Pre-Release Dead on the Delta (An Alexa Williams Novel) by Sherry Knowlton and Meet the Author #Adventure #Thriller #Books

The last one in a very much lover series.

Delta on the Delta (An Alexa Williams Novel) by Sherry Knowlton will release on February 16 2021 in the Fiction, Adventure genre.

Sunbury Press

Alexa Williams is about to spend four months doing lion research in the African bush with her boyfriend Reese. She looks forward to witnessing the elemental life and death struggle of the wild, but she never imagines she’ll become one of the hunted on the remote Okavango Delta.

Botswana protects its wildlife with strict policies and an entire army deployed to combat poaching. So Alexa and Reese are shocked when poachers wipe out an entire herd of elephants. At the site of the mass slaughter near their lion project, they promise authorities that they’ll watch for suspicious activity as they travel the Delta.When the country’s strict wildlife conservation policies come under debate in the capital, tensions flare and Alexa begins to suspect the ongoing poaching incidents may be about even more than the illicit ivory trade. Especially when a close friend dies when caught in the crossfire.After an alarming series of near escapes, gunmen attack the safari camp where she and Reese are staying, and Alexa must brave wild animals and the dangerous labyrinth of Delta channels in a desperate attempt to save the hostages, including the man she loves.

Alexa swallowed. It was likely the poachers had no idea that she and the others were camped here. So, they had a choice; to flee or to help nail these butchers. Although she was frightened, she thought Harry’s idea was worth the risk. “If we can describe them to the BDF, that could help end the poaching.” She shuddered as she envisioned the slaughter that was likely going on right now on the other side of the tree line.

“Why don’t I try to contact BDF on the Sat phone?” Mo pulled a phone out of his jacket pocket. “I’ll head out to the Land Cruiser. If I sit on the other side of the vehicle, it will shield the sound of the call. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try the radio.” Mo headed off in that direction, taking cautious steps as he disappeared into the dark.

“I’ll go up into those trees, check it out while Mo calls this in. Why don’t you two just stay here for now,” Harry said to Alexa and Tale.

“Fine,” Tale replied and lifted his rifle into a guard position.

Alexa said nothing. The four of them splitting up, even in a small area, didn’t feel right to her. More for comfort than warmth, she wrapped her arms around her torso. Her chest tightened as she tried to catch her breath.

Harry took a step forward but stopped cold as another burst of gunfire crackled through the night. Just behind the line of trees, several elephants trumpeted a wild chorus of warning.

Alexa cocked her head as a strange sensation reverberated through her soles. She dropped onto one knee and touched the ground with her palm. The earth was shaking. She hissed, “Something’s very wrong. Can you feel the vibration? It’s like an earthquake.”

“Bloody hell, those sods down there have caused a stampede.

About the Author

Sherry Knowlton is the award-winning author of the Alexa Williams suspense series. Sherry was born and raised in Chambersburg, PA, where she developed a lifelong passion for books. She was that kid who would sneak a flashlight to bed at night so she could read beneath the covers. All the local librarians knew her by name.

Sherry spent much of her early career in state government, working primarily with social and human services programs, including services for abused children, rape crisis, domestic violence, and family planning. In the 1990s, she served as the Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The latter part of Sherry’s career has focused on the field of Medicaid managed care. Now retired from executive positions in the health insurance industry, Sherry runs her own health care consulting business.

Sherry and her husband, Mike, began their journey together in the days of peace and music when they traversed the country in a hippie van. Running out of money several months into the trip, Sherry waitressed the night shift at a cowboy hangout in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Mike washed dishes in a bakery. Undeterred, they embraced the travel experience and continue to explore far-flung places around the globe. Sherry lives in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels.

What sort of research did you do to write this book?

I’m a big believer in research, and I always do a considerable amount of background work for all my suspense novels. This includes internet/written sources, interviews with experts, and on-site visits where necessary. However, researching Dead on the Delta was a great opportunity to take another safari and also get to know some of the cities of Botswana that I’d never visited. My husband and I spent a month in Botswana and Southern Africa, much of it on the Okavango Delta where the new novel takes place. We also spent time in Maun, which is the small gateway city to the Delta as well as the urban center and capital city of Botswana, Gaborone. I used the time to further absorb the entire safari experience, talk to experts including long time wildlife guides and conservation experts. It was a great experience.

A fun fact about writing your book.

