As any craftsman will tell you, it can take a long time to master a new skill, and the same can be said for a new fiction genre. I published my last novel, The Storm Prophet, in 2007. A year later, I decided to write a spy thriller. It was to be another five years before Rogue Elements was complete.
Admittedly, I've had a few distractions. My business consulting work really took off in that time, and www.BookDrum.com has been an all-consuming passion. But distractions aside, it has been a long road to build the kind of ingrained familiarity with the Intelligence world one needs to write with confidence and authority about it. There is the complex technical, political and psychological reality of modern espionage to be internalised, as far as it can be ascertained from publicly available sources; and then there are the conventions of the genre – to be respected or subverted. A lot to take in before the story of Rogue Elements could be developed.
The story itself, though intricate and multi-faceted, came naturally. Now that I understand better what a spy story is, I can see all the main elements in my earlier books. There are secret identities and hidden agendas in The Hummingbird Saint, a complex deception coupled with uncertainty and paranoia in The Mind Game, persuasion and influencing strategies in The Storm Prophet. My protagonists are constantly attempting to uncover one secret or another – the essence of Intelligence. It's not surprising that I wrote like a spy novelist long before I dared write an actual spy novel – I grew up on a diet of John Buchan and Ian Fleming, of Forsyth, Greene, Le Carré and Ludlum. Spies and their intrigues are in my blood.
I have loved writing spy fiction, and I plan to continue. But first, I want to hear what readers think of Rogue Elements. The next few months will be dedicated to a process of reader feedback and involvement through innovative new publisher Advance Editions. There will be much more to say about that shortly, but for now please get reading! You can download half of the book for free here, or buy the complete ebook at a 60% advance discount from Kobo, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I sincerely look forward to hearing what you think.