Kyle Mills: Music And Writing

  Here’s a peek at the younger me. I still think “Haunted Elvis lamp sings Burning Love” is one of the greatest headlines ever. Today I play a classical guitar.

Here’s a peek at the younger me. I still think “Haunted Elvis lamp sings Burning Love” is one of the greatest headlines ever. Today I play a classical guitar.

I’ll admit right now that I’m pretty sentimental when it comes to holiday music. Once December comes, I like to string up lights, grab some eggnog, and revisit my favorite Christmas songs from when I was a kid. The other day I teed up Elvis Christmas while I was diving into a fight scene with Mitch and the boys. I fidgeted for a few hours and never could get it going.

Mitch seemed kind of ambivalent, and the scene just didn’t pop. Soon, I realized why I hadn’t been able to get into the groove. Kicking butt to The King crooning Silent Night was too much to ask, even of Mitch Rapp. After switching to some screaming guitars and pounding drums, things got back on track.

Music Influences My Writing In Many Ways

It provides energy, melancholy, rage—whatever a given scene requires. In fact, it’s been the backdrop of my life since I was in early high school.  

While I usually listen to adrenaline-pumping songs when my characters are interrogating, dodging bullets, and fighting for their lives, I’ve only ever written one scene that was actually choreographed to a song—PJ Harvey’s Rub ‘Til It Bleeds. The scene from Fade is a fight in a nightclub, and I imagined the fictional band on stage playing that song as I wrote. For some reason, the cadence of the fight came to match the ebb and flow of the song. If you’re ever paging through that book and get to the scene, put PJ’s song on as you read. You’ll be able to hear the parallels.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve discovered alternative music from small radio stations and obsessive music fans. These days, the Internet has replaced the practice of trading cassette tapes with people of a like mind. Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever outgrow my passion for this kind of music. Or if I’m going to be a 90-year-old guy creeping down the highway listening to Norwegian punk.

Finally, for all you thriller writers looking for inspiration to write a bloody action sequence, here’s my go-to playlist. Be warned: Headphones only. And you’ll probably need some counseling afterward…

Playlist

1. Under the Floorboard World: Queen Adreena

2. I, Zombie: White Zombie

3. Dead Cities: The Exploited

4. City Baby Attacked By Rats: GBH

5. Bleed For Me: Dead Kennedys

6. After the Flesh: My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

7. The Wait: Killing Joke

8. Stigmata: Ministry

9. Hey: Slaves

10. Preacher: Fuzz

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or his website.

Kyle Mills: 12 Videos, Interviews, And Reviews From My Red War Tour

In case you missed the videos, interviews, and reviews from my Red War tour, here are a few recaps to catch you up on what people wanted to know while I was on the road promoting my latest book. It was clear to me as I traveled around the country that Mitch Rapp is hotter than ever. He continues to fascinate readers with his no-nonsense approach to solving the world's problems.

VIDEO

The Poisoned Pen
The Poisoned Pen is an iconic mystery/thriller bookstore in Arizona. There, I was interviewed by fellow thriller writer and former Navy SEAL, Jack Carr. It was the first time I’d met Jack face-to-face, despite having a mutual friend in Brad Thor. Afterward, we went to dinner where I was able to annoy him with questions about the psychology of Navy SEALs.


SOFREP Radio
Normally I do radio interviews but these guys—a former Army Ranger/Green Beret and a radio producer—wanted to do a Skype interview instead. All was good until midway through when my neighbor’s dog went on a tear and wouldn’t stop barking. Still, it was a great conversation that touched on the world’s escalating threats and how I came up with the idea for Red War.


WCCO Mid-Morning Show
I did this show a few years ago when The Survivor was released so it was nice to revisit the studio to promote Red War. Talk about red carpet treatment. A car picked me up at the hotel to drive me 45 seconds to the studio on the next block.


PRINT

The Real Book Spy

Ryan Steck, who many know as the Rappologist, is the most knowledgeable guy on the planet when it comes to Mitch Rapp. He's the man I call on when I’m stumped about a bit of series esoterica. Here we do a deep dive into the book, the series, and Vince’s continuing influence. He reviewed Red War, too.

The Washington Times

When I took over the series, I was worried that some fans wouldn’t come along for the ride simply because Vince was no longer writing it. Here’s a recent convert. I’m so glad he decided to give me a chance.


RADIO AND PODCASTS

Skillset Podcast
These guys were hilarious to talk to and have a great podcast with all kinds of different guests. They’ve recently moved to new digs and were still in the process of setting up their in-studio bar. I’ll look forward to that next time. They also do the photography for an enormous number of gun magazines and had a few photo shoots set up when I arrived. It was fun to get a behind-the-scenes look at how that’s done.

WCBS Author Talks
The host asked me about my next novel and my answer was: “I’m going back to what I consider more of a classic Vince Flynn book—Mitch Rapp kicking butt. Those books are fun to read and they’re fun to write.” The entire interview is here at the 8:10-17:33 mark.

First Look with Andy Morris
“These thrillers—to be interesting and fun—have to talk about what’s going on in the world in any given moment.” Find the interview here and hear Andy call me “a really famous author.” It’s on the Internet so it must be true!

Jim Bohannon, Westwood One
“We have been, historically, very afraid of provoking Russia, and Russia seems to have no similar problem with provoking us… We should have a heavy military presence in the Baltics but we’ve never wanted to do that because Putin would consider it a provocation. I say ‘bring it on'.” This is one of the more interesting interviews I had during the tour because we took a detailed look at Russia, Putin, and the potential mistakes America is making in handling him. The interview begins at the 40:00 mark.

