It is both a pleasure and honor to be host to today’s guest. Melissa from Simon & Schuster contacted me and there is no way I was saying no to an author who received rave reviews on his previous novel, Targets of Deception, and wanted to visit and tell us about his latest book. So, without further ado, please help me welcome, Mr. Jeffrey S. Stephens.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeffrey Stephens was born in New York City and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science at the age of 16; he completed a B.A. in Creative Writing from Pennsylvania State University at 19. Jeffrey began his first novel in 1970, which would not be completed for several years as he entered the Fordham University School of Law. His private legal practice has included extensive civil and criminal courtroom experience, and he has represented a wide range of celebrity clients. Continuing to practice law while completing several novels, he only recently decided to pursue his career as a novelist in earnest, with the encouragement of his wife, Nancy.
Nancy and Jeffrey live in Greenwich, Connecticut, where they raised two sons, Graham and Trevor. All avid skiers, golfers and tennis players, they have traveled extensively as a family throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, including a fateful trip years ago to Portofino, Italy, the setting for the climax of TARGETS OF DECEPTION.
You can visit Jeffrey at his website.
WRITING THRILLERS IN THE MODERN ERA
Jeffrey S. Stephens,author of
Someoneonce said that timing is everything. When it comes to creating relevant suspense novels in the twenty-first century no truer words have recently been uttered. As events occur around the world and are reported with lightning speed, they often lead to responsive activities and more media coverage as communication and action intertwine and seem to feed off one another. Markets crash, people panic, riots in one country lead to civil unrest in antother. Forthe good and the bad of it, we live in the age of instant access media.
Meanwhile,the creator of a contemporary novel—such as an espionage thriller—may takemonths or even longer to complete a first draft. By the time the story findsitself in its final version and makes it to print, it is likely a year or twosince the writer first hatched the idea for his or her plot.
Now,just take a moment to recall everything that has happened across the globallandscape in only the past two months. Then think back over the past two years!Suppose you had been writing a book about terrorism in North Africa featuringthe Qaddafi regime of injustices. Today, as your book is reaching the stores,the dissidents have taken control of Libya and Muammar has become yesterday’snews. Or what if you had a grand notion for a plot centered around the hunt forOsama bin Laden. Sorry, but you’ve just wasted a lot of time and energy. Thereal-life account of his discovery and demise is far more compelling than anynovel could be.
Thisis the tyranny of timing the novelist faces in the current age of ourfast-paced world. When I began writing TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY
I had the thoughtthat our oil industry in and around the Gulf of Mexico might be a vulnerablepoint of attack for our enemies. As I neared completion of my first version ofthe book I awoke one morning to the news of the horrific BP oil spill. You knowthe expression “You can’t make this up?” Well I certainly had made it up, but realityintervened. I was obliged to go back, tear apart my draft, re-invent the plotand also change the story to incorporate mention of that environmentaldisaster.
Interestingly,when I revised the terrorist plan being launched against our shores, I envisionedthe villains using a hurricane to help cover their actions as they undertookthe assault. I am no fan of damaging storms, believe me, but it turns out that TARGETSOF OPPORTUNITY
was released last week as nearly half the country was reelingfrom the awful impact of Hurricane Irene. Not something I had anticipated whenI began the novel two years ago, but the ironic relevance has been noted bymore than one interviewer.
Writersare not engaged in the business of predicting the future. Quite the contrary, agood writer deals with what has already been in an attempt to portray people anddepict events in a way that will resonate with readers and hopefully make senseof this crazy life we live. If you choose current events as your palette thenyou certainly had better stay current.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Jeffrey S. Stephens©
The CIA’s top covert operative is pressedback into service to uncover a secret alliance and to prevent the catastrophicassault these terrorists plan to unleash on the United States in JeffreyStephens’ exciting new ripped-from-the-headlines thriller.
Jordan Sandor is the CIA’s most effective agent—as well as its most dangerous—and he is on the move again. A former Iranian assassin has fled to Washington, seeking safe haven in exchange for information about a cabal of international terrorists working out of North Korea. It is clear their intentions are cataclysmic, but their target is unknown, and Sandor is assigned to lead a team into Kim Jong-Il’s fortress nation to uncover the details of this lethal scheme, then somehow get himself and his men out alive. Yet even as Sandor works to prevent this impending attack, two seemingly unrelated acts of mass murder are visited upon the sleepy, sensuous islands of the French West Indies. Now, as Sandor makes his dramatic escape from North Korea, carrying with him his dead and his nightmares, it is up to him to piece together everything he has discovered, knowing that the Caribbeanstrikes were only the beginning and that his mission has just started—the worst is yet to come, and it is racing towards the shore of the USA.
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