Welcome to Mystery Thriller Week! For the next eleven days, I’ll be highlighting some great mystery and thriller writers starting right now. Today, I’m interviewing Graeme Rodaughan, author of A Subtle Agency.
A computer science geek who writes about vampires. Tell us what your inspiration was to write in this genre.
I don’t have a lot of nightmares, but when I do, vampires are a recurring theme. This has been true for my whole life, so I decided that I might as well write about them.The computer science geek shows up in the Techno-Thriller side of my genre mashup. I.e. Urban Fantasy & Techno-Thriller.
You were born and raised in Australia but your series, The Metaframe War, takes place (at least partially) in Boston. Why Boston? Does travel play in the writing of your books?
One of the conflicts that I write about is a three-way secret war between the Order of Thoth, the Red Empire and the Vampire Dominion. The Vampire Dominion is the dominant power and more or less operates as a secret defacto world government. I chose to position the seat of world power in Manhattan, which makes far more sense than Melbourne (Australia). Boston, Maine, and other locations around New York city figure strongly in A Subtle Agency, the first book in The Metaframe War series. I liked Boston as an initial setting because it seemed to be the ideal location to hide teams of super-powered vampire hunters.Actually, it’s a great, smaller city that is within striking distance of the main citadel of the vampires in New York, and the main Shadowstone facility at Fort Dix in New Jersey. Its location serves the interests of the story.
Describe The Metaframe War series in 140 characters (also known as a tweet).
A young man witnesses a brutal murder by two vampires. He tracks them down, uncovers a 5000-year-old conspiracy, and fights a deadly duel.
What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you while writing The Metaframe War series?
I hope that the most amusing thing is still to happen as I have another 14 books to write to finish The Metaframe War series. However, since I started writing this marathon of a series, the most amusing thing that has happened was interviewing my main character, Anton Slayne. (J).
The interview went as follows…
‘I’m sitting with Anton Slayne at Patrick O’Malley’s Irish pub just off the Boston CBD. Anton’s recently landed a gig as the main character of a new series of books, beginning with A Subtle Agency and has agreed to give an interview for my Blog.’
‘So let’s begin Anton, how did you get the gig?’
‘Well, I saw an advertisement in the Boston Mercury for a main character for an upcoming novel, they said they were looking for someone who could play a star hockey player and Boston University freshman, so I brushed up my CV and sent it in.’
‘So what happened then?’
‘Well, there was a couple of rounds of interviews, and everything seemed to be going really good. I thought, solid, I’ve got it, my first major role – no more bit parts for me.’
‘Sounds like something unexpected happened.’
‘Yeah, they asked me if I wanted to be a vampire, and I can tell you, alarm bells started ringing straight away, and I thought to myself, well there’s a big red flag. I mean, what the hell – vampires? Really?’
‘Yeah, what I thought too. Anyway, so the old geezer who’s running the show, he said he was toying with the idea that I might be better placed as one of the vampires.’
‘Too right, so I said to him, that no way whatsoever, I was gonna play a damn vampire. And he ruminates on my response for minutes … so I’m waiting for the old guy to make up his mind, and then he comes out and says, it will all be okay, you don’t have to be a vampire.’
‘You would have been a relieved.’
‘Sure, but I’m going, what the hell in my mind, as I thought it was a sports story, and so what is all this talk about vampires. I just didn’t get it.’
‘So, did he do anything to clarify the situation?’
‘Well, he gave me an outline of the novel, and I read it. I’m still thinking this is a sports story, right, and I’m a freshman at Boston U, right. Yeah right, so I’m looking for a hockey tournament, with me as a star player. I’m looking for a championship game with me scoring the winning goal. I’m looking for hot cheerleaders and lots of them. I’m looking for drunken frat parties and pranks and laughs and fun. …’
‘But it wasn’t anything like that was it?’
‘No, nothing like it. It was a real downer, I was some guy whose mother gets murdered in our living room, and whose father is abducted by really tough vampires. Not only that, I’ve been living in some weird witness protection and basically I’ve got enemies everywhere just looking to put me in an early grave. I nearly get killed half a dozen times in the first book, and then I see in the second book that I get shot, thrown off a cliff, and then hooded, gagged, bound and buried alive and that’s only in the first three chapters.’
‘That’s a tough gig.’
‘Even worse, my number one enemy, Chloe Armitage, who kills my mother and abducts my father, wants to use me in some plot of her own. And get this, her time on page is almost the same as mine. Hey, I thought I was gonna be the main character. What’s up with that?’
‘So what convinced you to take the job?’
‘Well, a guy has got to eat, and I was sick of playing bit parts in online computer games.’
‘It’s that simple?’
‘Yep, it’s that simple.’
‘Well, thank you Anton, it’s been wonderful to get some real insight into the inner workings of the job market for main characters.’
‘Sure, no problem.’
‘Cheers, hey, and thanks for the beer.’
‘It’s all good.’
Tell us about your next release. And when can we expect it?
The major characters introduced in A Subtle Agency grow in depth in the second book, A Traitor’s War. The schemes, machinations, plots and counter-plots that characterized the first book continue as lies and betrayals become a dominant tactic.
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
Extreme plotter. I spent 18 months on the design of The Metaframe War series before I wrote the first scene. I’m finding that 90% of my design survives contact with actual writing, and the rest gets obliterated by smart-mouthed characters who are growing minds of their own.I plan, because I have deeply involved spy vs spy vs double agent vs double agent vs rogue agent vs the hero vs the nemesis …I could not keep my plot straight without deep planning.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
I am deeply upset for about twenty seconds. Then I move on.
What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Being willing to see writing as a journey and not a destination.
Being open to constructive criticism and advice. A willingness to make mistakes and learn from them. A good partner.
Book title: A Subtle Agency
Series: The Metaframe War
Is the book a standalone? First in the Series
Author: Graeme Rodaughan
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Techno-Thriller
Published: 16 May 2016
Anton Smith believes that he has a perfectly normal life as a first year Boston university student and star ice hockey player, until he meets General Chloe Armitage of the Vampire Dominion.
Chloe reveals that his family has been in a witness protection program for his whole life and that his real name is Anton Slayne. She then murders his mother, abducts his father and leaves him alive and hunted by her minions, the relentless operatives of the Shadowstone organization.
Anton finds both refuge and training with vampire hunter, Gang Wu and his daughter Li. They are members of the Order of Thoth – implacable enemies of the Vampire Dominion.
After a battle with a local Triad gang, Anton is discovered by Shadowstone. Gang, Li and Anton flee to a dock on the Mystic River, where a pitched battle ensues against Shadowstone and the Vampire Dominion, led by Chloe Armitage.
Will the Order of Thoth arrive in time to tip the battle in Anton’s favor, or will Chloe Armitage destroy those he loves for a second time?
About the Author
Graeme Rodaughan was born in Maffra, Victoria and grew up on a dairy farm at Invergordon, in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria, Australia. He was educated at Numurkah and Shepparton High Schools, and later at Latrobe University where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy and a graduate diploma in Computer Science. He has always loved reading, especially science fiction, and fantasy. By day he helps define IT projects, by night he writes character driven urban fantasy. If you like vampires as villians, conspiracies and schemes, thrills and suspense, and heroes with just enough super powers to make it interesting – then you may well enjoy his books.
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