I fortuitously happened upon this week’s author a few months ago when I became Facebook friends with author, Jeremy Robinson (see my second post on this blog). Sean Ellis and I began chatting soon after and I quickly discovered an incredible writer who will, no doubt, soon be taking the publishing industry by storm. I feel privileged to be sharing this up-and-coming new author with you tonight..
Sean has written several short stories over the years, including a few excursions in the pulp fiction genre, most notably featuring the classic “master of disguise” character “Secret Agent X”, originally featured in a pulp magazine that ran from 1934 to 1939. Since then, Sean has written a few novels including The Shroud of Heaven and Secret Agent X: The Sea Wraiths. He has recently signed a contract with Seven Realms Publishing for his next novel, tentatively titled Falcon’s Flight.
His most recent novel, The Shroud of Heaven, can be currently found on Amazon. It’s an amazing book and I strongly encourage you to check it out! Here is a product description for the book:
For more than a decade, Nick Kismet has traveled the world protecting priceless relics and cultural heritage sites from looters, while searching for answers to the mystery that has haunted him since the first Gulf War—a mystery that has defined his life. Now, a new war has brought him back to the bloody battlefield where his search began.
Summoned by his friend and mentor, Pierre Chiron, Kismet soon finds himself on the trail of the holy relics of Solomon’s Temple, captured centuries before by Babylonian conquerors and thought to be lost to history. But Chiron’s quest is not merely to find ancient artifacts; he seeks to find proof—the very fingerprint—of God.
Driven to uncover secrets that have haunted mankind for millennia, pursued by a mysterious assassin and an enemy consumed by hatred, Nick and Pierre journey into the desert to find the terrible truth that lies behind…The Shroud of Heaven.
The reviews for The Shroud of Heaven have been fantastic! Take a look at some of these:
“Sean Ellis expertly blends military thriller and archaeological adventure in a page-turning adventure! Shroud of Heaven is sure to be a hit with thriller fans.” –David Wood, author of Dourado and Cibola
THE SHROUD OF HEAVEN is as much a political thriller as it is an action/adventure…chases, and explosions. Dark, endless tunnels populated by creepy crawlies…flying bullets [and] lots of good old-fashioned terror and blood…From the opening scenes of this story to its adrenaline-pumping conclusion, Sean Ellis never gives the reader adequate time to breathe.– Vi Janaway (Issue 59, V1) –Romance Review Today–http://www.romrevtoday.com/index.htm
Recently, I had a chance to talk with Sean about his writing, his goals, and what’s coming up next for him. Here’s an excerpt from that discussion:
Obvious question…when did you start to get serious about your writing? Was it one big event or is it something that just evolved?
Serious about writing? Hasn’t happened yet. Kidding of course, but that’s kind of a tough question. I can’t actually remember when I bought my first Writer’s Market or sent off my first short stories; those things tend to get a little blurry around the edges. I think it happened something like this. I finished writing a novel on my Brother word processor, got a list of literary agents and started firing off query letters. Nothing stuck so I put the thing on the back burner and focused on other things that I was passionate about (but not very good at) like surfing and adventure racing. Then about 1998, I tried again with the same novel. I finally had a PC and I nifty dial-up connection to the Internet, and suddenly it was much easier to go through the submissions process. This time, I found an agent and suddenly everything changed. I wasn’t just a guy with a novel, I was an author, and it was time to get to work on the next book.
Of course, nothing went as planned. That novel got some wonderful rejection letters and went through a couple different incarnations before it finally took the shape of a Nick Kismet adventure.
Who are your greatest influences?
Unquestionably, Clive Cussler. I started reading Cussler as a teenager and I’m still a big fan. He’s not just a guy who writes stories that I like, he’s who I want to be when I grow up: A bit of a character who divides his time between writing and chasing after adventures of his own choosing. Because I write heroic adventure fiction, I’d say Ian Fleming would have to be another major influence; some of his Bond novels weren’t always perfect, but when he was good, he was great.
How did you come up with the idea (or the inspiration) for the Shroud?
