Kyle Mills talks about writing Vince Flynn’s ORDER TO KILL
Order To Kill by Kyle Mills is a vintage Vince Flynn book. It is a reminder of the early Rapp books with Mitch going full circle on his personal and professional life. Readers who enjoyed the character and plot lines will think of Transfer Of Power and Consent To Kill. Kyle has done a top-notch job of blending the beloved characters of Irene Kennedy and Mitch Rapp with a high adventure action packed plot involving terrorism, Russia, and failed nation-states.
ELISE COOPER: Are you more comfortable in writing the Mitch Rapp world with this book?
KYLE MILLS: The challenge for me with the first book was to finish the storyline as Vince Flynn would have done, almost like a Vince Flynn forgery. In my mind I wrote The Survivor, as he would have written it, had he lived. This was my goal. However, going forward we are not living in the same world as when Vince was alive. Now changes need to be made to keep the stories fresh. I feel I have inhabited the characters. What I did was become those characters and wrote from their point of view. I am going to stay on the trajectory Vince had, always using the past history as a guide. I do not consider it a change, but an evolution.
EC: Where did you get the idea for this story?
KM: My favorite Vince Flynn book, Consent To Kill, was the inspiration. In that book Mitch re-found his humanity. I am trying to bring Mitch around to that viewpoint, where he desires a personal life. As a sustainable character Mitch could not stay frustrated and angry, as he was in the last few books. His new attitude, “I have to move on with my life.”
EC: Claudia was married to the man who killed Vince’s wife, Anna. How important is her role in this book?
KM: I wanted to resurrect her as well as other characters. There were all these unresolved ideas in the books: what ever happened to Claudia, Donatella Rhan or Greta; where are the notes Mitch made before being injured? I hope to continue including Claudia in the books, since she is not the goody good character like Anna. Plus she could be involved in some operations because of her experience.
EC: What do you see as Irene Kennedy’s role in future books?
KM: I see Irene as a pivotal piece in everything that happens in the books, even if sometimes she does not get as much ink as Mitch. I always think of her as the puppet master. By her own admission she is not involved but watches and waits until it becomes necessary for her to be involved.
EC: Your story is very realistic. It is almost like you can pick the US enemy of the week?
KM: There is a lot to draw upon for US thriller writers. The chessboard is getting very complicated. In this book I had Russia using ISIS as well as the dangers of the countries with nuclear arsenals. Putin uses them for his own purposes, and Pakistan is an unstable country, a failed state.
EC: What did you want readers to understand about Russia?
KM: I always found Russia to be very interesting. I liked the complexity of Cold War thriller books, having been a fan of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. The description in the book of how Krupin came to power comes straight out of how Putin came to power. In many ways Russia is a collapsing country with an economy smaller than Italys’. The minute he does not help the Oligarchs he is in trouble and can find a bullet in his head.
EC: Vince always had comments on the Saudis participating in terrorism. You appear to be continuing this arc?
KM: Yes, that is why I put in the book quote, “Abdullah was extremely conservative in his religious beliefs… He despised Christians in general and American Christians in particular.” Vince always spoke of the Saudi money and influence in his books. I want to continue with that, and to strike a balance between fun, satisfying, and realistic.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?
KM: I like resurrecting the old characters because I have a long history with them as a fan. The next book brings back Donatella and the FBI Agent Joe Wilson. Mitch will be doing some things against the Saudis and all the politicians want hands off. He will be more a lone wolf. Grisha Azarov, Mitch’s Russian nemesis, will return because he is really popular with the readers.