Vince Q&As (2009-2013)
Will there be another Mitch Rapp book coming out soon?
The Survivor will be out in the fall of 2013.
Just finished The Last Man. Enjoyable read, as usual. My question: what is an Air Force Command Master Sergeant. I recognize the term Chief Master Sergeant and Command Chief Master Sergeant, but not Command Master Sergeant.
This was a mistake on my part. It should have read Chief Master Sergeant.
I've noticed there are a lot of SEAL autobiographies populating bookshelves lately. And since my husband and I take your book recommendations very seriously, I was wondering if you could recommend which, if any, of these books are worth reading?
I thought Fearless by Eric Blehm was excellent and No Easy Day is also well worth the read as it gives a more honest account of what happened in the Bin Laden raid than the official reports that came out of Washington.
When do you decide on the title of your novel? Is it after you've formulated the story/plot or, does it come to mind before; and do you ever change the title?
It is a very collaborative process that involves me coming up with a list of potential titles while I am writing the book. My editor and agent weigh in and we eventually narrow it down and pick one.
They are currently casting Rapp. There are seven actors that they’re talking to but I can’t share any of the names.
Will there be another Mitch Rapp book coming out soon?
I am hoping to have the next Rapp novel ready for Christmas this year.
Have you ever thought of having a character from another author's book make a random appearance in one of your novels?
Since I would like to make it through life without being sued by a fellow author the thought has never occurred to me.
Other authors mention you in their books (as a writer). One mentioned you working in a think tank for the government on worst-case scenarios. Any truth to that?
I have never worked for the federal government. I am a private citizen who takes our national security very seriously. I have participated in multiple meetings and conversations with National Security officials where we discuss the future as it pertains to the threat of terrorism. Out of respect for the men and women who work tirelessly to keep us safe, I rarely discuss the details of those conversations.
I am focused on the next Rapp novel, but as far as I know they are looking hard for who is going to play Mitch.
I am an Army medic one his third deployment and have been hooked on your books since the beginning. As much as I love the teams that Mitch has, why isn’t there a medic on any of them?
That is a very good point and something that I will have to work into one of the next books. I know in the past I have mentioned medical training for certain individuals, but you are correct that medics always play a crucial role with all military combat units especially Special Forces and Special Ops. On the clandestine side there is a lot of cross training in terms of medical training, communications, tactics, special weapons etc… but they do not necessarily have a dedicated medic on a four or six man team.
How much time, if any, do you spend relaxing and taking time off once a new book has been published and is on the shelves before starting the next one?
The ideas start floating around in my head as I’m finishing the previous book, but I don’t sit down and get serious for three or four months. After I hand in a book we edit and then once the book is put to bed the focus turns to marketing and promoting the book. Before you know it the book is out and it’s time for a media blitz. While I’m not technically writing, I’m always thinking about what Rapp is going to do next.
Am reading The Last Man at the moment and have just finished all your other books in order. As I am from New Zealand it was really cool to see Nelson NZ mentioned in the book. How did you decide on Nelson?
I would love to tell you that there is some deep meaning behind my choice, but I pretty much looked at a map and decided on Nelson.
Bruce Willis is locked in as Hurley. They’re still auditioning for Rapp. Filming should start in August.
Do you have plans to have Mitch Rapp recruit and/or train a replacement some day?
This is probably the route I will have to take and something I’ve been thinking about for the past four or five years but I’m not ready to give up on Mitch yet! Remember, Hurley is bad ass well into his 70’s.
When researching all of this extensive information for your books, do you ever become so overwhelmed with how BAD things are that you would like to run away and build a fortress for you and your family?
I’m more worried about the amount of debt the US has accumulated than about the terrorists, so when I do think about buying that big plot of land in the middle of nowhere its more because of the potential financial collapse of the United States.
Have you ever spoken to actual senators/congressmen about the storyline in Term Limits? I would be extremely curious what they thought of it.
Yes, but only in vague terms and I’m always shocked at the fact that they say how much they like the book which leads me to believe that a great many of them are narcissists and incapable of realizing that they have helped create this mess.
Which characteristics of Irene Kennedy do you attribute to your own?
She is much smarter and far more level headed than I am.
How come you’re not on Twitter?
This world is becoming an increasingly crazy place and Twitter would be just one more thing to get between me and my family. If you are looking for a Mitch Rapp related Twitter feed to follow, I’m told @VinceFlynnFans is a very nice representation of all of you.
Bruce Willis has met with and approved of American Assassin director Jeffrey Nachmanoff. CAA and CBS Films are in final negations with Bruce to play Stan Hurley. Chris Hemsworth has been given a $10 Million offer to play Mitch Rapp. The Aussie superstar is the perfect man to fill Rapp’s shoes. We’re waiting to hearing back to see if he will take the role.
Now that he has more of an "office job" at HQ (i.e. he now officially works for the CIA), what pay grade would you assign to Mitch?
Rapp would be a SIS 4.
Hi Vince, What do you think of the cuts in defense spending? Are we weakening our military in a dangerous way?
Yes we are weakening our Defense with these drastic cuts. It is time we stop looking only at Defense every time we decide to make cuts. The rest of the federal government is a huge, bloated bureaucracy that could easily stand a 10% trim across all departments and agencies.
Are you much of a sports fan?
Yes. I love college football, the NFL and MLB. I also like the NHL and college hoops.
Bruce Willis is in negotiation to play Stan Hurley and they are looking to start shooting in August of 2013.
Fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher are upset with the casting of the movie's character. What are Vince's feelings on the importance of staying true to the books in that regard?
This is a tough one. I’m a big fan of Tom Cruise, but I don’t know how you pick a guy who’s 5’9 to play a character who is 6’5. Child is a great writer and Cruise is a great actor, so my hope is that they will be able to make us forget this distinction between the character and the actor.
Is there a personal connection / tragedy regarding the Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland? It is mentioned very often in your books.
I’ve covered this before. The average person does not sign up to do what Mitch Rapp does. You need to be a uniquely motivated individual. The Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack was a horrible act that hit Syracuse University very hard.
Why is Mitch using the obscure HK4 pistol in Separation of Power?
Just having fun. I think it’s a very unique pistol.
They have started the casting process for American Assassin. Please weigh-in with your choices.
In Kill Shot you make a point of telling us that Stansfield's wearing a Timex watch, why?
It's a WWII generation thing.
What's the gap in years between the end of Kill Shot and Transfer Of Power?
I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it might tie me to a specific timeline and then I would have to kill off Rapp.
Did you plan to go back to the beginning with prequels or did it just come naturally?
It was planned.
