Today I have a new interview with thriller author J.T. Patten about his latest book, Safe Havens: Primed Charge.
You can check out my first interview with him from last year, here.
"J.T. Patten" has worked with the intelligence and special operations community in support of national defense and policy. He has a degree in foreign language, a master's in strategic intelligence, graduate studies in counter terrorism from the University of St. Andrews, and numerous expertise certifications in forensics, fraud, and financial crime investigations. Patten shares these unique experiences with readers to give them a taste of "the black."
His novel is written in a multi-layered thriller plot style that provides a compelling inside view of larger than life covert activities in addition to the gripping turmoil that warriors suffer while battling foes and internal demons.
Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews.
Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate you having me back.
My pleasure! Please tell us about your newest release.
Well, I’m really excited about this one. I’ve evolved as a writer, the story has evolved to be less brutal on a physical level (and descriptors), and the plot has been enhanced with more conspiracy and emotion. I also have a new strong female character, Tanya Crowe. She’s awesome. The main premise is based on my widower protagonist, an intelligence specialist who has a young daughter, who really needs her dad. The main character, Sean Havens, struggles to fulfil his duty as a father while also doing his job for the discrete corners of government. The twists are based on the black operations that he is involved with and the invisible hands that are involved as guiding puppet masters. In Primed Charge, the behind-the-scenes conflict is a factional intelligence war of power players within the CIA who hail from Freemasonary and the secret society, Skull and Bones. Ultimately, it casts into question how world order is actually maintained and how much of what citizens’ view on the world stage is really just a ruse and cover up.
What inspired you to write this book?
Having worked in a world where one just accepts secrets and doesn’t question orders, there is an element of doubt that lurks. True to the nature of my books, I take these fantastic “What ifs” and twist them into a realistic conspiracy based on today’s contemporary issues. As an avid reader, I am tired of the same old protagonist, the stereotypical antagonist, and the [yawn] Extremist Islamic terrorists—or the Russian and Chinese spin. I prefer to twist it up so the reader never knows what’s going to hit them next, and take them to issues that they likely haven’t thought about. I just like to have fun and see it as my mission to take readers for a ride.
What’s the next writing project?
I plan on moving to the next, Safe Havens: Presidential Retreat. I’m challenging myself with taking the tired presidential assassination plot and creating something really innovative and fresh.
What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
I still have to abide by rules associated with having a security clearance. There are so many nuances that are open to the public that I have been exposed to in classified settings that I still can’t write on. Even with fiction. So my problem isn’t what to write, it’s what not to write.
If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
That’s a great question, Lisa. Primed Charge required a lot more research than I anticipated. In Shadow Masters, I pretty much free wrote the whole book based on things I knew. Primed Charge took me a bit out of my comfort zone into some areas (or countries) that I don’t have direct experience. Since I free-write, I painted myself in the corner a few times based on where the story took me. I had to research my way out of the Burmese jungle, an elevator, a female’s mind… I’m exhausted.
What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I travel extensively. So my writing space is usually an airplane, hotel, bar, restaurant… wherever I have time and space for my laptop. I used to have a writing desk at my home and now I use a comfortable leather chair at home.
What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I do stay with my genre. I am a huge fan of Mark Greaney. I also enjoy John Gilstrap and Nelson DeMille. My all-time favorite is John le Carré, but I think those spy novels need a fresh voice, now. I’d like to think I’m helping nudge the espionage sub-genre into more modern times.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I don’t want to say I’m everything for everyone, by all means, but if readers like complex dark thrillers with elements of conspiracy, military action, emotional drama, and spies, this could be a good change from the status quo. And if a reader likes the status quo, this may scratch some of those itches and widen the aperture a bit.
The book is available through Amazon.
Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews! All the best with your writing.