Author Stories Podcast
Hank Garner has been bringing the backstories of hundreds of authors to fans, recently recording his 500th episode. We talk about the challenges of moving Mitch forward while maintaining the essence of who he is.

Bruce Ciskie Show
“When I took over the series, I already knew about Mitch Rapp and the universe he lived in. Then it was a matter of doing a lot of research—watching old videos of Vince, speeches he’d done, him talking about the series, fan reactions—just trying to get a real feel for it before I started.” The entire interview is here.

Dave and Dujanovic
“I was surrounded by FBI, CIA, MI6, spec ops… It couldn’t have been more fascinating. You soak it up. But I never thought I’d do anything with it.” We had a great conversation, and I always enjoy spending time with such an enthusiastic fan.

This is only a portion of the many interviews and reviews that contributed to my Red War book tour. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to review the book, read and share the press, and of course, support Mitch and his team once again. Until next year…

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or his website.

On The Road: Red War Tour Highlights

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I always enjoy getting out of my office and meeting fans as I make my way around the country during book tours. This year was no exception. As usual, I kicked off Red War pub day (September 25) with a stop at Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minnesota. This was the first bookstore that hosted a book signing for Vince when he got into the business long ago. And, not being one to break with tradition, it continues to be the first stop for my tours, too.

For those fans who weren’t able to join me in person at some point while I was promoting the book, here’s a sampling of the events from my two-week tour. Many thanks to the participating book stores and the legion of fans who came out to show their support while Mitch Rapp rolled across America.

Pub Day

TV and Radio
A big part of book tours is radio interviews, TV appearances, and podcast interviews.

Bookstore Events
Bookstore events are the backbone of my tours and a great place to catch up with old friends as well as new friends. Here are a few of the places I stopped.

Twitter Posts
For those who aren’t on Twitter, here are two of my favorite posts during the tour.

Red War Debuted At #1!
And then the icing on the cake came a day before the tour ended…


Signed Books
If you would like a signed book while supplies last, call one of the event bookstoresVJ Books sells signed books as well.

 

Thanks To All The Fans
Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome in your town and for the incredible support you have shown to me and to the Mitch Rapp series. Here’s to another successful book launch!

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or his website.

Kyle Mills: Do You Know Your Mitch Rapp Trivia?

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In celebration of Red War’s release, I decided to round up some Rapp trivia to see how well you know Mitch’s world. Even I, the keeper of the Rapp torch, can’t always remember every last detail in these books. Fortunately I know someone who can. I reached out to Ryan the Rappologist over at The Real Book Spy for some help in stumping even the most die-hard of fans.

Rapp Style

We’ll kick this off with an easy one. What is Mitch’s preferred method of killing someone?

Answer: A head shot, naturally. But fortunately our hero isn’t a one-trick pony. He shoots people through the eyes, the nose, the open mouth, the cheek, the forehead, and the back of the head, to name just a few. And then there are all the other creative ways he disposes of the bad guys…  


Drink of Choice

What’s Rapp’s favorite?

Answer: Rapp drinks coffee more than any other beverage throughout the series. He's actually seen drinking coffee 26 times and other characters partake even more than our hero. Consent to Kill is the most caffeine-fueled book in the series.

I’m not a coffee drinker so fans may have noticed that I’ve given Rapp only one cup thus far. When I’m writing a scene, it rarely occurs to me to have a character drink the stuff. Wine, however, is a completely different thing. Mitch also enjoys a Coke periodically—my favorite morning beverage.


F-Bomb

When “darn it” just won’t do, who has the bigger potty mouth, Vince Flynn or me?

Answer: This one will surprise a lot of people because some readers perceive that Vince was much more prim and proper than his record would suggest. After a barrage of emails from fans who were concerned about my use of foul language, I decided to find out: Had I really made these characters a bit too salty for the average fan?

It turns out I haven’t. Vince dropped the f-bomb 61 times in The Last Man, 54 times in Pursuit of Honor, and an impressive 70 times—5 times on one page alone—in Extreme Measures. By comparison, I clock in at a mere 47 in Enemy of the State and a downright austere 6 in The Survivor.

Hand-to-Hand Combat

Rapp excels at hand-to-hand combat. What discipline does he prefer, what level does he hold, and who did he train with?

Answer: Rapp has a third-degree black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu. He spent time in Brazil training with Helio Gracie, the grand master. 


First Kill

Which gun did Rapp use to make his first kill? Who did he shoot, and what was the shot that terminated the villain?

Answer: Rapp's first kill is with a silenced 9mm Beretta 92F when he shot Hamdi Sharif once in the hand, then once in the chest at close range. 


Aliases

Can you name several of Mitch’s aliases over the years? What name did he and Anna travel under for their honeymoon?

Answer: Mitch Kruse, Paul Girard, Bill Johnson, Carl. For their honeymoon, Mitch and Anna traveled under the names Troy and Betsy Harris. 


Lovers

Which of Rapp’s girlfriends spent a semester abroad in Paris?

Answer: Most readers think it was Maureen Elliot who died on Pan Am Flight 103. But Maureen wasn’t in Paris… Anna Rielly was the one who spent a semester abroad in Paris.


Joining the CIA

And the Rappologist’s favorite stumper: When did Mitch officially join the CIA?

Answer: Many will say at twenty-two, in American Assassin. But that wasn't in an official capacity. He officially joined the CIA at the dying request of Thomas Stansfield.

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or his website.

