A century and a half later, his descendent and legions of devoted followers plan to take over more than just China.
When alpine engineer and mountaineer Jason Quinn, a man with a past mired in tragedy and violence, meets archeologist Dr. Eva Rayjek after a plane crash in the high Himalaya, neither of them are expecting wave after wave of Chinese assassins.
Pursued to America, the frozen ice of the Gulf of Finland, and the heights of Hong Kong, Quinn and Eva connect her investigations with the machinations of charismatic shipping magnate and cathedral-builder, David Hong. As a scheme to obtain a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican comes to fruition, Hong’s fanatical followers are preparing for global warfare.
If Quinn fails to stop Hong’s plan, the entire Catholic Church just might crumble.
Now tell me that doesn’t sound intriguing as all get out! But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some of your favorite authors have said about it:
“If you’re a fan of thrillers, and you haven’t read Kane Gilmour’s RESURRECT, you need your head examined. Quickly. Gilmour mixes Clive Cussler with Matthew Reilly, then adds a healthy dose of his own style. The result is a debut novel that stands with the best in the genre and leaves you ready to pound on Gilmour’s door demanding the sequel.” –Edward G. Talbot, author of 2012: THE FIFTH WORLD and NEW WORLD ORDERS.
“I know I’m not the first to say it, but it bears repeating. Kane Gilmour has tapped into the same creative vein that energized Clive Cussler’s earlier Dirk Pitt novels. It’s all there, from the pitch perfect character chemistry to over-the-top action. If you’ve been craving some old school Cussler, you really need to read RESURRECT.” –Sean Ellis, author of INTO THE BLACK and MAGIC MIRROR.
On top of all this, Kane’s got two other novels in the works, including co-authoring the next full length Chess Team/Jack Sigler Adventure with Jeremy Robinson that will be published in print by my own Seven Realms Publishing.
But enough talk from me, why don’t I let Kane talk a little bit about himself now. Recently, I had a chance to ask him some questions about writing, publishing, and everything in between. Here’s what he had to say:
RESURRECT is a globe-spanning adventure featuring mountaineer and alpine engineer Jason Quinn, who rescues an archeologist from a plane crash. He quickly discovers that the folks that crashed her plane are still trying to kill her. As they race around the world unraveling the clues as to who is trying to kill her, Quinn begins to put together a picture about the connection between a 20th century explorer and a 19th century madman that claimed to be Christ’s younger brother—and how both of those men tie into a present-day plot to take over the Vatican.
What can readers expect? A lot of international locales. Crazy extreme-sports action stunts. Rock climbing on buildings, instead of on mountains. A love story. Gunfights. And snippets of actual (and in some cases very little known) history. The book is the first installment in a series, so Quinn will be back again and involved in stopping outlandish plots to take over the world.
2) What was the inspiration behind RESURRECT? What about the story’s protagonist, Jason Quinn…where did he come from? What inspired him?
I was in a sweaty little hotel room in Colombo, Sri Lanka, one summer night in 2000. The doors and windows were open for fresh air. Outside there was a full-fledged monsoon storm raging. It was, in effect, a ‘dark and stormy night.’ I had been traveling around the country doing research for an adventure tour company I was going to be working for, but which fell apart before the first tour. Anyway, I was traveling around and seeing all these sights. In the hotel rooms in the evening, I was reading paperback adventure novels I had picked up at the local bookshops. They had a lot of Clive Cussler, and I had read a few of his books prior to that trip (Deep Six, Inca Gold, and Sahara) and had really enjoyed them. The ones I had to read on the trip were a mixed bag. Some really good and some less so.
I enjoyed the stories and the adventure, but I really got to thinking how great it would be if someone were writing these kinds of stories about a mountaineer. I wasn’t really interested in shipwrecks, diving, or lengthy descriptions of the measurements of different sized ships. But I had been a rock climber in Arizona, and had always dreamed of climbing larger mountains.
I had recently finished a bachelor’s degree in Asian studies at Southern Illinois University. There, I had discovered the works of Sven Hedin, the Swedish explorer that had filled in some of the last blank places (quite literally) on the map in Central Asia. During that program, I also had the opportunity to travel to China and Tibet.
