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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Today we have a guest blog by ANDREW KAPLAN, author of SCORPION BETRAYAL, which goes on sale Tuesday, March 27!

 

Credit: Jonathan Vandiveer

 

Check out Andrew's website here: http://www.andrewkaplan.com/

 

He's on Wikipedia, too:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Kaplan

 

Andrew Gary Kaplan is an American author, best known for his spy thriller novels. He worked as a free-lance journalist and war correspondent for the International Herald Tribune in Paris, covering events around the world. He served in both the U.S. Army and in theIsraeli Army during the Six Day War of 1967. As a student leader in Israel, he helped start the University of the Negev (today, Ben Gurion University of the Negev) and the Israeli Olympic fencing team.

 

He is the author of four international best-selling novels: Hour of the Assassins,ScorpionDragonfire (a main selection of the Book of the Month Club in Britain), and War of the Raven. His film writing career includes theJames Bond film GoldenEye. The next two books in the Scorpion series, Scorpion Betrayal and Scorpion Winter are scheduled for publication by HarperCollins in 2012.

 

Bibliography


 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

About Andrew Kaplan


 

Andrew Kaplan’s books have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His third novel, Dragonfire, was a Number One bestseller and main selection of the Book of the Month Club in Britain and topped bestseller charts in Australia, Germany, and Japan. His film writing career includes the James Bond classic, Goldeneye.

 

Publishers Weekly has called his work “Smashing, sexy and unforgettable.” Kirkus Reviews said: “Kaplan takes the thriller genre at its word, moving as fast as Ludlum, but with ten times the eye for settings and crisp characterizations.” And David Morrell, NY Times bestselling author of The Brotherhood of the Rose, First Blood (Rambo) and co-founder of the International Thriller Writers Association, has stated: “Andrew Kaplan represents a gold standard for thriller writing.”

 

He is a former journalist and war correspondent covering events around the world. He served in both the U.S. Army and the Israeli Army during the Six Day War and provided military intelligence analysis for the Israel Defense Force. The CIA has tried on a number of occasions to recruit him. He has consulted with think tanks that advise governments and as president of a leading technical communications company worked on a consulting basis with major corporations and U.S. government agencies.

 

Two new books, Scorpion Betrayal and Scorpion Winter are scheduled for publication by HarperCollins in 2012. Of Scorpion Betrayal, Katherine Neville, NY Times bestselling author of The Eight and The Fire has said: “Wow! More heart-thumping twists and turns than The Day of the Jackal and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold rolled into one . . . A textbook example of how to write a great thriller.” And Number One NY Times bestselling author, Harlan Coben called it: “One of the smartest, swiftest and most compelling spy novels I’ve read in years.”

 

Andrew Kaplan lives with his family in Southern California and is currently at work on the next novel in the Scorpion series.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Spycraft & CIA Terms

COMINT – Acronym for Communications Intelligence; i.e., intelligence derived from the interception of electronic or voice communications.

CST - The CIA’s Clandestine Service Training Program. While most CIA trainees go through the CIA’s Professional Training (PT) Program, only those CIA employees slated for the clandestine Special Activities Division (SAD) field operations go through the additional one-year CST training.

DIA – Acronym for the Defense Intelligence Agency. The DIA is the agency tasked with supplying and managing military intelligence for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

DNI – Acronym for the Director of National Intelligence. This position, established post-9/​11, acts as head of the U.S. Intelligence community (IC) and reports directly to the U.S. President. Affiliated IC agencies (aka “elements”) reporting to the DNI include the CIA, DIA and other Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence agencies, NSA, Dept. of Energy’s OICI, Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI, DEA, Dept. of State’s INR and Dept. of Treasury’s TFI (Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence). The DNI’s office is responsible for preparing the President’s Daily Brief (PDB).

The Farm – Camp Peary, aka “Camp Swampy” or “The Farm”, is a CIA covert training facility of nearly 10,000 acres near Williamsburg, Virginia. Contrary to popular opinion and its portrayal in movies, only a portion of CIA training is actually done at the Farm (also see “The Point” below).

FSB – The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, Federal'naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsi, aka “FSB”, is the primary Russian counter-intelligence and domestic security service. It is the successor organization to the KGB of Cold War fame and is headquartered in the former KGB’s headquarters building, aka “Lubyanka Prison”, aka “Adult’s World”, in Lubyanka Square in Moscow. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the KGB was dismantled. Subsequently, the FSB was reconstituted as Russia’s primary domestic security agency.