The Art Of Creating A Book Title

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Have you ever read a book and instantly had an idea for a title that perfectly captured the spirit of the story? If so, congratulations. You’ve just waltzed through creating a book title—one of the hardest parts of publishing.

I speak from experience. Most often, I steer clear of naming my novels, but when I get cornered, I quickly remember how out of my element I am. The process of writing a 400-page story couldn’t be more different than coming up with several words thrown haphazardly together into a greater whole. The first task is a slow, painstaking slog while the second is more a bolt of inspiration.

Description
It’s always challenging to distill a 100,000+ word manuscript into a two or three-word description. The line is a fine one to tread: We want to give readers an accurate and compelling glimpse of the plot while carefully avoiding spoilers.

Take Red War, my upcoming book. When the team suggested it, I could immediately visualize the text on the cover. It’s simple, impactful, and gives a tantalizing hint—but no more—of what’s inside.

Lara Jones, assistant editor at Emily Bestler Books, looks for inspiration in a variety of places when working on a title. “Sometimes the author will have written us a short summary of the book that may have a good phrase or theme, or we might even go back to the agent’s pitch letter—where they told us about the book to see if we’d be interested in acquiring it—for good ideas. We often ask the publicist and marketing manager to weigh in, too.”

In the old days, books often had a main title and then a subtitle underneath that explained what the book was actually about. Over the centuries, though, this naming convention has been whittled in favor of titles that are shorter, easier to remember, and complementary to the cover art. Most modern readers, for instance, wouldn’t rush to buy Jonathan Swift's 18th century piece that inspired my first book, Rising Phoenix:

A MODEST PROPOSAL
For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden on their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick.

Intrigue
For me, hooking a reader with a title is both a fun and frustrating part of this process. To start, I write down words that conjure strong or startling imagery or hint at the denouement. Then I try to put them together in a combination that’s catchy. This process relies in part on free association—with one word hopefully leading you to another until you land on just the right combination. Poets make it look so easy. But believe me, it’s not.

Lara says she also keeps a running list of words while reading the manuscript. “This can include anything from evocative phrases to character names to important locations. If there’s a great epigraph, sometimes title inspiration can come from that as well.”

When I first started writing, I used to look at album names from alternative bands to try to figure out how they magically blend words or come up with single ones that are so provocative. Names like Starless and Bible Black or Loveless are both wonderfully memorable and give a sense of what awaits you.

Brand Consistency
Of course, creating a title isn’t just about finding expressive words. If it’s a well-established brand like the Mitch Rapp series, a title has to fit within a framework that was established long ago. Along with cover art, font, and color, the arrangement of words in the book’s name is critical in making the cover immediately recognizable to fans.

Titles Can’t Be Copyrighted
An interesting tidbit is that titles for books, songs, and movies don’t fall under copyright protection so they tend to get recycled. Years ago, I wrote a book called Darkness Falls that explores the loss of the world’s oil supply and what that might mean for humanity. Just after we’d settled irretrievably on the title, I discovered there was a (strangely entertaining) movie about a demented tooth fairy with the same name. Very different subject matters, but that short phrase worked for both.

Titles are a subtle form of art that can win a prospective reader over in just a few seconds. Or not. But in today’s competitive world of publishing, a few carefully chosen words can be the thing that draws a reader to a book that they cherish for the rest of their lives.

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or his website.

Stepping Into The Shoes Of An Icon Part III: What I Changed

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I’ve received literally thousands of emails from fans, some pointing out things they think I got wrong. What were the most called out? 

Humor. There’s probably more in just one of my books than the entire series combined—a fact that was first noticed by the amazing audiobook reader, George Guidall. This was largely unintentional on my part and I considered dialing it back, but then changed my mind. As time moves forward, I think it makes sense for me to allow some of my style to peek through. I worry that trying to write an endless stream of Vince Flynn forgeries would turn the series stale. 

I opened with action sequences. It’s interesting that Vince, one of the greatest action writers in history, never started his books that way. This change was intentional—something I thought fans would enjoy. 

Anna Reilly. Notice anything different? It always drove me nuts that Vince spelled her name Rielly. I always chalked it up to his dyslexia and snuck in a fix. 

I gave Mitch an opponent who is nearly his equal. The Russian Grisha Azarov is very different in personality than Rapp, but very similar in skill and ruthlessness. Having Mitch go up against an opponent who might actually get the better of him was something Vince had never fully explored. I thought it would be fun to put the character in that situation and see how he reacted! 

As time moves forward, my books and Vince’s will necessarily continue to diverge. To feel urgent and timely, thrillers have to track what’s happening in the world at that moment and what might be right around the corner. Instead of a ridged framework, I now have to look at past books in the series as a guideline. If Vince were here today, what would he think of the implosion of the Iran nuclear deal? The evolution of ISIS? Russia’s unconventional war on the West? And more important, how would he weave them into his next story? 

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or his website

Stepping Into The Shoes Of An Icon Part II: Who Is Mitch Rapp?

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Mitch is a rich, beautifully drawn character, with all the complexities that entails. Like all of us, he’s not one static personality. He’s evolved over his life, reacting to his changing environment and absorbing new experiences. Vince took Mitch from the angry college kid we saw in American Assassin to the seasoned operator of The Last Man—with a lot of stops along the way.

When I wrote my first Rapp book, The Survivor, a number of fans thought I’d turned Mitch into a thug. In truth, though, I was just continuing Vince’s depiction of where the character was at that point in his life. 

