Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?
Before I remember, I remember writing. I’ve been writing all my life, starting in elementary school. It was simply a passion. A gift. I became a bestselling author in 2010, so I’d say that’s when my writing career took off, however it took 9 years to get a book deal. I stuck with it because it was something I really enjoyed. It’s part of me.
Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?
I would have to pick Garrett, from the Invisible Enemy: Black Fox. His level of planning and execution of the missions is near flawless, as long as he has the right information. His character is a composite of projects I personally worked on with the dept of Defense. I’d also have to pick Kalisa. I like her because she defies all stereotypes. As an author I really don’t like stereotypes. In real life or in my books. In Hollywood, women largely portrayed in the helpless “save me spiderman” role. With few exceptions, very few women heroes are written about, even in fiction. I’m not a woman, however I’m very aware of this problem and as a bestselling author have changed the game in a major way with The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox, and The Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta (which features the heroine on the cover, even though it is a technology a spy genre men typically read). Creating major, strong, smart, savvy women characters who are not scared or intimidated by men or their antics from the very first page. These women do not need to use sex or their looks to manipulate men. They use their minds. These revolutionary characters have made history. Traditionally throughout history, women have crumbled empires. From the famous Cleopatra to Anna Chapman to lesser-knowns like Sappho and Marie Curie, yet unfortunately Hollywood continues to downplay a woman’s role in technology and in history. That will only change if the writers change how they approach characters, and get rid of stereotypes in the writing.
From reading the book you clearly have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Dept of Defense, Homeland Security, the CIA, even the FBI and covert technology that really hasn’t been exposed to the civilian global market as yet. How do you know the scoop?
I have a deep background with the Dept of Defense and technology. Currently, I’m an advanced systems consultant for the Defense, Intelligence and Civilian space. I’ve been an advanced solutions consultant for over 12 years. I’ve worked on projects for desert storm and quite a few other programs worldwide that have saved American lives. I’ve won several awards and several case studies of my solutions have been published across the Information Technology industry. I’ve done a sizeable amount of work for the U.S. Defense Sector, Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. I even relocated overseas to Amsterdam, The Netherlands for more than a year to solve technology issues for American based companies. This is in addition to the years of research and personal interviews I’ve done. I didn’t get my information from an encyclopedia, I got it from job experience.
What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?
I can show you better than I can tell you: This is a snippet of Chapter 1 from the audiobook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCk4AV5147E&feature=youtu.be
There is a secret that will bring America to its knees. Also, check out the movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUWj9SkBUYc
From the reviews for the Invisible Enemy Spy series on Barnes and Nobles, Amazon and elsewhere, it seems you’ve drawn not only the spy novel reading crowd, but you’ve pulled from other genre’s. How have you managed to touch readers who traditionally do not read spy novels?
Because from what the readers tell me it’s a great book and an easy read. It’s filled with action, suspense, mystique, intrigue, deception, mystery, romance and even fellowship. The action starts in the beginning and grabs even the folks who don’t read that much. The book is also written for most ages, including junior high school students, yet it challenges each reader. There are adult themes that the younger readers may not pick up on, but in contrast, I present some younger themes some adults might not pick up on. Certain characters represent certain motifs as well. Adults who have not read a book since high school have picked up the Invisible Enemy and read it from cover to cover. Then they wanted to know more. I was fortunately able to entertain and educate by picking a topic the Hollywood has not touched before. No story like this exists anywhere. I checked as I’m a spy novel fan myself. Spy movies have been done. Spy novels have been written, but never a technology thriller exposing the real threats of America and what goes on behind the scenes. No story has posed the hard questions to the reader, then answered them. No story dives deep into how spies are trained, recruited, how the Dept of Defense will exterminate a serious threat, or how lines must be crossed and rights are violated in order to ensure the safety of Americans. The reader even realizes how back-door decisions made decades ago by the government can come back to haunt us, and allies can become enemies overnight. It’s cool to talk about the black and the white areas. I bring the reader into the gray area, where ethics, the constitution, privacy laws, and due process can fall by the wayside when it’s time to knuckle down.
You last two novels were from the suspense/spy/action genre, including the bestseller The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox. How did you make the transition into religious writing, Devil’s Diary: The Coming) and do you think your platform will follow you into this new genre.
In my mind I didn’t make a transition. This is actually the book that got me my first book deal. It was decided by the publishing company to come out with the spy series as a business decision because of my background with technology and the Dept of Defense, and the degrees and awards behind my name. I speak at technology conferences on a regular basis but I wasn’t a famous minister. In their minds, I didn’t have a guaranteed platform to generate book sales. Do I hope my audience follows? I’d like to think I’ve built an audience who loves good writing, so I believe they will venture into this genre even if it’s a bit new to them, because they enjoy good writing. The point of literacy of to bring people to something new. Something great. One of my goals in writing is to broaden the experiences of my reader community and add to the literary art form. It believe its key to not only present a fascinating story to the reader, but to bring value to the reader aside from entertainment. I believe that’s one of the key differences of my style of writing. Everyone loves to be entertained, so I’m obviously going to do that, and I truly enjoy it. Then a lot of people also value riveting, thought provoking idea’s. Topics where you finish the book and want to know more. Motifs that make you want do a bit of web surfing on the topics presented, or maybe dive even deeper. Check out the Devil’s Diary Movie trailer: https://youtu.be/l3wuHnaovIs
What was your inspiration for the book?
