Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Michael D. Urban.
A Wellesley, MA-based author, Urban will visit Mystic’s Bank Square Books this Saturday, August 31st, to present his newest release, Ironsides’ Peril (Igtba Enterprises, $18.99) – the second to feature former U.S. Attorney/adventurer Zach Colt. (See event details below.) An Ivy League graduate, Urban is also an ex-cop, former federal prosecutor; and trial attorney in private practice. He lived and traveled in Central America for more than a decade.
Ironsides’ Peril was published in March. Since then, it’s been named the Winner in Suspense/Thriller by the 2013 Next Generation Book Awards and has also been selected as a Finalist in Fiction-Thriller-Terrorist by the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Samantha Rivera (Readers’ Favorite) praised, “There are not many authors who will take you into the mind of a terrorist, but Urban takes us into the minds of three. Not only that, he provides captivating details about the history of Old Ironsides, the military, and his main characters …”
From the publisher:
The War of 1812 is long over. The War of 2012 has just begun.
July 4, 2012. The City of Boston is under attack. A trail of burning ships and downed jet aircraft litters the harbor.
A ruthless band of Iranian backed terrorists has hijacked U.S.S. Constitution. A former president of the United States, the current vice president, and the secretary of the Navy are onboard together with the ship’s crew and other hostage.
Unfortunately for the terrorists, so is Zach Colt. And he’s spoiling for a fight.
Now it’s time to take “Old Ironsides” back. Before she is destroyed and the terrorists’ final, devastating revenge is enacted on the City of Boston.
The question is … How do you recapture an 18th-Century warship – and sacred American icon — using 21st-Century weapons and tactics?
Now, Michael D. Urban invites readers to journey beneath the surface of Ironsides’ Peril…
1) What inspired the idea for IRONSIDES’ PERIL – and how do you feel about the book’s timeliness, given the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon?
I used to work a stone’s throw away from USS Constitution and often visited on my lunch break. It is the oldest commissioned warship in the world. Thousands of people tour the ship every day and it is a visible symbol of our country. Plus, it is a thing of beauty and a wonderful example of human engineering. One day it just hit me that no one had written anything about the ship in modern times. I knew of Old Ironsides’ historic connection to the Barbary pirates and that seemed a natural springboard to linking the ship to present-day terrorism. I live near Boston and have family in and near the city. The Boston Marathon bombings were a terrible thing. My sympathies go out to the victims and their loved ones. I began IRONSIDES’ PERIL many years ago, finished it last year and published it several months before the attack. At the time of the bombings, I was ready to ramp up marketing for the summer season but backed off out of respect for the victims. Fortunately, Boston survived and rallied – it’s a tough town. I like to think of Ironsides’ Peril as a triumphant tale in keeping with that spirit.
2) IRONSIDES’ PERIL marks the second entry in this series. How did the process of writing this book benefit from your experience with the first (if at all) – and what do you see as being the unique challenges and joys of writing an ongoing character/story arc versus a standalone?
Having created Zach Colt for DRAKE’S COFFIN, he already had a backstory and worldview, which made further character development easier. I find it nice to continue with Zach and watch him unfold as he meets new challenges and pursues fresh adventures in our dangerous world. Also, I can bring characters and plot threads from Zach’s past into future narratives to create richer stories.
3) Tell us about your protagonist, Zach Colt. What about him ignites a desire within you to revisit his character – and how does he benefit from your own past careers and world travels?
Zach is somewhat a modern everyman – swimming hard in the currents of a complicated social and political environment and trying to sort out his career, friendships, and love life while confronted with unexpected and terrifying events. There’s a little of me in him – he likes tall blondes, good beer and Portuguese water dogs. I grew up in Panama and heard about Sir Francis Drake’s expeditions there and his legendary lost treasure buried somewhere in the jungle, so this knowledge, together with my own hikes across the Camino Real as a boy and SCUBA diving for his coffin in Portobello Harbor, birthed DRAKE’S COFFIN. My having lived and practiced trial law in New England and fascination with American history landed Zach in Boston for IRONSIDES’ PERIL.
4) You also take readers inside the minds of three terrorists throughout the narrative. How did you research this aspect of the book and what do you hope to achieve by including this point of view?
I studied government at Dartmouth and have always followed international politics. I read a lot of non-fiction. Terrorism is the story and challenge of our times. Exploring a character’s motivation adds to the richness and believability of the character. I gave my bad guys what I perceived to be logical basis for engaging in their horrific crimes. They are not cartoons – they do what they do for a reason.
5) What can attendees expect from your event at Bank Square Books? Also, please tell us what you view as being the role of independent bookstores within their respective communities?
Well, you can count on a hearty “thank you” and a handshake from me for doing me the honor of buying my book! Also, I am happy to chat about IRONSIDES’ PERIL and answer questions. As for independent bookstores, they serve as a gathering place for the community and a center for learning and entertainment. We all need small, intimate, friendly spaces in our lives for like-minded souls to gather, and that is what a community book store provides. Finally, without them, independent authors like me would lack a venue to sell their wares and make our voices heard.
With thanks to Michael D. Urban for his generosity of time and thought.
The author will appear at Bank Square Books this Saturday, August 31st, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This event is free and open to the public. Copies of Ironsides’ Peril will be available for purchase and signing. For more information, call the store at 860-536-3795. BSB is located at 53 W. Main St. in Mystic.