You've just released Island 731. Tell us a little about it.
ISLAND 731 is about the crew of a research vessel studying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, whose ship is sabotaged and shipwrecked on a not-so uninhabited island. While the island itself is a paradise, the current occupants, who have been present since the end of World War II, are far from friendly. Based, in part, on Unit 731, the Imperial Japanese R&D team who performed the most disgusting human experiments imaginable. It's a dark subject, and a dark novel, but fast-paced, full of action, mystery and monsters.
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
Like Unit 731, I wish the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was fiction, but it's very real. The currents in the Pacific Ocean for a very large vortex. This spinning ocean water collects all the crap that humans throw in the water, or get lost from sunken ships. There are refrigerators, milk jugs, miles of rope and vast slicks of multi-colored plastic chips covering the ocean, sometimes several feet thick. Fish, birds, turtles and sharks all find these brightly colored bits hard to resist and are dying in vast numbers. Unfortunately, the ocean’s waters don’t belong to any one nation and cleaning up the mess would take a vast international effort, which means it’s not going to happen.
How does Island 731 differ from your series work?
ISLAND 731 is a darker book, primarily because of the subject matter, but also because it’s less about the running and shooting and explosions and more about uncovering the island’s sinister past. That said, there is still a good amount of running and shooting and explosions...
You have two books, or should I say 'bookends," coming out in the Chess Team universe. Tell us about them.
The first book is PRIME, co-authored with Sean Ellis, so not only will it be amazing, but Sean will also help make me look smarter. PRIME is basically an origin story for the Chess Team, explaining how they all came together and formed a cohesive unit, though the transition isn’t always smooth. There is a fight mentioned in PULSE, between two of the characters, that we’ll finally get to see. The second Chess Team release is OMEGA and is the fifth (sixth if you count PRIME) novel in the series, and it is a BIG novel. Every open plotline that began with PULSE will come to a close. Characters will die. And the team dynamic will be forever altered.
SecondWorld was a big hit. Will there be any follow-ups?
It’s possible that there will someday be a direct follow-up to SecondWorld, and I already have the plot, but I don’t have it planned yet. What I DO have planned is a novella series focusing on the very popular SecondWorld character, Milos Vesely, aka Cowboy. The novella, titled I AM COWBOY should be out by June. It’s going to be a LOT of fun.