What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Cleopatra’s Vendetta – A Stryker Thriller?
This story was inspired by Cleopatra, the queen of ancient Egypt. I’ve always been fascinated by her and wanted to include her in a novel at some point. This thriller was a perfect fit. One of the most powerful women in history, she spoke nine languages, was one of the first to have her image stamped on coins, enjoyed dressing in disguise and meeting her subjects incognito, and once filled a party room with knee-deep rose petals. She was both charming and intelligent and earned her place in history.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
Yes, I read and write international action thrillers that are infused with intrigue, history, science, and mystery. I’ll occasionally branch out into well-written mystery novels, domestic thrillers, or fantasy but always return to smart action-oriented tales that get my heart rate up!
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
Don Winslow’s City of Lights, and The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz. I just finished The Omega Factor by Steve Berry and thoroughly enjoyed it.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
That’s a toss-up. There’s the prologue, where Cleopatra’s spy sneaks into her prison, bringing the newly discovered location of her mortal enemy and the young asp hidden under the false bottom of a basket of figs.
Then there’s a scene about a third of the way into the book when Timothy Stryker, a special ops leader whose wife and daughter have been kidnapped, is chasing a lead at a dig site in Egypt where Cleopatra’s tomb may be hidden (yes, in real life). As Stryker descends into a vertical shaft, one of the antagonists cuts the cable of the hoist. That scene is charged with action and suspense!
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Mostly I enjoy writing from the couch or outdoors using my phone and I tend to edit on the laptop sitting at my desk, which I fondly call my command center. I find my muse speaks when I’m hiking, too, so keep the phone handy to jot down ideas.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
At the front of this story is a quote by Adolf Hitler: “The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth.” I wouldn’t say I live by that quote but it is apt. This story is about truth and courage, about royal secrets and epic lies. The use of propaganda is older than Cleopatra and was used to defeat her. I do like to keep that in mind as I peruse the news and social media.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
I leave readers with a final quote by Euripides, a Greek dramatist who wrote plays a few hundred years before Cleopatra’s time. “Man’s most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe.”
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