Ethan Jones is a lawyer by trade and the author of Arctic Wargame, a spy thriller available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback. He has also published two short stories: Carved in Memory, a prequel to Arctic Wargame, and The Last Confession, both available on Amazon as e-books. His second spy thriller, Tripoli’s Target, will be released in fall 2012. Ethan lives in Canada with his wife and his son.
Bio provided by author
Canadian Intelligence Service Agent Justin Hall—combat-hardened in operations throughout Northern Africa—has been demoted after a botched mission in Libya.
When two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters, Justin volunteers for the reconnaissance mission, eager to return to the field. His team discovers a foreign weapons cache deep in the Arctic, but they are not aware that a spy has infiltrated the Department of National Defence.
The team begins to unravel a treasonous plan against Canada, but they fall under attack from one of their own. Disarmed and stripped of their survival gear, they are stranded in a remote location. Now the team must survive the deadly Arctic not only to save themselves, but their country.
Excerpt from newly published “Arctic Wargames”
We were very fortunate to have Mr. Ethan Jones contact us and feel very privileged to be asked to do an interview with him regarding his debut novel, “Arctic Wargames” Ethan is a private person who works very hard at all things he does whether it be as an attorney, writer, husband or father. So please give a very warm welcome to Ethan!
1.What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
Arctic Wargame, the first book in Justin Hall series, opens with a scene where the main character, Justin, is in jail, waiting for the right moment for an escape. This hooks the reader from the first moments they pick up the book; the subtle conflict and intrigue, the need to know how the escape will take place and whether it will be successful and if yes, what will happen next.
The first lines are extremely important. They should offer the reader a foretaste of what the novel is all about, a sample of the best that your writing can give them, the promise that if they buy your book, they will be rewarded with a great entertaining story. Tripoli’s Target, the second book in Justin Hall series, opens up with this line: Satam, the driver of the fifth suicide truck bomb, turned onto Ar Rashid Street, merging with the warm evening traffic.
My spy thrillers are in a sense inspired by current events. Not a dramatized version of true stories, but an imaginary development of a ‘what-if’ scenario. What if an Arctic power decided to take some unilateral military action in that sensitive area of the world? What if an assassination plot happens while the US President visits one of the rogue states of the world?
Another driver of my storylines is the desire to entertain the reader, to take them away from the ordinary and into an imaginary world where they can follow a great story and take a break from their daily routine. If I have accomplished that, my job is done.
2.Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I wrote Arctic Wargame and Tripoli’s Target without an outline. I just planned the main storyline in my mind and went on writing. There were a couple of places where I really stumbled and had to think hard to come out with ideas and solutions. I learned my lesson and now I make charts, with the characters’ names and their traits, in order to have a clear picture of who’s who and how they relate to one another and the story.
3.What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I have a full-time job, so I do not have a normal writing day. I try to write wherever and whenever I can. At times, I wake up in the morning and put in a few hours before heading to work. Other times, I write well after midnight. Depending on the day, it could be thirty minutes or eight hours. I try to get about 1000 words per day, but that is not always possible.
4.Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
John Grisham was one of the writers I read when growing up. I also read books from David Baldacci and Daniel Silva, as well as many other spy thriller writers. They have inspired me to write stories with a lot of twists and turns, face-paced plots, clear and concise language, and overall quite entertaining for the readers.
5.It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
The middle of the novel does not come as easy as the beginning or the end. After the fast beginning, the introduction of the characters and of the plot, the middle seems to be quite laborious. I don’t want it to be boring or slow, as readers may lose interest. So, I need to work extra hard to make sure the quality of the middle parts is as good, if not better, than the beginning, and, of course, the rest of the story.
I also dislike rewriting and editing. Once the book is finished, I let out a sigh of relief and celebrate. Then I realize that my work is not done. I have to rewrite and edit, make changes, cut entire paragraphs and add new sentences and phrases here and there. These are required steps in order to have a great novel that readers will love.
