Interview with suspense author M.T. Bass

Author M.T. Bass is here today to chat about
his new suspense novel, Article 15. It has a touch of thriller and
romance, too.

his virtual book tour, M.T. will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble
(winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for
a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of
winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Please share a little bit about your current release.
I used to joke that if John Grisham, E.L. James and Vince Flynn had a
ménage à trois and collaborated on a book, it would be Article 15: Fifty
Shades of Mitch Rapp at the Firm. This story is the first contemporary piece I
have written. I’ve worked the past and the future, but never the present, until
now. And though the idea had been fermenting in the back of my mind for a
decade or so, it suddenly came together with the uber-rich, uber-manipulative
Helena Nicholson, who hires ex-Navy SEAL Griffith Crowe to supposedly find her
father’s journals—but really she wants him to dig into her father’s suspicious
death in a helicopter crash, set against the backdrop of C.I.A./Silicon Valley
What inspired you to write this book?
Body Heat is one of my all-time favorite movies. I
loved the film noir feel, the darkly twisted plot and more than anything else
Kathleen Turner’s character, Matty Walker. A great, great femme fatale. From
there I wrote the first line: “She was one in a million and the day I met
her I should have bought a lottery ticket instead.”
That opening festered
in my notes for years and years, until it all came together with Helena and
Excerpt from Article 15:
When Griff & Helena Meet for the First Time
Lance pulled up to the security gate by Atlantic
Aviation at the approach end of Runway 16. He rolled down his window and
punched the security code into the keypad. When the chain link gate opened, he
pulled onto the tarmac and parked next to Griff’s Cirrus S-22. “I had them pull
it out of the hangar. All gassed up and ready to go. Thank you very much.”
“Thanks, pal.”
They got out of the Escalade. Griff loaded his duffel
bag into the plane and started his pre-flight inspection.
Lance checked FlightAware on his iPhone, then scanned
the approach to Runway 16. Soon landing lights glared down the glide path. A
Learjet 31 quickly crossed the threshold and touched down with tiny puffs of
blue-gray smoke off the mains. Lance watched it roll out, then taxi their way.
He smiled.
Griff came around the left wing and stood next to
Lance. They watched the Learjet turn onto the apron in front of the Atlantic
Aviation hangars and get marshaled to a stop by a baton-waving line boy.
Another stood by with a rolled up red carpet, which he placed by the cabin door
as soon as the engines spooled down.
“I love the smell of kerosene on the tarmac,” Lance
Griff looked at Lance staring at the Learjet.
“Wait for it…”
The cabin door opened like a clamshell. The co-pilot
scurried down the stairs and stood ready to assist the deplaning passenger.
A slender blonde in Ray-Ban Jackie-Ohh sunglasses,
a skin-tight red dress frosted at the shoulders with a sheer white shawl, and
stiletto heels took the co-pilot’s hand and stepped down onto the tarmac into
the hungry stares of the line boys. Griff pulled off his sunglasses to watch
her sashay across the apron, chased by the co-pilot who held the door to
Atlantic Aviation open, then followed her in.
“Don’t tell me. The stubborn possessor of a priceless
Jackson Pollack,” Griff said, looking at Lance.
“Now, who owes who?”
Griff put on his sunglasses again, then headed towards
the fixed base operator’s lobby. “Guess I better go pay my fuel tab.”
 He deemed it
tactically unsound to confront a woman emerging from the Ladies Room, so he turned
down the hall on his right to lay his ambush in the pilot’s lounge.
“That didn’t take long. I didn’t think it would.”
The low, almost husky yet honey smooth female voice
poured seductively over Griff and blanked his mind as he turned into the
pilot’s lounge. Though dimly lit, as they all were to facilitate napping, her
red dress glowed like a hearth, yet she still wore her sunglasses as she
studied her iPhone’s screen, slouching and sitting askew in one of the La-Z-Boy
recliners with her legs crossed. Griff’s eye was drawn to the slow but rhythmic
bounce of her stiletto heel. Predator had become prey.
She took off her Jackie Ohhs, looked Griff up
and down, then took a deep breath. “Mmmm…tall, dark and dangerous…just the way
I like them.”
Griff locked onto her blue-gray eyes and surrendered.
He leaned against the door jam. His inside voice taunted, No plan survives
contact with the enemy.
“I couldn’t help but notice Lance’s Escalade on the
ramp. He is a conniving bastard, isn’t he? Of course, he is a lawyer,
but he does excel at it. Not to mention the unseemly delight he takes in it.”
“Always has,” Griff said. “As long as I’ve known him.”
“Then, you really shouldn’t be surprised.”
Griff smiled, realizing it wasn’t Mayor Daley’s fault
that he was still on the ground in Chicago. “Name’s Griff.”
“Yes. I know.”
He waited, his face an implacable facade, one molded
and hammered into place on the Coronado Beach while enduring BUD/S training.
“You got a name? Or will you answer to minx or vixen?”
 “Hmmm…you like
the ‘X’ words. I prefer Helena.”
“So…how long will we be playing Three Card Monte with
modern art…Helena?
“Oh, that. The Pollack is already crated up at a
friend’s gallery in LA waiting to be shipped off.”
“Which gallery?”
“Now, Griff. Have we come to an understanding yet?”
As a Navy SEAL, he had been well-trained never to sigh
out loud. “I’ve found understandings to be vastly overrated and all too often
