As a veteran of the Australian Army Intelligence Corp, JJ Cooper knows a thing or two about interrogation. His years of insight and experience, coupled with a damn fine writing style, have landed him a two-book deal with Random House Australia, with his debut thriller, The Interrogator, slated for release this summer.
We’d like to thank him for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.
AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?
JJ: Apart from a few interrogation reports, briefs and papers produced and delivered in my previous life, my debut novel will be my first ‘official’ publication credit.
AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.
JJ: The Interrogator will be released on the 3rd of August 2009. I’m fortunate to have secured a two-book deal with Random House Australia with my second thriller scheduled for release in 2010. Here’s a short synopsis of my debut:
After Jay Ryan, the Australian Army’s most experienced interrogator, ends up on the other side of the table facing a sadistic superior officer, he embarks on a white-knuckle flight from everything and everyone he trusts, pursued by foes who were once friends and with his one clear ally, his father, missing. Enter Sarah Evans, a secret agent assigned to make sure he comes to no harm – or so Jay thinks …
Jay is an interrogator with a dark past and a tortured soul; he’s also the keeper of secrets Israeli spies will kill to get their hands upon. Renowned for his skills, he is used to commanding a certain level of respect amongst his peers. Then one day Jay is drugged, tortured, tattooed and accused of rape. He is forced to reveal information that could further destabilise fragile Middle East relations and plunge the entire region into war. They are secrets he has struggled to keep hidden for four years.
The Interrogator is a story of betrayal and nightmarish conspiracy firmly rooted in the highest levels of government across international alliances. The story rockets toward a shattering finale that will leave the survivors changed forever. Thriller fans will enjoy the colourful characters, twisting, turning plots and fast action. The authentic military details give the story a chillingly real context, drawing the reader into Jay’s world and not letting us go until the very end.
AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who else do you feel has contributed to your success?
JJ: For me, any publication is a team effort. From family members who support and encourage, to literary agents, editors, publicists and the entire writing community. Without the right guidance/influence/assistance etc, you’d be hard-pressed making a go at it. I believe the more involved you are within writing communities (online or local writing groups), the better chance you have of avoiding publishing pitfalls and making more informed decisions on the path you choose for publication.
I’ve also had some invaluable advice from thriller writers across the globe as part of the International Thriller Writers Debut Author Program. I’ve met some wonderful and very talented authors who have guided me along the journey. For international bestselling authors such as Lee Child, Lisa Unger and Jeff Abbott to give up their time to read and provide comments of my book has been a surreal experience.
AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?
JJ: With three young kids and a full-time job, my writing time is limited to evenings. Maybe a couple of hours of a night.
AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?
JJ: Stay determined. Start with goals that lead to your dreams and believe that you can do it. If you believe you will never be published – you won’t. Beliefs drive thinking, actions and results. Accept constructive criticism and use it to improve.
I’ve exceeded all expectations to arrive at where I am. Even if I didn’t sell a single copy of my novel, I’d walk away happy.
The Interrogator is now available for pre-order at Random House Australia.