I've always wondered why you made the presidents in all your books Democrats?
I have had both Republican and Democrat presidents.
Do you have or recommend a Survival Guide?
SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman followed by The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. I own both and find them to be equally educational.
Rush mentioned a watch you presented to him at a recent "Spring Fling" event. Would you be so kind as to share the name of the product?
It was a limited edition Panerai Luminor GMT-one of my favorite watches in the world.
Is it easier or harder to write a prequel, and why?
I enjoyed writing the prequels, but it was challenging to keep all the details straight.
Was wondering, in regards to your consulting work on Season 5 of 24, what storylines were you involved in developing, how involved was your consulting work, did you submit storyline ideas or did they bounce their ideas off you?
I sat in a room for a week with the writers and creators and we all bounced ideas off each other. It was very creative, competitive, honest, funny and brutal, which it has to be so the group doesn't spend too much time discussing bad ideas. In that one-week, we broke out the storyboards for the first third of the season and the overall plot. I then got on a plane and went home and they got busy writing the individual episodes.
How closely do you follow world events when planning your next work?
I pay attention to big picture and a lot of what goes on in the world figures into the motivation of my characters.
I just signed a one-year extension with CBS Films. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are still producing and Jeffrey Nachmanoff has just finished the first draft of his much-improved version of American Assassin. It looks like CBSF is motivated to pull the trigger on the Rapp franchise in the next six months, but I've been down this road before so I'm going to stay cautiously optimistic.
What does Vince think of the scandal in Colombia with the Secret Service? Is it really necessary to, have that many people in the advance party?
The scandal is horrible and is not indicative of the Secret Service in general. This is clearly a failure of management. The advance teams are very important and it is shocking that their behavior was so brazen. Over the years I've known a good number of agents who have served on the Personal Details of various presidents. I find it almost impossible to think that those individuals would do something so stupid. The advance teams do have more time on their hands as opposed to the Presidential Details who have very strict rules about drinking and socializing and very little free time while traveling with POTUS.
Since Mitch Rapp used to do computer consultation on the side as a cover for his clandestine work, if he were to express his opinions on Facebook and other social media trends, what would he say?
Rapp is ultimately a silent warrior, so while it would be tempting to use social media to light up the self-serving clowns on Capitol Hill, he would do it in person behind closed doors.
You've shown Mitch Rapp to have a "soft spot". Are there plans to bring another female into his life in future novels?
This is something I am seriously considering, but that's all I can say at this point.
I have always been interested in Coleman's character. Do you ever see playing a bigger role in your future books?
Jeffrey Nachmanoff has handed in the first third of a new screenplay for American Assassin and it is really good, by far the best of the three treatments that have been written to date. CBS Film's option on the project expires 4/26 so we will be working on an extension that will hopefully fast track American Assassin for production.
Have you ever entertained the idea of writing something outside of your current genre?
I have but I'm in no rush to do it. I like my genre, I like Rapp and I have three kids to put through college!
When you choose the equipment in the books, what factors in?
When possible, I like to test the various weapons that I put in the book however that is not always realistic. More often than not, especially when writing about military units, I use the exact same weapons that they would use in the real world.
Is it possible that there I someone out there doing what Mitch Rapp does?
The Israelis have him for certain. We have men like Rapp but we don't allow them to kill to the degree that the Israelis do.
We all know the Osama Bin Laden raid operation was executed by 24 Seal Team Six members and they were accompanied by an interpreter. Do you think this interpreter could actually have been a Mitch Rapp like operative?
First of all, very few people know the complete details of the raid. Originally, we heard there were 44 SEAL members and that didn't sound right and it wasn't right. The lead element consisted mainly of SEAL Team members but there were also CIA operatives on the ground even before the mission started who were surveying the compound for five months. The CIA was heavily involved in this operation.
My favorite book of yours is Term Limits and I am wondering if you plan to write a sequel?
CBS Films has brought Jeffrey Nachmanoff on board to rewrite the screen play for American Assassin. Jeffrey and I have talked and I really like his ideas. He gets who Rapp is.
What books on writing have helped you the most? Specifically, where did you learn how to develop the structure and the fast flowing action of your novels?
I did not read a single book about how to write a thriller. I relied on my instincts and my own sense of pacing and storytelling. In terms of structure, it's a good idea to open up The Firm by John Grisham to see how he starts and end his scenes.
Following along the lines of the success of games like Call of Duty and Halo, have you thought about making a 3D Mitch Rapp world?
Yes. My agent is in discussions with several gaming companies.
Have you made any plans on incorporating your recent illness into the plot lines of upcoming books?
That's a little too close to home so for now I have no plans on including that in any future books.
CBS Films have a very interesting new director that we're talking to but the clock is ticking. If CBS Films wants to keep the Rapp franchise, they're going to have to get quite a bit done in the next three months or the rights are coming back to me.
I was just wondering if because of Kill Shot being pushed back will there be two books released in 2012?
Very good question. The plan is to publish another Rapp novel in November and then hopefully my collaboration with Brian Haig in February,
Have you had any discussions with the film producers about you making a cameo appearance in the upcoming movies based on your novels?
Only as a joke but there’s a part of me that definitely wants to be a bodyguard that gets blown away!
When you set about detailing a new, blistering, Mitch Rapp masterpiece, do you write it on paper or type it on the laptop?
I always start on paper. I use a ton of index cards. But it seems like recently I’m spending less time on paper because I want to get a jump on writing it and I always do that on computer.
Do you "Begin with the End in Mind" when you write your novels?
I always have a vague idea as to what the ending will be but it usually changes a degree or two.
Are you a fan of MMA and do you study any of the different disciplines?
I am in awe of MMA, but I do not study any of the various disciplines, although without knowing it, my brothers and I tried many of these moves on each other while growing up.
What non-fiction books are the best sources for SOG forces at the CIA or SF soldiers in general?
That's a tough one. These days I rely more on my contacts than books for my research.
I was recently introduced to your book Transfer of Power and was intrigued by your reference to a Thomas Aquinas style desk in General Floods office (Chap 12). I am curious as to what the desk looked like and the influence of Thomas Aquinas. My attempts to find a reference online have not been fruitful. Do you have a reference I might use to learn more about this style of furniture or is it simply an artifact of Mitch Rapp's world?
I attended St. Thomas Academy and Thomas Aquinas was our patron. A priest in high school told us about the desk.
I am a big fan of the Rapp books. Will we see more of his life in his 20s?
Especially enjoyed the statement about Pres. Hayes thinking Eisenhower as dark horse candidate for best president. Does this reflect your thinking on Eisenhower?
