We spoke to the author Douglas Misquita. He has a lot of tips for aspiring writers of thrillers and series.
Douglas Misquita is an action-adventure thriller writer from Mumbai, India. His books are noted for their fast pace, great visuals and edge-of-the-seat action. The Immortality Trigger won the Silver Award at the Literary Titan. Douglas has written six thrillers, and with three more in the works, buckle up for more literary entertainment.
Find out more at www.douglasmisquita.com
Read the reviews at www.douglasmisquita.com/reviews
How do you research your books?
My research never stops. I’m always looking for ideas that might form the central theme of a story. At some point, I believe I have enough to begin writing. But if I encounter something exciting during the writing process, I’ll do my best to fit it in and add another dimension to the story.
A couple of examples:
If my characters need to go someplace exotic or serene or scenic, I’ll research a town or village. Other times, I research to hoist me out of a plot-blocker. In The Apocalypse Trigger, my characters required to break into an isolated research facility. I made the facility so impregnable, I couldn’t get them in! That’s when I excitedly discovered that ‘invisibility cloaks’ are no longer in the realm of fantasy. Problem solved! It also made for a super element.
Another aspect of my preparation is the action sequences. I imagine an action sequence and figure out how it would fit into a story, and what that story could be.
I read somewhere that your favorite writer is Michael Crichton. What kind of influences of Crichton can we watch out for in your work?
Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park inspired me to write. My first book was handwritten (with only two errors) on a 100-page single-ruled school exercise book at age 13. I borrowed heavily from Jurassic Park, but that’s when it started.
Crichton is the master of techno-thrillers and he always educated his readers. That’s what I try to do.
My stories are action-adventure thrillers but they must educate too. Secret of the Scribe predicts brain-computer interfaces and how nefarious organizations might use them. The technology is now at our doorstep with researchers able to transmit brain waves across countries!
The Apocalypse Trigger debunks preconceptions about Wiccans (witches), brings to light arrogant wagers played by elitists on natural calamities and explores the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.
Diablo deals with radio-controlled gene expression and takes readers on a tour of Baikonur Cosmodrome. Importantly, it traces the plight of migrants coming out of North Africa and making for Malta.
The Immortality Trigger confronts the reality of the anti-aging (read beauty-cosmetic) industry, Nazi hunters, and blood-mining in Africa.
Lion makes people think twice before classifying a country or a person as good or bad. Oh, and you could learn how to start a Mil24D gunship if you read Lion (I’m almost kidding).
Tell us about your latest book.
Lion is my sixth thriller. I decided to take a risk with the lead character: an unconventional hero, from an unlikely country, Syria. My hero would be a stereotypical ‘bad’ guy and readers would root for him! I wanted to bring the war alive, from a non-NATO perspective. The book is a fictionalized account of a Syrian political fugitive and the people closest to him, and how their lives are disrupted because they want to do the right thing amid all the chaos.
Another topic I tackle is mercenaries. Movies give us the impression that mercenaries are rogue soldiers. Really, they aren’t. Simply put, they are regular salary-earning employees who use weapons and combat skills to do a job, which could be providing security to NGOs in conflict zones or raising armies. Sure, they operate outside the ambit of the conventional war, but they sign a raw deal. No country will fight for them or honor them if they’re captured or killed doing things the regular army cannot.
Finally, I put in a spectacular prison break because it’s something I love. Who doesn’t love a prison break?
Which book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
Every book is rewarding during the writing process. Otherwise, I scrap it and take it in another direction. Sorry, that’s a curt answer, but it’s the truth.
Tell us about your experience with self-publishing.
To me, self-publishing is liberating and rewarding. Traditional publishing is great, but the big houses are companies that need to make a profit. They have a strategy which outlines the genres they will publish. And I give them that.
But why should anybody wait for somebody else to decide what’s good or bad? What if I have a story that I truly believe in and/or desire reader critique? Let the reader decide! That’s the ultimate proof of a good book, correct?
Earlier this was impossible, and a great writer could go undiscovered, his/her dreams unrealized. With self-publishing, barriers are reduced. I think the big houses are aware of this. That’s why you have them scouring the Internet for the next big thing.
So yes: liberating, rewarding, and self-adjusting.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I work as a software delivery manager.
Some advice for aspiring writers of thrillers.
Write the thriller you would enjoy reading. I write action and adventure with doses of history and science/ tech because that’s the stuff I understand and do best. I’d do horribly with romance or fantasy or hard-core medicine or politics.
Some advice for authors of a book series.
What advice do you have to give to authors who are struggling with promoting their books?
There are numerous review sites and promotion packages on the Internet. You must identify the good ones, the ones you’re ready to spend on. Try to diversify the reviewers, take a risk with the ‘scary’ ones. With so many self-publishing and promotion sites, every author is clamoring to be heard, and you may or may not stand out immediately. But don’t be too bothered with it. After all, write because you want to write. So: do your marketing bit and get cracking on the next book. When you get more books out there, people will start to notice. And yes, they look great stacking up. Stay away from Facebook ads; Goodreads giveaways are nice. Check out sites like literarytitan.com, bestthrillers.com, bookbub.com to get you started.
Do movies inspire you?
Absolutely. I write books from the viewpoint of a camera. That gives my readers the experience of a large-scale action movie… unfolding across the pages of a book
Tell us about your next project.
Next up, in 2020 is the third book in the Kirk Ingram trilogy. It is mind-blowing. I know because I was jumping up and down (figuratively) when I had the theme of the story in an epiphany. Let’s say, its super-charged, bends reality, and ties up aspects of the character that debuted in 2011 and returned in 2015.
Was great talking with you, Douglas! Wish you all the best for future projects.