Starting with Pursuit of Honor, Mitch begins to feel more angry and frustrated than in the past. He assaults Mike Nash for disagreeing with him, cripples bar bouncers, and entertains the idea of working for a Russian mobster. In The Last Man, the first 100 pages are filled with Rapp arm-twisting friend and foe alike. 

I think the reason for this is twofold. First, the death of his wife and unborn child was a blow he never fully recovered from. And second is the fact that as 9-11 fades in the minds of many Americans, he sees our vigilance waning. 

With my second book, Order to Kill, I made a conscious effort to pull Mitch back from the brink. He starts thinking about getting his life together and even entertains the idea of having another relationship. Enemy of the State and the upcoming Red War continue that gradual realignment with the goal of taking him back to what he was in earlier books. 

Of course, at his core, Mitch will remain the same: A patriot. A man with laser-like focus who doesn’t suffer fools. A loyal comrade in arms. But most of all, a soldier with the skill and courage to protect the country he loves. 

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or his website

Stepping Into The Shoes Of An Icon: How To Start A Project This Monumental

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I get a lot of questions on the subject of how I went about taking over the Mitch Rapp series. Now, with a few books under my belt, I thought it would be fun to do a few posts about it. 

You’ve probably already guessed that the first order of business was research. I reread all 6,512 pages of the Rapp books and took almost 150 pages of notes. Every weapon Mitch had ever used. Mike Nash’s kids’ names. Even Vince’s word choice and how he liked to construct action sequences were deconstructed and agonized over. 

While not as enjoyable as when I’d devoured the books as a fan, it was a great way to get to know the characters’ and author’s quirks. Did you know that despite being one of the greatest thriller writers of all time, Vince never started books with action scenes? Or that many of his action sequences somehow involve a dog? 

After a while, I was seeing through the lines on the page. I felt like I was getting a strong sense of how Vince saw the world, his hopes for America, and his fears regarding the threats we face. I can tell you, for instance, that he wasn’t a fan of the Saudis, but that he was somewhat more sympathetic to Iran. He was also fascinated by the financing of terror, with Western bankers often playing a part. And, of course, there was his (and probably everyone’s) frustration with America’s political process. 

By the time I got to Protect And Defend (book 12 in the chronology) I was beginning to see glimmers of his moods, when he was struggling to remember an arc from a book he’d written years ago, and even when he was pushing a deadline. It was then that I started testing myself. Could I anticipate what the next plot twist would be? Had Vince’s characters become real enough to me to anticipate their reactions, thoughts, and conversations? 

It was only when I could stop analyzing the books and start feeling them that I put pen to paper. Fortunately, Vince’s last novel, The Survivor, left a lot of clues as to where he wanted the series to go. That made the follow-up to The Last Man a perfect book for me to start with. As the series has continued, though, I find myself focusing more and more on Vince’s overall philosophy and how he would have applied it to an ever-changing world. 
 

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or his website

Books and Authors Who Have Influenced Kyle Mills

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Fans often ask me about what I liked to read when I was young and which authors have influenced my writing over the years. When I was a kid, books were my world. My imagination was already in overdrive so reading about chasing bad guys and fighting off monsters just added fuel to the fire. While I was a thriller reader first and foremost, some of my other favorite books and writers might come as a surprise. 

Shibumi
Trevanian’s Shibumi will always hold one of my top spots for favorite spy books. At the time, I was reading a lot of serious characters but Nicholai Hel’s over-the-top personality and quirky humor in a genre that was largely devoid of laughs turned me into a fan from the outset. I think of Trevanian every time I add something funny to my books.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin
In my mind, Tom Clancy was the man and The Cardinal of the Kremlin is a nearly perfect thriller. I was fascinated by the complexities of the Soviet era and voraciously read every book on that subject that I could find. Tom’s dedication to realism and exhaustive research set the benchmark that I, and my peers, still chase today. Clearly, I’m still influenced by Tom and that era because Red War, my upcoming Rapp thriller, revolves around Russia. 

Anything Stephen King
I was a huge King fan and loved letting him scare me to half to death as I read under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep. I remember tearing through Salem’s Lot when it came out in hardback so I would have been around 8 or 9 years old. Oddly, my parents had no problem with me reading adult fiction at this age, but balked at me watching shows like Starsky & Hutch. I’ve always admired (and tried to emulate) how King can make a slice of everyday life go so wrong so fast. 

Shogun
I couldn’t put down James Clavell’s epic story of Japanese samurai and ended up needing to get an extension from my 7th grade teacher because I couldn’t turn in my book report on time. Who knew there was a Book Two? What teenage boy wouldn’t want to immerse himself in a world of fearless swordsmen and beautiful women battling for power, honor, and love? Clavell taught me that classic story setups always appeal. In this case a fish-out-of-water scenario, which continues to be one of the best plot devices around.

The Boxcar Children Mysteries
When I was just learning to read, this series really spoke to me. The independence. The courage. The resourcefulness and loyalty. Not only did it convince me that fearlessness was the only way to live, but what I learned from these kids flows into every hero I write. If you think about it, there’s a pretty straight line from the children living in that boxcar to Mitch, Irene, and Scott. 

Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s portrait of the complexity of human relationships still feels relevant today and did a lot to shape me as a novelist. No one is completely good and no one is completely evil. Every character is the hero of his or her own book. While I’ve moved away from this kind of moral ambiguity in the Rapp books, it was something I loved to play with in my own novels. The best antagonists are ones who we identify with on some level—even if it’s in the deepest recesses of our hearts.

