AMA: Thriller: Secret Monitor Men

Jamie Dickey
Sep 12, 2018

A mystery thriller with international intrigue.  For fans of action, adventure & complex puzzles.

Synopsis: After a midnight ambush at a cemetery leaves her father missing, Skye Keller barely escapes alive from the first of a string of arson. Immediately after being discharged from the hospital, Skye and Katie Pierce, a cub reporter, begin to investigate what happened that fateful night and why she and her father were targeted. The naive girls soon find themselves out of their depth immersed in an international conspiracy where factions of a powerful organization are waging war for the right to control the secrets to space, time, and life itself.

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It’s one of the best books I read in a while

I couldn’t stop reading. It keeps you on your toes. Just when you think you have figured it out, the story changes. Best I have read in a long time. Worth the read!

285 LIKES can't be wrong.  Read today!  FREE advance Read for a limited time only.

Sep 14, 1:40PM EDT0

Highly suspenseful

Highly suspenseful thriller with an array of colourful characters, from curious and coy to dark and murderous. The portrayal of each character and how they all connect in this mystery is mesmerizing and sure to keep you on the edge of your seat! as the novel progresses your questions are sure to intensify. This book is hard to put down and difficult to predict; a great start to a promising series with serious potential to be made into an action packed movie one day!

Sep 14, 1:35PM EDT0

A Must Read!!!

This book kept me on the edge of my seat. The first few chapters set up the book well and drew me into the story line. I found the characters all very unique, well-developed and extremely interesting. Skye and Katie were believable characters who I really connected with. Following Skye's experiences kept me captivated as I tried to piece the mystery together. Just when I thought I had things figured out, a new twist would unravel and keep me guessing with new predictions. The fact that this book wasn't predictable made it an absolute delight to read. Sometimes the suspense created such intense emotional reactions that it made it impossible for me to stop reading. I was addicted to the story and binge read for days. This was one of the most original and well written stories I have read in a long time. I can hardly wait until the next one in the series comes out. Maureen

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20 other reviews agree!   Read for yourself, mystery & thriller lovers!

Sep 14, 1:31PM EDT0

Secret Monitor Men is now a free advanced read at Inkitt.  For a limited time.  If you enjoy action, mystery & international intrigue it will be your type of story.  Go HERE.  SHARE on your social media from the Inkitt site.  You can even chapter comment now!

Sep 14, 10:43AM EDT0
Do you have a special writing space? How do you get those ideas?
Sep 14, 5:17AM EDT1

You mean WHERE I write?  I can write anywhere.  At home on my laptop with quiet is best but I've worked other places.  Much time is just about thinking about the story, characters and settings.  Then start writing and see where it leads.  Always had this thing called an imagination since I was a kid.  Never understood it though.  Einstein says it's important.

Sep 14, 10:36AM EDT0
What are the main archetypes that compose this thriller?
Sep 13, 9:07PM EDT1

Sleeper & recent university graduate (female).  Wild card international 'business woman.' Police and media play a strong role.

Sep 13, 10:50PM EDT0
How long did it take you to write the entire story? What were the main challenges of the whole process?
Sep 13, 10:59AM EDT1

7 years +2 years editing.  It's a complex story so I had to ensure everything lined up.  With a story of 152 000 words, there are lots of mistakes you can make.

Sep 13, 10:51PM EDT0
What inspired you to write this novel?
Sep 13, 5:59AM EDT1

It started with an idea that I had to write down.  That was the basics of Chapter 1.

Sep 13, 10:52PM EDT0
What is the major challenge of writing a father-daughter relationship? How do this relationship changes or develops through the story?
Sep 13, 1:09AM EDT1

I am a father so that helps.  Strangely, there is no actual interaction of father and daughter in this story.

Sep 13, 10:54PM EDT0
For your book "Secret Monitor Men" did the story go in a particular direction that you did not expect it to? How different was the last draft to the first one?
Sep 12, 10:21AM EDT1

YES.  One example is that Teddy was supposed to be a very minor character but then I started to show a psychological portrait of how he thinks and he became MORE than a minor character.

Sep 13, 10:55PM EDT0

The action scene in the last half of Chapter 8 is fairly new.  Other than that the writing has been smoothed out and the story enhanced where I can.  My understanding of the importance of atmosphere is much sharper now than it was when I started.  Jeffrey Deaver has been a good instructor in the art of dialogue and details.  

Sep 14, 12:14PM EDT0
What development in the thriller world gets you most excited? What are the most important issues the genre is facing right now?
Sep 12, 9:39AM EDT1

Maybe that more women are getting involved.  I think an important issue is how a great book is transfered to the medium of film.  The first Reacher movie was horrible.  They butchered the ending, the sound & lighting sucked and the bad guys were not scary at all.  The second Reacher movie was better.  I was satisfied with Vince Flynn's American  Assassin, but some of it came from I don't know where and bits came from other books.  I did NOT APPROVE of certain movies (although good) using the White House as a setting that stole from Flynn's book, Transfer of Power.  The author needs to be respected because it's a lot of work.  Vince Flynn deserved better than that.  He died before his movie came out but lived to see how Hollywood can betray a hard-working author.

Sep 13, 11:04PM EDT0

Toughest question so far.  

