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Good day, my bookish peeps. I’ve got to admit, I hate admitting I’m getting old, if not old-er! Remembering events that took place in the 1960s and 1970s is daunting (and aging). Then I hear my nieces and nephews refer to events that took place 20-30 years ago as a long time ago just feels wrong on so many levels. But then I remember that they’re between the ages of 14 and 27 so it is a long time ago for them. Susan Ouellette, author of The Wayward Assassin, stops by today to discuss just that, passing time and writing about world after a significant event. Thank you, Ms. Ouellette for taking the time to join us today and sharing with us. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. I hope everyone will enjoy your words of wisdom, follow the blog tour, and add The Wayward Assassin to their TBR lists. The blog is now all yours.
Writing about the Post-9/11 World
by Susan Ouellette
Since the publication of my first book, The Wayward Spy, which takes place in 2003, I’m often asked why my stories take place “so long ago.” The same holds true for the sequel, The Wayward Assassin, which takes place in 2004. Hey, wait a minute, I think. It wasn’t that long ago. Then I do the math . . . oh, right.
So why do my stories take place when they do? Well, I started writing this series in early 2001. At the time, the books took place in the future, albeit by only a few years. The villain in my books was a terrorist named Osama bin Laden. Of course, everyone over the age of thirty knows who he is. But when I first began thinking about writing spy thrillers back in the late 1990s, few Americans had ever heard of bin Laden. The only reason I was familiar with him was that it was my job to understand the threats facing the United States. At the time, I was working on Capitol Hill for the House Intelligence Committee, where we received numerous briefings about bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network. Fast forward to September 11, 2001. When the second plane hit the second tower in New York City, I knew immediately that bin Laden and al-Qaeda had to be responsible.
In the dark days after September 11th, I decided to cut bin Laden from my stories. I didn’t want to give him any more publicity than he’d garnered as the mastermind of the most deadly attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor. So, I changed the story’s villain to a female terrorist named Zara, who, if I do say so myself, is a far more interesting character than bin Laden would’ve been. And having my protagonist, Maggie Jenkins, square off against another woman? It added so many layers to these stories that I knew right away I’d struck fictional gold.
When I decided to take another shot at getting published a few years ago, I considered updating the first book (The Wayward Spy) so that it would take place around 2018. But I soon realized that doing so would present a problem for the second book (The Wayward Assassin). ASSASSIN’s plot is anchored by an actual event that took place in 2004 (no spoilers!). If I catapulted The Wayward Spy setting ahead by fifteen years, then I would’ve had to remove the 2004 event and rewrite The Wayward Assassin entirely. I decided I couldn’t do that because that particular real-life event made such an impression on me that I simply had to write about it. I had to try to make sense out of a senseless act. I had to insert Maggie into that world and have her fight the evil she encountered. And whether it’s 2004 or 2022, Maggie Jenkins is the everyday hero that thriller fans crave. She’s bold, clever, unpredictable, vulnerable, and stronger than she knows. ♦
The Wayward Assassin
by Susan Ouellette
March 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Revenge knows no deadline.
Although told to stand down now that the Chechen rebel who killed her fiancé is dead, CIA analyst Maggie Jenkins believes otherwise and goes rogue to track down the assassin. Soon it becomes clear that failure to find Zara will have repercussions far beyond the personal, as Maggie uncovers plans for a horrific attack on innocent Americans. Zara is the new face of terrorism–someone who doesn’t fit the profile, who can slip undetected from attack to attack, and who’s intent on pursuing a personal vendetta at any cost.
Chasing Zara from Russia to the war-torn streets of Chechnya, to London, and finally, to the suburbs of Washington, D. C., Maggie risks her life to stop a deadly plot.
Praise for The Wayward Assassin:
“Ouellette, herself a former intelligence analyst for the CIA, imbues the exciting action with authenticity. Readers will want to see more of the wily Maggie . . .”
“Every once in a decade you read a book like The Wayward Spy, which is thrilling, addictive, and sends you reading more thrillers, but you’ll go back to this stunning book by Susan Ouellette and reread this tour de force.”
—The Strand Magazine, a Top 12 Book of the Year
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Number of Pages: 416
ISBN: 0744304784 (ISBN13: 9780744304787)
Series: The Wayward Series, Book 2 || Each is a Stand Alone Book
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound.Org | CamCat Books
Susan Ouellette is the author of The Wayward Spy, a thriller that Publishers Weekly calls a “gripping debut and series launch.” She was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, where she studied international relations and Russian as both an undergraduate and graduate student. As the Soviet Union teetered on the edge of collapse, she worked as a CIA intelligence analyst. Subsequently, Susan worked on Capitol Hill as a professional staff member for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). Since her stint on Capitol Hill, she has worked for several federal consulting firms. Susan lives on a farm outside of Washington, D.C. with her family.
Catch Up With Susan Ouellette:
BookBub – @susanobooks1
Instagram – @susanobooks
Twitter – @smobooks
Facebook – @SusanOuelletteAuthor
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