A Modest Proposal
People know Jonathan Swift for Gulliver’s Travels, but it was his essay A Modest Proposal that got me going on Rising Phoenix, my first novel. Writing 300 years ago, he made the tongue-in-cheek proposal that the poor could improve their economic situation by selling their children for food to the rich. In a similar vein, my novel wondered if we could stop the use of narcotics by poisoning the supply.

1984 and Animal Farm
George Orwell’s work did a lot to shape my worldview, and I find myself quoting 1984 more often than I’d like. Orwell’s observations still feel almost clairvoyant more than half a century later. If you read Animal Farm today, you can put a current face to every inhabitant of that barnyard. 

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or his website

Kyle Mills: Stranger Than Fiction - Part II

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Last month, I outlined some interesting predictions I’ve made over the years and also explored some that Vince Flynn has woven into the Mitch Rapp series. The list was longer than I expected. This month I’m back with a few more examples of how we’ve used a crystal ball to peer into the future.

Once again, I’ve called on Ryan Steck, the Rappologist from The Real Book Spy to share examples of some of Vince’s all-too-real plotlines. Longtime fans of the Rapp series know how solid Vince’s intel was.

 

Transfer of Power

In the opening pages of Transfer of Power, Vince notes that some facts were omitted out of respect for the president and the US Secret Service. What I wouldn’t give to read the manuscript before the redactions! As longtime fans will recall, George W. Bush famously told Vince in a limo ride that he was “a little too accurate.”

Vince’s brother, Tim Flynn, joked at The Survivor 2015 launch event that Vince was a master at getting people to open up. He said that within a few minutes of sitting down with Vince, SEAL Team 6 was sharing details they weren’t supposed to talk about. He also mentioned the similarities between the bin Laden raid and Memorial Day, which I talked about in Part 1.

Protect and Defend

In 2007’s Protect and Defend, Vince wrote about the Israelis taking out an Iranian nuclear facility by embedding an agent and blowing up the plant from the inside. In 2013, a nuclear facility buried deep in an Iranian mountain was allegedly partially destroyed by a massive explosion, leaving 240 people underground. While both the Iranians and Israelis are tight lipped about what really happened there, the information available makes it sound very much like Vince’s scenario coming to life.

Here are a few other strangely prescient scenarios that have played out in reality long after my books were published.

The Utopia Experiment

I’m fascinated by wearable technology. Not so much the kind that spits out data about my workout, but the kind that will transform our senses and help us deal with our increasingly complex world.

In The Utopia Experiment, I dreamed up a device that was embedded into a person’s skull much like a cochlear implant. It fed information to the user via an augmented reality overlay that mixed the real world with holographic details. The device provided a flood of information: from emails, social media updates, and heads-up displays, to real-time fact checking and driving routes. Facial recognition even delivered instantaneous information about people and their backgrounds. Obviously, the military applications were endless, as were more sinister ones.

As I was finishing the manuscript, the Google Glass project was announced, leaving me scrambling to find out if I’d been just a few months behind the curve. Fortunately for me (but not so much humanity) their technology was only a primitive first step toward my vision and fizzled pretty quickly.

Now more sophisticated wearable augmented reality in the vein of what I imagined, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Meta’s headset, are taking shape, not to mention the virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift that create an entirely new universe for users. Real-time fact checking didn’t exist when my book was first conceived, but now organizations like PolitiFact do their best to keep politicians honest during their speeches.

Imagining this futuristic technology was challenging so I’m interested to see how it evolves. So far, I’ve gotten a surprising number of things right. 

The Second Horseman

Like most people, I appreciate a good heist—particularly when some incredibly clever criminal has thought long and hard about it. I decided to explore just such a scenario in The Second Horseman after having a fascinating conversation with a Vegas insider about how the city transports all that casino money to the Federal Reserve in San Francisco.

I recently read that thieves in the Netherlands stole a truckload of iPhones while the truck’s driver cruised down a motorway with no clue what was happening. Apparently this style of iPhone theft has been happening since 2008 in Europe. I dearly hope that my description of a similar technique in 2006 provided some inspiration.

I’ve already started my list for 2019 as I see some nefarious players making trouble that I envisioned long ago. It’s possible that the course of the world has already been laid out by today’s hardworking thriller writers. Stay tuned!

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or his website

Kyle Mills: Stranger Than Fiction

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I, like many authors, periodically take stock of the various scenarios I’ve written about to see how many are playing out in the news. Interpreting current events and predicting their outcomes continues to be one of my favorite parts of the job. Whether I’m focused on politics, conflict zones, or technology, wreaking havoc in a way that feels in-the-moment can be a lot like fortune telling.

As fans know, Vince shared my obsession with cutting-edge realism. To revisit some of his best moments of clairvoyance, I talked to Ryan Steck—known to thousands online as the Rappologist. Ryan has dived deeper than anyone into the details of Mitch’s universe and runs the thriller website The Real Book Spy. Check him out if you haven’t already.

Memorial Day

In Memorial Day, Rapp and a group of commandos chopper into Pakistan without permission from the Pakistani government. Their purpose? To hit a high-value target. Seven years after the book was published, Osama bin Laden was taken out pretty much as Vince envisioned. As if that weren’t enough, there was also a security review of the book because the plot featured the villain transporting a nuke via the Potomac River. Apparently, this hadn’t been considered in law enforcement circles.

The Last Man

In The Last Man, Vince touched on how dangerous America’s pull back in Afghanistan could be. He talked about green-on-blue violence and how allies can become enemies when the drawdown begins. While there had been only a few instances of this in Afghanistan prior to Vince’s book, the violence ramped up after publication. He managed to connect the dots early on, paralleling stories that later dominated headlines. 