That novel I mentioned earlier featured a hero named Nick Kismet. Kismet was originally an Indiana JonesOperation Desert Storm. Right about that time, the present war in Iraq started and one of the stories that came out on the news was that looters were raiding the Iraqi National Museum. I remember thinking, “This is a job for Nick Kismet” and I sat down to write a book that would take the character to Baghdad. pastiche, but the feedback that I was getting was that he just a little too much like Indiana Jones, mostly because it was set in the same time period–pre-World War II. So in one of my many revisions, I decided to bring the character into a contemporary setting, and that necessitated creating a new profession for him; instead of an archaeologist, he would be an agent of UNESCO, working to protect antiquities and World Heritage sites from various threats. As part of his backstory, he would be a veteran of
The backstory for the Nick Kismet books involves a secretive group that is involved in ancient mysteries and mystical science–stuff I’ve always been interested in–and some of the specific ideas for Shroud had been percolating in my mind ever since I read Umberto Eco’s novel Foucalt’s Pendulum–a fantastic book and one of my all time favorites.
How did you get involved in pulp fiction? What are some of your favorite pulp characters/stories?
I was just thinking about this the other day. My first exposure to pulp, without even realizing it, was as a child when I devoured the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift books. I realize now that those books were setting me on the path to write heroic fiction, but back then I didn’t know their pedigree. As a writer, I never thought much about what we think of as “pulp” even though it was there in front of me all along.
But then back in 2004 I was doing a little project for the Clive Cussler Forum (where I remain a fixture) and some of the research turned up a quote from scholars of pulp lore linking the villain in one of Cussler’s novels to Doc Savage. I had been peripherally aware of Doc Savage at that point, but had never read any of the stories, so I went out to a used book store and bought a stack. I thought I had found an untapped niche market, but I would later discover that it wasn’t really all that untapped. It turns out there’s a whole pulp fan culture out there. As I dipped my toe in those waters, I learned about a small pulp reprint press called Wild Cat Books that was planning to do a series of anthologies featuring a number of second tier pulp heroes that we now public domain. Most were superhero types, but the one that really caught my eye was Secret Agent X. I went online to do some research about the character and found…well, very little actually…but the more I wrote, the more I came to love the character. By the time I finished that first story (Masterpiece of Vengeance, appearing in Secret Agent X Vol. 2) I knew that I would have to write a Secret Agent X novel.
I actually wrote four short stories with public Domini characters, the aforementioned Masterpiece of Vengeance and The Scar (available for free download from Smashwords) both featuring Secret Agent X; The Prisoner, which has nothing to do with the Patrick MacGoohan television series, but features an old pulp uber-villain named Doctor Satan, which appeared in Wild Cat Books’ anthology Double Danger Tales; and an as yet unpublished flying aces story featuring a trio of WW I aviators called The Three Mosquitoes. And then of course, there’s The Sea Wraiths.
What other projects do you have in the works or projects you’d like to start in the near future?
Well, as you know, I have a pulp-themed adventure that will be coming out later this year, and I hope that will be the first in an ongoing series featuring the Dodge Dalton hero. I’m about halfway through the second book. I’m also working on the second book of a trilogy featuring a kick-butt psychic heroine who follows a Mayan codex to the remains of a lost Atlantean outpost…and that’s just in the prologue of the first book. I’m also revising the third Nick Kismet novel which isn’t nearly as finished as I’d like it to be.
Of course most of my energy right now is going toward finishing a degree in Natural Resources Conservation, which I ‘ve been working on longer than I care to think about. It’s like that line from Tommy Boy…”Lot’s of people go to college for seven years”…”Yeah, they’re called ‘doctors.'”
End of Interview.
I truly believe that Sean Ellis is more than just a writer struggling to break into the publishing world, as so many are. He truly is one of the most talented and creative authors I’ve come across in a long time and will soon be making his mark on the industry. His next project, mentioned earlier as tentatively being entitled “Falcon’s Flight” is a fun, action-packed thrill ride for anyone who loves the classic swashbuckling adventures of Indiana Jones, the Phantom, the Shadow, and many of the other classic pre-World War II heroes we’ve grown so fond of. If you’re smart (and I know you are), you’ll be keeping your eye out for this one. He’s going places!
Please check out his books at the following links…show your support by purchasing his books, writing reviews, and spreading the word! You’ll be glad you did.