I asked Patricia if she had former experience with the CIA. I found her answer fascinating. I think you will too.
When I began writing Black Swamp Mysteries, making Vicki Boyd, one of the main characters, a CIA operative was a no-brainer. But having her as a psychic spy was something I just happened upon.
Before I became a full-time writer, I founded and operated two computer companies. My clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. My specialty was white collar computer crime and computer intelligence. Later, I began working with local law enforcement as well. Some of the projects I worked on inspired computer-themed crimes in my suspense/thrillers and actually helped me along as a writer.
While working on Medicare fraud and abuse, I learned to think like a criminal. I worked with auditors to think of ways in which a person or business could defraud the government and then I developed software that could trap them. It was fascinating work and extremely fulfilling when I discovered my software was actually helping to identify criminal activity.
Most of my books have had computer programmers or analysts working on the side of the law. But when I wrote Exit 22, the first of the Black Swamp Mysteries series, for the first time I developed a character that walked the dark side of computer technology. That character, Brenda Carnegie, has come back strong in Secrets of a Dangerous Woman—and, as you might have guessed, Brenda is the dangerous woman.
Her sister is Vicki Boyd, a psychic spy.
Years ago, in order to peruse declassified files, I had to file with the United States Information Agency, a now defunct organization. Or I had to complete paperwork with a specific agency and it often took weeks or months to receive the information I requested, and I had to be very specific.
But times have changed. Now it is possible to view declassified cases right on the CIA’s own website. It’s the best place to go for ideas because I know what I am reading are straight from the agency. It isn’t filtered through another website that might change facts to suit a particular agenda.
It was there that I stumbled upon information regarding the United States’ real psychic spy program. It began during the Cold War when Intelligence sources in the United States intercepted information that the Soviet Union had developed a psychic spy program. The goal was to train Soviet operatives to enter our nuclear facilities with only their minds, to sit in on the highest cabinet level meetings, and to see our weapons and secret documents in such minute detail that the operatives could draw detailed pictures and write exactly what they’d seen in their mind’s eye.
Our intelligence sources asked for government funding to explore this possibility. They didn’t know if the capability existed for psychic spies to be effective. But if they were, they didn’t want to find out twenty years down the road—and find out the Soviets were superior in this area than the United States. Thus began joint operations between the CIA and the Department of Defense to identify individuals who showed an aptitude in remote viewing and to train them as psychic spies.
The Black Swamp Mysteries series contains an ensemble cast, which makes it possible for me to always surprise (and hopefully delight) my readers. Vicki’s psychic spy abilities allows her to travel anywhere in the world, even into remote regions such as the Hindu Kush. Brenda’s computer hacking and prowess allows me to weave computer technology into the plots. Vicki’s love interest, Dylan Maguire, is an Irishman who works as a CIA ground operative. His missions can take the readers into dangerous areas and see events unfold through his eyes. And Brenda’s love interest, Christopher Sandige, is a political strategist—which can come in handy on more than one occasion.
And the CIA element of the series allows me to weave true missions into the plots—because sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction.
In Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, Dylan Maguire is back in his first assignment with the CIA: to interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. But when she escapes again, it's obvious she's had help from within the CIA's own ranks. With Vicki Boyd's assistance, Brenda is back in Dylan's custody. And now he must find out why some in the highest levels of our government want her dead while others are willing to risk everything to help her. And when he discovers Brenda's real identity, his mission has just become very personal.
Dylan and Sam stood in the wide, hushed hallway as they observed the interrogation room through the one-way mirror. Inside was a metal table in the center of the room with empty chairs on one side. Against the far wall was a counter that ran the length of the room, comprised of a sink and cabinets above and below the stainless steel countertop.
But it was the single chair on one side of the table, the side closest to Dylan and Sam that riveted their attention. The metal chair was arranged so they viewed the occupant from the side. The ankles were cuffed to the slat at the bottom of the chair while each wrist was cuffed to the chair arms. Thick copper hair hung in waves that reached to the person’s waist and obscured the face.
“That’s a woman,” Dylan said.
“Very observant,” Sam replied.
Sam crossed his arms in front of him. “Not this one. She’s not even close to breaking.”
“What’s ‘er name?”
“Ah, a Scottish name…What is it you want me to do with ‘er?”
“Keep her awake, for starters.” He glanced at him. “It should be good practice for you. Use some of those interrogation techniques they taught you.”
“She’s got blood on ‘er.”
“You got a medical bag, do you?”
“I’m sure we can round one up.”
“What is it you want to know?”
“Who she works for,” Sam said as he picked up a handset beside the one-way mirror.
p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 16 books, including Vicki's Key, a 2012 International Book Awards finalist, and River Passage, 2010 Best Fiction & Drama winner. She is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation whose slogan is "Buy a Book and Stop a Crook" and the co-chair of Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference & Book Fair. For more information, visit www.pmterrell.com.
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Patricia is offering 25 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter). The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/07/virtual-book-tour-secrets-of-dangerous.html.