It took a lot of effort, though.

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    Yes and no. My first three books are all connected. The first was DRINK TO EVERY BEAST, next was AMID RAGE. The last in that series was STRANGE FIRE. They all follow one character named Mike Jacobs. You could read any of them and not miss anything, but they are interconnected novels. REAP THE WIND was written as a stand alone novel. I left the door open for a sequel, but have not written anything to further that.

    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    I wrote this book both to write a thriller and to gently educate readers regarding climate change and environmental issues. I’m not hitting the readers over the head with science, engineering, politics, or similar information, but I am trying to educate them so they almost aren’t aware that I am teaching. Where I can, I provide both sides of every issue since most issues have at least two sides. In REAP THE WIND, I am using the book to educate regarding climate change. I’m very happy with the result.

    What inspired you to write REAP THE WIND?

    After writing legal thrillers on illegal dumping, strip mining, and fracking, I wanted to write a story about climate change. I had a lot of experience as an environmental lawyer dealing with environmental issues. I have a good knowledge base. I think people are interested to read an exciting thriller based on climate change and science. It was the right moment to write this book.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the next books after REAP THE WIND or what you have planned for the future?

    So far, REAP THE WIND is a standalone book. I’ve written several books that are sitting on my agent’s desk and have not yet been published. One is a young adult thriller, called LULLABIES AND OTHER LIES. It’s about a time when a virus wipes out all adults and only the teenagers survive. I’ve written a speculative thriller about the FBI going to war with a local police department, called LITTLE BROTHER. A third book I have recently completed is called TEMPERATURE RISING. It’s about a young woman law student who is mistakenly admitted to a meeting of lobbyists in DC who are working to undermine all climate change laws and regulations. She becomes a spy for the New York Times. Another book on my agent’s desk is WHIZ KID, set in 1950 about a young man growing up in Philadelphia amid the excitement of the Phillies’ run for the World Series. I’m just finishing a book called BULLETS OVER BROAD STREET about a low-level crook in Philadelphia in the early 1970s.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in REAP THE WIND?

    Our protagonist is Josh Goldberg. He’s a 32 year old lawyer. He’s a very likeable guy with strong opinions about environmental issues which he keeps to himself. He’s decided he can do more “from the inside” than outside corporate America. Nevertheless, he feels very guilty about what he does. At the same time, he needs the income to pay his tuition loans and support his family. The question is whether he can maintain his values as he works at the firm. He loves his girlfriend Kiesha and is struggling with commitment issues due to his parents’ failed marriage.

    Kiesha Jones is Josh’s 8-months pregnant girlfriend. Even before the events that unfold in the novel, she was having serious commitment issues and is still troubled about her relationship with Josh, although he is desperately in love with her.

    Josh’s best friend is Geoff Roberts. He is a seriously good-looking dude. He has that whole Heisman Trophy-star-running-back thing going on. Think RegĂ©-Jean Page from Bridgerton, only more pumped. He’s one month away from being forced to leave the firm. He always wanted to be a partner in a law firm. Geoff is a high-functioning alcoholic and drug addict.

    Diane Scanlon is the antagonist and is Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law and Land Development Department. Diane, in fact, is the firm’s 2000-pound gorilla—all 105 pounds of her. She has absolutely zero morals or ethics. I hope you despise her as much as Josh (and I) do!

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I enjoyed coming up with the scenarios, and dialogue. That was great fun. I love it when my characters tell me what they want to say. Generally, they are right!

About the Author

Joel Burcat is an award-winning author of three environmental legal thrillers: Drink to Every Beast (about illegal dumping of toxic waste), Amid Rage (about a coal mine permit battle), and Strange Fire (about a fracking dispute). His most recent book, Reap the Wind, published by Sunbury Press, Inc., is about three lawyers trying to drive from Houston to Cincinnati in a climate change-induced hurricane.

 He has received a number of awards, including the Gold Medal for environmental fiction from Readers’ Favorite for Strange Fire, and as a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Amid Rage.  He has written numerous short stories. Burcat imbues his novels with facts to educate his readers about critical environmental issues while they are being entertained by the story.

Burcat’s books are infused with realism developed over a forty plus year career as an environmental lawyer. Burcat has worked in government as an Assistant Attorney General and in a private law practice. He was selected as the 2019 Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Litigation (for Central PA) by Best Lawyers in America. Among his numerous professional writings, he has edited two significant books on environmental and energy law. He has retired from the practice of law and works full-time as a novelist.

He is an active member of the International Thriller Writers and PennWriters.

Burcat lives in Harrisburg, Pa. with his wife, Gail.


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Twitter: @JoelBurcat





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