Introducing Angela Greenman

Please welcome Angela Greenman author of The Child Riddler, an action packed book about an elite operative in an international spy agency.

This was your first published book. Was it the first you wrote?

Yes, The Child Riddler is my first novel. I have, however, been published professionally. The International Atomic Energy Agency published two of my papers “Communicating Risk to the Public” and “Achieving Successful Communication.” The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a federal agency, also published my guidelines, Conducting Public Meetings as an official document. I am quite proud to have contributed to nuclear safety.

What inspired you to write a book about an elite operative in an international spy agency?

One of the factors that drove me was a troubled childhood/teen years that included poverty, homelessness and domestic violence. The idea came from my fantasy as a teen about being a female James Bond who traveled the world and got the bad guys. I wanted to beat up all the bad things in the darkness and get away from where I was by traveling the world. 

What inspired me to actually write my fantasy down was a teacher. She introduced me to book essays. I was failing a grade in grammar school because of all the rough things going on in my life, and this teacher said if I would read books and write essays about them, she’d give me a chance to pass.

The stories in those books I read saved my life. Before then, I had only read school text books. I had never read fiction for pleasure. The stories showed me there was another world—and that gave me hope. 

And that hope, I truly believe, saved my life. I discovered I wasn’t alone in my troubles and that others had overcome theirs, so I could too. Books are powerful. I am alive today because of the power a story has, and I want to share this powerful ray of light with others.

The espionage element grew stronger because of my professional career. I grew to understand the workings of governmental organizations from my employment first the city in Chicago and then federal at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) where I had a top-secret clearance. Then I was an expert and trainer with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

My style is to have a questioning attitude. I ask a lot of questions. I like to learn why people make the choices they do and why something happened. I feel that having a questioning and inquisitive mind means that you know there are other paths than just the one you are on at that moment. This mindset helped me be free from the negative repercussions of my bad childhood, and break through the glass ceiling professionally. You don’t have to believe what you are seeing is the only view, or that staying in the place where you are now is your only choice. Most likely there are other lenses to select from that might reveal different scenes or routes.  

The questioning way of thinking I believe is also an espionage mindset. Operatives/spies are aware that what they are presented with is not the only way it could be, and that they should always be looking for the hidden doors. They understand that people will act differently in other environments.

Tell us a little about Zoe Lorel, your main character. How did you come up with her?

Zoe is a scarred woman who is driven and thinks she must be all things for everyone. She is strong. She is a badass. 

I think, on a deeper level, Zoe represents not only what I wanted to be growing up, but also my dream about someone strong who would come and rescue me, my mother and baby brother from the bad place we were in. 

Strong female characters are important to me. I experienced what my mother faced as a single parent with housing discrimination and other forms of “second class” treatment. She worked so hard but just seemed to keep getting beaten down. She could never get ahead and I think it affected her mentally/emotionally to the point that I feel she believed she was weak. Plus, I grew up seeing women relegated to sidekick roles in television and movies. Therefore, in “my world” women are leaders and the heroes.

I went from poverty and homelessness on the streets of Chicago to a leader in my career on the international stage. I did it. So can others. Thus, in a more subtle way, I want my stories to be a message for women to believe they are strong, inspire younger women, as well as, giving hope to those feeling downtrodden. 

How did you choreograph the physical action in The Child Riddler? 

I’ve always wanted to learn martial arts, and someday I hope I will. My brother has a black belt and in going to his sessions and talking to him about it, I learned how much of physical combat is mental skill. 

This also is true in competitive archery which I took up for many years. As an archer, you can only look at and think about that bullseye in front of you. If you let your mind wander even a second, your arrow will go astray. This might of mental focus is a key to achieving goals. If you want it, you can have it, but only if you never take your eyes off it. No one gives it to you. You have to go for i

I use this mental focus approach to writing action scenes. To me, structuring an action scene is like working on a jigsaw puzzle. There are many irregular pieces that must be assembled to complete the picture, but only one way it will fit together. Just like in physical action, there are many ways to stage it, but the sequences must be realistic, or the scene doesn’t fit together right. 

