BookLife Talks with Ed Mitchell
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Black Camel'
How did the Gold Lust series come to be?
As a young captain in the Army, I watched terrorist bombers appear in the Middle East. I concluded it would be a bad day for America if we ever faced a terrorist general as skilled as our generals and admirals in conducting war. To help warn of that danger, I set out to write a thriller. That decision sent me on a decades-long journey. Being a novice writer, I decided that instead of publishing that book first, I would schedule it as my third thriller. But the 9-11 attack occurred before its release, proving my premonition. Also, after the Twin Towers fell, the FBI began warning the public to watch for and report possible follow-up attacks, several of which were explored in my manuscript. So, I knew I couldn’t publish that book and shifted to warning about ballistic missile terrorism and released Gold Fire. Now, I give presentations to interested groups about terrorist vulnerabilities in the U.S.
Has your writing process changed from the first book to this fifth entry in the series?
My first thriller, Gold Rush 2000, won the National Publishers Freedom Award. However, I learned from a few readers that I had violated one of the five taboos of writing for today’s readers. Subsequently, I’ve become very adept at keeping readers reading, even those who hold opposing views on politics, religion, violence, excessive sex, and harming animals. That last one got me. Don’t harm an animal that readers fall in love with! So, I adjusted one scene in Gold Rush 2000 when I released the e-book version with the title Gold Lust.Your experience in the military and counterterrorism helps keep your series grounded in realism. What advice would you give to an author who wants to write these types of thrillers but has no background in the material?
One answer comes from Col. S.F. Baker, who commanded Task Force 5-16 during the war in Iraq. He provided a blurb on the back cover of my third thriller, Gold Fire. “If you want to get any closer to the battle lines on the War on Terrorism—enlist!” But assuming most writers won’t do that, read Gold Fire, The Destiny Relic, and Black Camel as examples of three realistic scenarios and capture the modern technology of today’s warfare. Also, do a ton of research and assess target sites before weaving your story threads. Start “in action” on page one. Watch out for taboo writing. Also deliver an uplifting ending. But don’t ask your friends for “feedback.” They’ll want to encourage you to write and won’t tell you about the warts in your writing. Ask them, “What worked and didn’t work for you in my writing?” Then you’ll get the truth about what needs fixing.
Who is your ideal reader and why?
My ideal reader would be my wife, but she passed away in my arms, and that caused me to take a long break before I released last year’s thriller, The Destiny Relic. Otherwise, my ideal reader is anyone who likes a mix of realistic threats, surprising twists you can’t predict, action, and suspense, along with two love stories. My fans enjoy the challenges overcome by Maida and Nolen Martin and by FBI agent Cholo Cantera and Sarah Tiller. But better than my word are the gold star reader reviews on my website.
Should readers expect a book six on the horizon?
Yes. Meanwhile, Black Camel, the fifth book in the series, will be released as an e-book and as a trade paperback in March 2020. Order the e-book at your favorite e-bookstore, and order autographed copies from my website at booksbyedmitchell.com.