Thursday, August 11, 2011
Meet thriller writer Robert McDermott, Deadly Straits
Q: How did Deadly Straits come about?
Robert: I was working a job in Singapore when the towers came down. Prior to that, terrorism was just a vague threat to me. It was there, but off the radar, remote somehow. 9/11 changed that, and I began to think about the potential for a tanker-based terrorist attack and how that was most likely to play out. The story just grew out of those musings.
Q: Why did you decide to self-publish?
Robert: I think the deciding factor was the realization that even if I managed to land a publishing contract (a very big ‘if’), I would still be looking at a two-year wait before the book hit the stores. I didn’t think it should take longer to publish a completed book than it takes to design and build a ship. That just seemed wrong somehow.
Q: What was your biggest challenge in writing Deadly Straits?
Robert: Keeping it real. As a reader, I’m lousy at the ‘suspension of disbelief,’ thing. As a writer, I wanted to ensure my characters and their actions were believable. I hate books or movies where the hero gets smacked between the eyes with a bat and then jumps up and beats the hell out of twelve bad guys. Or books where the hero is a nuclear physicist, brain surgeon, or whatever, who gets in a bind and just happens to turn out to be a skilled helicopter pilot. To me that’s just not believable.
Q: What are you working on now?
Robert: Promoting Deadly Straits is taking a big chunk of time, but I’m also working on a sequel in which my hero Tom Dugan takes on the Somali pirates. I actually have some (very peripheral) insight into the pirate situation. The M/V Biscaglia, a ship on which I supervised repairs, was hijacked several months after she left the yard in Singapore. By that time, I was no longer involved, but having gotten to know the crew in the yard, I followed the situation closely. The ship and crew were finally released two months later when the owner paid the ransom. It really changes one’s perspective when the you know the hostages as individuals.
Q: Final thoughts?
Robert: Like all new authors, I really need exposure, so I’m making an offer to your readers. I’ll send the first fifty readers that contact me a free copy of Deadly Straits (ebook only). They can reach me though the contact page of my site at www.remcdermott.com/contact. They should include the words COPY REQUEST in the subject line of the message and indicate their preferred format in the body of the message.