My protagonist, Lee McCloud (Mac), starts off as a special operations soldier, whose best friend’s daughter has been kidnapped in Mexico. He feels not only loyalty to his friend, but also he recalls witnessing his own sister abducted when he was fourteen. Using his skills, he and several buddies attempt a rescue but it ends badly. He is forced to leave the army and work for a secret agency of government, partnered with an attractive computer genius.
But he doesn’t intend giving up the search for the kidnapped girl, Sophia.
So I guess the first thing that I had to bring to the table in terms of Mac’s character is a determination that goes beyond what any normal person might have. As you might suspect, the flip side of the determination coin is stubbornness, and Mac is stubborn enough to be labeled a “loose cannon” by his boss, Mike Wisebaum.
Many books featuring soldiers or cops make the hero too powerful, too smart, and don’t have him/her make the sort of mistakes people make in real life. I wanted my hero to be flawed enough to be out of his depth at times, to make the achievement of his goal that much more difficult.
One thing that many of us, I think, wonder is whether if we had made different decisions in the past would we have been happier. Obviously, in some cases, the answer is yes. On the other hand, the past is the past, and everyone makes mistakes. In Mac’s case, he feels a lack of trust towards attractive women, because his fiancée left him for his brother four weeks before their wedding. Will this make it difficult to work with Tally, the woman who is effectively his boss? Of course, and I deliberately tried to make the relationship between Mac and Tally a little like in the TV series Moonlighting, or in the film Mr & Mrs Smith. A love-hate thing.
In terms of character arc, Mac gradually realizes that he has to give up the chips on his shoulder that come from past failures and past problems with trust. But then, will someone stab him in the back at the end of the day? You’ll have to read No Remorse to find out. Writing Lee McCloud was great fun, because I enjoyed deciding how the flaws would impact upon the character’s behavior and performance. Like most men, Mac makes mistakes, errors of judgment, and at times is pig-headed. But he is also fundamentally kind, a protector, with a strong sense of justice. In that sense, an archetypal hero.
So, what I learned from Mac was how to write my first hero, to make him human, very human, while somehow managing to break through the immense challenges he faces. Will he succeed at the end? Well, perhaps I should leave you with one of the reviewer comments: “A roller-coaster ride of adventure, danger, international intrigue and conflict, then adds a surprising twist at the end.”
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Two men, exiles from their respective societies, take conflicting approaches in the quest to regain their place and self-respect, and find themselves at war over a kidnapped girl.
Lee McCloud (“Mac”), a special forces soldier facing trumped-up charges of murder, is forced to work for a mysterious government outfit operating outside the law.
Khalid Yubani, cast out of Saudi Arabia for an offence against another member of the Royal family, seeks revenge through ruthless acts of evil. Engaged in the worst forms of human trafficking, Khalid buys Sophia, the daughter of Mac’s best friend, who has been kidnapped in Mexico. With time running out for Sophia, Mac enlists the help of a beautiful computer genius, a British SAS soldier and a Lebanese fixer to try to find Sophia and save her from the terrifying fate that Khalid has in store.
Although starting the quest as a man with no remorse, Mac gradually discovers a side of himself that he suppressed after witnessing the abduction of his own sister years before.
Dodging assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats, and sharks, Mac ignores the order to stay out of trouble and follows Sophia’s trail from Mexico to Paris, London and Dubai, and the island of Andaran, where Khalid and his henchmen are waiting…