We caught up with international bestselling thriller author Andrew Peterson (visit his Amazon page) this week to talk to him about his Nathan McBride series and his newest release – “Right to Kill”.
Free Thanksgiving Book Giveaway!!!!
From Andrew Peterson’s Facebook Page:
We have two winners from the Tracy Reader Dad blog post! And the winners are?
Tim Haley & Reg Riemer!
Because we had so many comments, I picked two consolation winners:
Jeannine Meador & Diane Mason!
Send me private messages with your mailing addresses. Thank you again to all who posted, it was great hearing from you!
- What is the story behind the Nathan McBride series? Where did the idea come from?
It would be easy to write several thousand words on this subject, but I’ll spare your blog readers!
My inspiration for creating Nathan McBride comes from my respect and admiration for our nation’s veterans. I’ve always wanted to make a Marine the hero of my stories, but I wasn’t sure what his role or background would be.
Early in my writing career, I was heavily involved with the NRA’s high-power rifle competitions and I became a precision target shooter. My friends and I would shoot out to 1,000 yards with match-conditioned M1As and M1 Garands. We didn’t use optics, only iron sights. Often, we’d be shooting in high-wind conditions, so I learned to make exact wind corrections – which I believe is the hardest part of long distance marksmanship.
Creating a sniper as my protagonist for the series fit the bill, especially because I really admired the Marines. So Nathan McBride was born. I made him an officer, which is quite rare for snipers. Most, if not all of the Corps snipers are enlisted, but I wanted him to be unique in more than one dimension.
He and his spotter, Harvey Fontana, served as scout sniper team in the 1/8 (First Battalion, Eighth Marines – The Beirut Battalion). Nathan lost friends in the Beirut embassy bombing and he swore a personal oath to fight the indiscriminate murderers of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups worldwide. Several years into his service, the CIA approached his commanding officer, and a week later, he and Harv (while still technically in the Marines) were working for the CIA as a covert operations team in the South American theater. Although he and Harvey loved the Marines, the CIA was a perfect fit for their skill set. Before long, they were detached from the Corps and working exclusively for the CIA, conducting covert ops all over the world, but primarily in Latin America.
Nathan carries quite a bit of baggage from a botched mission that ended his career. After the termination of the Nicaraguan civil war when he and Harvey served as “advisers” to the Contras. Nathan was captured and brutally interrogated over a three-week period before Harvey was finally able to locate and rescue him from the hands of a sadistic madman. Even after twenty years, he still carries emotional and physical scars.
Nathan has issues with trusting people. He’s got a short fuse, and he’s constantly fighting a battle to control the darker aspect of his soul. Despite all he endured, he’s got a kind heart and sticks up for the little guy. He hates bullies and won’t stand idly by if someone’s being rude or abusive in front of him. If you want to ring Nathan McBride’s bell and see what he’s capable of, kick a dog in front of him. You’ll wish you hadn’t!
- What kind of man is Nathan and has he evolved since your first novel; “FIRST TO KILL“?
In a nutshell, he’s a tough guy with a heart. Although the Nathan McBride novels are character driven, they contain a lot of action. It’s important for an author to know his protagonist inside and out. I’m no different. I have to know Nathan’s core motivation. Because Nathan adheres to a set of values that govern his life, the way he views the world determines the way he reacts to the situations he encounters. He’s not afraid to make the tough choices. Occasionally he’ll do some questionable, even unprincipled things, which create ethical dilemmas for him. He doesn’t enjoy bending or breaking the rules, but he has to consider the bigger picture. He’s seen the real world, the horrible things few people will ever be exposed to, so his “world view” is much deeper than most. Nathan doesn’t dodge trouble, he confronts it.
As far as evolution goes? He’s the same character in RIGHT TO KILL that he was in FIRST TO KILL. The reader learns new things about him, but he hasn’t changed who he is. It’s fair to say he learned something about himself in FIRST TO KILL. He learned he didn’t have to be alone. He developed a relationship with Holly Simpson who was the special agent in charge of the Sacramento field division when he and Harv took on an assignment for a friend. So in that sense, he’s become less solitary. He doesn’t have many friends, so his relationship with Holly is special – something he doesn’t take for granted.
- Where do you go for your research on the military, guns, etc.
I do tons of research! How much of it do I put in the books? About ten percent. As a thriller novelist, there’s an important point to remember. I’m an entertainer, not an educator. It’s not my job to write “how to” books. My job is to create compelling stories that keep readers turning pages. It’s the kiss of death to bore readers with meaningless filler, research, and character backstory. I need to feel confident that what I’m writing is going to be interesting to the reader. If not, I change direction. It’s hard to go wrong if you stay close to the main story line of your book.
I don’t think the vast majority of readers care about all the intricate details of precision shooting over long distances. I’m always trying to find a balance between over-describing a scene versus not having enough detail to create suspense and drama. I often rely on instinct. I’m constantly asking myself: Is this too little or too much detail for this particular scene? Some settings require more detail than others, especially if there’s going to be an extended amount action in the scene. I think fiction novelists need to remind themselves every so often that they’re entertainers, not educators.
- What is “Right to Kill” about?
It’s difficult to answer this without spoiling the story. I often rely on my editor – Gracie Doyle, Editorial Director of Thomas & Mercer – for the promo copy synopsis. As the author, it’s tough to boil 85,000 words down into 150 words. I think it’s fair to say most novelists feel uneasy about writing a synopsis. I think the best description of RIGHT TO KILL comes from the novel’s listing on Amazon:
When a team of commandos—highly skilled and armed to the teeth—tries to kidnap retired CIA station chief Linda Genneken from her home, trained Marine Nathan McBride and his partner, Harvey Fontana, arrive just in time to join the fight. But their well-honed CIA instincts tell them this is only the beginning. McBride and Fontana set out to learn who ordered the midnight raid, and why. Is it connected to a rescue mission they conducted with Genneken in South America—a mission that nearly killed McBride? Is it related to the string of assassinations happening simultaneously in that area of the world? Or both? With the help of their CIA contacts and aided by Genneken, the two men unravel a criminal plot with global implications. And as their race to find answers unspools in six supercharged hours, McBride and his team will be tested like never before.
Sheila English, CEO of Circle of Seven Productions, produced a 60-second book trailer. You can view it here:
On a deeper level, RIGHT TO KILL is about friendship, loyalty, and honor. What are Nathan and Harvey willing to do in order to help a friend? The answer is: whatever it takes!
- What’s next for you and where can people find you online?
I’m working on book seven with the goal of making it as exciting and suspenseful as RIGHT TO KILL. The best place to find me online is through my web site. http://www.AndrewPeterson.com There’s loads of information, including my Facebook and Twitter information. Please feel to contact me, I’m always happy to hear from folks who’ve read one or more of the Nathan McBride novels.
That’s it! We’ll be giving away two books with this event. Add your comment below and Andrew Peterson will pick TWO winners on Nov 30, 2016.