Get ready—because New York Times bestselling author Simon Gervais is back with another Clayton White thriller that’ll blow you away and have you flipping pages well into the night.
The Last Guardian, the third book in Gervais’s latest series, which follows the action-packed adventures of a former secret service agent, was just released last week and already carries a 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with nearly 150 reviews—proving to be one of this fall’s greatest hits. Thankfully, just before launching his latest novel, I was able to catch up with Simon Gervais, a longtime friend of TRBS, who agreed to go back on the record for our Five Questions segment. This time around, I asked him about everything from how he came up with the idea for this book to what updates he can share with us out of Hollywood. Trust me, you don’t want to miss his answers.
Read the full Q&A below, then make sure to grab your copy of The Last Guardian, now available in trade paperback, e-book, and audiobook.
TRBS: Clayton White is back in what I think is perhaps your best book to date. Before we get into THE LAST GUARDIAN, talk to me about rising expectations. Having written so many great thrillers already, do you feel pressure to top yourself each year?
Gervais: Thank you for your kind words about The Last Guardian, I’m thrilled you loved it. The answer to your question is yes, I do feel the pressure. And I’m glad I do. It keeps me on my toes. I don’t, and never will, take my readers for granted, so I want to make sure I give them something they’ll enjoy in exchange for the five to eight hours they’re about to invest into reading one of my books. I don’t want to let my readers down. I really do care about them. When they buy a Simon Gervais book, they’re trusting me with the most precious commodity of all: TIME. One way I try to do keep them interested is by writing scenes that take place in fun, exciting locales. For example, in The Last Guardian, Clayton White spends a lot of time in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in Switzerland. To make sure I had all the details right, I traveled to St John, St Thomas, and to the Swiss Alps. Big chunks of the book were written while I was there, on location.
The same is true for Monaco. Fun fact: it was following a discussion my wife and I had with a friend of ours, David Jakabovič—who is a successful yacht broker at Morley Yachts in Monaco—when the idea of writing a scene at the Monaco Yacht Club first popped into my head. Later that evening, once we were back in our apartment overlooking Monaco’s Larvotto Beach, I powered up my laptop and spent several hours writing the outline of what is now chapters 34, 35, and 36.
TRBS: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what are some books you’ve read recently?
Gervais: I’m honored to say that many of my favorite authors have become good friends of mine over the last few years. I’m a huge Marc Cameron fan. I especially love his Arliss Cutter series. My wife and I visited Marc in Alaska last summer, and it was great fun!
Brad Thor’s Scot Harvath series is always fantastic. My series tend to be three to four books long, so for Brad to keep crushing it at Harvath #22 is insane. Mark Greaney, Don Bentley, Brian Andrews, Jeff Wilson, Brad Taylor, Ward Larsen, Kyle Miles, Jack Carr, David McCloskey, Josh Hood, Taylor Moore, and Conner Sullivan are all authors who are on my auto-buy list.
TRBS: Alright, I already spoiled that I think THE LAST GUARDIAN is maybe your best book so far. I loved it, and I am sure TRBS readers will too. Where did the story idea for this one come from?
Gervais: One of the most critical and interesting aspects of this series is the complex, multifaceted relationship between Clayton White, his fiancée Veronica, and Veronica’s father Alexander Hammond, who is now the President of the United States. It was important for me to give my readers a satisfying ending to their story arc. Whatever plot I was going to choose—I had several ideas—I wanted to ensure these three characters would have an important role to play.
With that in mind, I’m a news junkie. I spend at least an hour every day reading, listening, or watching the news. I’m particularly interested in politics, international relations, and economics. When I learned that over 95% of the fentanyl in the United States was manufactured using precursor chemicals from China, I knew I had to use this. It was going to be the premise of the book. Not enough people are talking about the issue.
TRBS: Any film/TV news you can share with us, and how have the strikes in Hollywood impacted you?
Gervais: I can’t share everything that’s in the pipeline, but earlier this year, CBS Studios optioned the rights to my Clayton White series. Jerry Bruckheimer TV is attached to produce. I’m fired up about the project! I met the JBTV team over a Zoom meeting and I know they are as excited as I am about adapting the series for television. The writers’ strike did delay things a bit, but I wasn’t materially impacted. I’m thrilled with the deal the writers were able to negotiate with the studios. They deserve it. I remain hopeful that the actors will be able to secure a good deal, too.
TRBS: Lastly, now that THE LAST GUARDIAN is out, what’s next for you?
Gervais: I recently finished writing The Elias Network, the first book in a new series. The book will come out in mid- to late-2024 and will be followed by The Elias Enigma in 2025. The Elias series will be my third one with my exceptional publishing team at Thomas & Mercer. I’m very fortunate to have such a wonderful crew of accomplished professionals supporting me and my books.
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and is building a growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” is now available. His second novel, LETHAL RANGE, comes out on August 8th. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And to take part in free, exclusive BOOK CLUBS each month, join The Real Book Spy on Discord.