The last stop on my Mitch Rapp Order to Kill tour this fall was in Traverse City, Michigan, where I spent an evening with Doug Stanton at National Writer’s Series. If you’re a serious reader and you’re not familiar with this group, you should be. Doug and his team put together a phenomenal line-up of authors throughout the year and invite readers in to spend an enlightening hour with their favorite story tellers. He digs into each guest’s life, influences, and how they got to where they are in their careers. This was one of my favorite events in my 20-year span of promoting books.
Doug’s line of questioning brought back many memories for me, some funny, some sobering. I share tidbits of my writing life and how my books and characters differ from Vince Flynn’s. I describe what it’s like to inhabit the mind of serial killer in an attempt to get into character and write from a different perspective. You know, everyday stuff.
National Writers Series: Interview courtesy of Interlochen Public Radio
Many of my newest fans know me as the writer who is carrying on the wildly popular Mitch Rapp character. But prior to joining the Vince Flynn team, I spent time writing my own popular series character—FBI agent Mark Beamon. I also wrote many one-off thrillers that explore big topics like what would happen if the world’s oil supply was suddenly destroyed. I have written several books for Robert Ludlum’s Covert-One series, too.
Here are a few highlights from my chat with Doug:
Doesn’t Everybody Want to Pistol-Whip Someone at Least Once a Day?
Rapp certainly enjoys giving his enemies their due. It’s one of the reasons Vince’s books are so fun. Rapp is essentially a super-hero. Readers always know Mitch is going to win, and you just want to see how he does it. My FBI character is much more of a Sherlock Holmes, and many of my other characters are flawed and quirky. Taking on someone like Rapp was a huge challenge for me.
Building Your Own Methamphetamine Lab
When I ordered a book with this title, along with several other books about poisons and how to use them, my local bookstore owner started to wonder if something illegal was going on in our small town. I was researching my first book, Rising Phoenix—a story about how to end America’s illegal drug problem—at the time. Remember the days when we couldn’t Google everything we needed to know?
Pan Am 103: My Life Intersects with Mitch Rapp
My father was the lead investigator on the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1988. He left my graduation party mid-dinner and spent months in Lockerbie, Scotland, dealing with the aftermath of that terrorist attack. Flynn fans know this event as the turning point for the young Mitch Rapp. His girlfriend died on that flight, and her passing sparked anger in him that never subsided.
I’ve Been Turned Down by Agents from New York to LA
It’s true. Getting published is hard work, and I honestly never expected to keep writing beyond my first book. This career has allowed me to dig deep into topics that interest me and to be on the cutting edge of what’s really happening in the world today. Order to Kill explores the dangers of an unstable Russia and all the crimes Vladimir Putin perpetrates to stay in power. In 2001, the Twin Towers came down five days after I submitted my manuscript for Sphere of Influence. In that book, Al Qaeda was looking to take down a federal building in Washington DC. Spooky.
Tracking the world’s evil-doers certainly makes for an interesting job. Particularly for a criminal at heart, like me.