MASINT – Acronym for Measurement and Signature Intelligence; i.e., intelligence derived from the analysis of technical data, such as the spectrographic analysis of the fuel exhaust of an enemy’s new rocket. MASINT is sometimes referred to as the “CSI” of the intelligence community.

NRO – The National Reconnaissance Office, a U.S. DoD (Department of Defense) agency, operates the spy satellites that supply satellite data for all U.S. intelligence agencies.

NSA - The U.S. intelligence agency primarily responsible for COMINT (Communications Intelligence, see above), cryptanalysis and computer intelligence and security. For many years, the U.S. government refused to acknowledge the NSA’s existence, leading Washington insiders to quip that the letters “NSA” stood for “No Such Agency”.

The Point – aka “Harvey Point”, aka “Harvey Point Defense Testing Activity Facility”, is a CIA training facility near Hertford, North Carolina.

SVR - The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedk, was reconstituted from the KGB’s First Chief Directorate, as the Russian external intelligence service. The SVR is headquartered in the Moscow suburb of Yasenevo.
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Scorpion Betrayal  

 

Scorpion Betrayal

 

Overview

 

The head of Egypt's State Internal Security is brutally murdered in a Cairo cafÉ—his assailant a faceless killer known only as "the Palestinian." It is the opening move in a chilling game of terror that has caught the international intelligence community completely off-guard, and the CIA turns to the one man they believe can get to the twisted roots of a looming nightmare shrouded in mystery: a former Company operative code-named Scorpion.

The breakneck hunt for a mastermind is leading Scorpion from the Middle East to the dangerous underworld of the capitals of Europe. With the fate of the free world in the hands of two well- matched adversaries there is no margin for error. But a shocking truth has been kept from the determined manhunter . . . and beauty will blind him to the ultimate betrayal.

 

Publishers Weekly


In this exciting follow-up to 1985’s Scorpion, Kaplan pits the deadly CIA agent known as Scorpion against the terrorist known as the Palestinian. Scorpion travels the world in an effort to catch his man and unravel the mystery of the massive terrorist incident he knows the Palestinian is orchestrating. The manhunt is overseen by the shadowy CIA National Clandestine Service deputy director Bob Harris, whom Scorpion knows to be as much his enemy as his friend.

 

Despite being given only pieces of the information he needs, Scorpion takes the job anyway, partly because his employers are paying him a ton of money to be an independent agent, and mostly because he’s a true patriot. The intended attack, which includes the use of weaponized septicemic plague, could endanger millions of lives. The nonstop action will keep readers racing through the pages and hoping that Kaplan will put Scorpion back into action as soon as possible. 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Guest Blog by Andrew Kaplan

 

The Scorpion Series and “Scorpion Betrayal”

 

Some of the best and the worst things in life are unplanned. One day – like love – or trouble – they show up unannounced at your door. That’s how it was with the Scorpion series.

 

The truth was that unlike many of my fellow mystery and thriller writers, for a long time I resisted the idea of doing a series. I was afraid of painting (writing?) myself into a creative corner. Toward the end of his life, Ian Fleming, who had done so phenomenally well with James Bond, was reportedly miserable. He had real talent. You can see it in one of his last books, “The Spy Who Loved Me”. The book – which should not be confused with the Roger Moore movie with which it has nothing in common but the title – is actually told from a woman’s point of view and is much more about her than James Bond, who just happens by to save the day. You can almost feel Fleming trying to break out of the trap his own success had put him in. Or perhaps Fleming felt he had reached a creative dead end. All I knew was that I didn’t want that to be me.

 

Enter my son, Justin, who despite his tender age (he’s 28) is in the movie biz. “If you want to reach an audience,” he said, “you need to think about a series.” I hadn’t planned to do a series, but there it was.

 

Previously, my past publishers had expressed interest in a series based on the protagonist of one of my earlier books, Scorpion. But I wouldn’t do it, I decided, unless I could make it different from anything else out there. It had to be compelling, not just with one book, but with every book in the series. While each book had to be unique and stand on its own, I wanted them all to be part of some overall saga. And the first one had to be special. I needed an idea.

 

Scorpion Betrayal

 

The origin of “Scorpion Betrayal” required a number of very different ideas to come together, but the book really began with my frustration at the way terrorists were portrayed in books and films. So often they were one- or two-dimensional characters, typically jihadis. Someone tells them to go kill and blow themselves up for Allah and off they go, brainwashed and happy to die. Except no human being is really like that. I had lived in the Middle East for over four years and knew better.

