Meet author Steve Berry. His trademark is a mix of history and suspense, 90% fact and 10% exciting speculation. He takes this combination and creates riveting thrillers. Some of our readers may not know that he is a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 2,600 thriller writers from around the world.
We are so excited to have Steve Berry as our visitor today. To welcome him we have prepared a Mocha Morning Drink.
6 cups hot brewed coffee, ¾ cup half-and-half cream, 6 tablespoons chocolate syrup, 7 teaspoons sugar, 6 cinnamon sticks, whipped cream (optional). In a large saucepan, combine the coffee, cream, chocolate syrup and sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is heated through. Ladle into six large mugs. Stir with a cinnamon stick. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 6 servings.
Good morning Steve, welcome to Authors Visit. Your newest book, The Patriot Threat just released. Tell us a little about the book.
The 16th Amendment to the Constitution is why Americans pay income taxes. But what if there were problems associated with that amendment? Secrets that call into question decades of tax collecting? In fact, there is a surprising truth to this hidden possibility.
My protagonist Cotton Malone, once a member of an elite intelligence division within the Justice Department known as the Magellan Billet, is now retired and owns an old bookshop in Denmark. But when his former-boss, Stephanie Nelle, asks him to track a rogue North Korean who may have acquired some top-secret Treasury Department files–the kind that could bring the United States to its knees–Malone is vaulted into a harrowing twenty-four hour chase that begins on the canals in Venice and ends in the remote highlands of Croatia.
I’ve read the book, and I have to tell you, it was riveting. It has your non-stop adventure trademark. It was a great thriller…and the question you posed about income tax being illegal left me dumbfounded. I really liked the appearances of Franklin Roosevelt, Andrew Mellon, and the painting that hangs in the National Gallery of Art. The part with the $1 bill…well, I immediately went to get a $1 bill and looked…I won’t give that away right here. We’ll let others find it as they read your book. And it is a must read.
You obviously have a passion for history as it lies at the heart of your novels.
Yes, it is my passion, one I share with my wife, Elizabeth. It led us to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 we have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and writers workshops. To date, over 2,500 students have attended those workshops and we’ve raised nearly a million dollars for preservation.
In 2012 and 2013 your devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, they named you the spokesperson for National Preservation Week. Among his other honors are the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award; the 2013 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award given by Poets & Writers; the 2013 Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and the Silver Bullet, bestowed in 2013 by International Thriller Writers for his philanthropic work. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.
I know your books are research intensive. Can you tell us a little about it?
I utilize many second-hand volumes, visiting old bookshops around the world. I use around 200-300 sources for each novel. Sometimes on site research is necessary in order to fully develop the story. With The Patriot Threat, I went to Venice, Croatia, And Washington D.C. I flew to Russia for The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy and to Rome for The Third Secret. Time in France was necessary for The Templar Legacy. A visit to the abbey at Belem, in Portugal, helped complete The Alexandria Link. Trips to Venice for The Venetian Betrayal and Germany for The Charlemagne Pursuit were also productive. For The Paris Vendetta I spent four days in the city of lights. To create The Jefferson Key, I visited Virginia, North Carolina, Washington D.C., and New York City. The Columbus Affair required a few days in both Prague and Jamaica, where I discovered an interesting link between those two locales. For The King’s Deception, I made two trips to London and its surrounding communities.
I have heard that it is a possibility that your Cotton Malone books may come to TV in a series. Without giving too much information, can you comment on that?
The Cotton Malone series has been bought by Alcon Entertainment. So there is interest in a television series focused around the books and Cotton. Hopefully, that development effort will prove successful and Cotton might come to life on the small screen.
I have to tell you, I for one would be thrilled. I love the Cotton Malone character. I know you have many reader fans that would be watching that series. I hope you will keep us posted on that as it moves along.
You were just interviewed in Southern Writers Magazine’s March/April issue and you were on the cover. I really enjoyed learning about your writing techniques. I especially learned a lot about your character’s voices–– in how you keep them from getting lost amid the other voices.
It’s important that the characters not sound the same. You achieve this through a careful use of diction and syntax — the choice and order of the words.
I appreciated you sharing that technique with us on how you accomplish this. For writers who are interested in checking this out just click on the magazine above.
What’s next for Steve Berry?
Cotton Malone will be back in 2016 and 2017 with more exciting adventures. The 2016 novel is finished and I’m writing the 2017 book.
I want to thank you for joining us today. Again, I really enjoyed your new book. So did my husband. I like your writing style, especially since it keeps me interested all the way to the end. Thank you for such interesting books.
Please come back and visit soon.
Be sure and check out Steve Berry’s website and learn more about him.
Until Next Time-Happy Reading!