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Dale Brown: On Giving Your Series a New Direction

Bestselling author Dale Brown explains why he decided to pivot his thriller novel Arctic Storm Rising, which is part of his ongoing Nick Flynn series.

Dale Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books, from Flight of the Old Dog (1987) to, most recently, Eagle Station (2020). A former U.S. Air Force captain, he can often be found flying his own plane in the skies of the United States.

Dale Brown

Dale Brown

In this post, Brown explains why he decided to pivot his thriller novel Arctic Storm Rising, which is part of his ongoing Nick Flynn series, and much more!

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Name: Dale Brown
Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group
Book title: Arctic Storm Rising
Publisher: William Morrow
Release date: May 25, 2021
Genre: Techno-thriller, military action-adventure
Elevator pitch for the book: Russian long-range attack aircraft are edging closer and closer to U.S. airspace over Alaska. Is this a dry run for an attack on the United States?
Previous titles by the author: 46 of them, beginning with Flight of the Old Dog in 1987 and including the Dreamland and Puppetmaster series. Two computer games based on my novels: Megafortress and Act of War: Direct Action.

Arctic Storm Rising: A Nick Flynn Novel by Dale Brown

Arctic Storm Rising: A Nick Flynn Novel by Dale Brown

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What prompted you to write this book?

I wanted to try something different: not strictly high-tech military aviation; a series set in the USA and not in Earth orbit or in space; introduce a new set of characters that my readers will enjoy. Also, the arctic in general and Alaska, in particular, have always fascinated me.

(The Differences Between a Crime, Mystery, and Thriller Novel)

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

I’m always creating ideas for new stories, but once I start it takes about nine months to create a final draft (like giving birth!).

Does the idea change? Always! I create an outline for each story, so I’ll have a good direction to start, but I usually put the outline away and let the story flow on its own. That’s especially important for the characters—they must be allowed to mature and evolve throughout the story. Sometimes the character changes are surprising and even shocking!

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? 

Not really. The outline for Arctic Storm Rising was important because it was a new series and a new direction, but once the outline was massaged and approved by my agent and publisher, they let me work away with minimal input. Of course, 2020 was a hard year for many in the publishing business.

(10 Basic Ingredients of a Successful Thriller)

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book? 

Again, 2020 was a hard year for all of us, for many reasons other than the pandemic. For me, working alone (“quarantine”) and remote working are the norm, so there was little difference in the writing process.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book? 

I hope they like the new characters and new direction. I know many will say, “Hey, where’s Patrick? Where’s Brad?” I hope they won’t put the book down or close the browser when they realize their favorite characters aren’t there but give the story a chance.

Dale Brown: On Giving Your Series a New Direction

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Keep on writing! There will be times when the output on your novel slows down or even stops, but that’s no reason to stop writing. Start or write in your journal. Start a blog. Get on social media. Contribute to the local newspaper, tabloids, magazines, or News and Review-type publications. Volunteer to write for a local politician, school, or non-profit. Don’t let your skills atrophy. Eventually, you’ll pick up your manuscript, re-read it, figure out why you stopped, and hop back on the saddle.

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