TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is excited to present an author of one of our best loved genres, Thrillers. William Beck is an author our readers will love to learn about. His background enhances his writing style and adds authenticity to his stories. William, Tell us about your early days in the Army and the Medical field in which you practiced.
WB- I joined the Army during the latter years of the Viet Nam war. After my initial training, I was stationed at Ft. Benning, GA. My first assignment was with the 2nd Combat Support Hospital, a M.A.S.H. unit in the 34th Medical Battalion. Keep in mind this was during the infancy of the “Volunteer Army.” As the war’s end drew near, the military had difficulty enticing enlistees. Those who did enlist received a guarantee to stay in the States for sixteen months before heading overseas. Our medical unit had many similarities to the TV show, M.A.S.H. The only things missing were Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John. I can not even begin to recount all the tales. Suffice it to say, my memories are filled with much laughter. However, it was not all fun and games. I learned much from my days there, and it set the course for my future life. After my discharge, I became a registered nurse, and have mainly practiced in the critical care arena. And on a final note, I would like to add I am very proud of my service to this country.
TAEM- In your early years you actually wanted to write children’s books. Why did you decide to write Thrillers instead?
WB- I remember literally blurting out to my wife one day, “I want to write children’s literature.” I never had any thoughts of writing before that moment. She threw down the gauntlet and said, “Then do it.” After a three year educational process, I was ready to tackle the world. Naivety is a wonderful thing. It keeps us dreaming. I soon discovered I had little time to contemplate writing with demanding work hours and younger children. My zeal for writing never left and five years later I found myself at a small medical conference in Atlanta. When asked by the moderator what is the one thing about you no one else knows, I blurted out, “I’m going to write a book.” I shocked myself by what I said. Her smile quickly evaporated when I replied I had no idea about what I would write. Three months later I read an article about the military’s HAARP project, in Alaska. I knew then this would become the topic of my first novel. I thoroughly enjoy writing thrillers, but still toy with the idea of children’s books. However, for the moment, Bryson McGann keeps busy enough.
TAEM- You are an accomplished scuba diver and underwater photographer. Please tell us about these passions of yours.
WB- The farmlands of Northeastern Ohio, near the shores of Lake Erie, did not offer an adventurous lifestyle for a young boy in the early sixties. I became enthralled with two TV programs of the day. Lloyd Bridges starred in Sea Hunt, as Mike Nelson, former UDT Navy diver, turned investigator. I dreamed of scuba diving and made it a goal to become a diver one day. The other program was Adventures in Paradise, with Gardner McKay, captain of a schooner sailing the Pacific Islands. These shows formed the beginning of my love for the ocean. Once I learned to scuba dive, I needed something to do besides swimming around the reefs, so photography became the next logical step. Exploring the depths of the ocean with a camera in hand is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time beneath the surface.
WB- The sea is the key component to life on this planet. We need to find a balance in caring for it, and become much better at it. I also believe my experiences add a sense of realism and honest flavor to my writing. One thing I have found is a number of readers are not aware of the fact the topics I bring to the pages of a McGann novel are real issues facing all of us today. With that in mind, it seemed a natural fit to create an agency devoting much of its time to this venture. The National Earth Seas Science Agency (NESSA) is a governmental agency responsible for scientific research and development, dealing with various environmental concerns around the planet, and issues in space.
TAEM- Your series is based on the character of Bryson McGann. Please describe him for our readers, and the life that he leads.
WB- My father’s middle name was Bryson, and that is how the character came to life. I believe there is always some of every author in their book character. That’s true for McGann and me. We have a number of similarities, and I can live vicariously through the traits of his I do not possess. For example he lives in Seattle, and I think the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful area. Aside from that, McGann is an intuitive individual, honest, capable, a former U.S. Army special-ops team member, diver, and pilot. My readers say he is the kind of guy you want to have as a good friend. However, he is not flawless. He is a realistic book hero.
TAEM- Tell us about the process that your first novel in the series, ‘H.A.A.R.P.’s Fury’, took to get recognized. So many writers go through these same pains to publish their work.