Sep 14, 11:53AM EDT0
Is research your favourite part of the writing process? What resources did you use for your book?
Sep 12, 7:05AM EDT1

Research can be hard and a chore, however I have lots of experience there.  It is always worth it.  The trick is weaving it seamlessly into the story if you can.  I used a wide array of resources including a paper on the state of Masonry in Russia.

Sep 13, 10:58PM EDT0
Is the mystery-thriller genre in danger of becoming repetitive and stale? Or do you see a “new wave” of writers bringing fresh ideas and expanding the scope of interest?
Sep 12, 3:04AM EDT1

It's a challenge, for sure.  Every author can't help but be a little different as we are all unique.  Since so much has been done, originality is a tall order.  I try, nonetheless.  I think there is hope.

Sep 13, 11:06PM EDT0
What sparked the idea for Secret Monitor Men? Does it have roots in true crime?
Sep 11, 10:44PM EDT1

No roots in true crime, really.  It was an idea that came to me that I made sure to write down and then develop from there.  The idea was the seed of Chapter 1.

Sep 13, 11:07PM EDT0

However, in recent days I have very much enjoyed The Unibomber & Mindhunter if you consider those shows true crime.  I liked the complex FBI investigation.  A great puzzle to chew on.  As a History Grad, I appreciated it showing how history was being made here as new FBI techniques & methods were born.

Sep 14, 12:09PM EDT0
How did you manage to keep the balance of a highly suspenseful thriller with such colourful characters like Skye and Katie? What was the inspiration behind the overall idea of your story line?
Sep 11, 10:22PM EDT1

Well, I have an imagination.  More is true in the tale than you would think.  But it is fiction.  Or is it?  Balance is always a challenge.  I guess I needed a sidekick for Skye and Katie was it as she is a headstrong investigative reporter.

Last edited @ Sep 23, 12:26AM EDT.
Sep 13, 11:10PM EDT0
What strategies do you use to oil the gears of your art, or has self-motivation never been an issue?
Sep 11, 10:02PM EDT1

I have a lot of drive & motivation. There were dark days, I can tell you.  I have, and have always had, a passion for stories.  Keeping at it and trying to improve all parts is my oil.  Perserverance is the key.

Sep 13, 11:12PM EDT0
How do you like to define the “thriller” genre? What makes you like action, puzzles and adventure so much?
Sep 11, 7:52PM EDT1

Well, I'm a reader, too.  So it is the kind of story I would like and all the ingredients I think a good tale should have.    Thrillers need conflict, action and I believe, intrigue.

Sep 13, 11:14PM EDT0

Puzzles make you think.  They challenge us and add a dimension of depth to the story.  A mystery is a puzzle.  An embedded code is a hidden puzzle.  A crime is a puzzle.  The motive; a secret submerged.  Dive down.  Is the water murky?  Will something unknown attack you for trying to find it's secret?  I believe a thriller should always be a thinking person's story.  Can you break the hidden code?  Good luck!  You will need it.

Last edited @ Sep 23, 9:54AM EDT.
Sep 14, 12:04PM EDT0
How difficult is it to write a world-class mystery-thriller set internationally?
Sep 11, 4:22PM EDT1

First, there are some heavy hitters in the thriller genre.  Second, there are hungry new authors emerging with a lot of talent.  That adds up to a staggering amount of competition.  I can't think about that though.  Too distracting.  I compete with myself to make a better story.  So it's not as easy as one would first envision.  With international settings, you need just that.  What a set of decisions!  Where to base your locations? For Drake Ellison, I needed a lawless place that could aslo be a vacation spot.  So Mexico.  And no resorts here, guys.  But was Drake the douche there for a vacation or business?  Innocent fun or something more sinister?  With my love for ancient history and archaeology, it is not surprising we ended up on the Avenue of the Dead.  Stories, like archaeology, takes a lot of painstaking work, but the finished product can be both entertaining and an education.  Sometimes, an author gets lucky and falls into a great location.  As Sergei tracks old Elias across the border into America, I found the perfect setting in Boldt Castle.  A guy like me could never resist this place.  As soon as I discovered it, I knew I would use it as a setting.

Sep 14, 1:03AM EDT0
Which books first inspired you to write and why did you chose to write thrillers?
Sep 11, 11:44AM EDT1

I chose the genre of thriller because that is what I like to read.  Always liked spy books from Daniel Silva, Robert Ludlum & Gayle Lynds.  Baldacci, Lee Child, Preston and Lincoln Child are other favorites of mine.  I was impressed by Bill Napier's The Furies.  After reading a whack of books, I felt I could do that, too!

Sep 14, 1:07AM EDT0
Which author or book first got you hooked on the genre? What do you think of the massive popularity of mystery thrillers right now? How do you see your work making a mark in this genre?
Sep 11, 10:17AM EDT1

I like to think I can find a niche for myself in this genre.  No one book or author got me hooked, but Ludlum was an influence.  I think people are tired of no-brainer action television shows and are seeking a thinking person's kind of story.  One that can both challenge them to solve a puzzle and capture their imagination.  Dan Brown comes into play here.  I love that he brings history into his stories.

Sep 14, 1:12AM EDT0
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