Richard D Ross - Riveting International Mystery and Crime Thrillers
Coming from a successful international career in the transportation and shipping industry, Richard has created a thrilling and sensational series of novels based on the business he knows best. He is an avid writer that provides fast-moving, riveting reading set against real-world events and political awareness. His series blends a combination of a family saga, mystery, and crime set against a real-world backdrop. For his stories to be convincing, he spends much of his time researching history and current affairs and then fuses it with his own business, travel experience and creativity. Interestingly, his wife thinks he has a criminal mind! As our Author of the Day, he tells us about his book, The Hybrid Enemy.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Hybrid Enemy is about.
The Hybrid Enemy is a fast-paced family drama, mystery, crime and political thriller.
After becoming CEO of his family’s shipping company, James Macrae never suspected that he would become a victim of international espionage that would threaten both his company and those he loves. When James discovers that the incidents are acts of sabotage, he must act quickly to unmask the hidden enemy working in the shadows.
Journeying across Europe and the Middle East, James follows the trail of clues as he begins to question whether these incidents could be linked to one of his company’s competitors, a company rumored to be caught up in international arms smuggling.
But as he peels back the layers of this conspiracy, James begins to realize that this may reach beyond mere business rivalry. And as he finds himself and his family in the crosshairs, James must race against time to discover the truth before he loses everything that he holds dear.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
Good question! I was living and working in the Middle East in the shipping and transportation industry when I read a news article about a marine disaster. Sometime before that, I had always wanted to write a book and this article triggered the plot for the book.
Tell us more about James Macrae. What makes him so special?
James is an interesting character. He’s been brought up in his family’s shipping business, but rather than having everything provided to him on a silver spoon, he’s been dealt with tough love from his father. Instead of being protected, he’s had to work his way up from the bottom. Provided with the ‘street-smarts’ of the business, he’s now in his late thirties and unexpectedly finds himself head of the business facing challenges that seem insurmountable. When his own family is threatened, James pulls out an inner strength he didn’t know he had.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Ha! Not sure how to answer that one, but my wife thinks I have a criminal mind!
You have worked in transportation and shipping. How has this influenced your writing?
Inside knowledge and being a subject matter expert in this area has given me huge insight into writing on the subjects I know best, especially the James Macrae Thriller Series. I believe readers want authenticity and realism in stories but not be overburdened with tedious detail.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this story?
I’m smiling while I answer this question because I became each character myself. I suppose it’s like actors who completely immerse themselves in their portrayed character. I had to look through the eyes of each character and reason out how they would realistically deal with the circumstances they found themselves in.
How much research did this book require from you? Tell us more about it.
Apart from my industry knowledge, I'm an avid reader of world political and economic news. I always try to blend real world events into my novels to give them depth and make them more interesting for the reader. The internet for a writer is a wonderful vault of information but I do go to great lengths to check on the authenticity of my research. In every book, I always provide a list of 'Acknowledgements' with links.
Interesting cover. How did you decide on a design?
I can’t claim I designed the cover. I can thank ‘100 Covers’ for their creativity and graphic design. I can highly recommend them!
Readers say the story was fast-moving, with several subplots. Did you plan it all out before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
A little bit of both! Normally I try to have a rough structure at the start for the book but as I write, new ideas for twists and turns crop up in my head. I have to say that my editor is also a wonderful influence on me. We start off with a developmental edit and I love the fact that she’s not afraid to pull things apart – constructively, I may add. The end result is a blend of the original structure, new ideas along the way and my editor keeping me in between the guard rails.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Another good question! Once I’ve got an idea, I’m writing it in my head way before I even put pen to paper. My mind becomes focussed on the subject, and I research much about what I’m going to write about before the story is written.
Why did you title this "The Hybrid Enemy"?
My book is entirely about a Hybrid Enemy as defined by Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General:
‘Hybrid methods of warfare, such as propaganda, deception, sabotage and other non-military tactics have long been used to destabilise adversaries. What is new about attacks seen in recent years is their speed, scale and intensity, facilitated by rapid technological change and global interconnectivity.’
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
Generally, I write in the mornings while my mind is still fresh. I’ll keep going until I feel I’m losing focus. Then, the following morning I go over what I wrote the day before and keep refining the work until I think I’m satisfied. Once that’s done, I use the ‘Read Aloud’ review option on MS Word to read it back to myself to further wordsmith it. Finally, it then goes to my editor for her review.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing a standalone novel called ‘The Cobalt Conspiracy.’ Here’s the book cover description:
In the small Florida town of Baldwin, a tractor-trailer laden with fresh fruit and vegetables breaks down. For the owner-operator driver, it’s the last straw. Not only is he broke, but he loses his friend and partner who’s fed up with living paycheck to paycheck.
Stranded at a truck stop, he meets a mysterious person who appears to have an easy solution for his problems. But sometimes easy solutions are too good to be true. Sucked into a web of intrigue and crime, Marco Ferrero tries desperately to find out what he’s got himself into. As the mystery deepens, powerful, ruthless people want him dead. In the race to find the truth it becomes a deadly contest of cat and mouse.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
On both sites, readers can sign up for my newsletter and if they would like to receive Advanced Reader Copies. They can also email directly with me. I love to hear from my readers!
After becoming CEO of his family’s shipping company, James Macrae never suspected that he would become a victim of international espionage that would threaten both his company and those he loves. 'The Hybrid Enemy' weaves together a family drama, crime and mystery as well as aspects of a political thriller.