Thriller author Andrew Grant offers candid answers to RT Assistant Web Editor Whitney Sullivan. They discuss his new release, Die Twice, the progression of his thriller series and what readers can expect next ...
Whitney Sullivan: Your hero, David Trevellyan, believes in the motto "you're bound to do what's right, whatever the personal cost may be." Are you ever surprised by the way that this motto affects his actions?
Andrew Grant: I’m not, because from the outset this belief has been the absolute core of David’s character. More than anything else, it defines who he is. In fact, the readiness to make sacrifices in the pursuit of what’s right is such a fundamental part of him I think he’s more surprised — and disappointed — when the other people he encounters fail to act in this way.
WS: What are some details that you use to make your villain, a rogue British agent, truly terrifying?
AG: Rather than create a overtly sadistic character like Lesley from Even, I wanted to explore a different kind of monster — a person with no morals and no conscience, happy to see hundreds or thousands of innocent lives destroyed for nothing more than a quick profit, but outwardly indistinguishable from anyone else you might pass on the street …
WS: Author Ridley Pearson called you "a new author on the scene who writes action like a veteran", what was the most challenging part of creating your action scenes?
AG: I love creating the action scenes. Working on them is my favourite part of the writing process because you get the chance to have right stand up against wrong in a way that’s not always possible in real life. I guess the biggest challenge, though, is trying to get the details of all the guns and other weapons that inevitably become involved as accurate as possible.
WS: What is something that you learned about Trevellyan that didn't make it into the story?
AG: Die Twice tells the story of Trevellyan’s hunt for a rogue agent on the loose in Chicago, but what we don’t see on the page — yet — is the full impact of his conflicted feelings for Tanya in the aftermath of his previous mission in New York.
WS: In today's world, with terrorists making their mark on even the U.S.A., do you think that your counterterrorism thriller has special significance?
AG: Honestly, I hadn’t thought of it in that way. I guess that for my generation — growing up in England in the 1970s — terrorism was taken much more for granted so it seemed to me like a very natural theme for a thriller.
WS: RT Reviewer Roseann Marlett calls Trevellayan a character whose "observations of human nature make him sympathetic and intriguing." Do you share Trevellyan's observant nature, or is it something you wish you had more of?
AG: Sir John Guilgud once said that, “an actor is someone who remembers.” I think that’s also true of authors. I love to watch people going about their everyday lives, looking for the little details that set them apart from the crowd, and try to bring as many of these fascinating individual quirks into my books as possible. I wouldn’t say I’m quite as observant as Trevellyan — but I certainly try.
WS: You reside in the UK and The US, do you have a favorite detail from your own life in the two countries that you included in Trevellyan's stories ?
AG: I’d say that the time I spend in the UK makes it easier for me to give Trevellyan an outsider’s perspective when he’s recounting his adventures in the US, and my inside knowledge of my adopted home town — Chicago — gave me some invaluable insights when I was looking for a setting for Die Twice. It also meant I could have some fun and throw in a few of my favourite restaurants and hotels. And even burn one down…
WS: Your books, released in USA and the UK, have different covers. Which cover do you prefer (and why)?
AG: The US and UK covers are extremely different, you’re right, but I like them both so much it would be impossible to pick one over the other. The US version almost jumps off the shelf, the design is so striking, while the UK cover is an absolutely perfect companion for the jacket they created for Even.
WS: Your brother Lee Child is also a thriller author. Was there something about your family-life that left you predisposed to creating action adventures?
AG: I suppose there must have been! Though I’d be hard pressed to put my finger on exactly what, as Lee and I hardly lived under the same roof for any time at all. So, on balance, I guess I’d have to put it down to nature, rather than nurture …
WS: David Trevellyan is a James Bond-esq spy. So who, other than Bond, is your favorite superhero?
AG: I’ve always had a soft spot for James Bond but for me, no-one will ever surpass the elegant yet outrageous daring of Sir Percy Blakeney — aka The Scarlet Pimpernel.
WS: Is there anything else we should know about David Trevellyan and what's coming up for him next?
Andrew Grant: A surprising number of people were disappointed when I revealed in Die Twice that Trevellyan doesn’t like musicals. So I should be careful what I let slip about the next adventure, which takes place in London. David is in hospital, recovering from an injury sustained during a mission, when someone does something to him that they will live to regret …
Whitney Sullivan: Thanks so much for your great answers!