Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Dead Edge

Two explosions at the same time.  In two different cities.
Ex-US Navy-turned-investigator Thomas J Cooper knows this is no random coincidence. This is a carefully planned attack calling for war on the US government.
The clock is ticking, and Cooper must stop the perpetrators before the threat of further bombings becomes a deadly reality.
With estranged wife Maddie working beside him, they travel from Washington to Burkina Faso in a dangerous trail to track down the killers. Engulfed in a murderous game, they must be the players with the winning final move…
Meet Thomas J Cooper. Unpredictable. Unbreakable. Unstoppable.
Dead Edge by Jack Ford….
Yet I’m also Jacqui Rose the author of gritty gangland novels, but first and foremost I’m a writer of all stories whether it be Geo-political thrillers such as Dead Edge or gritty gangland novels or even quirky accessible literature, you name it, I love writing it.
My head is filled on a daily basis with stories which don’t fit into the same genre box and therefore when I started having the ideas for the Thomas J Cooper novels, I knew I had to take a break from the Jacqui Rose books - I wouldn’t be able to juggle writing two gangland books a years as well as research and develop the Thomas Cooper series, so I took the brave or foolish step- however way you want to look at it - and took time out.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I love the gangland books, they’re so fun to write but I wanted to try a different style of writing as well as challenge myself, and rather than write under Jacqui Rose and ask my readers to come with me in a totally different direction, I thought it was important to approach the series with a blank canvas.
It was scary to think after beginning to establish myself and having a loyal band of readers I was going to basically start back at the beginning – a debut author as it were.
A lot of people said I was crazy as it was hard enough for authors to sustain their career in today’s competitive market let alone start from scratch but as strong as their arguments were, I didn’t set out to write, merely to pay the bills. I write stories because my life makes sense when I do, and my head is filled with characters who are waiting for their voice to be heard. Thomas J Cooper was one of them.
I remember where I was sitting when Thomas came into my head. I was in a field with one of my horses and this presence of energy overwhelmed me. Right there, I imagined this guy on a ranch, alone but filled with his own personal demons. I knew personally the struggle of PTSD and I knew how hard it was at times to keep on keeping on. I imagined how even more difficult it would be if you’d been brought up in a way and had the kind of career which didn’t allow or didn’t encourage you to speak of your feelings, yet the monster of PTSD still lived in your head. And the more I thought about it, the more Thomas J Cooper began to develop….
Intelligent, brave, connections to the White House, a job where people relied on you and where it often came down to life or death situation, yet crippled with mental health issues and guilt to the point it debilitates life and the circle of self-medication and drinking becomes part of the problem rather than the solution. The secrecy, the self-denial, the self-loathing yet the burden of wearing the veil of normality and reliability are as difficult to carry as the PTSD. Welcome to Thomas J Cooper.
Part of my (extensive) research to write these books was to take up a Master’s degree in Counter Terrorism as well as exploring American politics – one of the characters in the book is the President of the US – President John Woods - and basically the challenge was to make him sound authentic as well as sounding like a regular guy rather than the stereotypes people tend to write when they portray Presidents. It boiled down to - I had to know what the President knew and then some! I also studied political Islam which I loved, to the point of learning to speak Arabic, sadly I have since discovered that speaking a different language is not one of my strong points! However, whilst I was studying political Islam, the story of Dead Edge began to form….
I wanted to write about what was happening in the world through the eyes of Thomas J Cooper and his investigation team; looking at the human cost of terror groups, the refugee crisis and some of the conflicts behind it, exploring the less than clean ways as well as the hypocrisy some countries go about fighting the war on terror. What I didn’t want to do was lecture, I wanted to put both sides out there and let the reader come to their own conclusion; who were actually the bad guys? And in situations like the one in Dead Edge are there really any good guys at all? 
Writing Dead Edge was complex, at times frustrating - many times! and I often asked myself why I had even set myself the challenge of this book as it pushed me to my limits but ultimately I loved the whole process, and I’m very proud of the book; from a small idea and knowing very little about politics and certainly nothing about Terrorism or Islam, I have learnt so much and met so many interesting people along the way, as well as having grown as a writer. I just really hope the readers will enjoy meeting Thomas J Cooper and his team as much as I did.

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