 

I wanted to explore what would make someone do that, be that. What in their background or childhood would forge them into a weapon? And it had to be based in the real world and real history, not taking sides and not propaganda. This led me to the story of two children and the idea of telling the story of their survival through a child’s eyes. Not exactly the way you write a thriller, except now I had real people.

 

That was the germ of the story. I would pit my protagonist, the ex-CIA agent code-named Scorpion, against the terrorist: two adversaries, both extremely intelligent and therefore truly dangerous, both ruthless and relentless, one on one, the smartest terrorist and the best agent in the world in a chase across Europe with the clock ticking seemed to me to have the makings of an exceptional thriller.

 

In order for the story to work, it needed to be told from both points of view, the hunter and the hunted. Too often, the terrorists in thrillers are already in motion to do whatever awful thing they are planning. Logistics for bad guys never seems to be that much of a problem. But I wanted the reader to understand not just the good guy’s problems, but the bad guy’s problems too. To take the reader along as the terrorist tried to execute a brilliant and terrible plan could be fascinating and would create a lot of tension.

 

At the same time, I wanted the reader to follow Scorpion’s hunt on what is a seemingly impossible mission. Suppose you had to find and stop someone about whom all the intelligence agencies in the world know nothing. Neither you nor anyone else knows what he looks like; a man who might be using any name, any language, any identity and nationality, who might be anywhere in the world and you don’t know his target or how he plans to attack it. And you only have two weeks or less before it’s too late. What would you do?

 

Now I had two evenly matched and ruthless adversaries, both so different, yet so alike. Time and again while writing the book, I thought of the conversation in Indiana Jones when the villain, Belloq, says to Indy, “You and I are very much alike. I am but a shadowy reflection of you.” To which Indy responds, “Now you’re getting nasty.” And Belloq says: “You know it too. How nice.”

 

Finally, in all my books I need a twist, a real surprise; although I always play fair with the reader and give hints along the way. Because in the real spy world – I know quite a bit about it plus I do a great deal of research to ensure that my books are very authentic – it’s not simply good versus evil. It’s a lot murkier. And then I got an idea from an old Star Trek episode. The Federation was fighting an alien empire and wanted to get the Romulans – never friendly to the Federation – to come in on their side. The ploy that they used provided a source for the twist and I had the plot. The rest was in the writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ReadingPatti
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Andrew Kaplan, Hi, hope you have a great visit. What do you like about writing mysteries?

 

It look like your books have some spy element and politcal thriller parts.

 

How do you come up with your covers? I like to ask this as I think a really great cover attracts me to a book.

 

Hope you have a great visit.

 

ReadingPatti

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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Welcome Andrew!

 

Your Scorpion series sounds very interesting - I will definitely check them out!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

I'm not sure if Andrew will be joining us (with the guest blogs, I leave it up to the author) but he will definitely see your comments. Thank you!

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Hi, Andrew, welcome to the Forum. Your blog is wonderful and I know it is hard for a writer to start a series and get caught up in it and never get out. I guess there are pros and cons about writing a series. I will have to check into your book and give it a try.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Andrew_writer
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Hi Patti,

 

My books are generally categorized as spy thrillers. I like them because they have the elements of a mystery - in which the reader tries to work along with the protagonist to solve a puzzle - but in addition has the elements of a clock ticking with something terrible about to happen if you don't do something, plus the lore of exotic places and best of all, a world that is complex and shades of gray, like the real world. 

 

As for covers, I agree with you they are very important. Previously my publishers just kind of did what they wanted and asked me if it was OK. With my present publisher, HarperCollins, I work with my editor on coming up with the cover concept which is executed by their inhouse art department. With the Scorpion series, I'm thrilled by the covers. The new book, SCORPION BETRAYAL, has a cover suggesting both night and Rome (the background is Hadrian's Masoleum in Rome). The next one after this, SCORPION WINTER, has a great cover. You'll love it.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Dear Eadie,

 

Please do check them out. Especially the new one. :smileyhappy:

Thanks.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

[ Edited ]

Hi Andrew - Thanks so much for joining us. I'm sorry you had a hard time signing in. We blame these problems on gnomes and gremlins - unfortunately, we can't seem to get rid of those nasty critters!

 

I wanted to ask if you recommend the Scorpion books be read in order or if they stand alone. Also, is your publisher going to reissue your backlist?

 

It looks like another Scorpion book is coming out soon. Can you give us any hints about that one or is it too soon to say?