In the book, Vince also wrote about a high-ranking military official having an illicit affair with a woman at the State Department. The Last Man had barely hit shelves when the General Petraeus scandal broke.  

Like Vince, I’ve made what I hoped were just educated guesses, only to find them coming to life in the real world. Here are a few of my more interesting predictions…

The Survivor

The old saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a myth. This proverb kept running through my mind as I wrote The Survivor and explored America finally facing the much-ignored fact that the money we give Pakistan often ends up in the pockets of terrorists.

Now, a few years after the book’s release, the US government has publicly acknowledged the situation and significantly dialed back military aid to the country. As was laid out in The Survivor, it’s a dangerous game of nuclear-armed chicken. 

Sphere of Influence

Five days after I turned in my manuscript for Sphere of Influence, the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were attacked. My horror was amplified by the fact that the book I’d just written was about al-Qaeda—a relatively unknown terrorist organization at that time—carrying out a very similar terrorist act.

With our country in chaos, the storyline hit way too close to home and my editor considered the book unpublishable. I found myself scrambling to rewrite the storyline in a way that would obscure the similarities to 9/11. 

It turns out that devising these kinds of ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios is an exciting game right up to the moment it’s not. We all pray that our plots stay where they belong—tucked safely between book covers.

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or his website

Kyle Mills Talks About Writing Rapp, Enemy of the State and More!

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We have a round-up of Kyle's favorite 2017 interviews to catch you up on all things Mitch Rapp. 

Kyle touches on a wide range of topics from what it's like to inhabit Rapp and continue his story for millions of fans to where Mitch, Scott, Irene and the rest of the team are heading.

1. The Real Book Spy
If you haven’t discovered Ryan Steck’s thriller website, you’re missing out. Ryan’s encyclopedic knowledge of the genre gives readers all the intel they need to stay current on the hottest titles. Here’s my latest interview with him and his review of Enemy of the State. 

2. The Big Thrill
The Big Thrill is the magazine produced by International Thriller Writers, and their monthly emails are a fantastic place to discover new titles and authors. Here’s my interview with Alison McMahan.

3. Not Boring Book Show Podcast
Here’s the conversation I had with longtime Vince Flynn fans Angela Halgrimson and Stacy Verdick Case on this Minnesota podcast’s 1-year anniversary. 

4. Glenn Beck, Blaze Radio Network
No introduction needed here, Glenn’s a legend in the radio world. "Mitch Rapp is one of the best characters in fiction now,” he says. We talk about this and much more.

5. National Review Online
I spent some time with John J. Miller on the Ricochet podcast as he dove into Mitch Rapp and the American Assassin movie.

6. Elise Cooper Interview and Review
Elise published her Enemy of the State review and her interview with me in a variety of places. Here are two of them: Crimespree Magazine and the Strand Magazine.

7. Author Stories Podcast
I really enjoyed my interview with writer and host, Hank Garner. Hank can introduce you to both traditionally published and indie authors who write in a wide variety of styles. 

8. WCBS Author Talks Podcast
Scroll down to the August 30 podcast, Chapter 30. We talk about what it was like to take over for Vince Flynn.

9. Ideation Collective’s Innovation and Leadership Podcast
A business podcast is not my usual venue but I’m so glad I got an opportunity to talk to Jess Larsen. He’s interviewed an impressive group of people—both from the business and creative world—and I’m happy to be one of them. Scroll down for Parts 1 and 2.

10. Rogue Women Writers Blog
Check out this fun site run by Gayle Lynds, Karna Bodman, Jamie Freveletti, and several other successful thriller writers. In my guest post, I talk about recreating another author’s characters.

If you’re not following Kyle, connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or his website

Kyle Mills Signs New Three-Book Deal With Emily Bestler Books

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“I’m bouncing off the walls!” said Mills when asked how excited he was to get this book deal done. “I’ve had so much fun writing the series, getting to know the fans, and spending time with the characters. It was hard for me to imagine leaving it all behind.”

“Kyle has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams at carrying Vince’s vision forward,” said Emily Bestler, Senior Vice President, Editor-in-Chief of Emily Bestler Books/Atria. “From the beginning, Mitch Rapp fans have embraced Kyle and are celebrating that the franchise is in such great hands.” 

Read the article

 

A NOTE FROM LYSA FLYNN

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This week has been such a joy for me and my family. The reaction to the teaser trailer of AMERICAN ASSASSIN has been so nice to see and I couldn’t agree more with the thousands of positive email messages, facebook posts and tweets that I’ve managed to see. I also couldn’t be more impressed by the way CBS Films, Lionsgate, the cast and crew worked tirelessly and respectfully to get us to the exciting point that we have reached. 

As Vince always said, when you sell off the rights to your books and characters you have to hope and pray that you’ve chosen the right partners to take on the project because the author loses all control. I truly believe Vince would be quite proud of the decision he made. There will always be differences between movies and the books that their based on—a  few of my friends have asked me specifically about how the book AMERICAN ASSASSIN takes place in the 80’s and 90’s while its clear in the trailer that the movie version takes place in modern times. It was explained to me that that decision was made in order to allow future Mitch Rapp movies to pull from current US enemies and adversaries to give them a ‘ripped from the headline’ feeling. As Kyle Mills, the man who has continued to write the Mitch Rapp books, has pointed out, Vince never had the chance to write about ISIS. They didn’t exist yet. The threats change and the studios wanted to keep the stories current. 

