I’m delighted to be welcoming K.J. Howe to my hot seat today chatting to us about Skyjack, her second novel in the Thea Paris series.
Find out about K.J Howe’s inspiration for Skyjack, her research, the hardest scene to write and much more.
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Headline (10 April 2018)
When Thea Paris’s flight is hijacked over the Libyan Desert, her first priority is the two former child soldiers she is escorting to a new life in London.
As an international kidnap specialist, Thea Paris negotiates for hostage release as part of her job. She knows one wrong move could lead to deadly consequences.
After she is forcibly separated from the boys and the other passengers, Thea and her tactical team quickly regroup. And in their desperate search for the hostages that follows, unearth a conspiracy involving the CIA, the Vatican and the Sicilian Mafia, and a plot far more sinister than Thea could ever have imagined.
The electrifying sequel to THE FREEDOM BROKER, featuring Thea Paris, a kidnap and ransom specialist. Lisa Gardner says THE FREEDOM BROKER is ‘clever and gritty’ and Peter James calls it ‘spellbinding’. If you like David Baldacci’s King and Maxwell series, you will love this.
Skyjack is available to purchase in digital, paperback and hardcover formats.
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Skyjack in 20 words or less.
Kidnap negotiator Thea Paris shepherds two former African child soldiers to their new home when the plane they’re on is hijacked.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
Airplane safety is paramount in our world today, and endless measures have been taken to make sure we keep terrorists out of the cockpit. But what if the bad guy is already flying the plane? This “what if” scenario kickstarted an idea for SKYJACK, and I delved deep into the world of airplanes so I could bring authenticity to the page in Thea Paris’ latest adventure.
What scene was the hardest to write?
I killed off a character I really liked in SKYJACK. I knew I had to do it, as it resonated with me, but that didn’t make it any easier. Having to write that scene made me emotional, as it felt way too real. Heartbreaking.
Did you do any research? What resources did you use?
I’m a passionate researcher, and in this book I immersed myself in the world of planes. I benefited greatly from the incredible advice from two author friends, one who is a former stealth bomber pilot and another who is an experienced test pilot. Their advice made SKYJACK so much more authentic.
I also read about the history of skyjackings, which was very interesting. Between 1968 and 1972, there were over 130 hijackings, sometimes more than one a day! And this made airlines reach out to the public for advice. The responses were quite entertaining: make passengers wear boxing gloves so no one can hold a gun, give flight attendants tranquilizer guns to knock out any terrorists, install trap doors in planes… It’s hard to believe that only 50 years ago, there was no airport security.
And did you travel to any places?
I love to travel to all the locales in my novel. One of the final scenes takes place in the Hagia Sophia, which was inspirational. I spent time in Istanbul to make sure I had the descriptions and facts correct.
Your most creative time of day?
Morning, morning, morning. I wish morning could last all day long! 🙂
Is there a theme for your book covers?
I’m very grateful to my team at Quercus, as they do a brilliant job with the covers. THE FREEDOM BROKER has the backdrop of a bright blue sea with a burning yacht. SKYJACK has a gorgeous yellow sky with a burning plane on it. I think I’m going to be known as the “plume of smoke” girl!
(US version – Headline UK versions below which are just as stunning).
Panster or plotter?
We’re talking pants on fire!!! (haha)
Which authors have influenced your writing?
David Morrell, who created Rambo, had a massive influence on my writing. He encouraged me to dig deep and really get to know my characters.
Finally, can you share with us what are you currently working on?
My current WIP (Work In Progress) is FRONT PAGE, a story about kidnapped journalists in Jordan. Thea’s ex-boyfriend is a hostile environment consultant who is snatched with the journalists…
Thank you for being my guest today.
Listen to K.J.Howe talking about Skyjack on The Morning Show.
K.J. Howe is the executive director of ThrillerFest, the annual conference of International Thriller Writers. A three-time Daphne du Maurier Award winner, she completed her MA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. She is an avid traveler who has raced camels in Jordan, surfed in Hawaii, and dove with the great whites in South Africa. She became fascinated by the kidnap and ransom (K&R) world after meeting Peter Moore, a British computer consultant who became the longest-held hostage in Iraq and the only person to survive of the five men who were taken that day.
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