The other fascinating character I learned about in that program was Hong Xiu Quan. Hong was a man in China during the time of the US Civil War, who had a fever dream and awoke claiming he had been visited by God, and had been informed that he was the younger brother of Christ—God’s Chinese Son. An outlandish claim, but the thing was, people believed him. Christian missionaries from the West believed him. Locals believed him. He raised an army (in the mostly non-Christian China), and took over half of the country—and then held onto it for almost 15 years!
What amazed me about this story is that I had never even heard of it before. You would think it would still be pretty big news and that anyone who was even marginally raised as a Christian (as I was), would have at least heard about this fascinating chapter of Christianity’s history. After all, we’ve all at least heard of some of the darker chapters of Christianity like the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. But the Taiping Rebellion was completely new to me. I had heard the name before, but I never knew what it was about. No one I spoke to had ever heard of it either.
So, back to my stormy night with the Indian Ocean raging outside and water bucketing down from the heavens. I thought it would be great if someone wrote thrillers featuring a mountaineer, and all the pieces of RESURRECT started to fall into my head one after the other like a train of dominoes that had been knocked over.
What if someone tried to pull a Hong Xiu Quan today? What if they were an actual blood descendant of the man himself? What if the legions of Chinese Christians that had partaken in the Taiping Uprising had fled the country to form the greater part of the world’s Chinese diaspora? What if their descendants were simply waiting for the return and resurrection of their leader, in effect, as sleeper agents? How do I get Sven Hedin into this, and where do I put a really cool climber?
The whole plot from start to finish came to me that night.
As for Quinn himself, he’s an amalgam of several different things. He’s partially based on me—particularly in his relationship with his climbing partner and friend Curtis Johnson. Johnson is based on my close friend Perttu Aho, who created Gene Quinn (Jason’s father) long before I had the idea for RESURRECT. When I introduced the story to Perttu, he asked if Jason was related to Gene. I had forgotten about the character of Gene (who had appeared in an incomplete short novella of Perttu’s called The Q Solution) and that they both shared the name Quinn. Perttu suggested I use his character if I wanted, so Gene joined the cast of characters in RESURRECT. It was my idea to make the father-son relationship as stormy as possible. Mostly because it would be completely unexpected by Perttu when he read the book. Perttu Aho is currently working on a revised version of the Gene Quinn story, and when he’s done, I hope to get it published as a connected novella to the Jason Quinn series.
The parts of Jason Quinn that are not me, come from all the different action heroes and adventure heroes I have loved in novels, comics, and films. I was particularly inspired by two elements from the TV show Airwolf, of all things. I always thought it lent great drama to that show that the main character (played by Jan Michael Vincent) had lost his wife in an incident of violence and that he lived on his own in an extremely remote area. If I remember it right, he lived in Alaska or some place where you could only get to his cabin by helicopter or on foot. Although I didn’t consciously use those two elements, I later recognized my inspiration for those things. I used to love Airwolf.
I also recently watched all the 1990s Canadian Tintin cartoons with my son (in advance of the recent Speilberg film), and I see how many elements from those stories influenced the story of RESURRECT as well. Those shows were very closely based on the Hergé comics, which were the only comics to be found in places like Nigeria in the 80s. So naturally, I had read them all as a kid. I think you can particularly see some similarities from Tintin in Tibet, which was always my favorite.
3) You are a life-long world traveler, developing a deep affection for Sri Lanka (I have a similar passion for Russia, by the way). How does your travel experience influence your writing? Have these experiences given you any inspiration for stories besides Resurrect? Care to share?
We’ll have to talk Russia some time. It’s one of the few places in Asia I haven’t been and somewhere I have always wanted to see. My own love affair with travel started in 1980, when my stepfather’s work took my family abroad to Pakistan. Today, most Americans are familiar with the location of Pakistan on a world map, but in 1980, not a lot of people we knew on Long Island had ever even heard of it. We visited Europe on the way and then got the culture shock of living in a world very different from ours. But I was nine years old and to me it seemed a great adventure! I explored and began my love of climbing by scaling the concrete walls that people build around their homes, whereas in this country we might have a picket fence.
