Sunday, May 18, 2014

Author Interview: Melissa F Miller on 'Critical Vulnerability'

A new novel by Melissa F. Miller has just been released, and, in what has now become a regular occurrence, I have managed to steal a few minutes of the writer’s time to ask a few questions.

Here they are!

What made you decide to start a series spin-off at this point? Were you bored writing Sasha?

I wasn’t bored with Sasha, exactly. What happened was I had a story I wanted to tell, but it really wasn’t Sasha’s story. At this point, I know her well enough to know that she wasn’t the right character. I put that story on the backburner and wrote Improper Influence, but I kept thinking what would happen if a bad person exploited this vulnerability in computer systems? So, I decided to bring Aroostine (who has a very tiny role in Inadvertent Disclosure) to the foreground and make it her story.

Was it a challenge to make Aroostine different from Sasha?

Yes and no. I spent some time thinking about Aroostine as a character—who she is, her dreams and fears, her strengths and weaknesses—before I started writing. It was important to give Aroostine her own voice and not simply to make her different from Sasha.

Once again, this novel deals with a really current issue. Just as I was reading it, the Heartbleed vulnerability was all over the news. What made you choose technology as the focus of the story, and how hard was it to research it?

The idea for the story came from an article I read on Here’s a link to the article, in case you or your readers are interested in seeing it:
The idea of all these systems that run in the background of our daily lives, controlling the mundane and the critical, being open to exploitation is terrifying to me. As is the case with many writers (or, at least, thriller writers), I write what I fear.  And, as we’ve talked about in the past with the Sasha books, I’m a born researcher. One of my favorite things both about practicing law and writing is doing the research. I really enjoy digging in and learning as much as I can about a topic in a short amount of time.

How are you planning to balance this new Aroostine series against the Sasha McCandless series? Will you be writing the two at the same time, or will you alternate?

I am planning to alternate releases. Currently, I’m finishing up the sixth full-length novel in the Sasha McCandless series, titled Irrevocable Trust. While that book is being edited, proofread, and formatted, I’ll be researching drones for the second Aroostine book (Chilling Effect).  After I write that, it’ll be back to Sasha.  I have at least one more story planned for Aroostine after that, but I also have plans to sneak Bodhi King, the Buddhist forensic pathologist from Improper Influence into the rotation with a series of medical thrillers.  (In not-unrelated news, come this Fall, all three of my kids will be in school five days a week fo the first time ever, so I expect to have more time to write!)

Are there any plans for your books to be translated into any foreign languages? Your novels would certainly cross over to the European market very well.

It’s interesting to hear you say that. I have a fantastic agent whose foreign rights representative is shopping the books, but so far we haven’t had any offers. If a foreign publisher doesn’t snap them up, then I will explore having them translated myself. I know a handful of authors who have started issuing their own translations. I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Sorry - one more! What are you going to publish next?

Next up is Irrevocable Trust, the sixth full-length novel in the Sasha McCandless series.  This book pits newlyweds Sasha and Leo against Jeffrey Bricker, an enemy from their past, who’s seeking revenge. It’s tentatively scheduled for a late June release, but please don’t hold me to that. It may slip to July.

Thank you, Melissa, for talking to me once again and I'm looking forward to the next book!

My review of "Critical Vulnerability" can be found here.

You can buy the book on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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