1. Who is the plot based around?
ROLAND is a very discouraged and bitter young man who believes crime is his lot, and immerses himself in this role even to the point of murder.
NICOLAS is successful and comfortable with a loving family until Roland takes much of it away, and the depression becomes an obsession with revenge that leads to a criminal life.
VANESSA knows both men and cares for them, but when she chooses a career in law enforcement she is forced to hunt them down as criminals.
JANIE is a prostitute who crosses path with both men, encounters that change her life for the better until a criminal racket uses her as bait.
DARLENE is beautiful with a mystical power of seduction that she uses to control the various arms of this mysterious racket, which she serves loyally until her feelings get in the way.
2. What is the main idea of the plot?
Harsh times drive two men into increasingly horrific criminal behavior until they begin to struggle with their choices and the option of redemption becomes a distant dream. While one man seeks to build his own criminal empire starting with a small group of highly skilled miscreants, the other hunts him down with a ruthless obsession for revenge.
3. When does the plot take place?
It is contemporary without any references to a specific year. The story spans five years, Roland is 17 when it begins and he’s 22 when it concludes.
4. Where does the plot take place?
The story takes place in various cities in America with one chapter taking Roland’s gang to Mexico. Cities are not specifically named, allowing the reader to associate the characters with what is most familiar and drawing the reader more deeply into the story.
5. Why did the plot develop the way it did?
The question that drove the story was, “When does a wicked man lose all chance at redemption?” The characters had to be pushed into extremes of action to the point of seeming irredeemable while keeping them sympathetic enough that the reader never gives up hope on them changing.
This isn’t how the story idea began, though. I started with the question, “When is it okay to kill?” But as I grew in my Christian faith, the question became, “Why would a good man die for an evil man?” This was back in my more legalistic days; life has taught me that no one is truly righteous (least of all me), and that’s why I ultimately took away the “good” guy and made both men criminals. The theme determined the plot.
6. How did you come up with the idea for the plot?
My life experience infused itself into this story in more ways than I intended. I called the book The Rage because of my personal experience with depression, self-hate, and the sometimes erratic thoughts that I have had to battle. The “rage” experienced in the book refers to a strained emotional state that weakens character and judgment, causing bad decisions. There have been times I’ve felt capable of making the same choices as my characters, and yet strangely I’ve been able to manage my depressions without ever needing therapy. However, my mental health has not been culpable for all of my mistakes; I simply make enough bad decision to feel incapable of judging even the harshest of criminals. I had to tell a story about grace taken to an extreme.
Also, I’ve traveled all over the world as a student and for security work, and in the various jobs I’ve had I consistently meet people who tell me the same thing: people just don’t feel capable of being “good enough,” and give up trying. I’ve also met combat vets and seen how PTSD has changed their thinking, messed up their lives, and even altered their personalities. Trauma can drastically affect people. And I have worked with people out of a rehab who were trying to escape their lives of drugs and crime, and that’s a tough road to travel. It seems everything is stacked against these people who are honestly trying and struggling to get away from destructive lifestyles. All of these experiences affected the creation and development of Roland and Nicolas in the story.
One other thing: I grew up an Army brat, left home and joined the military, left the military to complete my degree, but then left America to do security in war zones. It should be no surprise that I am writing a story about killers.
About the Book
The Rage is a gripping drama of two young men whose lives become catastrophically entangled.
Roland's broken life drives him to the unthinkable crime of murder. This event destroys his emotional state and pushes him into a drug and murder binge, leading a darkly fascinated media to label him the “Red Ghost.” Although he fights to pull his life back together, his bitterness leaves him no other path but a criminal lifestyle, and he becomes an extraordinarily good criminal. He perfects his use of steroids, becomes a master thief, develops a network of criminal connections, and finally decides to put together his own gang. Along the way, he falls in love with another lost soul named Janie.
Nicolas is a young, ambitious businessman when he survives Roland's assault on his family. But the tragedy changes the course of his life as he obsesses over finding the young killer and training in various forms of combat to prepare himself for their next encounter. As he becomes a dangerous man, he falls away from normal society and loses his job along with any sense of the man he was. The sisterly affection of Vanessa, a friend of his wife, isn't enough to keep Nicolas from ending up living in alleys. He almost surrenders his quest for revenge before joining with a biker gang that crossed paths with Roland once.
After a few years and many sacrifices, both of these men begin to realize the depths of their depravity, but the path to redemption is not a straight one. Vanessa becomes a federal agent and finds herself hunting her friend like he was an outlaw while a mysterious criminal racket simultaneously tries to recruit Roland and kill off Nicolas. These events lead to a kidnapping and a conclusion that brings all of the characters together in a clashing that can only end in blood.
About the Author
Temujin Hu is a hard-working American living rather like a nomad. At 36 years of age, he's moved about 36 times and at one time or another called "home" California, Texas, Colorado, or five other states as well as Germany, China, and Kuwait. In 2003, he graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures. He served over four years in the US Navy in the 90's and recently spent more than six years doing professional security in Los Angeles, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He also ran a small family-owned internet business for a couple years. He’s a Christian who spends a lot of time in the Word, and his interests include mixed martial arts, international relations, and dogs. Hobbies include hiking and shooting guns, but mostly he loves being an American and wants everyone to believe they can climb mountains.
Links to connect with Temujin: