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Stephen England is the author of the bestselling Shadow Warriors thrillers, including Amazon’s #1 Bestselling Political Thriller, Pandora’s Grave, and its long-awaited sequel, Day of Reckoning. I had a chance to ask him a few questions.
Who would you cast as Harry Nichols in a movie adaptation?
I don’t really see my books being adapted for film or television. As a lifelong reader, I’ve rarely found a film adaptation that measured up to a book I had enjoyed, even in the best of hands. That being said, if anyone could deliver Nichols as he is written, I think it would be Jim Caviezel. His portrayal of haunted former CIA assassin John Reese in the TV show Person of Interest was incredibly well done, and as close to a Nichols-type character as anything I’ve seen.
What’s your secret to a page turner?
Compelling characters. That’s what it all comes down to in the end. You have to make your readers care–that’s what keeps them reading–and they will only care if you make the characters real for them. And that’s where a strong supporting cast becomes invaluable. Because most protagonists in this genre have pretty strong plot armor. If its a series, you’re virtually guaranteed they’ll survive. But what about the supporting cast members that the readers care deeply for? They may very well not, and as readers of my books know, it’s virtually guaranteed that no one (including Nichols) is going to emerge unscathed.

John le Carré or Ian Fleming?
Le Carré, definitely. I sympathize strongly with his impulse to try to ground the genre in reality after the escapism of Bond and I think a similar counter is necessary today, in a genre where the tone of “24” is in many ways still far too predominant.
How has your counterterrorism research affected your writing?
A hard question to answer. How has it not? The Shadow Warriors series obviously takes many liberties with reality, but I have tried to ground the novels in the real world with as much fidelity as is possible in fiction. I’m deeply indebted to a good number of individuals in the military and intelligence communities, both former and current, who have taken time to coach me along and serve as a sounding board for concepts and ideas–some of which I’ve learned, from them, were all too plausible.
What’s in the works for 2018?
My next Shadow Warriors novella, QUICKSAND, the story of a drone strike gone wrong in the Egyptian Sinai will be out late January, followed later in the year, if plans hold, by another novella, ARKHANGEL, later in the year. Work continues on the next novel, Presence of Mine Enemies, but I would consider a 2018 release doubtful at this point. A lot of work remains to be done.

Drawing upon nearly a decade of research into the nature of Islam, the Middle East, espionage and counterterrorism operations, England’s work has drawn praise for breathing new life into the genre with the hard-edged, unsparing realism of his portrayal of the war on terror, the people who wage it, and the moral and psychological costs exacted of those who take the war to the enemy where he lives. “Soldiers without uniforms. Fighting a war without end. Shadow warriors…”