Q & A with Ted Bell

Best-selling author Ted Bell’s latest book Warriors delves into the dangers of an emerging China. This spy thriller brings back his main character, Alex Hawke who is not the ordinary super spy. In this novel Hawke plays a supporting role to the gripping plot, which Bell uses as a sounding board to wake-up Americans.

Readers will find Warriors a gripping and realistic plot with likeable main characters. It is a very entertaining novel that balances the character’s lives with a fast-paced action story.

Elise Cooper: It seems that authors are writing short stories. You entered this novella genre with What Comes Around. Why?

Ted Bell: These short stories are fun to write with a lot less stress. I know right when I sit down how it will start, what the middle will be, and the ending. They are about $1.99 in e-book format. It is published as a novella with the inclusion of the first ten chapters of the novel that comes out about eight weeks later. It is used to possibly bring in new readers, where they can sample the author. By the way, the scene with the woman in Paris at the bar could be considered over the top, but I might incorporate the character Crystal in my next novel. She would be a character in the next book and will work for the villains.

EC: Where did you get the idea for the book?

TB: The whole China angle came about while at Cambridge. From 2011 to 2012 I was elected to be a visiting scholar and a visiting writer in resident by Sir Richard Biling Dearlove, the retired head of MI6, now a professor there. We focused on the issue of China with a subset of North Korea. It was fascinating for me because anyone who wants a future in the intelligence community, the highest level of military, espionage, and intelligence, were there. It was like Spy vs. Spy meets Harry Potter.

EC: You had a very telling quote in the book, “The new generation Chinese warrior is a fervent nationalist, with militaristic veins bulging with pride. And, the Chinese are, as we speak, using their North Korean stooges to probe and prod at our will to prevail in this region.” Please explain.

TB: I was reflecting with that quote on what I learned as a scholar in Cambridge. I would listen as they spoke of this new breed of Chinese nationalism. There is this aspect of wanting to revenge centuries of humiliation by the West.

EC: There are scenes that have graphic torture. We complain about enhanced interrogation which is nothing compared to what you wrote?

TB: Waterboarding to them would be like me shooting you with a squirt gun. These places are horrific and no one does anything about it. There are four of these prisons with thousands of people who are sent there if they make the government angry. Yet, China continues to fund the North Koreans, probably because, excuse my language, North Korea is China’s bitch, happy when they give the US a hard time.

EC: If you are an American, the first half of the book is very depressing since we are always on the losing end. Was that your intention?

TB: Looking at every possible recent scenario we are on the losing side, whether in Crimea, Syria, or Iran, our government makes a big show but there is never a price to pay. Our navy is the smallest it’s been since WWII. China has sixty-four ballistic missiles to our sixty-six. It is like we are dismantling this country with a lot of damage being done. We are on the defensive, which is depressing. China is becoming much more powerful. This is not just me making everything up, which is why I wrote that author’s note at the beginning.

EC: Some of your readers compared Alex Hawke to James Bond, do you agree?

TB: Bond was a creature of the 20th century where as Hawke is from the 21st century. He is thirty-three years old and the sixth richest person in England. Unlike Bond Alex is a living breathing man who falls in love, misses his child, gets hurt, sees the world as good vs. evil, and can be very emotional. He is dashing, sophisticated, emotional, witty, passionate, and a very eligible bachelor. He represents a way of life that is rapidly receding in America. Alex is a man of character with the bulldog tenacity of Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. All these men would never give in. We have gone from fighting on the beaches to sun tanning on the beaches.

EC: Recently there was an article about William and Kate’s real-life nanny who sounded a lot like Nell Spooner. Can she be described as Mary Poppins with combat training?

TB: Family plays a significant role, especially with the interaction between Alex and his son, as well as between father, son, and Nell, the governess from Scotland Yard. Just as with Prince William and Kate, the main character Alex Hawke must deal with the difficult realities of protecting a child that is endangered just because he is Alex’s son. There is a large division of Scotland Yard called the Royal Protection Service, which I changed to the Operational Command Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service. These ‘nannies’ are trained police that become caretakers for the royalty.

EC: How would you describe your book?

TB: A tongue in cheek book, that is fun to read while learning a little something.