BookLife Talks with Anthony Eddolls
A sponsored Q&A with the author of the Elliott Murphy Adventure series
What inspired you to create Special Agent Elliott Murphy?
As with all my characters, Murphy’s development has been an organic process. I wanted to offer the reader traits that provide realism yet lace the story with tension and suspense: Will Murphy succeed in overcoming adversity with specific aspects of human frailty? Will he rekindle broken relationships? Will he succumb to temptation? And, most important, will he capture the bad guys and prove good will triumph over evil?
I want to emphasize the organic aspect of character and plot development. I’ve found that this process has allowed me to consider unique twists of both narrative and character that keep the story fresh and exciting yet believable. The premise of considering that one pivotal action and how different life could be from there is something I explore throughout my work.
What makes Crossing Over different from other action thrillers?I would have to say the relatability of the characters. Each one of the three central characters has traits, desires, and shortcomings that just about everyone can relate to or at least will be familiar with. These people aren’t superheroes or celebrities; they’re everyday people with everyday problems, fantasies, and issues. This can also make the story unsettling at times, as we might see ourselves in the same predicaments. When we cross the line, in either direction, there are always consequences.
When we meet Elliot in the first book, he’s trying to get sober and get his life back on track. How far has he come in The Lines We Cross?
The Lines We Cross shows Murphy at the top of his game and builds on the maturity he has developed in the 10 years since the first book. In Crossing Over, Murphy might be described more as a street cop, but in The Lines We Cross, Murphy is an international law enforcement officer who has climbed the ladder within the FBI. This transition was easy for me to illustrate, as I simply drew from my own life experiences. I spent more than 40 years building a career in real estate, mortgage banking, and real estate development. I started my own company, then merged with another, and ended up a senior officer and director of a billion-dollar corporation.
The Lines We Cross has Elliot working on his final case, which is unusual as many thriller series keep the status quo. Why are you retiring him now?
Each book presents Murphy at a different stage of his life. In Crossing Over, he is fighting to get his life together after a rather dramatic midlife crisis; The Lines We Cross finds Murphy at the peak of his law enforcement career; and the third and last book in the series, The Final Cross, will show Murphy in a different phase altogether—adapting to retirement, yet being thrown into the middle of a hunt for a prolific serial killer.
What can readers expect from the upcoming third book in the series?
The Final Cross takes Murphy and several other characters from the previous book into an entirely new phase of their lives. Murphy is retired and, along with his wife, Sally, is traversing the U.S. in a luxurious RV. His former number two, Special Agent David Stilley, now leads a team with the exalted Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. We meet Marvin Helms, who is also a recovering alcoholic and a dedicated dog lover. His eccentricity is rivaled only by his viciousness, as he leaves a trail of bodies across the nation and, eventually, into Mexico.