Brett Andrew Strange is no stranger to travel. A former US Intelligence Officer, Strange has traveled to over two dozen countries for research fulfillment, which he then put into his writing, helping to mold and enrich the events and characters that appear in his work. He is the author of two novels, Beneath the Purple Dawn and Against the Dusk, as well as Encounters: Six Short Stories. Strange currently calls San Francisco his home.
We’re eagerly anticipating additional works from this talented author.
You’re an author known for his exhilarating thriller novels. When did you discover your love for this genre?
The thriller novel developed as a vehicle for expression based on my experience at the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Treasury, and decades of living and working abroad. My fictional characters are composites drawn from life. I draw on similar situations I have faced or were known to me, although these are dramatized and told using different points of view. When successful, I love this genre because it engages the reader in a gripping and entertaining tale, but also introduces thought-provoking themes of war, conflict, and moral choice. There are also twists and turns that the reader guessing, along with the characters as they face adversity.
Can you tell us about your decision to write under a pen name?
Some of the greatest works of fiction have been published under pen names. There is a long tradition of author pseudonyms especially in the arena of adventure fiction. For me, using a pen name completes the artistic effort, aligning with authors such as the late John le Carré (David Cornwall), Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), and George Orwell (Eric Blair) to name but a few.
Do you enjoy writing a series more so than standalone novels?
Yes. With a series, I can take my readers on a longer journey. With each book, the reader’s understanding of the character’s motivations, desires, and flaws deepens. The narrative rewards increase the more the reader invests in this universe and knows why characters act as they do over time. At some point, the books write themselves as mere extensions of the decisions that the characters continue to take. Will Katya truly begin to love Paul in the next novel? I’m not so sure. It depends on the choices Paul makes and whether Katya herself develops beyond her past traumas. For me, the characters in a series continue to live outside each novel the same as real people do.
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?
Katya would need to be played by a native-Russian speaker, such as Anna Chipovskayaer, who has acted in some great Russian-language plays and movies. For Paul, I would go with an actor Daren Kagasoff, who is about the same age as Paul and was excellent in the recent war movie, Devotion. I wouldn’t want the fame of any actor to distract from the characters. I’d want for the actors to disappear into these personas.
Do you have a third book planned for the Paul Drake Thrillers Series? What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
The third book in this series, Eastern Light, is currently in production and will be begin at the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and about two years after the last book ends. Action will take place in Kyiv, Eastern Ukraine, Budapest, and Northern Italy. There will be exciting, and perhaps tragic, resolutions for many characters developed in the first two books. Since the outbreak of Putin’s war in February 2022, incredible heroism has emerged to oppose grotesque evil. My goal is to portray the war’s brutal reality and the tactics used by intelligence services on both sides. I began the Paul Drake series while living in Kyiv and the story relates to the underlying tensions building up to this insane conflict. Paul’s younger brother Max Drake, introduced already in book one, takes on a more prominent role as he makes a bold, but somewhat reckless choice to join Ukraine’s international foreign brigade. The refugee situation is also acute, and the unfolding conflict is sure to shape the future of the Free World for years to come, already at a very high human cost.
6. What is the best way to celebrate publishing a book?
I would love readers to engage with the story and share their comments with me and other interested readers.
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