Friday, January 31, 2020

Peter Riva Interview - Kidnapped on Safari

Photo Content from Peter Riva

Peter Riva is the author of Kidnapped on Safari. He has spent many months over thirty years traveling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books, including the previous two titles in the Mbuno and Pero Adventures series, Murder on Safari and The Berlin Package. He lives in Gila, New Mexico. 

Where were you born and where do you call home?
Born in Manhattan, currently happy in Gila NM, but there is no town, no city, no country where I cannot feel at home.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Listening to readers’ reactions, talking to people across the country encouraging them to visit East Africa... hearing their enthusiasm for page-turning books.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?

That they are having a mini-safari... a trip to a place they may never have been, piquing their curiosity for the “other.”

Please tell my Book Nerd community a little about your new book KIDNAPPED ON SAFARI?
My story has three main characters, one a documentary producer, familiar with working for a living in remote places, another a man of the land, a tribal elder and, never least, the place, the wild—in this story Kenya and Tanzania.
Pero Baltazar and Mbuno Waliangulu are trusted friends, a yin and yang duo. Mbuno is an honorable man, devoid of overlaying PC constraints, completely a man of nature. Pero is reluctantly brave, a very normal human trait. He uses deduction and resources the way Mbuno uses bush skills and understanding of animal nature. They complement each other in ways that, otherwise, could not result in success.
Thrust into a rescue, events escalate requiring them to draw on every resource they have to prevail. In the end, what they saw as a wrong to overcome and solve turns into a battle against tremendous terrorist odds.

What part of Mbuno did you enjoy writing the most?
In real life, Mbuno, and the tales of his father and tales told about Mbuno to me by lifelong friends in Kenya—well, Mbuno is a man I was privileged to know and spend time with. His real spirit of being part of nature shined through everything he did. Trying to do him justice is a walk through memory and admiration for me.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book 1 and in what way have they changed?
Both Pero and Mbuno have changed. Mbuno has come to trust Pero and adopt him as a brother. This is no small thing for a Liangulu man. It is permanent, and not at all casual. For Pero, seeing life from a tragedy (his wife was killed at Lockerbie) caused him to try and help balance the scales—which when pressed into much deeper waters of terror and outcome, he rose and survived, but only as a part of a team. Pero is a micro-manager who had to learn that he could put total trust in others. He’s still working on that.

  • · Page-turning excitement that builds to a satisfying climax.
  • · A micro-safari for the reader into the real Africa.
  • · The joy of coming to know—admire—Mbuno, based on a real-life person
  • · Being puzzled by events that snowball into greater dangers... in edge-of-the-seat storytelling style
  • · Getting a taste of another culture, reading words in Swahili that have vocal impact (don’t worry, all are translated in place)
  • · Experiencing nature and animal events that you can tell the author experienced or knows in real life
  • · Coming to understand that the sometimes small tasks people undertake for the intelligence services that can have a huge impact
  • · That people, in every part of the world, even if unfamiliar to the reader, have the same morals, the same desires, the same needs—and, sometimes, the same evil.
  • · Experiencing trust, through the characters and from the author to the reader, that not all you read may be factual, but all is real, truthful in this story.
  • · Just for the sheer joy of escaping to another place, another time, another adventure.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Pero?
A literary reflection is always a soul-searching exercise. I have done the job Pero has as a “day job” and, besides, the need to help, to prevail, is something imbedded in Pero that I have come to realize was deeper in me than I realized.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Mbuno and Zatoichi would have been unstoppable—physically, mystically and in tune with surroundings. Pero and Bourne would have been a dynamic duo, one much more physically able than the other, the other knowing how to build a team.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
There is no person, in any corner of the planet, with whom you do not share the spirit of living and sharing. Similarly there is no part of nature on this planet you do not belong with and to. Never be afraid to seek out and experience the “other” away from your comfort level. Be careful and watchful? Yes. Be wary of other people, other cultures, other realms of nature? Never.

The third book in the Mbuno & Pero series pulls terror from headlines to create a gripping international thriller for readers of John le Carré, Daniel Silva, and Iris Johansen.

Expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar are filming on Lake Rudolf in Northern Kenya, East Africa, when they receive news that Mbuno’s son, himself an expert guide, has been kidnapped while on a safari five hundred miles away in Tanzania. After gathering the clues and resources needed to trek through the wilderness, they trace the kidnappers back to an illegal logging operation clear-cutting national park forests, manned by sinister Boko Haram mercenaries. There, they find not only Mbuno's son but also a shocking revelation that has terrifying and far-reaching consequences.

Relying on Mbuno’s legendary bush skills, the pair must overcome the danger both from inside and outside the camp to bring Mbuno’s son out alive. In doing so, Mbuno and Pero discover that kidnapping and deforestation are only the beginning of the terrorist group's aspirations, and they realize a threat that would herald an even more dangerous outcome for Tanzania—a coup. A rescue might just risk the entire stability of the region.

Exciting and expertly plotted using facts ripped from news’ headlines, Kidnapped on Safari is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller set in deepest, darkest, Machiavellian, East Africa.

You can purchase Kidnapped on Safari at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you PETER RIVA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Kidnapped on Safari (Mbuno & Pero #3) by Peter Riva.


  1. Traveling through 38 states before I was 10 years old.

  2. "What is your most memorable travel experience?" Visiting Montana!

  3. Going to visit the ruins of Pompeii when I was 16 with my high school March Break club

  4. We traveled to Iceland and Norway. I really enjoyed the geography there.