By Cathy Clamp
It’s been said that the best thrillers are torn from the newspaper headlines. Few are as adept at that skill as the #1 New York Times best selling author Brad Thor. In the latest adventure of Thor’s counterterrorism expert Scot Harvath, the lines between fiction and fact are blurred as never before.
Because somewhere, deep inside the United States government, is a deadly list. Members of Congress never get to see it and only the president has the final say over it. Once your name is on the list, it doesn’t come off…until you’re dead. Someone has just added Harvath’s name to the list. Somehow, he must evade the teams dispatched to kill him long enough to untangle who has framed him for treason and why they want him out of the way. The only question is—will Harvath get to that person before the United States comes under the most withering domestic terrorist attack ever conceived?
The Big Thrill sat down to talk with the author to find out just how close fiction came to the real world.
This is the eleventh book of Scot Harvath’s counterterrorism adventures. What do you do to keep the series fresh after so many adrenaline-packed stories?
I have two criteria. One, is the subject matter fresh and interesting? Is this something I want to spend the next year working on? If the material gets me excited, then I jump in with both feet. Second, I always want to be ahead of the curve, writing exciting thrillers that feature the next big thing people will be talking about. This involves developing the ability to peer “over the horizon.” Like Wayne Gretzky says, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Last year’s FULL BLACK was a turning point for the character in several ways. The world has turned even more dangerous, if that’s possible. Do you have world arcs in your head that each book is progressing toward a grand finale of the series?
My goal is to be at the epicenter of where fact and fiction meet – the space known as “Faction.” I see this as the hot, new dimension of the thriller genre. In my novels readers are constantly challenged to discover where the facts leave off and the fiction begins. I love getting emails telling me that they read my thrillers with their laptops open and they’re constantly amazed by the details. They close my books not only having had an edge-of-their-seat thrill ride, but they’re smarter for the experience, having learned a ton
Describe BLACK LIST in one sentence.
Someone is padding the president’s kill list.
Readers know you research extensively for each book. What’s something interesting or unexpected you discovered while researching this book (whether or not it made it into the book?)
The idea for BLACK LIST came from two, different threads. One was an episode of “Meet the Press” in 1975, during which an American Senator warned that the United States was about to cross the surveillance Rubicon. He laid down a very particular marker and what he predicted might happen, has. The other thread was a very dark secret from IBM’s past. I don’t want to give away this plot point, but it is absolutely stunning.
In your real life, you’re a Homeland Security advisor and frequent guest on political channels about terrorism. Have you discovered things in the real world that are too strange to even attempt to put in a book? Are there any examples you can share with the readers?
I have served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell Unit and while I cannot discuss what we’ve worked on in the unit, I can say that I use the same techniques in developing my novels – nothing is off the table and anything is possible in both fiction and reality.
It appears you’ve been offered a movie deal for at least one of the books. Where is it in the process? Can you reveal who has been picked to play the characters? Have you had any involvement in the scripts or production and what do you think of the process?
Screenwriter Ryan Craig has adapted my novel, TAKEDOWN for the screen. It has been an amazing process and I have been able to work closely with Ryan throughout. There is a select handful of actors and directors being considered, but it’s all top secret at this point.
Will you be doing any touring for the release? Where can readers find you if they want to get an autographed copy?
I will be touring the country this summer for BLACK LIST and will even be doing a signing in Alaska. The best way to find out where I will be and when is to visit my website, and make sure to sign up for my newsletter so that you don’t miss any updates.
Where else can readers find you online?
It sounds like a terrific book. I know your regular fans, along with new readers are going to love it!
Thanks so much. I look forward to meeting fans as I travel around the country.
Brad Thor has served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell Program and is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven previous thrillers. He has appeared on Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and GBTV as a National Security Expert to discuss terrorism, as well as how closely his novels of international intrigue parallel the real threats facing the world today.
To learn more about Brad, please visit his website.