By Ethan Cross
When an ordinary kid learns he’s the heir to a secret agent dynasty, F.A.L.C.O.N. puts him on a case to protect a famous rock group and find a missing journalist. Before he knows it, Colt Shore has gone from body guard to rock star to full-fledged agent when he learns that a human trafficking ring plans to kidnap a group of teenage girls. It will take more than his ingenuity and skills and a couple of cool gadgets to protect his new friends and rescue the captured girls before it’s too late.
Tell us about Agent COLT SHORE: DOMINO 29 in one line.
Teenage Colt Shore, who works for a humanitarian NGO, saves a group of girls from a trafficking ring using his sense of purpose and sense of humor, some fast cars, faster planes and nifty gadgets, and a gorgeous rock star sidekick. Does that still count as one line?
Tell us a bit about F.A.L.C.O.N.
FALCON is an international humanitarian organization that is part think tank and part world-saving agents. It has four elite schools that train kids to think for themselves, try to understand the world around them, the underlying root of many problems, and what can be done to begin to solve them. The kids are also taught how to drive fast cars and usually by high school, they’re third degree black belts across multiple martial arts disciplines.
Your bio states that you became an “active agent” at a young age. Can you describe what being an “active agent” entails?
Honestly? Mostly grunt work. Digging wells, building buildings. Lots of mud and cinder blocks involved. Only very occasionally, if ever, did I hang glide into the Neuschwanstein Castle courtyard. And never with a rock star.
Describe your typical writing day. How do you balance your writing with marketing, editing, plotting, and all other commitments?
At the moment, I live in New York City. There’s a café in Central Park very close to my apartment. As many mornings as possible, I grab my computer, get a coffee, and sit and write.
This is the first time I’ve had to balance writing with marketing and plotting. They use very different parts of the brain, don’t they? As far as plotting, I try to get out of the city and meet up with a fellow thriller-writer who is also plotting her own next books, and we talk through stuff with each other.
Marketing involves interacting with people—often, kids and teens—which is something I really miss when I’m just by myself writing. And I think it’s beyond cool that the AGENT COLT SHORE: FALCON ACADEMY game app is coming out the same day as the book. I’ve seen early iterations, but I can’t wait to play!
The whole social media/video thing is new for me, also. I’ve been doing a somewhat tongue-in-cheek web series called REGULAR GUY SPY. It’s been extraordinarily fun to make, but I am going to get such a ribbing back with my mates. (Be gentle, Charlie!)
As a reader, what are some of your personal pet-peeves? In other words, what’s your list of writing dos and don’ts?
Don’t talk down to kids. Write the kind of story you yourself want to read. And if you’re talking from a certain character’s POV, for goodness sake, don’t keep secrets about the character’s talents and abilities from the audience, then pull them out of a hat to save the day.
What kind of research did you conduct for Agent Colt Shore: Domino 29?
Since it was my first book, I cheated a bit and used locales I’d visited and things I knew how to do, therefore could describe. I also have a nice list of experts to consult who are listed in the back of the book. Going forward, I’ll call on them more and more.
What are you reading now? What are some of your favorite books/authors and who has had the greatest influence upon your own work?
Reading now: I have about a dozen books on my plate at the moment! But right now I am reading GENGHIS KHAN, LORDS OF THE BOW, by Conn Iggulden. He did a great historical fiction series on Julius Caesar (THE GATES OF ROME), which I really enjoyed, and I don’t know much about Genghis Khan so I thought I’d give it a shot. It’s good.
Influences: There was a YA author back in the 60’s named Lockhart Amerman, who wrote teen spy fiction. I loved his character, Jonathan Flower, who seemed like a real kid who got involved in thrilling adventures. The books had such a sense of humor mixed with a sense of danger. Jonathan Flower is in certainly the godfather of Colt Shore. Also, I love reading Ian Fleming. His prose is phenomenal, and sets him head and shoulders above us normal writers.
What’s something that you’ve learned about the publishing business that you weren’t expecting?
It’s much slower, and then much faster than I ever expected. You write a book and seemingly nothing happens for months, then suddenly the book is about to come out and things happen so fast that they slam into each other.
Can we get a sneak peek at your next book?
The next book is AGENT COLT SHORE: THE GAMES BEGIN and it involves Colt trying to save a young blogger who is exposing corruption in the Middle East. It’s the next step up from DOMINO 29.
Axel Avian grew up in an organization not unlike F.A.L.C.O.N in a town not unlike Springfield, Missouri. He has traveled the world for his work. To relax, he enjoys sky and scuba diving, hang gliding, rock climbing, and snowboarding. He reads whenever he can and routinely trounces opponents on video games.
To learn more about Axel, please visit his website.