But even with all that, I was heartened after spending time on the set and talking to many of the actors, actresses, producers and director Michael Cuesta that they took this very seriously and had Vince on their mind the whole way through.

In London, I spent time with Michael Keaton, who is playing Stan Hurley. We sat for an hour and he mostly asked me all about Vince, taking in as much information as possible. I also had such a sweet moment with Dylan O’Brien, who is our Mitch Rapp. He told me, with hand over heart, how honored he was to be playing Mitch Rapp and how important it was to him to do the role justice. He could not have been more genuine. 

When this movie comes out in September, it will be the culmination of all Vince’s dreams. He only wanted these movies to finally be made. And he wanted them in order to introduce a wider audience to Mitch Rapp and to draw more people to his books so more people were able to understand the kind of person who Vince considered a hero and who Vince considered a patriot and to spread the hope and feeling that good always outlasts evil.  I only wish he were here to take the bow he truly deserves. 
 

MITCH RAPP#16 IS COMPLETE!

Stay tuned for updates, including the title, cover art, free preview, giveaways and publication date.

Mitch Rapp returns in the #1 New York Times bestselling series in this timely thriller as a Saudi prince is discovered using his fortunes to fund ISIS, re-opening secrets about the Saudi government’s involvement in 9/11—secrets which the United States tried to bury.

In the latest novel, Mitch Rapp is given a dangerous mission by the President himself: find out which high-level Saudis are involved in funneling money to ISIS and kill them. The catch? Rapp will get no support from the United States in this endeavor.

Rapp therefore makes a decision that will change his life forever—he quits the CIA to avoid involving his men in something this illegal and decides to assemble a group of independent assassins to complete the mission. What they discover is a tangled web of allegiances leading back to the head of Saudi intelligence. But in the search for truth and justice, Rapp himself is discovered. Soon the Saudis and Americans are forming a joint task force to stop him, supported by the President, who denies his involvement, just as he warned he would if Rapp’s actions became known. Will this mission prove to be Rapp’s final one?

SANAA LATHAN AND SHIVA NEGAR JOIN DYLAN O’BRIEN, MICHAEL KEATON AND TAYLOR KITSCH IN AMERICAN ASSASSIN

CBS Films and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) announced today that Sanaa Lathan (The Perfect Guy, Now You See Me 2) and Shiva Negar (Four In The Morning, The Art Of More) are joining Dylan O’Brien (Deepwater Horizon, The Maze Runner), Academy Award®-nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman, Spotlight) and Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor, True Detective) in the adaptation of Vince Flynn’s massive bestseller AMERICAN ASSASSIN.  Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Cuesta (Kill The Messenger, Homeland, L.I.E.) will direct the thriller from a screenplay by Stephen Schiff (The Americans, Ultimate Rush).  Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Deepwater Horizon, Salt) and Nick Wechsler (The Road, Magic Mike) are producing the film.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton).  The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets.  Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East.
   
Published by Atria Books and in mass market paperback by Pocket Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster, AMERICAN ASSASSIN is one of fifteen novels set in the world of counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp.  Every single one has been a New York Times bestseller, the three most recent entries have been number one New York Times bestsellers and the series has sold nearly twenty million copies to date.

“Vince Flynn created a universe populated by complex yet relatable characters who inspired millions of fans the world over,” said Cuesta. “To have an actress of Sanaa Lathan’s depth and intensity step into the role of Kennedy while simultaneously having the opportunity to introduce audiences to the extraordinary talent of Shiva Negar means that Flynn’s vision of powerful but believable individuals remains the foundation of AMERICAN ASSASSIN.”

Senior Vice President of Production Mark Ross and Vice President of Production Alex Ginno are overseeing the project for CBS Films.  AMERICAN ASSASSIN will be the latest release in the partnership between CBS Films and Lionsgate. The film will be co-financed by the two companies with CBS Films handling production and marketing and Lionsgate handling distribution.
 
Sanaa Lathan is represented by ICM.  Shiva Negar is represented by Matthew Seamons and Matt Floyd at Crimson Media and Ryan Goldhar at The Characters.  Like CBS Films, Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS Corporation.  The studio’s latest release, the acclaimed action thriller Hell Or High Water is currently in theaters.

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ABOUT CBS FILMS
CBS Films is a division of CBS Corporation. The division develops, finances, acquires, produces and releases theatrical feature films spanning all genres.  For more information, log on to www.cbsfilms.com.

ABOUT LIONSGATE
Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, international distribution and sales, branded channel platforms, interactive ventures and games, and location-based entertainment.  The Company has nearly 80 television shows on 40 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses. These include the ground-breaking hit series Orange is the New Black, the fan favorite series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show, the hit drama series The Royals, the Golden Globe-nominated dramedy Casual and the breakout success Greenleaf.
 
The Company's feature film business spans eight labels and includes the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, the Now You See Me, Divergent and John Wick series, Sicario, Nerve, The Age of Adaline, Roadside Attractions' Love & Mercy and Mr. Holmes, Codeblack Films' Addicted and breakout concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Pantelion Films' Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.
 
Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. www.lionsgate.com.

TAYLOR KITSCH JOINS DYLAN O’BRIEN AND MICHAEL KEATON IN AMERICAN ASSASSIN

CBS Films and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) announced today that Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor, True Detective) is joining Dylan O’Brien (Deepwater Horizon, The Maze Runner) and Academy Award®-nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman, Spotlight) in the adaptation of Vince Flynn’s massive bestseller AMERICAN ASSASSIN.  Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Cuesta (Kill The Messenger, Homeland, L.I.E.) will direct the thriller from a screenplay by Stephen Schiff (The Americans, Ultimate Rush).  Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Deepwater Horizon, Red) and Nick Wechsler (The Road, Magic Mike) are producing the film.

