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Mauricio Perez is a professional Latin American Spanish voice over talent, who started his voice career back in 1992 as a performer of urban music in Colombia. He also recorded many promos and commercials and was the main voice for shows at top radio stations between 1998 and 2002 in the city of Cali.
He is graduated from the Institute of Audio Research in New York City, and The New Jersey City University with a Bachelor of Media Arts. Today, Mauricio is a non-union talent dedicated to his Spanish voice career recording for telephone systems, promos, TV/radio Ads, online commercials, audiobooks, institutional narrations, and much more, with clients all over the world.
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Jill is a native Brit, born and raised in London, England. Having produced both non fiction (“The Write State”, “The Riviera Set”) and fiction (“The Deceased Miss Blackwell”), she genuinely loves to read and brings a range of accents to her work, including her native British, as well as Scottish, South African, Australian and more. She is also a go-to voice for Airbus, Alexander McQueen and the British Government!
David M. Smith is founder and owner of Chemical Exchange, Inc. and Texmark Chemicals of Galena Park Texas. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He moved to San Antonio during the Korean War. David attended the University of Texas at Austin. Something of a “prodigal son,” he moved east to Houston, where he vocationally established himself in the petrochemical industry. As David puts it, “while Petro Chemicals are my primary occupational vocation, bells are the joy of my life.”
Rick Etchells is a retired electronic packaging engineer with over 35 years experience in the Oil and Gas Industry. He holds a BS degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Colorado and a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Houston Baptist University. He has been actively involved in teaching Sunday school and leading Bible studies for over twenty years. He also participates in numerous volunteer activities in the community through his church, Faith United Methodist in Richmond, Texas. In addition to his love of the Bible he has an interest in history and traveling the 2 lane roads of America.
The idea for the character of Violette was very loosely based on Marthe Richard, an espionage agent who worked for France during the First World War. I borrowed certain excerpts from Ms. Richard’s adventures in a book called The Skylark published in 1932, and written by Major Georges Ladoux, who was the Chief of the French Counter-Espionage Service, and whose character appears in my story as Georges St. Denis.
In addition to St. Denis, I based certain characters in my story (I have changed their names, and in some cases their titles) on people who really existed, according to The Skylark. The list includes Baron Leo von Beringer, Count Klaus von Hundraiser, Karl and Seigfried, the Gonzales sisters, Julio Cefuentes, “the excellent” Henninger and Nicky.
Marthe Richard was a French double agent dispatched to Spain in WW1. The following were real-life incidents, according to The Skylark, on which I based some of Violette’s adventures:
Marthe Richard was sent to San Sebastian to try to “fascinate” the German Chief of Naval Intelligence, succeeded, and later relocated with him to Madrid. She was able to supply Major Ladoux with the formula for the secret ink that the Germans used, and later, indirectly through “Julio Cefuentes,” and also the re-agent that caused the ink to reappear. She enlisted the help of the wife of the German Chief as an ally. She discovered and reported the activities of the Gonzales sisters with the wife’s unknowing help. She traveled with the Chief along the coast of Spain where his submarines were docked, and sent postcards to Major Ladoux from these ports to inform him of their locations. She exploited the rivalry between the Chief of Military Intelligence and her lover, the Chief of Naval Intelligence, and the confrontation with “von Hundraiser” at the New Year’s Eve party was factual. It was also a fact that she was able to dupe the opposition for a considerable length of time by always supplying information that came too late to be of any use.
Various spy training schools actually existed during both WW1 and WWII. I obtained a great deal of information from a book called Beaulieu: the Finishing School for Secret Agents, written by Cyril Cunningham, published in 1998, about a training school that existed during WWII. I incorporated a lot of the operations of the school in my story, as well as the incident about the Lieutenant blowing his own hand off while checking a faulty detonator.
I am grateful to both Major Georges Ladoux and to Cyril Cunningham for their books, which made scintillating reading and sparked the imagination.
The rest of my story and characters are purely a figment of my imagination, except that I used the names of some of my friends, just for laughs.
Wendy Fiore lives in a small town in New England with her busy family of champion swimmer daughters, her landscape architect triathlete husband, and her hyper yet loveable Samoyed. She teaches spin and yoga classes to help her build up the energy needed to keep up with her family. During the day, she teaches language arts in a school ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade. From preschoolers to middle school students, she has taught every student that each of us has a story to tell — to keep our eyes open and not miss one meaningful moment whether it is a monumental occasion (saving a baby deer from the neighbor’s ravenous dog) or the ordinary (playing jacks in the driveway with your grandmother). In her experiences of teaching, she has learned to write her own stories down, capturing all the precious, all the silly, all the quirky, and even the commonplace moments that her crazy life offers.
Wendy holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in English, and a 6th year degree for a Reading and Language Arts Consultant. She develops language arts curriculums, creates professional development for teachers and principals, and coaches teachers and para-educators in the best practices for language arts instruction. She has attended Teachers College at Columbia University institutes, soaking in all that the experts such as Lucy Calkins, Ralph Fletcher, and Donald Murray have to offer in language arts, the teaching of reading and writing, staff development and school reform, and has taught Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop for twenty years.
You can follow her on Twitter at @WendyWendy1 as well as following her blog at http://gigliowhitelily.wordpress.com
Mina Mauerstein Bail, sociologist, mother, and grandmother was born in Italy and raised in the United States. She has traveled extensively, lived and worked in many countries around the world. She lives with her husband in New York City. This is her first children’s book.