WB- I had to laugh when I read this question. Perhaps I should write a book on the subject. The process was less than jubilant. My former agent will be released from jail as this goes to press. She embezzled three quarter of a million dollars from a number of clients. Then there were numerous promises made by those in the book world that never came to be. Of course, countless rejections are a way of life in the industry. I keep a stack of those letters in my office. Writing is not a vocation for the faint of heart. It took six years to get the first book to market. Many people ask me what kept you going? I have to say belief in the fact I can spin a good yarn, my fans feedback, family, and most of all, my wife, Rebecca, whose belief in me has never faltered since I tentatively handed her the first draft of H.A.A.R.P.’s Fury
WB- From day one, I decided I did not want “cookie cutter” novels. While there has to be things within a series that are similar, I have been determined to offer enough differences in my books to keep it fresh and real. RED 7 is a geo-political thriller based on a real organization in the heart of our nation’s capital. In the book, the Carlton Trust embarks on a treasonous mission to disrupt global financial markets and destroy economies by replacing the world’s G-8 leaders using high-tech medical science. RED 7 offers a host of memorable characters, two specifically, among my favorites so far.
TAEM- Your next work deals with the continuation in this line entitled ‘Caribbean Agenda’. Please tell us something about it.
WB- Bryson McGann and a NESSA scientific team are on a mission in the southern Gulf of Mexico. On their second dive, McGann discovers the body of a young woman inside the wheelhouse of a sunken vessel. She bears an identical resemblance to the sister of lifelong friend, Joe Canton. Canton is supposed to meet his sister Roni in Trinidad. Shortly after his arrival, he can find no trace of her whereabouts. He enlists McGann’s aid and suspicions grow as they run afoul of human trafficker, Argan Vance, and associate Liam Chen. McGann and Canton find themselves pitted against the odds as they race across the Caribbean, and finally to Singapore, in a desperate attempt to rescue Canton’s sister before her fate is sealed.
I was greatly disturbed by Natalee Holloway’s mysterious disappearance in Aruba. This spurred the idea for Caribbean Agenda I felt the need to tackle the subject of human trafficking. This deplorable act is a global epidemic that does not receive nearly enough attention. It impacts men, women, and children from all walks of life.
WB- The prologue of Crosscurrents opens with the real life mystery of Oak Island in Nova Scotia with references to William Sinclair and the Knights Templar. Although this subject has been broached by numerous authors, the Templars are far from the main focus of this story. Adding an interesting twist to the tale is a real life sect of monks, fictionalized, living in Vermont. Their past influences tie in to the founding of this country during the American Revolution, and numerous episodes of historical impact. This fast-paced thriller takes McGann from Victoria, BC, to Jerusalem in a race against time to stop the maniacal scheme of Ali-Azir Bou-Zhamed , GIA terrorist leader. His jihad is set to unleash a global conflict of epic proportion.
TAEM- William, where can our readership find your work?
WB- Bryson McGann novels are available in both Trade Paperback and Library Binding on my website: www.booksbybeck.com Anyone who orders a traditional book copy(s) will receive an autographed edition(s). Also, for all the Kindle fans out there, a direct link on the site will take you to Amazon to purchase an e-book. Bryson McGann novels are available in Nashville area bookstores.
TAEM- We understand another milestone for you in life is becoming a pilot. Will this experience be reflected in an upcoming work, and what new adventures of your main character do you have for us on your ‘drawing board’?
WB-In all the Bryson McGann novels so far, he has flown some type of aircraft. Of course his expertise will carry through in future novels. I am currently writing the fifth novel, Polar Meltdown. The Arctic is an area rich with oil and minerals. It is also an area hotly contested by Scandinavia, Russia, Greenland, Canada, and the U.S. This potential trouble spot boils up into a potential global outbreak as hidden powers seek to exploit the area for their personal agenda. McGann returns in another thriller, filled with espionage, politics, mystery, and riveting adventure.
TAEM- William, we want to thank you for your time with this interview for The Arts and Entertainment Magazine. I know that the scores of readers who see our magazine will love to learn all about you and your Bryson McGann novels. We wish you much luck in all your endeavors and hope to hear more from you in the future.
WB- Joe I wish to sincerely thank you and The Arts and Entertainment Magazine for allowing me this opportunity.