Yes, I am a fan of Eisenhower. I don't agree with all of his policies, but in general I think he was an extremely wise man who was essential in defeating the Nazis.
Do you ever worry that a wanna-be radical terrorist will pick up one of your books and try to imitate one of the terrorist attacks depicted in them?
I used to worry more about it, but I have great faith in the men and women who work to prevent such attacks.
When did you develop a passion for government conspiracy plots and politics in general?
I was eight years old when Nixon resigned. I remember my dad calling a family meeting and when I asked him why the president was resigning he said, "Because he lied." Then came the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Afghan war, Pan Am Lockerbie, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the first attack on the World Trade Center. There are times where I think, "You can't make this stuff up fast enough."
Can you tell us what you think of General Petraeus as DCI?
I respect the man greatly but wonder if a "by the book" military man is the best fit for the CIA. I Have a deep respect for General Petraeus, but I do worry about putting a by the book, West Point grad in charge of our main spy agency.
If you had to do it all again, (with the struggles of getting your first book published) is there anything you would have done differently?
That's a tough question because things have turned out pretty well, so I have nothing to complain about. More than ever, I'm convinced that the key to success in this business is to write a good page-turner and write one every year. If you can do that the rest will take care of itself.
I noticed that your description of Mitch Rapp's facial scar is almost identical to the one described by Ian Fleming on James Bond's face (it's only in the Bond books, not the movies). Is this a coincidence or homage?
I tried to read my first Ian Fleming novel three years ago and I couldn't get into it. I didn't have a problem with the writing but it seemed dated and a little cheesy. When I finish writing Kill Shot I will have to try again.
I personally am offended when I read the reviews on retailers' message boards, which dismiss you based on their view of your political views? Does it bother you when the media comments on your book based on political affiliations rather than content?
I have learned to laugh at these reviews and I take great solace in the fact that while the circulation of the New York Times continues to decline, my book sales continue to rise.
Hopefully very soon I'll be able to announce some exciting news involving American Assassin and one of Hollywood's most talented directors.
What is Mitch's knife?
Mitch is not a knife snob, so he uses what is available.
I was just wondering, why do you put a star on your books?
In the main lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency there is a wall that honors the CIA operatives who have been lost over the years. Due to the clandestine nature of their work, no names are listed. A simple star carved into the wall represents each employee who has been killed while serving their country.
Irene Kennedy is one of my favorite characters; who is the inspiration for Irene?
Irene was created entirely from my imagination.
Re: Pursuit of Honor. "Rapp was wearing a Nat Nast bowling shirt with vertical cream stripes..." You look way too young to know about Nat Nast bowling shirts. What's up? (From an old bowler).
The Nat Nast label has made a big comeback in the last decade. Cops love to wear them because they are loose enough to conceal a gun on the hip.
How do you know all about the designers you mention your characters are wearing?
I travel a fair amount and always need a few magazines for takeoff and landing. Beyond that, it's my job as writer to pay attention.
Did Mitch Rapp have anything to do with killing Osama Bin Laden?
Mitch Rapp was not directly involved, but the CIA's Clandestine Service was. I'm told they were in the neighborhood for three months casing the joint and collecting intelligence. The operation is very reminiscent of the opening scenes in Memorial Day when the Joint Special Operations Command sends a strike team over the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan to capture a high value target. In the book the U.S. Government does not inform the Pakistani government because we know the terrorists are in bed with their intelligence service. Sounds strikingly familiar to what happened Sunday. It's a great day for America! We owe a debt of thanks to the CIA and JSOC.
In American Assassin, you mention a story about some Russian spies being kidnapped. Worried about the information they'd inevitably give up, the Russians sent in a death squad and killed anyone having anything to do with the kidnapping (including women and children) until the spies were released. Is that a true story?
I have asked multiple sources about this story and have come to the conclusion that it is part fact and part exaggeration.
In Protect and Defend you made reference to the U.S.S. Samuel B Roberts. I served on the "Steamin Sammy B.". Why did you specifically use this U. S. ship in your book?
I decided to feature the Steamin' Sammy B. because of the 1988 Iranian mine strike and the amazing job the crew did to keep the ship afloat.
I have a sixteen year old son named Jacob and he is a huge fan of yours. Jacob is Autistic/Asperger's and loves to read. When he finishes your books he gives them to me. Jacob wants to go to college and become a writer. Do you have any advice in regards to this line of work so my wife and I can lead him in the right direction?
Every writer has their own method and what works for them might not work for someone else, but one piece of advice holds true: Writing is a mix of talent and discipline. If you want to succeed you have to spend thousands of hours writing. Journaling is a great way to start and if Jacob gets serious about writing a novel, I'm a big believer in index cards and deciding in what genre you are going to write. Once you know that, you can better understand your audience. Look at who has succeeded in that genre and how they've done it. More often than not, you'll find that the writers who succeed have a smooth style that propels the story rather than get in the way of it.
CBS Films is now looking to hire a writer/director to develop American Assassin.
Finally, Hollywood is doing your work. Will you be involved with the screenplay?
I have been consulted every step of the way.
What would Mitch do about the Wikileaks situation? Have you noticed that Wikileaks has yet to go after Russia or China, two regimes who aren't exactly known for tolerating dissent or free speech?
It is my opinion that if Wikileaks went after either Russia or China, they would be shut down by cyber attacks and several of their employees would vanish.
In Terms Limits, why did you have Scott Coleman living in an apartment? I'm wondering if he was just starting out and didn't have the money?
Houses cost a lot of money. When you're plotting to commit a major crime, where there is a really good chance you might have to run, you tend to avoid laying down a large chunk of cash to buy a house. That being said, he could have rented a house, but the truth is that in D.C. houses are tough to rent and apartments are plentiful.
Is there going to be another Mitch Rapp book after Pursuit of Honor?
Yes. I already have the opening scenes and basic plot outlined
I am a big fan of the Rapp books. Will we see more of his life in his 20s?
Absolutely. I am planning on an American Assassin trilogy that will encompass his early years.
Why did you not continue the series like you've done previously: in a chronological pattern, versus going back to reestablish Mitch Rapp's character?
From the moment I created Mitch Rapp, I knew I would go back and write a series of novels about how Rapp became Rapp.
I was wondering if you knew why they decided to start with Consent to Kill as the first movie. I was also wondering if you thought that Term Limits was too politically sensitive to ever be made into a movie?
They chose Consent to Kill because they thought it had a stronger romantic component that would bring women as well as men into the theatre. Term Limits was written as a cautionary tale. Fifteen years later I think it is even more relevant. The book, however is too raw and revolutionary for the big screen.
I wish had some good news to report, but there is none. CBS Films has asked for a sixth rewrite of the script in an effort to squeeze more money out of the budget. In addition, several major actors have expressed a real desire to play Mitch Rapp, but the studio has yet to make anyone an offer. Not a lot gets done in L.A. between Christmas and New Years, so don't expect any earth shattering news until February.
I Was curious if you planned for the release of American Assassin to be on the ten-year anniversary of the USS COLE bombing or if it was just coincidence?
It was a coincidence.
You relax with vodka and a cigar. What is you favorite cigar?
I'm more of a red wine guy, but I will allow myself one vodka to start the evening, especially if I'm at my cabin and not driving. I have a lot of cigars I enjoy, but I'm a big fan of Montecristo Whites and Ashton VSG's. The Ashton VSG's are a great cigar for the outdoors, where the Monty Whites are a good year around cigar, but especially during the cold Minnesota winters where I hole up in my smoking room. I also love Diamond Crowns and if you're looking for a value it is hard to beat the Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real.
When you write scenes involving girlfriends or spouses, is it from a man's point of view or does your wife or other females have input?
Great Question! I never ask for someone's opinion on how I should write a scene. I will research a scene and then write it. When I sit down to write, there is only one cook in the kitchen. Any good writer has the ability to put themselves in the head of each character. We are quite adept at arguing both sides of an issue. It is not difficult, for instance, to think of how a woman might react if a man shows up at 3:00 in the morning tanked and belligerent. Certain women might handle the situation with calm, but most women would read the man the riot act.
Where did you come up with the character Andrew Swanson in your latest book? If it’s who I think it is I worked with the original Dr. Andrew Swanson in Mankato, MN.
Tim Healy, a good friend of mine knew Andrew well and told me in addition to being a great guy, he was a huge fan of the Mitch Rapp series. Tim asked if there was a way to work him into the story.
While reading your new book 'American Assassin' I noticed that Stan Hurley moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky as a child. I am just wondering why you choose such a place for Stan to grow up. Do you just look at a map and pick a random place or do you have some type of connection to Bowling Green?
My dad listened to a lot of Louis Armstrong and as a kid I always got a kick out of the song "Long Gone(From Bowling Green)"
The fifth draft of the screen play just came in. It was ordered after the location scouting that was done earlier this summer by Nick Wechsler, Antoine Fuqua and Jonathan Lemkin. Everyone seems to be happy with the script. There has also been a few new names thrown in the hat, such as Ben Afleck. I saw his new movie The Town last night and it was really good. Based on his performance I think he could pull it off. We are hoping to get budget approval in the coming weeks and then begin casting.
Will you sign other books than American Assassin when I come to see you in Waxachie, TX?
If someone is in line with the new book and a few old hardcovers I will sign them, but if they have the entire backlist, I prefer that you wait until the end so as to not slow the line down.
What compelled you to write on such an interesting and complex genre?
I was a child of the 80's... Beirut Embassy bombing, Marine Barracks bombing, Libya's Line of Death, PLO, Hezbollah, Hamas, Pan Am Lockerbie, Berlin Disco Bombing... the list went on and on. As the Soviet Union began their slow decline, I saw Islamist Extremism as the next problem we would have to confront.
Have you given any thought to a Mitch Rapp graphic novel or comic book series?
We have discussed it, and will be discussing it again when I'm in New York later this week.
What are your thoughts on e-readers? Do you own one? Can you foresee a day when the e-book eliminates the printed book (for the most part)?
I own several e-readers and I like them both for different reasons. It's difficult to predict how this will all shake out, but e-reader sales are not showing any signs of slowing down. On the other hand a certain segment of the reading population will always want to hold a printed book. I have no idea if this means a twenty/eighty split in ten years or fifty/fifty.
In Pursuit of Honor one of the characters states that out of 100 interrogations, we obtained useful information 99 times. Is there any documentation of these successes?
I am tempted to answer this question, but for reasons that should be obvious, I must decline.
The scouting trip to Jordan and the Middle East went extremely well for Nick Wechsler, Antoine Fuqua and Jonathan Lemkin. They found some great locations and Lemkin is doing another rewrite of the script. It looks like we are back on the goal line. If we get the green light while I'm touring, drinks are on me.
I'm a big gun nut so I was wondering if you're a shooter since your books are so laden with firearm reference, and why FNH guns?
I am a shooter and over the years I have become a big believer in Glocks. I was a snob at first and refused to buy one because they looked so ugly. After years of firing more temperamental weapons a buddy finally talked me into trying the Glock. It was about this time when a few Special Ops buddies also told me the various units were all changing over to the Glock. Typically the 9mm or .45 depending what they were doing. The FNH is in there because the FN 5.7 is one of the most revolutionary handguns to come out in years. I have one and I love to fire it. Extremely smooth and very reliable.
I am wondering what your thoughts are on the possible mosque at Ground Zero?
I am against the mosque being built so close to Ground Zero. Manhattan is a big island. If they were really about healing the wounds they would pick a less divisive location. Pop question: How many churches, synagogues and temples were built in all of Saudi Arabia last year? Answer: Zero
I'm weighing the options of going high tech. My question: Is your percentage of royalty the same with a hardback book and an e-book?
My royalty is the same.
Hello Vince. You have mentioned previously that O'Rourke was not intended to be a franchise guy like Rapp. Have you considered having O'Rourke make a future appearance, perhaps alongside Rapp?
I have considered it, but it's way out there. I have too many other good ideas that are floating around in my brain, but I've learned to never say never.
When you write, do you write with a pencil and paper or on a laptop/desktop computer?
Legal pads and pen, index cards and eventually the computer. I use an iMac at the office and a MacBook Pro when traveling.
I'm a huge Mitch/Vince fan. I've read them all. Can you suggest another author with a Mitch like character?
When on tour the same ten to twenty questions tend to pop up and two of them are: "Who would win in a fight Jack Reacher or Mitch Rapp?" and "Will Mitch and Gabriel Allon ever team up?" The respective authors of those great characters are the aforementioned Lee Child and Daniel Silva. Additionally, I'm a big fan of Nelson DeMille, Michael Connelly, Brian Haig and Jon Land to name a few.
Vince, I think it’s cool you read Science Fiction and Fantasy. Do you like any contemporary Science Fiction and Fantasy writers?
No, but I'm always looking for suggestions.
Nick Wechsler, Antoine Fuqua and Jonathan Lemkin are scouting locations in the Middle East. It is a slow process but we are moving forward.
In Protect and Defend, was it difficult for you to make the decision to have Rapp refer to the Constitution as a "two-hundred-plus-year-old piece of paper?"
It was not difficult at all. The comment was directed at the politically direct attorney general, not the Constitution.
I'm confused. What happened to Maria and Mitch's relationship?
It fizzled out. There is a chance she might come back, though.
Were you lucky enough to get invited to Rush's wedding?
Yes. My wife and I attended. It was an amazing weekend. I've never seen Rush happier.
Why Did Mitch Rapp switch at the end of the story from a Beretta 9 mil. (I assume its a model 92 since that's what most gov't folks carry), to a Heckler and Koch 9 mil at the end of the book?
Great catch. I had been firing a Beretta 92F for several years and found it to be unreliable. It felt great and was accurate, but it stove piped and jammed far too frequently. I started shooting an H&K 9mm and Glock and found them to be far more reliable. Also, I talked to my sources at the Joint Special Operations Command and found out that most of the shooters had switched to the H&K and Glock platforms (9mm for close quarter and .45 for combat).
From Memorial Day, "For Akram it was about saving the religion he loved from a group of fanatics who had twisted the words of the great prophet so they could perpetuate hatred and fear." This represents the prevailing view, even today but I wonder if this was also your view and if you are still in this camp today? No judgments here; just curiosity.
I am of the view that Islam is in dire need of a reformation. I will leave it at that for now.
CBS Films took a big hit with their first major release Extraordinary Measures. Their second film starring J- Lo didn't bomb, but it didn't do great either. All of this has unfortunately complicated the decision process over green lighting Consent to Kill. Three months ago, it looked like we were on the verge of finally getting it done. We had a slew of great male and female actors who were extremely interested in signing on, Antoine Fuqua had been attached as director and everyone loved the script. Since then, CBS has gotten skittish over the budget and have begun to look for co-financing, which has put the project in a more complicated state. One of the major studios in Hollywood has offered to take the entire project over, increase the budget and turn it into a summer tent pole movie. They've floated Christian Bale as the lead, which is an extremely interesting choice considering what happens to Mitch Rapp in Consent to Kill. While this has been an extremely frustrating few months, I have once again realized just how hard it is to get a movie made. My esteem for the producers Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler has grown immensely. Their patience and dogged determination amazes me. It is my hope that we will know one way or another by the end of June.
My dad and I have a bet. He says that you couldn't write too many excellent stories like Term Limits before needing a main character. I say that Term Limits hit too close to home and that someone in the US Govt. encouraged you to write shall we say differently and not so close to home.
Very interesting question. Term Limits was always intended as a stand-alone novel, although some of the characters do continue on in the Rapp series. I often say that Term Limits could have only been my first novel. When you take a step back, it is a very cutting novel, considering who you end up cheering for. I can emphatically tell you that no one in the government ever approached me and encouraged me to cover a different subject. More recently, though, critics and bloggers have condemned the novel as dangerous.
I do have one question...how do you get such detailed information on the operations of CIA if they are such a secret and classified society?
Most of what I do involves connecting the dots and filling in the blanks. At no point in the last 17 years has an active employee of the CIA ever given me classified information, although there has been a handful of times where something slipped that led me to look in an area that I had not considered. Retired officers, operatives and analysts are another matter. I have heard some amazing stories over the years, but please keep in mind, these people trust me. They know I am a passionate defender of their mission.
Why make Mitch a lefty?
Since there are fewer lefties it makes him stand out a little more.
I noticed in your last book, Pursuit of Honor, you were wearing a Panerai watch on the back cover. Do you mind telling me the model or series of the watch?
The watch is a Panerai Luminor 1950 8 Days GMT.
I was hoping to have some big news to report, but things remain in flux. Some days it seems like it's a sure thing and some days not so much. There are a lot of moving parts.
Your first novel (Term Limits) did not feature Mitch Rapp but rather O'Rourke, why did you decide not continue the series with O'Rourke?
While writing Term Limits I became convinced that the next big National Security Threat would come from Islamic Terrorists. O'Rourke was never written to be a series character. Rapp on the other hand was designed from the very beginning to be a Franchise man.
Vince, I notice that you seem to favor the Gulfstream G-III for a good bit of Mitch's travels to the Middle East, plus his contractor friends seems to use the G-III. Most writers default straight to the G-V, but you seem to use the more financially realistic G-III for your books. Who advises you on aviation issues?
Good catch. The CIA, like any big government agency, or private corporation, has a very real need for private aviation and that's before you even enter the clandestine side of what they do. They have a small fleet of planes that they use to move their people around and up until recently the G-III was often their choice, although I have been told a G-V was added to the fleet a few years ago.
I am a Division I college basketball coach and have a player who has the exact same psychological profile as Glen Adams. I am having problems with him and was wondering where you received your info on that type of profile and any suggestions on how to resolve conflict with a person like that.
Coach, Pick up the POCKET HANDBOOK OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY by B. & V. Sadock, M.D. Read the section on Narcissistic Personality disorder. You will find it extremely helpful. This disorder can be painfully obvious in athletes. In basketball this kind of player usually thinks he is fouled every time he goes to the hoop and at the opposite end of the court he thinks he never commits a foul. Even when confronted with video evidence that refutes their demonstrative claims, they shake their head and deny the evidence. The refs are always screwing them and their coach doesn't know what he's doing. This type of player can be extremely disruptive to the team concept. As for how to resolve conflict with the player, much of that depends on the severity of the disorder. If it is severe, you are in a near helpless situation. If not, you need to get him to trust you, and point out the contradictions as they happen, but try not to do so in a humiliating way. Explain to him that you want him to be the best he can be, and that he will never achieve his true potential if he doesn't understand the areas he needs to work on. I would also find someone in the psychology department at your school and ask their advice on the matter.
I have been re-reading your whole series and something stuck out the 2nd time through. In Consent to Kill you mention that Mitch beat up a kid named Duser as a child. Duser is the name of a 'hitter' in Pursuit of Honor. Is this a coincidence or should we have caught this when reading your books?
Good catch, but it is a coincidence.
How did you choose the character name of Mitch Rapp?
It was done one evening while having drinks with some friends in downtown Minneapolis. I was looking for a name with a one two punch. Jack was being overused at the time so I settled on Mitch for a first name and then after a few more rounds, I narrowed the last name down to Rapp. Rapp is the last name of my friend Eric Rapp. He has blond hair and looks nothing like Mitch Rapp, but shares many of his world views.
I have a new respect for how hard it is to get a movie made. I feel like we've been on the one yard line for three months. We are really close, but we hit a rough patch with the budget three weeks back. Once again I hope to have more answers for you shortly.
I have a new respect for how hard it is to get a movie made. I feel like we've been on the one yard line for three months. We are really close, but we hit a rough patch with the budget three weeks back. Once again I hope to have more answers for you shortly.
The plan is to publish the new series in the Spring and keep publishing a Rapp book every Fall.
What is Mitch Rapp's favorite gun? He has used many in the books, but does he have a favorite?
Mitch Rapp is the best! Is he based on someone in particular or a mix of personalities and "gunfighters" that you have come across in your research?
He is based on a mix.
Can we find a guy for Kennedy? Please?!
I'm thinking about it, but don't to want to force it.
Have you published anything under another name?
Where do you get your “insider information” on intelligence agencies and the military?
I network, like any good reporter.
I've noticed that several of your books take place in the fall. Is there a strategic reason for basing your novels in autumn?
Who is your favorite villain from one of your books?
Stu Garret, the presidential Chief of Staff in Term Limits. He typified the kind of jerk who is often
drawn to the halls of power. His demise in Protect and Defend was one of the most satisfying scenes I've ever written.
I hear you are starting a new series. Is it a branch off of Mitch Rapp? or is it a whole new series?
I am starting a new series and it will have an entirely new set of characters. I am in negotiations with my publisher and will report more in the coming months.
I noted references to Appleton, Wi and Lake Poygan. Do you have connections to the area?
Dave Warch, a buddy of mine, grew up in Appleton, WI.
Can you give some background on how you decided to have Mitch Rapp be a Syracuse lacrosse player?
My thought process began with the idea that the CIA needed to go on the offensive against terrorist organizations. Kill them before they kill us. From there I began to think about the type of person who would willingly take on such a dangerous job. I decided they would need to be highly motivated on a personal level. That led me to the Pan Am Lockerbie Terrorist attack where thirty-five Syracuse students were killed.
My husband and I love your books and I was wondering if you could help settle a friendly argument. In "Protect and Defend" you refer to Blazing Saddles when Rapp says "Badges..we don't need no stinking badges..." Isn't that originally from Treasure of Sierra Madre and the question is did they say "Stinking badges" in the original? Thanks for your time. $$ is riding on your answer.
The line was quoted directly from Blazing Saddles where it was used as an obvious tip of the hat to Treasure of Sierra Madre. The line that was in Treasure of the Sierra Madre was, "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"
How did you get involved with "24" and how extensively were you involved?
One of the creators called my agent in New York and asked if I would be interested in writing for the show. Writing the novels comes first, so while I was very flattered, there was no way I was going to move to L.A. We reached an agreement that I would be hired as a story consultant. I spent a week with the creators and writers where we broke out the story line for the first third of season five. It was an absolute blast. Watching the way Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran worked together was amazing.
Have you ever considered writing a book of short stories?
Can you purchase posters of the book covers?
CBS Films has hired the critically-acclaimed Antoine Fuqua to direct, and he has hit the ground running. They are already working on casting calls to decide who will play Mitch as well as Irene Kennedy and many others.
Is the upcoming movie based on a specific book?
The movie will be based on Consent to Kill (this has been changed to American Assassin).
Is there a title for your next book yet?
No title yet, but I am having more fun writing this book than I have in years. When I started thinking about Rapp back in 1995, I brushed over the early years of him at the tip of the spear. He was already in his mid thirties when he was introduced in Transfer of Power, and there was an entire decade of his life as an operative that was glossed over in a few paragraphs and sentences throughout the book. It has been a huge thrill for me to go back and get to know him in his twenties. This novel will be the most action packed I have written in years and it might even have some romance.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
It takes me about eight months to write a book.
I've heard that the government uses your books for training. Is that correct?
As far as the government using my books for training, I've heard some pretty interesting stories over the years, but I think to say they specifically use them for training might be taking it a bit far. I know the books have caused people in the National Security Arena to think of some things that they haven't thought of, and that the books have helped spur discussion about the security of individual facilities as well as the war against Radical Islamic Fundamentalism.
What steps did you take take in publishing your first novel?
I self published Term Limits 13 years ago and visited every bookstore in the Twin Cities. The face-to-face sales coupled with two wonderful publicists, Teresa McFarland and Maureen Cahill, made for a big success. In three short weeks we sold out of 2,300 hard covers and had to go back to press. A lot has changed since then. Most notably e-books. With the advent of e-books, it now costs almost nothing to self publish and as more and more people buy Kindles, The Nook, The Sony E-Reader, and the new Google and Apple devices, e-publishing will become more pervasive. The trick will be how to get your book noticed and eventually published in both the e-format and print. Assuming the book is good, you will need to focus your attention on marketing, advertising and word of mouth.
I expect some big news in January, so stay tuned.
I collect hardcover editions of all of Vince's books is there a way to get them signed?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get the books signed. Your best bet is to work through an independent bookstore like Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis or show up at one of my signings when I'm on tour.
Are all of your books available in the unabridged audio format?
Yes, all of my books are now available in abridged and unabridged formats.
How important is it to read the Mitch Rapp books in order?
For some people it is sacrilegious to read them out of order, and for others it isn't a big deal. It's a matter of personal preference.
You mentioned your dyslexia during an interview with Glenn Beck and I found it inspirational. What advice do you have for people struggling in either their childhood or adult years with similar learning disabilities?
I tell dyslexic kids and their parents all the time to get their kid reading. I don't care if it's comic books or monster truck magazines. Find out what their hobbies and likes are end then buy magazines or books on the subject. Reading is a habit, so find a time every day for at least ten minutes where they read. The easiest is usually bedtime. Get the cell phones, PSP's and TV's out of their bedroom and make them read.
How do you go about researching for your novels?
I have a nice library of books on the various things I write about and an ever-growing Rolodex of people I can call who have professional experience in the areas of National Security, Defense and Law Enforcement.
I love reading your books on my Kindle but am having trouble locating the entire collection. Are they all available or should I head to the bookstore?
As far as I'm aware, they are all available on Amazon.
CBS Films has approved the script as well as a lengthy list of 25 directors that was submitted by the producers Lorenzo DiBonaventura and Nick Wechsler. In essence this is the studio and the producers telling the industry, "We really want to make this move, so hurry up and read this script and let us know if you are interested, because the train is about to leave the station." As to when that train leaves the station, the hope is that we have a director secured by Christmas and then the pros will turn their attention to finding the right actor to play Mitch. They are already talking to a handful of actors who all show promise.
When will the next book be out?
The next book will be out October of 2010, and it's been floating around in my head for a good thirteen years. It's the birth of Rapp... how he was recruited and trained, his first kill and his first act of insubordination that lands him in the ultimate snake pit. His superiors back in D.C. know he has some unique talents, but even they could not have guessed just how brutally efficient he would be at bringing the fight to the enemy
What was it like growing up with dyslexia and how did you overcome it?
When I was a kid it really sucked. I sat in the back of the classroom and felt like an idiot. Most of the other kids progress at a pretty quick pace when it comes to reading and writing, but for me it just wasn't happening. In grade school I started getting pulled out of my 3rd grade class and sent down the hall for SLBP(Slow Learning Behavior Problem) classes. Those ladies saved me by giving me the tools to at least get by. You learn to skip the words you have a problem with and finish the sentence and then the paragraph and then the page. It's like speed reading. You don't have to read everything to understand the basic context. I'm still a horrible speller and a pretty slow reader. The thing that helped me the most was when I began reading spy novels in college. I ran from the problem for years and never discussed it with anyone. I was embarrassed. I would do anything to get out of reading aloud and to this day I will break out in a cold sweat if someone wants me to read in public. You don't really overcome dyslexia, you learn to live with it. When you're a kid being teased for falling behind the last thing you would ever think is that this problem is actually a gift, but it is. It's no accident that dyslexic people are disproportionately represented in creative fields. The trick is keeping the dyslexic kids involved in school so they don't simply check out. For me, sports was my savior. It was the one thing that gave me the confidence to not feel like a complete loser. The advice I give to parents who have a dyslexic kid is to not let them run away from the problem like I did. Confront it, work on it by reading things that interest the kid and find a hobby where your child can excel.
What are your thoughts on the events at Ft. Hood?
I will no doubt be speaking about this next week when I'm on Beck, Imus and Hannity and I plan on saying some very frank and honest things that will no doubt upset the politically correct crowd. I can't say this any more clearly. This terrorist attack against unarmed individuals was committed by a Islamic Radical Jihadist, who should have been bounced from the army years ago. Coddling Islam by shielding it with political correctness and rushing to their defense every time some Jihadist opens fire or blows himself up, only delays the religion's much needed reformation. Islam is a faith in crisis and has been for quite some time. There is a powerful minority within the religion that is the most intolerant, sexist, bigoted, and racist group of men on the planet, and until their fellow Muslims stand up and denounce them, and do it often and loudly, there will be no hope in solving this problem.
Did you have Obama in mind when you created the Adams character?
You are endorsed by many "right wing/conservative" people, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Beck, do you think your books speak to those that are not of their mindset/what do you have to say to your more liberal fans?
We are a center right country and these books reach a broad base of people. At pretty much every event, someone will come up to me and say something like, "I love Mitch Rapp and oh by the way I'm liberal."
I'm in the middle of reading Jonathan Lemkin's newest version of the script and really enjoying it. Amy Baer at CBS Films is also reading the script and hopefully while I'm on tour we'll get the word that we're pushing ahead with hiring a director and a lead to play Rapp. A few exciting names are floating around right now and I will update you as soon as it looks like we are close to finding the right man. Your opinions as to who should play Rapp are always appreciated.
Would Vince consider running for office?
Highly unlikely and definitely not in the foreseeable future.
What does he think of the Lockerbie bomber?
I think civilization would have been better served if he had served his time behind bars. Watching the way he was greeted as hero should serve as a sobering reminder to all who think that these bigoted maniacs will like us if we're just nice to them.
What does he think of Iran missile testing?
There is no easy solution to Iran, but if I was Israel I don't think I'd wait around much longer.
What happened to little Charlie Nash?
He's only aged six days since Extreme Measures and he's still cussing like a sailor.
How is Mitch Rapp’s dog Shirley?
Shirley is well and living with Irene Kennedy and her son Tommy.
Any details about a movie or potential movie?
A lot interesting stuff is happening on the movie front. Jonathan Lemkin who wrote the I'm going to have to leave you hanging on this one. I'm in the midst of plotting out the next book, and after getting burned a few times recently, I have decided to keep my plots to myself until they are published. About all I can say is that Rapp will be back in book twelve and there is a very strong chance that some people from his past will make an appearance. screenplay for "Shooter" has written a kick-ass script and is in rewrites. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler have been talking to directors and are closing in on actor to play Mitch. There are three or four in the hopper right now. Some of them have been discussed in the past, and there is at least one new one, who I am really excited about. These things always take time and until they start shooting nothing is a done deal. The second we sign someone I will let you know.
Any tips on writing or getting started as an author?
tart out by writing what you are passionate about. I always hear people say, write what you know, and while sometimes that works, more often than not the retired FBI agent or cop, while very talented at law enforcement, is not so good at writing a page turner. Carve out at least one hour a day and write at least one page. It doesn't even have to be good at first. Everyone wants to talk about talent or the gift, and they definitely play a part, but discipline is every bit as important.
Spartacus! Also, Rules of Engagement. My wife and I are very happy that it’s back on. It’s one of our favorite shows.
I finally watched the new Batman over the holidays and thought it was really good. I also watched Lawless and thought it was great. As for the small screen I’m really excited for Justified and Downton Abbey.
Really enjoying Modern Family, The Middle and The Voice and I’m watching tons of College Football. I’m about to finally start on Homeland. And I’m really looking forward to seeing Django Unchained in the theater.
Breaking Bad season 3 and I’m really struggling with the dark side of this series. It’s extremely well written, the actors are great but the characters and the storylines are depressing. Looking forward to starting Homeland next week. Also, I’ve enjoyed the first two episodes of The Walking Dead.
I started watching Breaking Bad this summer and am hooked. I’ve finished the first two seasons and things keep getting better. The cancer subplot was a little hard for me to deal with at first but the characters are so interesting I got past it.
I just finished the Borgias and thought it was disappointing. I'm now onto season one of Breaking Bad and am hooked. The cancer angle hits a little too close to home sometimes, but other than that it's extremely well written and acted.
Downton Abbey: To some of you it might come as a shock to find out that the creator of Mitch Rapp is addicted to a Masterpiece/PBS series about a World War I era period TV series, but I can't deny the truth. The acting, writing and cinematography are of major motion picture quality. If you're looking for something compelling to watch over the desolate summer months of network reruns this is a great place to start. Right after you've watched season one, two and three of Justified.
Season three of Justified blew my mind. I don't know how a show that starts out so good can get better each year. Hands down the best dialogue on TV. My wife is now hooked as well and she's working her way feverishly through the first two seasons.
Game of Thrones is back on HBO and it is every bit as compelling as last season. I read the books and this is one of those rare projects where the film version is every bit as good as the novels. They will clean up at the awards shows again this year.
Three of my favorite shows are back on the air which makes me very happy to spend 40 minutes on the treadmill. Spartacus Vengeance, Justified and Walking Dead are all must see TV.
Mumford and Sons, Eric Church, Bob Seger.
I am crazy about a new guy named JD McPherson. His debut album Signs and Signifiers featuring Jimmy Sutton and Alex Hall is one of the best I have heard in a long time. Extremely soulful and unique, you would swear McPherson was a star from long ago.
Lots of Christmas music and looking forward to giving my wife the new Kid Rock CD for Christmas.
Willy Moon—Very few people know about this Aussie/Brit sensation but he is all anybody will be talking about in a year. And The Mavericks new album, Suited Up And Ready.
The Black Keys. No one making music like these guys. I’m also waiting for The Killers to release their next album.
I'm under deadline again so I'm listening to it all, but especially Kid Rock. My wife and I saw him in concert a week ago and he was off the charts. It was a great show, full of lots of energy. The Mavericks just released a new album and it is worth the purchase. Raul Malo has the voice of an angel.
I'm getting into serious writing mode so I'm all over the board, from Kid Rock to Little Feat to Kenny Wayne Shepherd, to Kings of Leon, to Sam Cooke and Motown. I have over 5,000 songs in my iTunes library and it's pretty eclectic. At this point in the writing process I hit random and start typing.
Chief by Eric Church: Everything music should be-great lyrics, good beat, introspective and at times really funny. This one will be on heavy rotation at the cabin this summer.
Eric Church, great country artist with a unique sound.
Chris Isaak: Beyond the Sun. This is a great cover album that puts Isaak's unique twist on some of the best R&B, Blues and Country songs that ever been recorded. Vince Gill: Guitar Singer. This man has the voice of an angel. Lady Antebellum: Own the night. Not as good as their debut album but a pretty good follow up.
I'm under deadline again so am listening to a ton of music but I tend to dial into The Killers, Weezer, Collective Soul, Green Day and anyone who can get my heart pumping and my mind working.
I'm going through a bit of an 80's flashback listening to Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and a little known but great band called Garland Jeffreys. I also just saw one of my all time favorites, Bob Seger, when he was in St. Paul last week. The man from Detroit still puts on a great show.
Adele 21: Her second album is even better than the first.
Kings of Leon, Lady Antebellum and a lot of classic Christmas music.
Collective Soul and Radiohead.
Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum and a ton of Zac Brown.
I'm under deadline again and writing at my cabin so I am listening to a lot of country. Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Raul Malo and The Mavericks to name a few.
I have recently become a Zac Brown Band junkie. These guys are amazing. They're The Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bob Seger all rolled into one. I think they are going to single handedly bring back Southern Rock.
Melody Gardot, Kings of Leon, Zac Brown Band and Ryan Binghamkiller.
The Killers are still at the top of my playlist, but I've also been listening to a lot of Kid Rock, Duffy, Eric Hutchisnon and Raul Malo.
Raul Malo: Former Mavericks front man, Malo has some of the best pipes in the business. Check out his latest album, Lucky One.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. So far, so good.
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I have wanted to read it for years and good friend dropped off a copy at the house. It’s a little slow to start with, but it is obvious that McMurtry is one hell of a storyteller.
Just finishing The Racketeer by John Grisham and will reread Killing Lincoln. It was so good I want to read it again.
Daniel Silva’s new book Fallen Angel—great book, extremely well written. Daniel is one of the best in the business. Also, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young—a great daily devotional that helps you focus on what’s important.
I am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles Kesler. I’m 100 pages in and think that Kesler is doing a really good job of backing things up with historical facts.
Dereliction of Duty by H.R. McMaster. I was told that this book is required reading at West Point and I can see why. The book is about the run up to the Vietnam War and all of the mistakes that were made, most of them by bureaucrats and politicians who had little or no military experience. It is extremely eye opening and a bit depressing. It offers an amazing insight into how Washington works.
Mission to Paris by Alan Furst. Furst is a writer's writer. No one writes period espionage with the same flair. If you haven't read his works, you're missing out on one of the greatest writers on the planet.
Cain at Gettysburg by Ralph Peters: If you read Killer Angels, God's and Generals or The Last Full Measure, this book is for you. Not only is the subject compelling, but Peters shows himself to be a masterful storyteller. Probably the best book I've read in the past year.
All Necessary Force by Brad Taylor: Fresh plot, great action and Taylor clearly knows what he is writing about. One of biggest frustrations when reading books in my genre is the number of hardware and tactical details that authors miss because they either don't have access or didn't do their research. I understand that to catch this stuff you are part of a very small minority and I don't dwell on it, but it nonetheless takes away from the story. Taylor does not have that problem. When it comes to tactics and hardware he is spot on.
All Necessary Force by Brad Taylor. I just started so it's too early to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down, but so far so good.
I'm on book four George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series. It has sucked me in like very few series I've ever come across. Warning: The Game of Thrones is not for the meek. Each book is long, the plots are compelling on complex and there are so many characters it makes the Rapp series seem like a comic strip. If you are a fan of Frank Herbert or J.R.R. Tolkien this is your kind of stuff.
I just finished Between the Bridge and the River by Craig Ferguson and loved it. It is a truly unique read written by one of my favorite late night host who also happens to be an incredibly talented writer. I'm halfway through Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and am completely engrossed. I can't put this book down. It's amazing.
Patrick Rothfus, The Wise Man's Fear and Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. If you are looking for a book that will help you get your head screwed on and focus on a goal, this gem from 1902 is the place to start. I have not read a single page without making a mark. It is full of hard truths about life and personal responsibility. I won't read my genre while writing so I often turn to sci-fi and fantasy. A friend turned me onto a great series by Patrick Rothfuss. I am reading The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One. Rothfuss is a great story teller.
Decision Points by President Bush and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
The Capitol Game by Brian Haig.
I just finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson and am starting The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.
I am rereading Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein and Dune by Frank Herbert. When I'm under deadline, I stay away from authors who are in my genre, and I typically use that time to read Science Fiction or Fantasy. I am always shocked by how many people are surprised to hear that I like Science Fiction. Do yourself a favor and pick up Dune and Starship Troopers. Heinlein and Herbert were geniuses. They are so prescient in their portrayals of human nature and geopolitics that you will find yourself gasping and nodding along with two seminal stories.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. The Godfather by Mario Puzo.
I just finished reading Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. It is one of the most gripping, raw novels I have read in years. If you enjoy historical fiction it is a must read. I'm currently about halfway through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and am really enjoying the read. Extremely well written and a nice change of pace.