Part of my research included spending several days on the Okavango Delta with a young woman who does lion research. I wanted to understand what the life of a wildlife researcher actually entailed. A University of Oxford project called WildCRU, which is based in Botswana and Zimbabwe, generously arranged for me to engage with one of their researchers. Robynne Kotze taught me so much about life on the ground, researching lion behavior with the ultimate goal of preserving the species’ existence. The Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme that WildCRU operates is the same research program that was studying, via tracking collar and observation, the famous Cecil the Lion at the time he was killed by an American hunter.

What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

The main goal for all my books is to engage my readers and give them a suspenseful ride. So, I was thrilled that a reviewer of an Advanced Review Copy of Dead on the Delta, Marie D, wrote, “I was on the edge of my seat throughout this book.” However, I always explore cutting edge social and environmental topics in my novels. For this one, I’m hoping that readers walk away from the book with an appreciation for the African wild, the dangers of elephant and other wild animal poaching, and the difficult issues that policymakers face in setting conservation policy and penalties.

How has your main character changed over the course of the Alexa Williams series?

Interesting question. I’ve written five Alexa Williams books. The first, Dead of Autumn, takes place not long after Alexa, an attorney, returns home to Southcentral PA after years of college, law school and a stint at a high-powered law firm in New York City. She’s tired of the rat race and seeking a more serene life, living in her parent’s cabin and taking a job at the family law firm in her small hometown of Carlisle. In that first book, Alexa was adjusting to a new life and concentrating on having a good time. She wasn’t looking for a long-term romantic relationship. She just wanted to chill and have some time away from 18-hour workdays. Of course, stumbling across the body of a young girl put a glitch into those plans and catapulted Alexa into danger. In each of the subsequent, “seasons” books (Dead of Summer, Spring, then Winter), Alexa matures. She becomes more settled in her approach to romance, content with her life in the woods and career as a small-town lawyer. Most significant, Alexa becomes tougher and savvier as she confronts murder, mystery and life-threatening situations over the course of the series. In Dead on the Delta, Alexa is excited about spending several months in Botswana with boyfriend Reese. However, as she tries to understand a new country and its untamed wild, she’s lost some of her usual confidence. It takes several dangerous episodes before the kick-ass Alexa readers know comes fully into her own.

What does your writing space look like?

Although we have a formal office and a desktop computer at home, I spend my time writing on my laptop while sitting on our sunroom couch in the winter and either on our deck or in our gazebo during the summer.

Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?

I’m an outliner. I outline each chapter at a very high level in advance. As I write, I often diverge from the outline as the story unfolds. Sometimes I’ll draft the first chapter before I create the outline. But I always know Whodunit before I begin a book.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m a prolific reader. Have been all my life. I also like yoga and Pilates. Plus my husband and I are inveterate travelers. We usually take several extended trips each year, the more exotic the destination, the better. We’ve had to cancel multiple trips due to the pandemic. We’re hoping we can take the trip we have scheduled in late summer this year. We’ll see.

Do you have a day job? / What was your job before you started writing full time?

I am mostly retired although I still do some sporadic health care consulting. I spent my career in Pennsylvania state government, with my last job there as the Deputy Secretary in charge of the Medicaid program. Then I held executive positions in the insurance industry, focusing on Medicaid and Medicare programs. When I left full time work, I ran my own consulting business for several years. Then, I scaled back the consulting because I needed more time to write!

What started you on the path to writing?

I love words, and I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was a kid, I wrote stories, poems, the school newsletter. In college I worked on the newsletter. I had intended to become a journalist but veered into state government when I needed a job. There and later in the health insurance and consulting fields,  I found that most of my jobs included a large professional writing component, Everything from regulations to laws to legislative testimony. But, when I began doing part-time consulting, I decided that if I was ever going to write that novel I’d always wanted to tackle, it was time. Here I am, five novels later and having a wonderful time!

Strangest place you’ve brushed your teeth?

The first answer that leaps to mind is at a camp in Botswana where we were staying in an elevated tent, maybe 6-8 feet above the ground. Above the sink, there was a row of screened windows at eye level. We were up early to get ready for a game drive, so dawn was just breaking. As I brushed my teeth, I heard rustling and grunting beneath the wooden floorboards of the tent.  Peering out the windows, I could see that an entire herd of Cape Buffalo as it emerged from under the tent and wandered onto the open plains out front.

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

Summertime, the old classic from Porgy and Bess. It’s always been one of my favorites. The most memorable performance of the song I’ve ever seen was at Woodstock in 1969. I was less than 10 feet back from the stage when Janis Joplin belted out the song between sips of Jack Daniels. Mesmerizing.


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