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Hi Maxcat,

 

Thanks for giving it a try. That's all any writer can ask. SCORPION BETRAYAL can now be previewed on bn.com.

Best,

Andrew

 

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Andrew_writer
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Hi Becke,

 

Great questions! The Scorpion books do not need to be read in order. The thing readers will miss if they haven't read the original book, SCORPION, is his backstory, his unusual Huck Finn-like childhood as an American orphan growing up among the Bedouins in Arabia. For those readers, I put a glossary at the back of SCORPION BETRAYAL that gives readers a bit of the backstory (along with some useful bits about CIA-speak, etc.), which helps explain some of his extraordinary skills - such as speaking Arabic like a native - that make him such an effective agent. But while each book is on its own, from now on, there will be a development in the character and the sequence that will build on previous books.

 

As for my backlist, for the moment my publisher wants to concentrate on the new Scorpion series. My agent wants to hold off reissuing the backlist till we rebuild the fan base with the new Scorpion books. But rest assured, at some time in the future, they will be reissued.

 

Yes, there is another Scorpion book coming out. Actually quite soon - in August. It's called SCORPION WINTER and I think it's one of my best! We're very excited about it and it's got a fantastic cover! I love it - and I think you will too. :smileyhappy:

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Andrew - I was intrigued by your bio. Can you tell us about your work on Goldeneye?

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

RE: Goldeneye. Long story, but I was contacted out of the blue by Barbara Broccoli (the ultimate Hollywood royalty: Cubby's daughter, rich as anything, drop-dead gorgeous and smarter than anyone else in the room. Also, she read my books and loved them - always the best way to a writer's heart.:smileyhappy:) She asked me if I wanted to write a James Bond movie! Well, yesssss!! 

 

I worked with Cubby and Dana Broccoli (both alas now gone) plus Barbara and Michael Wilson, Cubby's stepson, a legendary screenwriter and producer in his own right. Barbara and Michael continue to produce the Bond movies today. They were unusual in Hollywood in that they did their own reading (not passing it off to Readers) and made their own decisions. It was an extraordinary experience working with the four of them (primarily with Michael and Barbara). I came up with a core story - at the time it was for Tim Dalton; they hadn't yet replaced him with Pierce Brosnan - and we worked on it for about a year - at the time, they couldn't do a movie because of a law suit they had brought against MGM/UA which had been taken over by a (better be careful here) guy named Paretti. Anyway, after a long time, the suit was settled and the studio wanted their own writer to do the script. All in all, there were quite a few writers who worked on what was called "James Bond #18" and eventually became "Goldeneye". But for a time, it was just me and the Broccoli's and I have fond memories of that time.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!


Andrew_writer wrote:

RE: Goldeneye. Long story, but I was contacted out of the blue by Barbara Broccoli (the ultimate Hollywood royalty: Cubby's daughter, rich as anything, drop-dead gorgeous and smarter than anyone else in the room. Also, she read my books and loved them - always the best way to a writer's heart.:smileyhappy:) She asked me if I wanted to write a James Bond movie! Well, yesssss!! 

 

I worked with Cubby and Dana Broccoli (both alas now gone) plus Barbara and Michael Wilson, Cubby's stepson, a legendary screenwriter and producer in his own right. Barbara and Michael continue to produce the Bond movies today. They were unusual in Hollywood in that they did their own reading (not passing it off to Readers) and made their own decisions. It was an extraordinary experience working with the four of them (primarily with Michael and Barbara). I came up with a core story - at the time it was for Tim Dalton; they hadn't yet replaced him with Pierce Brosnan - and we worked on it for about a year - at the time, they couldn't do a movie because of a law suit they had brought against MGM/UA which had been taken over by a (better be careful here) guy named Paretti. Anyway, after a long time, the suit was settled and the studio wanted their own writer to do the script. All in all, there were quite a few writers who worked on what was called "James Bond #18" and eventually became "Goldeneye". But for a time, it was just me and the Broccoli's and I have fond memories of that time.


Wow, Andrew - that's really impressive!

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

Given the opportunity, would you work on movie screenplays again? Or do you prefer writing novels?

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ANDREW KAPLAN!

These days I am pretty busy with my books, where a writer has more control. At the end of the day, it's the writer's name on the book. Hollywood is different. Even if you sell a screenplay and even if a studio is interested, the odds on it actually becoming a movie are about 50 to 1. And if it does become a movie, there will usually be a number of writers involved - and everyone has "Notes" of things to change. It's very different. So I prefer to work on books, but I've learned never to say "never".