I ask myself with each character movement, if so-in-so does this, what will Zoe do? If this happens, where would Zoe go? Sometimes, I search the internet for the right martial arts move for what I am envisioning. Other times, I can create it myself. Fitted together, the story flows because it makes sense. If it makes sense, the readers will accept and believe it.

How did you research the various places of action in the book?

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled extensively. I’ve worked in 16 of the 21 countries I’ve been to. 

Travel is a feast of the senses — moments filled with remarkable people, architectural splendor, rich cultures, and deep histories. The colors, smells, sounds, personalities, and scenery are stored in my creative toolbox and it is stocked with many rich memories and experiences to draw from!

In The Child Riddler, Zoe travels to six countries I’ve been to—Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Italy, Malta—which were well-suited for the plot. 

Is this the first in a series or a standalone?

From the positive reaction from the readers of The Child Riddler, yes, definitely, it’s going to be a series. I do have a few more stories to tell about Zoe.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to The Child Riddler. But I’m writing it so it can standalone if a reader hasn’t read The Child Riddler.

What is the best part about publishing the book?

The positive recognition that I have received as an author is a powerful validation for me that I am finally free from the prison of my unfortunate childhood. I’ve had other successes in my life, but having The Child Riddler considered well-written and my writing on par with other well-known thriller writers, is the achievement that I needed to break that last mental chain. 

While I have done well, I hope, in everything else related to communications, because of my rough childhood (nearly failing grammar school) I struggled with writing, not in the ideas, but the structuring such as grammar and spelling. 

Because it was harder for me, I felt inadequate as a writer. I think my childhood trauma prevented me from absorbing the kindergarten and grade school lessons, and unfortunately, I carried that sense of inadequacy throughout much of my life—until now, until The Child Riddler praise.

What is the worst or hardest part about publishing the book?

The business aspect is hard. It is a difficult path to establish as a new author, and to maintain the momentum is time consuming. The competition is tremendous. The book market is saturated. When you start out—unless you are a celebrity—you’re a needle in a haystack. And once you’re published, it is a long road to gain a readership. 

The book is a finalist for a number of awards – what are they?

I’m very proud of The Child Riddler and its first year of publication has been exciting. The book has been garnering awards! Currently, it’s a Finalist for Killer Nashville’s 2023 Silver Falchion Award in two categories: Best Action Adventure and Best Thriller. 

Earlier this year, The Child Riddler won the International Firebird Book Award in two categories, Espionage Thriller and Techno-Thriller, and was a second-place winner in Action-Adventure and Romantic Suspense. 

Last year, it was named one of the best books of the year by It was a Finalist in their book awards.

Angela Greenman

Angela Greenman is an internationally recognized communications professional. Her intense career has spanned the spectrum from community relations in Chicago to US and world governments’ public communications on nuclear power. She has traveled the world, and now her imagination is devising plots in the exciting places she has explored for her new chapter as an author.


Catherine Maiorisi

Catherine Maiorisi is the author of the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker–two tough women, fighting each other while solving high profile crimes. A Matter of BloodThe Blood Runs ColdA Message in Blood, and Legacy in the Blood are all available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks narrated by Abby Craden.  

In addition to publishing multiple mystery and romance short stories in various anthologies, Catherine has authored four romances novels. Her latest book, The Disappearance of Lindy James, was awarded a GOLDIE for Best General Fiction.


  1. Angela, I love how you combined your very different work experience with the rigors of your early life to create Zoe. Sounds like an exciting series! Thanks for visiting today~

  2. Angela–thank you for stopping by Miss Demeanors. Your book sounds fantastic! Good luck at KN. I think most authors live vicariously through their characters. I’m so glad you’ve been able to use those childhood fantasies and life experiences in your book.

    1. Connie,
      You are so nice! Thank you for your good luck wishes. The other KN Finalists are amazing, so I’m quite honored just to be included this is group. Yes, I certainly had a lot to draw on for my book’s world-building!!!

  3. Angela, your story sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing it with us and good luck with the Killer Nashville nomination!

    1. This interview was a great experience. Catherine asked some insightful questions and the supportive feedback has been wonderful. Thanks for your good wishes. I really appreciate it.

  4. Thank you for letting me know that I’m not the only one who finds the business side challenging. I’m so excited about your book–your interview was impressive and I really really wish you well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *