Whilst travelling in Europe last year, the cover for James Swallow's first book in his Rubicon series, Nomad caught my eye and I was soon devouring the book in between sight-seeing.
It's an action-packed thriller with a fantastic cast of characters, and the next in the series, Exile will be out later this year. I'm therefore delighted to welcome author, James Swallow to the blog to have a chat about his writing, and find out what's next for Rubicon protagonist, Marc Dane.
New York Times bestselling author and BAFTA nominee, a former journalist and an award-winning writer of over forty books, along with numerous scripts for videogames, radio and television – the list on your bio is impressive! Can you tell us a bit about how your writing career began?
As for the germ of the idea that became Nomad, it formed out of a few different things. I’ve always liked these kind of stories and at the basic level, part of me just wanted to write one for the challenge of it. I missed the high-octane thrillers that I’d enjoyed in my youth, and I saw a lot of commentary talking about the genre as if it was something that was past its time. I certainly didn’t agree with that. But if I had to point to one single element, it was a desire to invent an action hero for the digital age who felt real and relatable, a guy who has to work hard for every victory he gets.
Those opening scenes with Marc Dane being thrust out of his comfort zone as a techie behind the scenes to fully-fledged agent on the run really snag the reader from the outset. He’s different to a lot of other thriller protagonists in that he’s not all brawn and guns – was this a conscious decision on your part, or was that how the character came to you?
It was absolutely core to the creation of Marc Dane. I’ve been living with the idea of him since around 2008, when I first started gathering material for Nomad, and he’s definitely a reaction to all the fiercely-competent, super-accomplished, never-miss types that populate a lot of action thrillers. Those heroes never seem like they are in danger of failing. I wanted more of the everyman type, a guy who uses his skills and his intelligence more than being a crack shot or fast with his fists.
And Marc also grew out of a realization I had that almost every action protagonist I was seeing were infallible guys with no tech-literacy! The heroes - the trigger-pullers, the door-kickers – were very separate from the backseat guy in the van working at a laptop, and I wondered what would happen if the latter was forced into doing the job of the former. I like the idea that Marc is just out of his depth, but that he can still win through.
And what’s next for you as an author?
I’m currently working on a couple of projects under non-disclosure agreements that I can’t talk about right now, and I’m also developing the plotline for the third novel in the Rubicon series.
James, thanks for being such a fantastic guest - it's been great chatting with you!
Join the Kay Hunter mailing list: