Guest Post with Michael Shusko

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hi Everyone! I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from author, Michael Shusko. Please help me in giving him a warm welcome.


Guest Blog Post: Inspiration Behind Shifting Sands

First of all, thank you Valerie, for the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog! I very much appreciated your January post reviewing Vector, the first title in my Tradecraft thriller series, and am grateful for the opportunity to share the inspiration behind Shifting Sands, the second title in the series, which released April 2017.

Shifting Sands follows the story of Iranian physicist Dr. Sara Qaderi and American Marine Nick Shane —  two protagonists from very different backgrounds — as they struggle to survive a mission that's gone terribly wrong. The two are on the run, fleeing for the safety of Afghanistan with vital intelligence in Sara's possession. The ruthless Colonel Mostafa Sabri is in hot pursuit, and will stop at nothing to capture his prey.

While these characters fight for their lives on the ground, Israel is preparing to take to the skies and drop what would be the first bombs of the next world war over Nick and Sara's escape route. If they make it to safety in time, the information Sara has will stop Israel from taking military action against the region, and save the world from violent global conflict.

Additional characters that come into play are Mark and Joel, Nick's brothers who are also in the Marines and with whom Nick has a very strained relationship. When Nick's in trouble, it tests their already fraying family ties as the two remaining brothers argue over what's more important — following commands? Or doing whatever it takes to ensure their brother makes it out of Iran alive?

The inspiration of this book came from my own experiences in the Middle East. I actually started writing the initial drafts over a decade ago during one of my earlier deployments at the start of the war in Iraq. It was therapeutic for me and I enjoyed writing Shifting Sands. In it, I had the chance to touch on the psyche of individuals exposed to the carnage of war, as well as explore the prejudices and misconceptions that can occur on the personal and global level that hinder conflict resolution. I also had the chance to demonstrate how healing can be possible through exposure to the reality that there are good guys on both sides of any conflict — and in discovering that, regardless of any harsh words that may have been exchanged under different circumstances, your family still has your back when the chips are down.

It’s very important to me to keep my books believable. I weave some of my real-world experiences in each book and some characters are similar to people I have met or worked with throughout years of government service and international travel. The Tradecraft series is just as much about the real lives and emotions of the characters as it is the storyline.

I make it a point to write every day, even if it’s just a few sentences. Mostly, I find time in the morning hours before the sunrises. It’s a great way to start my day!

Thanks for being here today!

Happy Reading!

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