Although PC creative writing student Brent Ghelfi was a voracious reader his entire life, writing novels was a quest he thought he’d never undertake. He was a successful lawyer and businessman, and today he’s also known as an acclaimed action thriller author. His third novel in the Volk series, The Venona Cable, is set to launch on Tuesday, August 18.
“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, and from there I transitioned into business. Soon after I sold my company, I decided to give writing a try,” said Ghelfi. “I’d never considered writing a novel, and I had no idea how hard it would be.”
After learning that Jim Sallis, a Lifetime Achievement Award-winning author, was teaching novel writing courses at Phoenix College, Ghelfi decided to take the creative writing classes to polish and hone his writing skills.
“I’ve been a fan of Jim’s writing for more than 20 years. He teaches the way he writes—brilliant insight and trenchant observations made in his spare graceful style,” said Ghelfi about his experience in Sallis’ class. “Jim and the students provided inspiration to write more and polish every word until it shined.”
The desire to write a great story in the most entertaining and compelling way grew stronger, and he began writing the Volk series. The rest is history.
The first two novels, titled Volk’s Game and Volk’s Shadow, received high accolades. Volk’s Game was nominated by the International Thriller Writers for the Best First Novel of 2007 and by Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures magazines for a Barry Award for Best Thriller. Volk’s Shadow was named as a critically acclaimed novel.
His novels focus on a Russian agent and criminal named Alexei “Volk” Volkovoy who lives in modern-day Russia. Communism, poverty and violence are all central themes seen in the Volk series.
Outside of the classroom, Sallis was inspirational and instrumental throughout Ghelfi’s writing career. In the acknowledgement section of his second novel he wrote:
“James Sallis applied his gimlet eye to several chapters of this novel; better still, he offered his unique blend of criticism and counsel, wisdom and wit.”
Ghelfi will debut The Venona Cable at the National Book Launch at the Arizona Biltmore, 2400 E. Missouri, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18.
To learn more about Ghelfi’s latest thriller and about the Volk series, visit Ghelfi’s website at www.brentghelfi.com. To learn about the creative writing classes at Phoenix College, visit www.phoenixcollege.edu and search for “creative writing.”