Q & A

empyre Describe EMPYRE.

EMPYRE is spy-fi—a near future spy thriller. Writing it, I was looking to create a fast paced, mile-a-minute thriller that will leave you breathless.

EMPYRE pulls you into a reality that is both wild and well within the bounds of possibility. It whips across the globe, from the cliffs of Antarctica to the deepest realms of the CIA, in a whirlwind ride with the fate of the world in the balance.

There's a lot below about the ideas behind EMPYRE, but first and foremost, it's written to be an edge-of-your-seat read.

What drove you to write EMPYRE?

There is a lot of material, especially in sci-fi, dealing with the destruction of a "Big Brother." My previous novel, ECHELON, was such a book. At ECHELON's finale, the conspiracy that controlled the world is destroyed. End of story—everyone lives happily ever after—right? Not quite.

I wanted to know what would happen the day after. How would society react to its newfound freedom? And how would my hero, Ryan Laing, deal with the chaos ripping through the world? Chaos he sparked in taking ECHELON down. Those questions seemed like a great place to kick off a spy thriller.

So, EMPYRE opens in an "ever after" that isn't all that happy. And that's just where the ride begins!

Describe the state of affairs as EMPYRE opens.

Life post "Big Brother" looks a lot like the world we live in today. Political turmoil is the norm. A pervasive media threatens to amplify local conflicts into international incidents. The threat of terrorism is constant. Generally, a state of fear has settled on the world.

That leads to EMPYRE's theme.

If ECHELON was about control through information manipulation, EMPYRE looks at control through fear. Both mechanisms are potent, and both need to be discussed in relation to the world we live in today. While, EMPYRE may take place in the future—it lies on a road we're walking down right now.

Where do you find the technology within EMPYRE?

EMPYRE throws you into a tomorrow based on the technology being developed today. As such, I spent a lot of time researching the cutting edge to generate what's slightly beyond. Almost all of the technology in EMPYRE is either in development or actually in existence today. I just took what I found and boosted it to the next level. As far fetched as it all that may seem, what you read in EMPYRE could well become our future. I tried to stay close to reality as I'm fascinated by what it would feel like to experience life through the filters these new technologies create.

You can check out the basis behind much of the technology and architecture in my EXTRAS section.

How do all these advancements impact your book's reality?

Progress invariably brings both good and bad. I'm not one to say that progress is evil, or even to be feared. That said, I'm not convinced that all progress leads to a betterment of the human condition. There are benefits and drawbacks to every advance we make, and to the rate of progress itself. I discuss this more in my EXTRAS section.

How does technology affect your characters?

Ryan is deeply conflicted about the technology running through him. Sarah Peters is far more accepting of it. That said, her own internal conflicts play out in relation to the technology she chooses to incorporate into her being. Her relationship with technology becomes a psychological issue, something that I think will become more and more common.

What about the locations in EMPYRE?

EMPYRE hops around the globe, ranging from Dubai to Antarctica, Tasmania to Burning Man in the Nevada desert. I love inserting my characters into wild locations.

One of the great things about spy fiction is its ability to explore exotic and interesting locales around the world. EMPYRE capitalizes on that.

You can check out more on the geography of EMPYRE in my EXTRAS section.

Discuss your hero, Ryan Laing.

Ryan is a spy for the next century, a new James Bond or Jason Bourne. He is brutally capable, with a skill-set that makes him the most feared operative in the clandestine community. But, he is also a conflicted guy—and that's putting it mildly. He's a man who spent a lifetime enforcing order, only to become the catalyst for an era of chaos. He hates change, yet is at the center of a fundamental shift in society.

What should we take from EMPYRE?

As I said, I want EMPYRE to be fun—to be a great read with some meat to it. I hope you enjoy it!

Read the EXTRAS.