Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Mark Greaney?
I am the author of the Gray Man series. Previously I co-authored three novels with Tom Clancy and wrote four more Jack Ryan novels after Tom’s death.
Your latest novel, Mission Critical, was recently published by Berkley. The latest in your Gray Man series, it looks really interesting. How would you introduce the series to a new reader…?
It tells the continuing saga of Court Gentry, a former CIA officer turned private assassin, who only takes on operations he feels are righteous. He has an off-the-books contract relationship with the CIA, as well.
… and what can fans expect from the latest book?
Court must uncover a mole at CIA who is helping a shadowy organization who plans to attack the Five Eyes — the five English speaking nation’s intelligence services. Meanwhile, Court’s love interest, Zoya Zakharova, digs into the mystery of her father’s death and finds it relates to dangers in the present.
What inspired you to write the novel and series? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
I’m a fan of the espionage genre and was inspired by the exciting writing of others. I take most inspiration out of the news or other contemporary sources.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
The first novel I ever bought was Patriot Games by Tom Clancy and I was immediately hooked. I then began reading all the masters of the genre.
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
I like it a lot. I wanted to be a published author for over twenty years before it happened so I appreciate it every day.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
I like to write early in the morning, and I like doing research. Either location research, reading, training in whatever specialty the character employs in the book (for Mission Critical, I went to stunt driving school).
You’ve written a number of novels in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. What’s it like working on someone else’s series, and on such an iconic character as Jack Ryan?
Daunting at first, but I got more comfortable quickly. It was a big responsibility, but there was so much work to do that I didn’t even have time to sit back and think about the magnitude of it all, until I left the series and looked back on the six years I spent writing the seven books.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
I was about 20 when I had an idea for a novel. It took me 15 years to write and then I did nothing with it, but wrote three novellas and three novels before getting published. I still look back on the experience fondly — it took forever, but I needed the time to get better.
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
It seems pretty strong. I don’t know where I fit in, really. I just write books that I’d like to read.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
I have a book I coauthored coming out July 16th, called Red Metal, and I am beginning work on next year’s Gray Man.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
Books about sex-trafficking, research for my next novel.
If you could recommend only one novel or book to someone, what would it be?
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I used to drum in a heavy metal band.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
My next SCUBA diving trip.
Mark Greaney’s Mission Critical is out now, published by Berkley (North America) and Sphere (UK).