AMERICAN ASSASSSIN follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton).  The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets.  Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), a mysterious operative intent on starting a World War in the Middle East.

Published by Atria Books and in mass market paperback by Pocket Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster, AMERICAN ASSASSIN is one of fifteen novels set in the world of counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp.  Every single one has been a New York Times bestseller, the three most recent entries have been number one New York Times bestsellers and the series has sold nearly twenty million copies to date.

“For more than a decade Vince Flynn drew praise from the intelligence community for bringing his millions of readers into an intricately constructed world that refuted many of the tired Hollywood clichés about the clandestine services,” said Cuesta. “Authentically realizing that world means bringing together an extraordinary cast and letting them portray characters that defy audience preconceptions.  We are incredibly fortunate to have an actor of Taylor’s talent joining Michael and Dylan and I believe that together this team will deliver the riveting realization of AMERICAN ASSASSIN that Flynn’s fans have always wanted.”

Senior Vice President of Production Mark Ross and Vice President of Production Alex Ginno are overseeing the project for CBS Films.  AMERICAN ASSASSIN will be the latest release in the partnership between CBS Films and Lionsgate. The film will be co-financed by the two companies with CBS Films handling production and marketing and Lionsgate handling distribution.
 
Taylor Kitsch is represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.  Like CBS Films, Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS Corporation.  The studio’s latest release, the acclaimed action thriller Hell Or High Water is currently in theaters.

*   *   *
ABOUT CBS FILMS
CBS Films is a division of CBS Corporation. The division develops, finances, acquires, produces and releases theatrical feature films spanning all genres.  For more information, log on to www.cbsfilms.com.

ABOUT LIONSGATE
Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms, video games and international distribution and sales. The Company has nearly 80 television shows on 40 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses.  These include the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black, the multiple Emmy Award-winning drama Mad Men, the hit broadcast network series Nashville, the syndication successes The Wendy Williams Show and Celebrity Name Game (with FremantleMedia), the breakout series The Royals and the Golden Globe-nominated dramedy Casual.
Its feature film business has been fueled by such successes as the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, the first two installments of the Divergent franchise,Sicario, The Age of Adaline, CBS/Lionsgate's The DUFF, John Wick, Now You See Me, Roadside Attractions' Love & Mercy and Mr. Holmes, Lionsgate/Codeblack Films' Addicted and Pantelion Films' Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.
Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. www.lionsgate.com

MICHAEL KEATON TO PLAY STAN HURLEY IN AMERICAN ASSASSIN

CBS Films and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) announced that Academy Award®-nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman, Spotlight) will star in the adaptation of Vince Flynn’s massive bestseller AMERICAN ASSASSIN.  Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Cuesta (Kill The Messenger, Homeland, L.I.E.) will direct the thriller from a screenplay by Stephen Schiff (The Americans, Ultimate Rush).  Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Deepwater Horizon, Red) and Nick Wechsler (The Road, Magic Mike) are producing the film.

Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Keaton) would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency knew that he existed.  As AMERICAN ASSASSIN begins, Deputy Director Irene Kennedy tasks Hurley with training Mitch Rapp, a black ops recruit devastated by the loss of his fiancée to a terrorist attack.  As Rapp’s training progresses, the pair is dispatched on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative from starting World War III in the Middle East.
   
Published by Atria Books and in mass market paperback by Pocket Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster, AMERICAN ASSASSIN is one of fourteen novels set in the world of counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp.  Every single one has been a New York Times bestseller, the three most recent entries have been number one New York Times bestsellers and the series has sold nearly twenty million copies to date.

“Stan Hurley is one of the pillars of the Vince Flynn universe and a favorite character for millions of readers, so casting him was a daunting challenge,” said Cuesta, who continued. “To have an actor as intelligent and gifted as Michael Keaton bring this beloved character to life is a thrill for everyone involved in AMERICAN ASSASSIN and a cause for celebration amongst ‘Hurley’ fans the world over.”

AMERICAN ASSASSIN will be the latest release in the partnership between CBS Films and Lionsgate. The film will be co-financed by the two companies with CBS Films handling production and marketing and Lionsgate handling distribution.
 
Michael Keaton is represented by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content and Wendy Kirk at Ziffren Brittenham LLP.  The film will begin production this Summer.  Like CBS Films, Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS Corporation. 

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ABOUT CBS FILMS
CBS Films is a division of CBS Corporation. The division develops, finances, acquires, produces and releases theatrical feature films spanning all genres.  For more information, log on to www.cbsfilms.com.

ABOUT LIONSGATE
Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms, video games and international distribution and sales. The Company has nearly 80 television shows on 40 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses.  These include the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black, the multiple Emmy Award-winning drama Mad Men, the hit broadcast network series Nashville, the syndication successes The Wendy Williams Show and Celebrity Name Game (with FremantleMedia), the breakout series The Royals and the Golden Globe-nominated dramedy Casual.

Its feature film business has been fueled by such successes as the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, the first two installments of the Divergent franchise, Sicario, The Age of Adaline, CBS/Lionsgate's The DUFF, John Wick, Now You See Me, Roadside Attractions' Love & Mercy and Mr. Holmes, Lionsgate/Codeblack Films' Addicted and Pantelion Films' Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.For more information, log on to www.lionsgate.com.