By Nate Kenyon
Gregg Loomis has been publishing for more than twenty years, with over half a million copies of his books in print. He is the author of VOODOO FURY, THE JULIAN SECRET, THE PEGASUS SECRET, and THE GATES OF HADES, among others. NEW MYSTERY READER called THE PEGASUS SECRET“highly entertaining,” while PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said “The international setting and fast-paced action grip.” Loomis has also published articles in FLYING and SCUBA DIVING magazines. He was a nominee for Writer of the Year by the Georgia Writers Association.
Loomis is a former race car driver both in and out of the United States and a licensed commercial pilot. He has traveled extensively in Europe and the Caribbean. Loomis is also a lawyer specializing in commercial litigation. He practices law in his native Atlanta, where he lives with his wife Suzanne, also a lawyer, and their golden retriever, Harry. Between court dates, Gregg works on his next novel.
THE BIG THRILL sat down with the author to discuss his career and his new blockbuster thriller, THE FIRST CASUALTY, which continues the story of Jason Peters, a private operative agent. When a terrorist group threatens the United States, armed with a powerful laser, Peters knows he’s the only man for the job. Bored with retirement and fueled by his own reasons for revenge, Peters must race against time to recover the deadly weapon before it’s too late. Ending this threat may mean blood will be shed, but Peters has never minded getting dirty for the sake of Uncle Sam.
THE FIRST CASUALTY is the third in a series featuring private operative Jason Peters. Tell us about him.
Jason Peters is a former Delta Force operative whose wife was killed in the 9/11 Pentagon attack. He has a real thing for jihadists. He is a professional artist (acrylic on canvas) and likes classical music, Italian rococo preferred (Vivaldi, etc). He has collected Pangloss, arguably the world’s ugliest dog, and Robespierre, an ill-tempered cat. His sometime live-in, Maria, is an avid pacifist, making for sometimes amusing, sometimes serious interaction.
What sparked this particular adventure for you?
The History Channel’s feature about Tesla—part genius, part mad scientist. What if one of his inventions got into the “wrong” hands?
You’ve written two different series now. How do you keep them fresh and interesting?
Jason Peters, assassin, and Lang Reilly, attorney-at-law, are very different people. Jason goes intentionally into harm’s way while Lang is just unsuccessful in staying out of trouble. Different plots work for one but rarely for either, making it fun to do both. Fun to write usually means freshness to the reader.
You’re a practicing lawyer as well as a writer. One might think you would find your lawyer protagonist Lang Reilly (THE PEGASUS SECRET) easier to write than Peters. Is that true, or do you find it freeing to work with a different sort of character?
My law practice has little to do with Lang Reilly’s white-collar-crime clients, who are far more interesting than any I deal with. Still, I suppose I introvert when dealing with his character. Jason Peters is in reality a characterization of one of the most interesting persons I’ve been privileged to know. His paperback library was filled with Nietzsche, Kant, etc. His idea of fun was to get really stoned, fieldstrip an M16 and an AK-47, turn out the lights, and reassemble. It was his house in San Juan I used for HOT ICE. As was entirely fitting, when he died in Belize, there was no record of his entry into the country.
The idea of a laser weapon falling into the wrong hands is fascinating—and terrifying. What kind of research did you do for THE FIRST CASUALTY?
There was the History Channel’s feature. Also, I ordered and read two poorly done biographies of the man.
You’re a busy man. What’s your writing process like? How do you fit it all in?
We all have twenty-four hours in a day. I don’t play golf, my kids are grown (this I know because they don’t ask for money anymore), and my wife travels in her job, cutting down on the honey-do list.
Tell us what’s next for you.
I try to keep more than one project going. I have a low boredom level. So far I’m dealing with the murder of Sir Harry Oakes in Nassau in 1943, and Islamic extremists taking over a private yacht with some prominent person (a senator’s daughter, maybe) on board.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Gregg Loomis worked as a commercial pilot, racecar driver, and lawyer before writing novels. The popular PEGASUS SECRET (2005) introduced the lawyer Lang Reilly, and GATES OF HADES (2007) was his first book featuring international operative Jason Peters. THE FIRST CASUALTY (2013) is the third Jason Peters novel. Loomis writes and practices law in Atlanta.
To learn more about Gregg, please visit his website.