Today, the fourth installment of the Chesspocalypse micro-interviews! David McAfee is the bestselling horror author of the Bachiyr Series (33 A.D. and 61 A.D.) of vampires in Biblical times, THE DEAD WOMAN (Book 4 in Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin’s Dead Man Series), and a truckload of short stories. He’s now also the co-author of the new installment in the Chesspocalypse Series with Jeremy Robinson, CALLSIGN: BISHOP.
Kane Gilmour: David, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us how you got involved in the project with Jeremy and did you pick Bishop or was he offered to you?
David McAfee: Thanks for having me, Kane.
I’ve known Jeremy for a few years now, ever since I submitted a novel to his independent publisher, Breakneck Books, back in 2006. As a fan, I’ve read just about everything he’s put out, so when he approached me with the idea of doing a novella in his Chesspocalypse Series I was thrilled. I’d never written a thriller before, and the project turned out to be more fulfilling and challenging than I’d anticipated, but working with Jeremy was a real pleasure.
I chose the character Bishop because I thought he was the most interesting of the Chess Team members. His latent anger issues, combined with everything he’d just gone through (The Hydra stuff, the regeneration, etc.) made him a perfect target for exploration, in my opinion. That and his lack of knowledge about his biological parents gave me plenty of gray space to work with, and that’s the way I like it.
Kane Gilmour: As the series editor, I’ve been working on all the books. They all seem to be going for a similar approach to the non-stop action in the Jack Sigler / Chess Team full length novels—all except your installment, which focuses heavily on character development, espionage, foreign culture, and far more than the others, delves into the personality of the main character. Was this a conscious choice on your part? How much of that approach did you hammer out with Jeremy before beginning?
David McAfee: As a predominantly horror writer, I love getting inside people’s heads and tinkering. For me, Erik’s personality was far too fascinating not to explore. I couldn’t help but try and dig in there and bring a few things to the surface. As I mentioned, I’d never written an over-the-top action thriller before, so I had a nice learning curve ahead of me while working on the project. Thankfully, Jeremy was there to help with the action sequences and keep the whole thing from turning into a study of Bishop’s psyche.
I love the final result, though. I think it works very well. Hopefully readers will, too.
Kane Gilmour: The details about Iran in this story really bring the setting to life—almost as a character in the story. Have you been to Iran or to that part of the world? Was your decision to set the story there tied only to Bishop’s origins or do you have a fondness for that part of the world (parts of the Bachiyr Series are also set in the Middle East)?
David McAfee: As a matter of fact, I have spent some time in the Middle East, but not in Iran. My family was stationed in Turkey back in the 80’s. That, like most of my childhood, was a great learning experience, but it’s not why the story is set there. The primary reason for the setting was because Iran is the country of Bishop’s birth, and given the fact that we were exploring his origins, it made sense. It also worked out that relations between Iran and the West aren’t great, which lends a nice air of credibility to the espionage and terrorist parts of the story.
I did a lot of research on Iran while I was writing because I wanted the setting to feel authentic. Things like climate, cities, highways, etc. are details that seem small, but they help to put the reader in the scene, so I consider them important. I also think my experience living in Turkey helped to prepare me for writing a story populated by Muslims.
Kane Gilmour: What’s next for David McAfee? More books in the Bachiyr Series? What does 2012 look like for you and your fans at this point?
David McAfee: At present I’m working on a number of projects, including the next Bachiyr book. I’m also trying to make the rest of my books available in print for those readers who don’t have a Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader. Some people prefer paper, and I want them to be able to read my work, as well. Additionally, I just signed with an NYC literary agent, who is pitching my projects to several publishers. We’ll see how that goes.
Thanks, and here’s hoping we’ll see you in the Chess Team universe again!
In other Chess Team related news, the first draft of CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE is done and it’s on Jeremy’s desk for revisions right now!