The other places we went, Nigeria, Korea, and Sri Lanka—each one was a new adventurous opportunity for me, and as I got older, I was allowed to roam further from home on my adventures.
I first lived in Sri Lanka in 1987 and really enjoyed it, although my life there was very much a sheltered Western expatriate lifestyle, and most of my friends were other expats. I went back for visits in 1998, 2000, and 2005, before going back to live as an adult from 2006–2008. That time it was very different and I lived a slightly more Sri Lankan existence, making friends, traveling on local mass transport, eating local food, diving a bit into the local culture. Cumulatively, I’ve probably spent close to five years of my life in Sri Lanka, but it feels like home.
I think my upbringing, and all the travel has to have some effect on my writing. Besides obvious things like including little details that only someone who had been there would come up with (like the tunnel from Suomenlinna back to Helsinki, in RESURRECT). I mean, you can find some of these things on the Internet, if you know what you are looking for—armchair travel has come a long way in the Internet age. But for some things, you still have to be there. With RESURRECT, I had traveled to many of the locations in it. China (Hong Kong, Sichuan, and Tibet), Finland, Colorado, Sri Lanka, and the Vatican. In fact, my wife and I were standing on the balconies of St. Peter’s basilica discussing where snipers would be placed in 2002—luckily, no one overheard and misunderstood us!
Other than those obvious insider things, I suppose travel had broadly changed my worldview about many things, and that probably shines through in my writing as well.
Other stories inspired by my travels? Sure. Every one of the Jason Quinn books will feature different locations around the world. The second book, FROZEN, will be set in Greenland, Namibia, and a few European locations. The book after that will focus on Sri Lanka. Other books I’m planning are less internationally oriented, but feature places I’ve been to or have lived in like Vermont and New Hampshire. Just last summer I visited the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire and thought it would be a great location for a mystery novel.
Okay, the process is very different for each book. For CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE, I had been the editor for most of the CALLSIGN books (the first KING book required very little editing, so I didn’t work on that one). In addition, I had re-edited Jeremy’s first few novels (the Origins Series). I also edited THE LAST HUNTER series and his ‘Jeremy Bishop’ horror books. I had even cajoled him into putting together his short stories for the INSOMNIA collection. So I was pretty familiar with his work and his style, to say the least.
I suggested that he write a Deep Blue novella to go with the other CALLSIGN books, which he was calling the Chesspocalypse—the group of which served to satiate ravenous Chess Team fans between THRESHOLD (Book 3) and the upcoming RAGNAROK (Book 4). His response was to ask me if I wanted to work with him on it. He had read RESURRECT and loved it, and he had liked my editing work on his other books. Moreover, with him releasing something like 17 books that year, he was pretty busy. He didn’t have time to do the Deep Blue book solo (which was what I had suggested to him).
So I was honored that he asked me, and we got to work. For CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE, what that meant was passing e-mails back and forth and kicking around the loose idea for the book. It would focus on Tom Duncan, trapped inside of the team’s new headquarters with a hostile force after him (a confined-space action story a lá Die Hard). It would also have some kind of creature threat, as most of the Chess Team stories do. I originally suggested a Chupacabra type thing (I was thinking Sleestaks from The Land of the Lost), but Sean Ellis was working on the Mogollon Monsters for the second King book. Jeremy suggested mutated salamanders. I took the challenge.
I wrote the bulk of the book, and then submitted it to Jeremy. He edited and tweaked it for dialogue and description in places to make the story more of a Robinson story and to ensure that the characters were consistent with his usage of them in the novels. In one memorable instance, he rewrote a bit where I had Deep Blue thinking about wanting to kill his opponent and ripping out the guy’s intestines. Jeremy’s note back to me was something like: “Uh, yeah, I’m changing this because Deep Blue isn’t a serial killer!” I had to agree. I had no idea where that bit had come from when I was writing that scene. I also originally wanted Carrack and Beck to get together at the end, but Ethan Cross had used Beck in CALLSIGN: KNIGHT and put her with Knight romantically. All of these things were happening simultaneously, so it was a very collaborative thing, but I was also in the enviable position of being the series editor and I could adjust things slightly to fit my story or incorporate things from the other stories into mine. Overall, it was a lot of fun. But basically, Jeremy and I brainstormed on the story, I wrote it, and he rewrote bits to make it right.
