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Seeley James is the author of the Sabel Security series of thrillers featuring athlete and heiress Pia Sabel and her bodyguard, veteran Jacob Stearne. I had a chance to ask Seeley a few questions.
The heroine of your series, Pia Sabel, gets to bring a full backpack to a desert island. What’s in it?
Her satellite phone, water and chapstick. She’s a practical girl who owns a satellite communications company. Rescue is only a phone call away. That’s assuming it’s a tropical desert. There are ice and snow deserts. In the next novel, Death and Treason, coming out 23-Jan, she ends up on Attu Island. She went unprepared, but if she had to do it again, she would take water, chapstick, and a pistol.
David Baldacci or Lee Child?
Lee Child. Hands down. While my wife loves Baldacci, I find his stories easily predictable. On three long drives, she’s put on a Baldacci audio book and I told her the ending at the two-thirds point. Agatha Christie writes better books and she’s been dead forty years.
Lee Child on the other hand, has mildly interesting stories with varying degrees of predictability. It’s his writing voice that drives his book sales. The man could write a refrigerator manual and it would be the only one ever read: This icemaker is the epitome of Asian engineering. There are no ice makers that work harder. There will never be too many cubes. Each pristine cube will have perfect clarity. There will not be any striations. No cloudiness.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
The groupies. I’m sure they’ll be showing up in droves. Probably.

You were homeless at 17. How does that experience affect your writing?
It affects your whole life. You appreciate what you have more than when you were dependent. You appreciate how little others have. You tend to share more freely and help more often.
What anthropologists look for when trying to determine the beginnings of civilization is a healed femur in a gravesite. That means the person was injured to the point that others had to care for them for weeks. No other animals will support an injured member to that extreme.
Our unique willingness to work together to accomplish something greater than any individual could accomplish alone took us to the moon, created life-saving medicines, and developed enough food to feed a population seven times larger than it was two hundred years ago. That theme, what we can accomplish when we work together, is an undercurrent in all my novels.
Any New Year’s resolutions?
I’m planning to bring out three books this year. I have a broad sketch of the overarching story, so it’s possible.

Seeley James’ near-death experiences range from talking a jealous husband into putting the gun down to spinning out on an icy freeway in heavy traffic without touching anything. His resume ranges from washing dishes to global technology management. His personal life stretches from homeless at 17, adopting a 3-year-old at 19, getting married at 37, fathering his last child at 43, hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim at 59, and taking the occasional nap.