“Hmmm. So, it often is.” She sat up straight, arching
her back. She ran her fingers through her blonde hair. “Lance speaks highly of
“I’ve solved a problem or two for him—or should I say
his clients. What is it you need?”
“Trust me, there is precious little that I need.”
Helena smiled coyly.
“Well, then, what is it that Helena wants?”
“You’re kind of a no-nonsense guy. Don’t you believe in
Griff laughed. “Why, yes. Yes, I do. But you and I are
a bit too vertical right at the moment. So, it’s more like teasing.”
“Huh. Men. Why must you all be so literal?”
“Because literal is where we live and work and play.”
“Well, Mr. Griffith Crowe, this has been a fascinating
conversation, but I must be going. I have an engagement to get to, and my limo
is surely out front by now.” Helena stood up and walked up to Griff. She put
her index finger on his chin.
“So, did I pass the audition?”
She pushed his head to the left, then back to the
right. “Eh, you’ll do.”
Griff broke protocol and sighed heavily.
“I’ll be in touch,” Helena said as she slipped by,
brushing his arm with her body.
Griff watched her leave, contemplating the possibility
of foreplay—predator, again.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on a sequel to my very first book, My Brother’s Keeper.
I always intended it to be a series based on a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot,
who gets involved in all kinds of flying adventures through the years. This one
takes place in Congo during the Sixties when the country was torn apart by
civil war after being liberated as a Belgian colony and Hawk gets involved fighting
the Simba rebels as a mercenary pilot. The title is Jungleland.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I just used a quote from Faulkner on my blog for his birthday: “Don’t
be ‘a writer’. Be writing.” And that’s how I feel about it. It’s not about what
I am. It’s what I do. And truth be told, I am more of a rewriter. That’s where
the heavy lifting really takes place.
That being said, I started scribbling out stuff of, say, an “artistic”
nature in high school and then as an English major in college I didn’t
specialize in a specific period of literature. I studied creative writing and
was lucky enough to be mentored by a great novelist and poet, Robert Flanagan,
who I can’t thank enough. When I got out of school, I just started putting
words to paper and kept on going. Kind of the Satchel Page thing: “Don’t look
back. Something might be gaining on you.”
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what
do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am up at 5 or so in the morning and the first thing I do—I mean
after I get coffee, but before I check emails, read the news, or look at social
media—is write. I spend the first hours of my day piling up words while I’m
still fresh, my mind is clear and I’m at my most creative. It’s pretty amazing,
because before you know it, you have 50-60,000 words of a story and then the
real fun begins. To me the writing process is a lot like woodworking. You just
don’t pound a few pieces of lumber together and call it a day. You go over the
piece again and again and again, fixing and hiding flaws, then polishing it to
as fine a finish as you can get before you throw it out into the world. Even
then, years later, I still find things I missed or could have gotten better. But
that’s okay, with eBooks, you can tinker on and on and on…
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I just can’t resist sneaking in hidden “easter eggs” from The Little
Rascals, Firesign Theater, Looney Tunes, Hitchcock movies, lyrics from favorite
songs, etc. Sometimes the characters are in on it, like at Mount Rushmore, when
Lance compares Helena and Griff to Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant in North
by Northwest.
Other times, the characters use phrases that will sound very
familiar to those in the know, like when Maura tells Griff to “Put a sock on
it, Pablo.”
I once got dinged in a writer’s group for repeating the phase,
“luckless pedestrian” from the song “Don’t Take me Alive” in a different book,
Murder by Munchausen. Obviously, my critic was not a Steely Dan fan. Just
having some fun. That’s all.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I take my writing seriously, but then again, I’m just making stuff up
and having a ball doing it. I hope you enjoy my scribblings.

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Thanks for joining me today!
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10 thoughts on “Interview with suspense author M.T. Bass

  1. M.T. Bass says:

    Today is launch day and it's great to have you hosting my tour stop today.

    Helena is loosely based on the femme fatales in Body Heat and Basic Instinct.

    Which character scares you more: Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) or Catherine Tramel (Sharon Stone)?

    Thanks much.


  2. M.T. Bass says:

    Hi Bernie —

    There are always bits and pieces of real people scattered in and about my characters, but I don't typically put a whole real character into my stories.

    That being said, I did make reference to a real person in Article 15, author Kevin Dockery, who is an acknowledged expert on Navy SEALs and happens to be in one of my writing groups. When I read that chapter, he gave me the the international sign language for being on your way, forthwith, in a carnal fashion. (All in good fun.)



  3. M.T. Bass says:

    Thanks all for being along for the ride today. Glad you enjoyed the interview and hope to hear how you liked the adventures of Helena & Griff.


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