Following the footsteps of Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney (who previously co-authored with Clancy before writing several solo books in the Jack Ryan franchise), veteran author Marc Cameron is set to make his Jack Ryan debut with Tom Clancy Power and Empire.
Ahead of the release of his latest novel, a high-concept, high-powered political thriller that’s up to the high standards Clancy’s fans have come to expect, Marc Cameron was kind enough to go on the record for our Five Questions segment. See the quick Q&A below, then keep scrolling for more info on Tom Clancy Power and Empire.
TRBS: First and foremost, you absolutely crushed this book. This is, hands down, one of my favorite Jack Ryan books in recent memory. What were your initial thoughts and feelings after you agreed to write the next book in this iconic franchise?
Cameron: “Thanks, man. That means a lot coming from you. The idea of accepting the baton from Mark Greaney was more than a little daunting. As you say, Jack Ryan, John Clark, and the rest of Tom Clancy’s characters are so iconic, but on the other hand, I felt like I’d known them for a long time. I read The Hunt for Red October when I was a young rookie police officer in Texas, so I’ve followed Jack Ryan from the time there was a Jack Ryan on the pages of a novel. I knew writing him into new adventures would be a grand adventure. It got a little easier as I got further into the book, but it’s still slightly terrifying, and I have to admit, I worried about letting people down. Both Mark Greaney and my editor, Tom Colgan, were terrific about talking me off the wall when I voiced my concerns. Honestly, the process was incredibly enjoyable.”
TRBS: What was the most intimidating thing about taking on characters like Jack Ryan and John Clark?
Cameron: “Avid readers, including me, have preconceived ideas of how characters look and how we believe they would act under a given set of circumstances. One of the worst things I could do is yank the rug out from under the reader’s feet by attempting to put too much of ‘my’ take on the characters. I wanted to do everything possible to make sure I stayed true to the characters Clancy created–and the way he envisioned them. The Clancy universe is a vast one with a heck of a lot of moving parts. There’s no way to copy Tom Clancy or Mark Greaney’s style or voice, but I certainly took character continuity seriously.”
TRBS: What was your process like, getting up to speed on Clancy’s characters in preparation for writing this book?
Cameron: “My wife and I put ourselves through a sort of Tom Clancy University, reading, rereading, and taking copious notes along the way. We spent several months on Rarotonga in The Cook Islands, basically unplugged from the rest of the world while I worked on the book. A typical day would see me writing for about four hours, then I’d re-read a few chapters in one of the earlier Clancy books while I ate lunch, then spend another couple of hours taking notes on some of the research I’d brought along, before doing a couple more hours of writing. My wife was busy reading the books as well, and we’d have long character discussions during our daily walks on the beach. I’d get another two or three hours of writing done in the afternoon/evening. Most nights, my wife read to me out of one of Mark Greaney’s more recent Clancy books. It was all pretty enjoyable really, spending most of all day every day immersed in the characters and plots like that.”
TRBS: Out of all the actors who have played Jack Ryan on the big screen, I felt like the Jack in this book resembled Harrison Ford. Was that intentional on your part?
Cameron: “It wasn’t intentional, but I can see how it looks that way. I had a vision in my mind’s eye of what Jack Ryan looks like from the time I started reading the books in the 1980s–and it wasn’t really Harrison Ford. That said, I think the earnestness of the character the way Harrison Ford played him is right on point. Jack Ryan is an academic, he’s a Marine, he’s wealthy in his own right, but he comes from a blue-collar law enforcement family. You get the idea that he wins his battles because he is inherently good. Ford did a good job of playing him as vulnerable and strong at the same time. I hope that comes across in the book.”
TRBS: Lastly, what’s next for you, and will fans be getting another Jericho Quinn book in 2018?
Cameron: “Absolutely. The next Jericho Quinn novella, Triple Frontier, will be out in April of 2018. I’m turning in the next full-length Jericho Quinn in a month–and then I’ll start to work on the next Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan novel. At some point, I have a mystery set in Alaska called Open Carry coming out from Kensington–completely new characters and lots of action. I’m pretty excited about it. It’s done and with the publisher. Not sure on a release date, but sometime in 2018.”
Once again, thanks to Marc Cameron for taking some time around the holidays to answer some questions — and for the really great, thoughtful answers!
For more on Tom Clancy Power and Empire, read my full review here. The book is really terrific, and Cameron nailed Clancy’s iconic characters. I imagined Harrison Ford’s version of Jack Ryan, obviously older now, when I read this book. Ryan’s attitude and personality are true to what Clancy created, as are the secondary characters — especially John Clark, who steals the show early and often.
I’d have to go back quite a ways to find a book in this series that I enjoyed more than this one, as Cameron’s thriller is a packed with tons of action to go with his smart, headline-beating plot. Fans of Mark Greaney’s work in this series will be happy to know that there is no fall-off between him and Cameron, who knocked his first Clancy book out of the park.
Tom Clancy Power and Empire is now available in bookstores, and I cannot recommend it enough. Also, as a bonus, nearly everyone knows the names Tom Clancy and Jack Ryan, making Marc Cameron’s book one of the safest holiday gifts you could give to the reader in your life this season. Run to the bookstore today, or click here to order your copy now!
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.