RAGNAROK is a different ball of wax. This one is a full-fledged Jack Sigler / Chess Team adventure. It’s also a very important book in the series because we are bringing characters that have been separated back together. Another issue with it is that we now have a huge cast of characters, each of whom needs their time in the spotlight, even though the series is really a Jack Sigler, callsign: King series. However, we want it to also be a good jumping-on point for readers that might not have followed the three previous full-length novels or the eight Chesspocalypse novellas (CALLSIGN: KING – Book 3 – BLACKOUT, the eighth novella, will be out sometime this Spring).
So right away, when Jeremy offered me the chance to work with him on RAGNAROK, we established that he would have a lot more input into the way things would go. We knocked around plot elements for months in e-mail, and I went to his place in New Hampshire and we spent a day sequencing and working out the finer details of how we wanted things to go.
Then I got back home to Vermont and realized that we still needed to figure out some gray areas in the plot. Finally, I got to writing. I finish five chapters and then send them to Jeremy. He then alters them as necessary. I see it all like an artificial Christmas tree. Jeremy and I worked together on choosing the right size tree and the right look for the tree in our plotting sessions. Then I’m doing the typing and putting all our thoughts down on paper—kind of like assembling the artificial tree, getting it into the base, attaching the limbs, and wrapping those little wire bits with green pine needles around the trunk so you can’t see the metal of the shaft through the boughs. Finally, Jeremy gets the story and trims the tree, adding descriptive passages and dialogue that amount to hanging ornaments, and placing the star or angel on the top.
So with RAGNAROK, it really is more of a collaborative effort than the novella was, but it’s still more Jeremy than me, which is how it should be. After all, before being his friend and editor, I was his fan. I want to know how the series turns out just as much as the next reader does. I really felt hesitant to come on board for this one, because where the novellas could be instances of other authors playing with the team, this book needs to be a Robinson book, where I am just helping. I don’t have any ego problems with being in that role—just the opposite: I don’t want to inject too much Gilmour into the thing, because it needs to be Robinson through and through. I wasn’t sure how that would work, but after our e-mailing and the day we spent at his home, I knew that the finished product would be exactly what I had hoped it could be. And I think the fact that Jeremy even asked me to come aboard on his signature series, shows he trusts me to stick to the style and spirit of the series and characters in the parts that I write.
So am I afforded considerable freedom? Yes, but I didn’t want too much. I very much wanted this to be exactly how Jeremy wanted it to be. Fortunately, his idea for the book is very cool, so I can have all kinds of fun on a scene by scene basis.
And what is it like working with the esteemed Mr. Robinson? He’s fantastic. He’s very down to earth, very kind, willing to listen to ideas, quick to seize on the good ones and diplomatic in explaining why the not so good ones won’t work. He’s incredibly creative and energetic. Mostly, he’s very enthusiastic about what he does, and the feeling is contagious.
5) In researching you, I discovered another project you’re involved in that excited me. You are the writer for a web comic series called WARBIRDS OF MARS, a throwback to the classic pulp fiction of yesteryear. [Anyone who’s read my blog for long knows how much I love that kind of stuff]. Tell us a little about the comic? What’s it about? How did you become involved in writing it?
It’s been a good ride. I think we have about 40 strips so far, interspersed with ad pages that mimic the old time ads in comics. We’re also in the process of doing an anthology of short stories featuring the characters. Several big name authors have agreed to come on board, and Doc will write a Hunter Noir origin tale and I’ll be doing a Mr. Mask tale. The book should be out later in the year.
It’s funny, but I always feel like I’m not good enough for the job when I write a script because I don’t really know the time period that well. Doc, on the other hand does know that time period well. He’s younger than I am, but he has immersed himself in that period. He does the swing dancing and wears the awesome period clothing with the vests, pocket watches, and fedoras. Me, I have to do a lot of research to figure out if things are possible that I want to do in WoM. Doc would be one of those guys who would just know whether Pan Am was a company in that time period or not, for instance. I’d have to look it up.
