William Nikkel is the author of seven Jack Ferrell novels, a Jack Ferrell novella, and a steampunk/zombie western series featuring his latest hero, Max Traver. A former homicide detective and S.W.A.T. team member for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department in Bakersfield, California, William is an amateur scuba enthusiast, gold prospector and artist, who can be found just about anywhere. He and his wife Karen divide their time between California and Maui, Hawaii.
The challenge and joy of crafting a novel came relatively late in life for me. I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. Growing up in a small town in the fifties and sixties, I spent a lot of hours outdoors playing. Much of that play involved imagination and creativity. At an early age—actually for as long as I can remember—I immersed myself in my love of art, dreaming that one day I could become a famous artist. But after college, I chose a career in law enforcement and went to work for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department.
As a deputy sheriff, I worked the streets and then detectives, with special assignments in SWAT and Homicide. When health concerns brought about an early retirement, I once again turned to my love of art. After a couple of years and limited success as a profession wildlife artist, I discovered the joy of crafting a story. And once again, I drew on the imagination and creativity that was such an important part of my younger years.
My work fighting crime in the streets of Bakersfield provided me with extraordinary life experiences I bring into my writing to breathe life into my characters and scenes. But like any endeavor worth pursuing, the road to becoming a published author was paved with challenge and disappointment that required dedication and hard work. Having no formal writing background, there was much to be learned. Through the Maui Writers Conference I had the privilege of learning the craft from New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins, Tess Gerritsen, David Morrell, and author Gary Braver—not to mention a host of writers like himself. Since that time, my learning experience has continued to evolve at the International Thriller Writers conference in New York. And if I was only able to offer one piece of advice for the beginning writer, it would be to stress the importance of finding one or two good writing conferences to both inspire and enhance their writing.
In 2001, my wife Karen and I moved to Maui, Hawaii. It was after moving to the island that I decided to write a series of novels based on Hawaii’s many mystical legends and myths. The protagonist, I reasoned, had to love the ocean. Thus, Marine Biologist Jack Ferrell came to life in my stories. In 2008 I finished the first Jack Ferrell novel GLIMMER OF GOLD. Next I wrote NIGHT MARCHERS, and then CAVE DWELLER, a #1 Amazon bestseller. In 2011 I finished my fourth Jack Ferrell novel MURRIETA GOLD. All four books have since been re-released by Shannon Raab at Suspense Publishing, who went on to published BLOOD GOLD, SHIPWRECK, and my latest novel SAILOR TAKE WARNING, which released November 13, 2017. The entire series is available for order in e-book and trade paperback through Amazon as well as Suspense Publishing.
I believe it’s safe to say every writer is inspired by authors they have read and loved. For me, inspiration has come from many talented authors: in particular Clive Cussler (primarily his earlier novels), Jim Rollins, Steve Berry, David Morrell, Lee Child, Robert B. Parker, and especially John D. MacDonald whose character Travis McGee started it all. What a pleasure it would be if he were alive today and I had the great good fortune to be able to sit down with him and discuss writing over glasses of Plymouth Gin.
Sailor Take Warning
Jack Ferrell is spending time at Lake Tahoe. All he wants is a break from Hawaii to put Dana Mores death behind him. But a twenty-dollar gold piece, thrust into his hand by a dying man draws him into the enigma surrounding the coin.
But he’s not prepared to stick around. Then his brother Deacon asks him to help a lady friend out of a jam. A brief interlude of indiscretion has left pretty, dark-haired, Melissa Martinelli the victim of blackmail.
He’s ready to turn the fake coin over to law enforcement, bring about a quick end to the blackmail scheme, and return to Hawaii when he discovers a clue leading to a century-and-a-half old cache of stolen gold. A trail that entangles him in a web of violence and death in the seedy world of coin fraud, blackmail, and lost treasure. Making him the target of a vengeance-driven man named Ryan Chambers who wants the gold, and Jack’s head on a platter. But nobody wants that more than Chambers’ nephew, Paul Davidson.
USA Today Bestselling Author Jon Land says it best: “A darkly demented tale that’s utterly irresistible. The much-appreciated return of Jack Ferrell serves up a smorgasbord of deceit and duplicitousness across a landscape steeped in classic crime noir. Nikkel seems to be channeling his inner Don Winslow in crafting a book that is equal parts Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, and John D. McDonald. Travis Magee has nothing on Jack Ferrell and Nikkel is every bit the equal of the genre greats ‘Sailor Take Warning’ emulates. Be warned: You won’t be able to put it down!”
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I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.