6.Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
Reading is important for every writer. It helps one understand the market and the competition. It helps sharpen a writer’s skills while learning what works and what doesn’t work in other fellow writers. Reading supports the industry and my colleagues and overall it entertains and it relaxes me.
At the moment, I am reading Deception by Adrian Magson, a great spy thriller. Next on my list is The Bourne Imperative by Eric Van Lustbader.
7.What drew you to writing about the fictional spy genre? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
Growing up, I liked reading adventure stories and watching action movies. My dad, who worked as a radio technician for the Army, wanted me to attend a military school, but that didn’t work out. I still like reading suspense and thrillers. Since I know the genre, I thought I could learn how to write stories that fit what I like.
I am not a spy or a secret agent, but I have read a lot of literature on the subject and made use of extensive research.
8.Your book is being published by Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
Yes, no doubt about it. Many publishing companies offer their books on Amazon, as well as in the traditional book stores and other distribution channels. The cost is lower, the delivery almost instantaneous, no storage or transportation costs. It makes economic sense.
9.Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
I run http://ethanjones.blog.com – a blog updated daily with exclusive author interviews, book reviews and more. My blog also contains exclusive excerpt from my works and news about upcoming events, giveaways and future novels.
I would love your readers’ feedback. They can get in touch with me via e-mail at this address: email@example.com I promise to write to each and every one of them.
My blog – http://ethanjones.blog.com – is the place to learn about my future works, to enjoy exclusive book reviews and author interviews.
Follow me on Twitter: @EthanJonesBooks
10.Do you have any more stories in the works? After the trilogy will you branch into other types of genre or will you stay with the spy genre?
I’ve finished two short stories, Carved in Memory––which is a prequel to Arctic Wargame and explains an important aspect of Justin’s background–– and The Last Confession––about justice coming to a dying NY mobster during his last confession to his priest. They are released along with Arctic Wargame.
I’m revising Tripoli’s Target, the second book in Justin Hall series. This time, Justin and Carrie are sent to meet with the Sheikh of the largest terrorist network in Northern Africa, to receive some high-value intelligence. They learn about an assassination plot against the US president, which is to happen during a G-20 summit in Tripoli, Libya. Justin and Carrie inform the US Secret Service about this plot. Then new intelligence comes in, and they realize something is very, very wrong in their plan. Against all odds, they must stop the assassination before the summit forty-eight hours away. Tripoli’s Target will be published in the fall of this year.
I’m also working on Fog of War, which is the third book in Justin Hall series. Justin and Carrie infiltrate some of the most dangerous spots in the planet. Iran, Somalia and Yemen, the hotbeds of terrorism in the making. Fog of War will come out in spring of 2013.
Besides spy thrillers, I love mystery and suspense novels. I have started a murder mystery set in the US, called A Complicated Justice. A Court of Appeals judge goes missing and the detectives are trying to find him, the reasons why he has disappeared and the whole truth. I have no date in mind for the release of this novel, perhaps it will be published late next year.
11.Who would be your first choice to play Justin Hall from “Arctic Wargames”?
I haven’t really gives that much thought to this question. It takes a lot of time for a book to turn into a movie. Since Arctic Wargame is a Canadian spy thriller, it would be great if a Canadian author could play Justin. Ryan Gosling, for example.
12.If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Oh, time travel. I am a Christian, so naturally I would like to meet Jesus. First question would be: Why would you suffer and die for mankind, when so many deny you even existed?
13.How much research went into the writing of the “Arctic Wargames” Trilogy?
I spend about nine months writing Arctic Wargame and about the same time revising it. Tripoli’s Target took about the same time. I do extensive research, since that’s necessary for the spy thrillers. The setting of the places needs to be true and factual. The same about weaponry, gadgets and other equipment used by the characters. I learn about the geo-politics of a certain region, the main players and the relations between the different countries. I explore the background of current and past developments in that area, so that the storylines I create do not appear in a vacuum and do not come across as contrived.