But the gig has been great, and we have plans that will probably take the series on for years, as long as we’re still interested in doing it. The great thing for me has been people discovering the series, really liking it, and telling me so. I even got an offer recently, based on the strength of the writing to try my hand at pulp prose for one of the New Pulp publishers. I’m going to see if I can’t work something into my schedule.
6) Who are some of your biggest literary influences? What authors does Kane Gilmour read just for the fun of it? How have these authors shaped your own writing?
Wow, it’s a good thing you encouraged me to not be stingy with my responses. You’re asking all the questions guaranteed to get me blabbing. I’m sitting in my home office as I type this, surrounded by about 1500 books. Shelves line every wall in this 12 x 14 room. I just went this past weekend down to Niantic, CT to The Book Barn, the largest collection of second hand books in New England with about half a million books. I picked up about 15 hardcovers for $4 each. I then headed to New Haven and hit up IKEA to grab a bunch more bookcases, since I was down in the area.
Who are my biggest influences? Well, I mentioned Hergé earlier. I’ve read nearly all Stephen King’s works and a large number of other horror authors. I read some fantasy, but mostly R. A. Salvatore and Terry Goodkind. Very little science fiction, but I have been known to dabble. Arthur C. Clarke was a favorite, and I got to meet the gent in Colombo, and even visited him at his home there. I’m a huge Robert B. Parker fan, even though I generally don’t read mysteries. I also loved his westerns. Then in the thriller genre, I’m a fan of Cussler, as mentioned, but I also really love the pulpy speed of Matthew Reilly. Naturally, Jeremy has been a huge influence as well. I have every Ian Fleming James Bond book, and all the continuation novels too. Barry Eisler, Nelson DeMille, David Morell, James Rollins, Lee Child, Steve Berry, the list is endless. I really like Greg Rucka’s Atticus Kodiak series. Also anything by Neil Gaiman.
Who do I read just for the fun of it? Any of the above, plus I’m reading George R.R. Martin’s Ice and Fire series right now, along with THE DEAD PATH by Stephen M. Irwin, and some pulp reprints and New Pulp Green Lama stories.
I was a huge fan of comics until a few years ago when I literally ran out of time to read them anymore. I’m still hoping to catch up some day. When I was younger, I loved Dickens and Shakespeare, as well as Leslie McFarlane, who wrote most of the early Hardy Boys books under the publisher pseudonym of Franklin W. Dixon.
How do these authors shape my writing? I’m sure that everything I know how to do in writing I learned from these authors either consciously or subconsciously.
7) Besides Resurrect and your Chess Team work, you’ve got a couple of other books in the work…a mystery, as well as a young adult novel. Care to share a little about these projects? What are they about? When can people expect to get their hands on them?
In the Fall, I hope to bring out TROUBLE, the first book in a mystery series. I started writing the book as an antidote to plotting problems I was having with RESURRECT. With TROUBLE, I am not plotting at all. Just discovering what’s next with each chapter. The goal was to emulate a style that was part Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series and part Gregory McDonald’s Fletch series. A smart-ass character in other words. Trouble is a man that lives outside the system. Literally. He operates on a system of barter. He has no fingerprints. He works as an unlicensed private eye and troubleshooter, fixing problems for people and then they owe him one. He’s helped a lot of people over the years, so he can now call in a vast array of favors. The book begins when he’s arrested as the main suspect in a murder he had nothing to do with. But the Italian mob, the Ukrainian mob, the police, his girlfriend, his ex, and even Homeland Security all seem to think he’s involved somehow, so involved he gets.
8) Finally, the question I ask all the authors I interview…if you could offer just one piece of advice to aspiring writers out there, what would it be?
The one piece of advice I wish I could stick to myself: write every day. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how much you write each day, just that you do it each day. It becomes a habit, until you can’t live without it. But like with working out, if you stop long enough, you lose the habit and your muscles atrophy. Eventually, you have to start all over again to build up the habit and your abilities. Even if you suck as a writer, keep at it and you will eventually get better. Steven Pressfield talks about this issue extensively in his excellent book, THE WAR OF ART. Highly recommended for anyone who writes or who wants to.
Thanks for having me on your blog and for introducing me to your readers, Kent.