TQ: Welcome back to The Qwillery!
Myke: Thanks, great to be back.
TQ: FORTRESS FRONTIER is the second novel in your SHADOW OPS series. Was writing FORTRESS FRONTIER harder, easier or just the same as writing CONTROL POINT (SHADOW OPS #1)?
Myke: Much easier. I wrote a chunk of it while deployed to Cape May, NJ assisting with the evacuation and relief operations for Hurricane Irene. I spent my precious few hours of leave at a coffee shop near the shore. There was something about the drama of my work at the time and the atmosphere of that shop that just made things click. By contrast, writing BREACH ZONE (SHADOW OPS #3) was like sawing off my own leg.
TQ: What do you wish you’d known when the first book came out that you know now?
Myke: That it’s the marathon, not the sprint. Success is a thing built slowly, over long years of toil. I thought that when I landed the book deal, I had arrived. Now I understand that was just the starting line.
TQ: Which character in the series has surprised you the most so far?
Myke: Well, I’m talking about BREACH ZONE now, but it’s got to be Harlequin. When you meet him in CONTROL POINT, he’s a hidebound, by-the-book soldier. I had some ideas about his past, but it’s only when I sat down and really explored it that I came face to face with the real man. Jan Thorsson, like most soldiers, is a hell of a lot more complicated than his immaculate uniform would lead you to believe.
TQ: Which character in the series is most like you?
Myke: It kills me to say this, but it has to be Oscar Britton. Like him, I have made a lot of horrible decisions based on fear, and as with him, those decisions have had consequences. Like him, I have bumbled through my live, and eventually found success and a footing that I’m comfortable with. But I definitely took the long way there. Now, if you’d asked me which character I wish was most like me, it would have to be Alan Bookbinder. If you read FORTRESS FRONTIER, you’ll see why.
TQ: Tell us something about FORTRESS FRONTIER that is not in the book description.
Myke: The book gives you a fairly in-depth look at the magic-using military arm of the Republic of India. Mihir Wanchoo, the only Hindi speaking fantasy fan that I know, threw in and gave lengthy and in-depth consultations on mythology and language. I honestly don’t think I could have pulled it off without his help. Thank heavens for the Internet and the amazing, wonderful, generous people it connects us to.
TQ: Which character in FORTRESS FRONTIER was the easiest to write and why? Hardest and why?
Myke: I’d say Colonel Bookbinder was the easiest to write. I simply had to cycle through my memories of every great officer I’ve ever served under and build a composite. The guy practically sprang fully formed from my brain. The hardest was the naga prince Vasuki-Kai. Not only is a multi-limbed, multi-headed snake god monster thing, but he’s also royalty who has been raised on the belief that he is a divine being with a responsibility to look after the idiot, bumbling humans that he’s been saddled with having to interact with. Oh, and he only speaks a hissing variant of Hindi. That alienness, that fantasy background did NOT excuse me from my obligation to make him real and believable. His words, actions and most importantly, his interactions, had to be compelling and believable, but his makeup was so foreign to my experience that I hardly knew where to start. Once again, thank god for Mihir Wanchoo.
TQ: Without giving anything away, which is favorite scene in FORTRESS FRONTIER.
Myke: Well, it’s on the jacket copy, so it’s hardly a spoiler. I love the scene where Bookbinder first realizes he’s going to have to take command of the outpost, cut off and facing hopeless odds. It’s that ultimate moment when a man finally comes up against the greatest challenge of his life and gets to see if he’s up to it. Is he? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.
TQ: Are there any other genres in which you like to write in addition to military fantasy?
Myke: Sure, but I think it’s going to be a while before I can get to them. After FORTRESS FRONTIER, I’m under contract for 4 more SHADOW OPS books and only one of those is actually written. I’ve got a plot outline for a straight up medieval fantasy (dark tone) which my agent thinks is solid. I also would like to try my hand at romance some day (http://mykecole.com/blog/2013/01/romance-editors-adjust-fire), but I’ve got a lot of learning to do before I’m good enough to put my hat in the professional ring.
TQ: What’s next?
Myke: I’m going to save this file, back it up to my thumb drive and board the plane to Detroit and Immortal Confusion, one of my favorite cons. There, I will DM the Author D&D Game with the help of Saladin Ahmed. The players will include Peter V. Brett, Pat Rothfuss, Jim Hines, Sam Sykes, Diana Rowland and Mary Robinette Kowal. I swear, there are some times I feel so incredibly lucky that I don’t know what to do with myself.
About Shadow Ops
Shadow Ops 2
Ace, January 29, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.
Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.
Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.
Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…
Control PointShadow Ops 1
Ace, January 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Lieutenant Oscar Britton of the Supernatural Operations Corps has been trained to hunt down and take out people possessing magical powers. But when he starts manifesting powers of his own, the SOC revokes Oscar's government agent status to declare him public enemy number one.
|Photo by Tim Lundin|
All that conflict can wear a guy out. Thank goodness for fantasy novels, comic books, late night games of Dungeons and Dragons and lots of angst fueled writing.
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