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Author John Winn Miller Tells All About His IRDA Winning Book

The Hunt for the Peggy C was the winner in the Action/Adventure category of the 2024 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author John Winn Miller.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The Hunt for the Peggy C. Published Oct. 1, 2022

What’s the book’s first line?

Captain Jake Rogers’ decrepit cargo ship pitched and rolled in a brutal North Sea storm, its engines straining against the churning sea in the middle of a war zone.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

The Hunt for the Peggy C is a World War II maritime thriller that could be described as Casablanca meets Das Boot. It is about an American smuggler who struggles to rescue a Jewish family on his rusty cargo ship, outraging his mutinous crew of misfits, and provoking a hair-raising chase by a brutal Nazi U-boat captain bent on revenge.”

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

Strangely, the idea for the book came in a dream after I had watched some terrible action-adventure movie and thought to myself, “I know I could write a better screenplay than that.” When I awoke from the dream, I knew the first scene, the last scene, and the name of the ship, Peggy C. Nothing else. I knew nothing about tramp steamers or U-boats and had no experience at sea. So, I had to spend several years researching whenever I had a spare minute from my job as a journalist. I wrote the screenplay first. When COVID hit, I decided to finally turn it into a novel.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Capt. Jake Rogers, a Russell Crow-type man of mystery, is a man without a country. He’s rumored to have fled America because of a murder and then became a smuggler in Europe. Although he is powerfully built, he uses his brain more than his brawn. But he wants no part of the war until he rescues a Jewish family from Nazi-occupied Amsterdam for a vast reward. What began as a voyage for profit, soon becomes one for love as he falls for the oldest daughter of the family. They share a love of books, and it turns out that she is as tough as he is.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

It is a thrilling chase that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last page. It is also a deeply researched novel in which all the technology, descriptions, and history are accurate to the smallest detail.

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