Part Two of our interview with Myke Cole continues with the powers and characters in the Shadow Ops series. Myke answers the questions of a Shadow Ops Comic book, about missing powers that are forever gone from the Shadow Ops series and about the growth of characters that is a rare and amazing surprise to many authors. His second book, Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier is coming to store shelves this winter and the third is going through editing and rewrites at the moment. Myke Cole is certainly an author on the rise.
Toonari Post (TP): Is there a power you feel has either helped or hurt the story? If so which is it?
Myke Cole (MC): There *was* a power, in the original draft of Latent (the book that would later become Control Point). I had a school of magic called Mentamancy, which was essentially telepathy. But the narrative relied so strongly on the ability of characters to keep secrets that something as simple as mind reading made the whole story come apart at the seams. In the end, I had to ditch it. There are no mind readers in the Shadow Ops universe. That you know of. So far.
TP: You’ve made mention in other interviews that Oscar’s POV isn’t the only one we can expect in the next book, who else can we expect and how are they different from Oscar?
MC: The protagonist of Fortress Frontier is Colonel Alan Bookbinder, a high ranking administrator who is thrust into the role of combat commander. Bookbinder comes from a strong foundation. He had an intact family growing up, and has a loving wife and children of his own. His position in the army is far more secure than Britton’s, his Latency coming at the end of a long and successful career. As a result, Bookbinder’s path is far more. That path has some twists, and the road is long and dangerous, but the Bookbinder is a man much less at war with himself.
TP: Has there been a moment during the writing of this series where a character has evolved so quickly that he or she took on a life of their own?
MC: Absolutely. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say there’s a conversation in Chapter XIX in Control Point where Scylla is talking. That is actually her talking. All I was doing was writing it down. All of my favorite writers describe knowing their characters so well that they just put them in the scene and write down what they say. That never happens to me. I put my characters in the scene and they look at me asking, “Dude. What do you want us to do?” Except this one time. It was amazing, but I’m not holding my breath for it to happen again.
TP: What is the status of the 3rd book? Will you be attending a ton of stuff for the launch of the second in a few months time and then be totally swamped?
MC: Breach Zone has a completed 1st draft at roughly 125,000 words. I am really, really unhappy with it. But that’s okay. This is part of my writing process. I have to put down a lousy first draft to have something to edit. The marketing push for Fortress Frontier may be more muted than Control Point since I no longer have the glow of a debut author, but I am certainly going to be pushing the hell out of it. I’m very proud of it, like it better than Control Point, and am really excited to see reader reactions.
TP: What are your thoughts on a Shadow Ops comic book? Would that be a great joy or a stressful time given that the second book is on the way out to the public and the 3rd on the way as well.
MC: It would be a joy beyond joy. I have dreamed of writing comic books since I was a kid. I’m a huge fan of them and would be honored to see my material be used as the basis for one. My fingers are crossed that someday someone will want to do one, and I would spare no effort to help make it happen.