Interview with Sean Dow (@sbdow), Author of A Leafy World

I’m excited to welcome Sean Dow, author, to the Readsalot blog this morning. He’s talking to us about his latest release, A Leafy World.

From critical care physician to thriller writer. That seems like a big leap. What inspired you to write thrillers? Your day job is an intensive one. Where do you manage to find the time to write?

I love to read, and have long wished to be a writer, myself. I love a story that involves me so much that I feel as if I am living it, not just turning the pages. Thrillers do this for me more than any other genre, and it seemed only right that when I started my writing career to stay with what I loved.

One of your titles, Debridement, is being made into a feature film. Who would you pick to play Dr. Brent Holcomb in a Hollywood adaptation of A Leafy Green World?

Tough question, as I don’t follow the current actors closely. I have asked about, and the answers vary quite widely. Christian Bale is probably one of the better choices.

Describe A Leafy Green World in 140 characters (also known as a tweet).

Physician at end of downhill slide meets girl of his dreams. Soon he is enmeshed in domestic and international terrorism, America’s fate in hand.

A Leafy Green World is set in the Pacific Northwest and has a physician as its main protagonist. How much of your own life did you use as inspiration for the story (domestic terrorists notwithstanding)?

Unfortunately, some of the events that place Dr. Holcomb on his downward spiral are true (names changes to protect the guilty) and of course, the medical references come from my years in practice, but the vast majority of the story is pure fiction, the product of an over active imagination.

What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you while writing A Leafy Green World?

As I was researching the domestic terrorists I mentioned to a friend that I was probably putting myself on the government’s watch list. It was only a week or so later that the Edward Snowden affair came to light.

What’s your favorite part about the writing process?

When I am actively writing I find that I think better, more sharply, and that basically, all things are better. The writing process is for the mind like going to the gym is for the body-I find that simple things such as bumper stickers or a casual joke will often fit perfectly into my story line, supplying just the right touch that I was needing, at just the right time.

Tell us about your next release. And when can we expect it?

I am torn between a crime thriller that has been at the back of my mind, and another terrorism story. Have started both, but my new puppy, Bailey, seems to think she is more important than my keyboard, and since she will soon outweigh me (Mastiff) I am trying to stay on her good side!

A Leafy Green World

Title: A Leafy Green World

Author: Sean Dow

Publisher: Two Harbors Press

Pages: 449

Genre: Thriller

A Leafy Green World is a fast paced, action packed thriller set in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Brent Holcomb has moved to Portland in hopes of resurrecting his life and his career. There, he meets Robyn-the girl from his dreams. All is going smoothly until he realizes Robyn and her friends are not what they seem. Now, wrapped up in the murder of an innocent man, and with nowhere to turn, Brent forms a bold plan-a plan that will put him on a dangerous course, aligning himself with domestic terrorists and ultimately, a deeply hidden cell of Islamic terrorists.

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Book Excerpt:

Upper Dir valley, Pakistan

“How well do you trust him?” asked the voice over the encrypted satellite phone.

Farouk was always amazed at the technology that allowed him to have a clear conversation with someone halfway across the world. It was an honor to have been put through—he was speaking to Saadullah Abul Ka-beir himself, the imam who was guiding the war against the great Satan. He was a merciless warrior, a genius, and a master of planning—the best hope Islam had ever had of ridding the world of the Jews and of bringing in the glorious caliphate, and Farouk was actually being allowed to speak directly to him!

Even with the encryption, he had been instructed not to mention names or give any salutations that could be used to identify the man on the other end. The Americans were always finding ways to listen in on their conversations. The only truly secure communication was by courier, and the time delay involved in that was often unacceptable. Going in person to see the imam was out of the question. It would take almost two days to fly to Peshawar, and from there it was another grueling six hours to reach the blessed valley in Upper Dir where the council was sheltered.

“Six hours, that is, in the daylight,” thought Farouk. Travel now had to be at night. The daytime skies were filled with silent death. So many heroes had died before their appointed time and with nothing to show for their deaths. The Americans struck wherever they pleased; there was no sovereignty, no shelter. Even in his own country, his leaders were forced to live like animals, cowering in damp caves and afraid to show their faces, lest the devils strike from the sky. It was an abomination, but it was also reality—Farouk prayed on a daily basis that he would live long enough to dance upon the graves of the infidels who forced the great leaders to live in such a demeaning manner.

In the meantime, satellite phones had become a necessary risk. They were effective, but information still had to be kept to a minimum, conversations as short as possible, and specifics avoided. No one knew if the enemy could listen in, but even if not, it would probably be only a short time until they could.

“I trust him completely, Sheikh,” Farouk said. “Enough to insist on a chance to bring this information to you. We have the opportunity to achieve the dreams of our people, and in our lifetime. This man is high in the ranks of a group that has lived for years amongst the devils, fighting them constantly, and they have never been penetrated.

“I also worked with his father, a man of great integrity whose efforts are largely responsible for my financial independence. I can say with certainty that this man can be trusted.”

“You realize what will happen to you and your family if you have been deceived?”

“Yes, Sheikh. As always, I put my life in your hands. We are searching his past and will watch everything he does, but I sense the beneficence of Allah in this man.”

“Very well. We will discuss this. In the meantime, continue your vigilance but do not go any further. You have already taken a great chance talking to him. You will find the fires of hell to be a welcome relief if your actions bring any damage to our cause.”

The call ended. No Salam alaikum, no Allah ysalmak, just silence. Silence and a feeling of dread. What if I have let pride interfere with my judgment? Farouk worried. Have I let the lion in the door?




Title: Al-thar

Author: Sean Dow

Publisher: Two Harbors Press

Pages: 466

Genre: Thriller

In Al-thar, (Arabic:revenge) Brent is living a tranquil life on the peaceful Philippine island of Masbate. But the FBI’s witness protection plan is not enough when you have destroyed the plans of the world’s most feared terrorist group-an assassin is on the way, and his plans are far worse than a simple bullet in the head.  With the violent destruction of his new island home, Dr. Holcomb is once again thrust into danger, this time on an international level. There are only two outcomes in this new high-stakes match, Brent’s painful and public death and the destruction of America’s, or the death of Saadullah Abul Ka-beir, and his council.  Brent brings together his cast of memorable friends from A Leafy Green World as he devises the greatest deception ever imagined. The action goes at a break-neck pace from the Philippines to Washington, D.C., and from a remote valley in Pakistan to the jungles of Sierra Leone in this novel that has been described as almost too real, and too timely.

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  • Al-thar is available at Amazon.


  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

~ About the Author ~

Sean Dow

Sean Dow is a pulmonary and critical care physician in Great Falls, Montana. He started writing thriller novels in 2011, and has three titles, one of which, Debridement, is in its second printing and is being made into a feature film.

Sean was born in Iowa City, but was raised on a small farm in Kansas before leaving for medical school, and the adventures beyond. His career was largely in Klamath Falls, Oregon, a town that still feels like home. He did a brief stent in Las Vegas before moving to the paradise of Montana. When not working or writing, Sean can be found in the kitchen perfecting his New York cheesecake, or on the mountain streams with Bailey, his beloved (and perfectly behaved) Mastiff and his favorite 2 weight fly rod-a parting gift from a dear friend and patient.

His latest books are A Leafy Green World and Al-thar.

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