|New cover added 2/21/13|
Young computer programmer Rob Donovan receives an emergency call from his boss at the First Malden Bank in
after the first successful cyberattack in American banking history scrambles thousands of account records. First Boston ’s survival is on the line as furious customers and voracious reporters descend on the bank. Rob is part of the team trying to fix the damage, until the FBI charges him with the crime and brings his world crashing down. Facing prison time and the loss of his fiancée Lesley, Rob’s only chance of reclaiming his life lies in cutting through a web of mistrust and betrayal to uncover the startling truth behind the attack. Malden
Welcome Andrew! Thanks so much for your visit today. It’s great to get this chance to find out more about you. Tell us about your current release.
When someone asks me what Unauthorized Access is about, I find the quickest way is to describe the book as a Grisham-style thriller. Think of suspenseful stories like The Firm or The Fugitive with Harrison Ford and you’ll get a sense of what to expect.
Did travel play in the writing of your book?
Unauthorized Access is set in and around
. While writing the book I first outlined all the scenes and figured out what type of location was needed for each one. Then I took a trip to Boston . I walked all through downtown and drove around the city for quite a while visiting every location mentioned in the book. When I describe the inside of a Boston restaurant, you can bet I actually ate there. That trip was a blast, imagining the story and looking for details to incorporate into the book. Boston
What do you think makes a good story?
As a reader I want to care deeply about what is going on in a story. I love the feeling of desperately wanting to know what is going to happen next. My favorite books are the ones where I find myself reading while I’m shaving and while I’m eating breakfast, because I simply can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen. As an author that’s the kind of reading experience I strive to create, and I’m thrilled at the number of people who have written to me and described exactly that reaction to Unauthorized Access.
I won’t give away all ways I go about pumping up the reader’s adrenaline, since I believe a novel is a bit like magic; some of the mystery and wonderment goes away if you get to see how everything works behind the curtain. Suffice it to say, though, there are a number of writing techniques I like to use. For instance, one way is to create scenes where the point of view character deeply wants (or often downright needs) something to happen. This raises a question for the reader – will the character achieve their goal? We get to the end of the scene to find the goal still unresolved and even worse, an additional complicating problem has popped up. Then the reader turns the page, wanting to find out what happens next … only the nasty author (that would be me) has taken the action somewhere else dealing with a different character. The reader is left in delicious agony waiting to find out what happens with character number one, AND we now have an equally pressing problem going on with character number two. Now that’s my idea of a good story.
Does your significant other read your stuff?
During all the time I worked on writing, polishing, and eventually publishing Unauthorized Access, my wife put off reading it. She always said she wanted to wait until it was a finished product. So as soon as I downloaded the published version onto my Kindle reader, I began reading it out loud to her. This was a great way for the two of us to relax before bedtime. The first bit I read was where I dedicated the book to her. She had no idea I had done this and she was visibly touched. It was a wonderful moment, one I’ll always remember.
For me, this has been the best part of the publication experience. I included my author email in the “About The Author” material, specifically because I want readers to feel free to reach out. And reach out they have, which is wonderful! One of the first emails I received was from a college student who is traveling in
Europe this summer. She heard about Unauthorized Access from a friend, downloaded it onto her Kindle, and finished it in one afternoon during a long train ride. I can’t stress enough how much feedback like this means to an author. For the record, my email is: andrewmcallisterauthor at yahoo dot com
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Be patient and value the quality of the reading experience above all else. Writers are often anxious to see their work in print, and with today’s indie publishing options it is easier than ever to rush a book out to the world. Having the book available won’t matter, though, unless the author has taken the time to get it right. Craft an engaging story, give it to as many beta readers as you can, and then listen when they offer suggestions for improvement. Rewrite, edit, polish, fix, and then get more feedback. Don’t cut this process short. How long should this take? The answer is: until. Until you get it right, no matter how long it takes. Then pay the same kind of detailed attention to copyediting and formatting. You want the book to have a professional appearance and be virtually typo-free. Pay for help here if need be, so the mechanical stuff doesn’t get in the way of the readers’ enjoyment.
Tell us about your next release.
I’m working on a follow-up thriller called Firewall. The idea for this novel originated from a thought I had one day about several of my friends, who happen to be dedicated and caring husbands. I asked myself how agonizingly difficult it would be for a husband like that if he had to watch his wife need him more than she ever had before … but he couldn’t get to her or help her in any way. That germ of an idea has grown into a story about an FBI agent tracking a gang of Russian hackers who use sophisticated phishing emails to steal money from ordinary people’s bank accounts. And incidentally, the FBI agent is one of the characters from Unauthorized Access.
Andrew McAllister is a writer, professor, husband, and father of three, but most days not in that order. He has a dual background in information systems and psychology, which means he can fix your computer software … but only if it really wants to change. He once ran into a goalpost while playing touch football. Some people think this explains a great deal about him. He lives in
, where he is busy working on his next book. Fredericton, Canada
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