REAPER: GHOST TARGET: Five Questions with A.J. Tata (Part 2)
Today’s the day. . . Reaper: Ghost Target, the epic first book in an all-new series from Nick Irving and A.J. Tata, is now officially in bookstores!
In case you missed it, because this was the first time in Real Book Spy history that we did a Five Questions interview with co-authors, we broke up their answers into two separate articles. See Part 1: Five Questions with Nick Irving, here.
Former Brigadier General A.J. Tata is no stranger to bestselling thrillers. After a long and decorated career in the military, Tata began penning novels. His Jake Mahegan series has quickly become one of the best in the genre today, and a fan-favorite among readers who crave hard-hitting action and smart, out-of-the-box plots. The fourth book in that series, Direct Fire, came out last December. The fifth book, Dark Winter, hits bookstores this October.
Doing his best David Baldacci impersonation, Tata is now juggling multiple hit series, teaming up with Nicholas Irving, one of the most decorated snipers in our military’s history, to introduce readers to a brand new hero named Vick Harwood.
In many ways, Harwood is just a fictionalized version of Irving. Both are legendary snipers, they use the same rifle, and they even share a nickname. . . The Reaper. Still, the two are different enough, and in my Q&A with Irving, he said Tata “was a huge help in developing a fictional timeline and structure,” and called him a “true leader.” Thankfully, A.J. agreed to go on the record as well, and I asked him everything from how he and Irving came up with the plot idea for this book to whether or not he’d ever consider writing a nonfiction book about his time in the military.
See the interview below, then be sure to pick up your copy of Reaper: Ghost Target, now available wherever books are sold.
TRBS: Obviously, you’ve got your own series going on, so how did you end up co-authoring this book with Nick Irving?
Tata: “We’ve got the same awesome agent, Scott Miller at Trident Media Agency, and Scott thought it would be a fun idea to spin Nick’s real-life persona into a fiction series. And I agreed!”
TRBS: How’d you guys come up with the story idea for Reaper: Ghost Target, and did you find, because you and Irving are both decorated veterans, that it was easier to work together on a book like this?
Tata: “Nick and I riffed for a couple of hours on Vick Harwood the character and then on the plot that would be the narrative drive. We speak the same language and both served in Afghanistan, where the opening scene takes place. I totally respect Nick’s experience and skills as a ranger sniper and am proud to write with him.”
TRBS: Irving, like other combat veterans (Marcus Luttrell, Chris Kyle, Sean Parnell, etc.), has already gone the route of releasing a nonfiction book. . . would you ever consider writing a nonfiction book about your time in the military?
Tata: “I have the outline for a nonfiction book that encompasses both my military time and my public sector time. The leadership lessons transcend military, politics, public school systems, and state government.”
TRBS: This book is absolutely awesome. I love Vick Harwood, the premise, and the way you guys delivered on the action sequences. I heard this is the first in a series — is that true, and when can readers expect more Harwood?
Tata: “Thank you and yes. We are working on book 2 at the moment. You will see a more focused Vick Harwood. The story arc in Ghost Target had him recovering from traumatic brain injury, giving him memory lapses. While not 100% healthy, Harwood has his full range of skills in Reaper: Threat Zero.”
TRBS: Lastly, we know Jake Mahegan is back this fall in Dark Winter. What can you tell us about that book?
Tata: “In Dark Winter, Jake has to stop a powerful tech tycoon whose hackers have taken control of the nuclear arsenals of the United States, Russia, Iran and North Korea. As World War III breaks out, Mahegan goes global with Cassie Bagwell, Patch Owens, and Sean O’Malley to capture the human biometric keys who can help the US regain control of the nukes. It’s another high tech and gritty combat adventure for Mahegan, who has found love with Cassie.”
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) 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.