With my first books, I wrote the book that I had always wanted to read but had never been written. With this book, I wrote the book that really needed to be read but had never been written. It’s a journey for the reader. You have to ask yourself a question during the book: Are you ready to face yourself? For many people the answer will be no, which makes the book an even deeper journey as they realize where they fall in the battle of good and evil. Each reader will face their own internal journey. Some who are not familiar with any religion will hopefully want to know more as they look inside themselves. Even though the book is called Devil’s Diary, the book is not about evil. The second part of the title is the focus. The Coming.
Tell us about this new book Devil’s Diary: The Coming?
Devil’s Diary: The Coming is about what would happen if The Creator returned tomorrow. With the current civil unrest going on, the stage has been set. Sides are being chosen. Angels and their worst enemies prepare for The Coming. Mary, we are all a part of the book of life. But what if there was another book. . .The Devil’s Diary.
What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?
In a way I didn’t choose the genre. It chose me. The novel is edited by the Harvard Divinity school as I didn’t just want to write a novel. I wanted to write something rooted in spirituality and prophecy. I can’t think of any topic tougher to write about than religious prophecy. Biblical Prophecy is certainly complex. There are literally hundreds of interpretations and translations. It took a lot a research to write a book that serious appeals to public, but theologically accurate.
Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own?
Yes. The book took a life of its own when I started a small studio, Brookline Studios for one reason. Because I wanted to change the way audiobooks were created. Traditional audiobooks are boring to many people. One narrator reads the entire 22 hour story in monotone can lull you to sleep. In the Invisible Enemy: Black Fox Audiobook a new genre is opened to new markets and the social media generation with over 2000 expertly placed sound effects, a cast of talented actors reading the major characters, and movie scores created for every scene/chapter, giving the audiobook a surreal movie theatre experience in additional to an exhilarating story. I actually watched my characters come to life via amazing actors in the studio. As I was also the producer, I was part of the casting. This made the literary experience surreal, and brought the book into the real world. Watching my character speaks was amazing. The engineers and myself added the music, sound effects and theatre scores. The new millennial generation want experiences to be vibrant, diverse, engaging, and interactive. Listening to one person narrate for 22 hours can be exhausting. In the past, audiobook listeners have been a very particular audience and demographics. I believe that will change, and I'd like to be ahead of that change. With the evolution of Ipods and mp3 players and other inventions, audiobooks can be listened to while jogging, at the gym, cleaning, running errands, eating, airports, and even while working is an option for some folks. I also want to create a personal experience that the reader/listener can plug into personally. Listeners are diverse and multifaceted. So should the cast in their experience. I bring a new experience to veteran readers and invite younger listeners as well, expanding into a different kind of audiobook market, combining sound effects, multi-cast actors, special effects, a great story, and sound quality into a different and unforgettable experience. To see what I mean, feel free to download or listen to the first chapter for free here. Invisible Enemy: Black Fox AudioBook Free Chapter
Thanks for stopping by!
My pleasure, Mary! Anytime. Thank you for taking the time to interview me.
There is a secret that will bring America to its knees. In The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox, Reporter Dorian Valentine discovers the horrific truth regarding the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (a critical peace agreement between the former Soviet Union and the United States): One side is cheating, and even worse - the cheating side holds the ultimate trump card. Brutally trained from birth to live, talk, and think like Americans, foreign powers have constructed the most dangerous network of secret operatives ever known - created for the ultimate trinity: Intelligence, Espionage, and Warfare. This dynamic organization has been planted on US soil long ago by the former KGB to retrieve information at any cost, cause political catastrophe, or kill on moment’s notice. Now they are out of control, striking fear into the heart of the Pentagon. The Central Intelligence Agency assembles a powerful team of assassins that “do not exist” in an attempt to terminate an enemy that cannot be caught by any traditional methods. The Invisible Enemy grabs the reader by the arm, and casts them deep into the furious depths of intense warfare, awesome espionage, and unpredictable deceit - where there is a frightful undercover agenda that even the operatives themselves are not aware of.
Invisible Enemy: Black Fox trailer
The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox Audiobook trailer
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony R. Howard has been an industry recognized consultant and technology expert for the premier global technology firms for over 12 years. Presently he is a leading Technology Specialist for one of the world’s largest Information Technology firms where he was rated #1 IT Super Hero by InfoWorld and ComputerWorld, was the winner of the National Federal Office Systems Award (FOSE - Nation’s Largest Information Technology Exposition Serving the Government Marketplace), and the 2004 winner of Government Computer News Best New Technology Award. Several case studies have been published on Howard’s solutions across the Information Technology industry. Currently he provides enterprise technology solutions and advisement for America’s most distinguished clients including a sizeable amount of work for the U.S. Defense Sector, Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. After founding his own technology firm, Howard completed his formal education with a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Technology. His vast career has included controlling hundreds of devices worldwide from secure Network Command Centers to relocating overseas to Amsterdam, The Netherlands for more than a year to solve technology issues for American based companies. He has also worked briefly for a private military logistics corporation that contracts a sizable amount of work from the Department of Defense and other military institutions.
Author website: http://anthonyrhoward.org/
Devil’s Diary: The Coming trailer
Facebook: Devil’s Diary: The Coming trailer
Print book: Devil’s Diary: The Coming
Devil’s Diary: The Coming
Devil’s Diary: The Coming ebook
The Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta