Interview with Mike Angley

My very distinguished guest today is MIKE ANGLEY, award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy.  He retired from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He writes thrillers with a paranormal twist.  His protagonist is a man whose deep faith guides him through his page-turning perils.  The Child Finder Trilogy is a hot thriller series with a light, somewhat edgy spiritual theme…in other words, not your typical Christian fiction.  However, this series will have appeal for fans of that genre, as well as suspense and thriller enthusiasts.  

NORAH: Welcome, Mike. I’m thrilled to have you here. I’m going to start off with the question writers always ask one another: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

MIKE: I’ve always had that writer bug burning in my heart. Even as a young boy I would write short stories and poetry, but my attempt at becoming the next E. E. (or is it e e?) Cummings never got off the ground. I did enjoy writing short stories during high school for my literature classes, and I dabbled in poetry some more, but that was mostly to impress girls!

NORAH: Smart! But now you’ve graduated to novels. How long does it typically take you to write one? And how do you approach it? What’s your work schedule like when you’re writing?

MIKE: That varies. My first book, Child Finder, took many years because I had drafted it while I was still in the U.S. Air Force, but my work schedule kept me from doing any serious editing. My second and third novels (written in my retirement) took about a year each. I begin with knowing the general plot I want to craft, and then I outline it into major scenes. I use the outline as a guide as I begin what I call, “throwing paint on the canvas.” I will toss out words as fast as I can write them with no particular worry about how pretty they look. Once I have a rough draft, I go back and clean it up. My editing focuses first on substantive content (did I capture the outline correctly in my chapters?), and then on style (making the word, phrases, sentences pretty). My schedule varies quite a bit. I write part time, so as my regular work permits it, I try to dedicate an hour or two a day to writing.

NORAH: How many books have you written? How many have you published? Which is your favorite?

MIKE: I’ve written the full Child Finder Trilogy, but only the first two are published. Child Finder, the first in the series, came out in June 2009, followed by Child Finder: Resurrection, in the fall of 2010. Child Finder: Revelation is due out November 1, 2011. I am very excited about the release. I’m on a three-book contract with an independent publisher called TotalRecall Publications, Inc..

While I love them all, I am somewhat partial to the last one, Revelation. I learned a lot along the way, and I think my writing matured with it. Besides, Revelation has a mind-blowing conclusion, I like to say. After all, why would a senior Department of Defense official call it, “The most dangerous book ever written!”?

NORAH: Okay, I’m sufficiently intrigued. What is Revelation about?

MIKE: North Korean terrorists stage a brazen attack on the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, stealing his twin daughters in the assault. Only one man can rescue them: Air Force Special Agent Patrick O’Donnell.

But there’s more. There’s a mystery about the twins that has the President of the United States and the Pope rattled, and no one will tell O’Donnell what that is. One thing is made clear to him in abundance: he must rescue the girls and bring them back to America with an urgency he has never experienced before.

Will Agent O’Donnell be successful in rescuing the Ambassador’s daughters? Will he be able to unravel the intrigue between the Oval Office and the Vatican? Perhaps O’Donnell will receive a revelation that will explain it all…and if he does, it may be something he wishes he never knew.

NORAH: Oh, wow! Now that’s a blockbuster plot! Which leads me nicely to my next question: Where do your ideas come from?

MIKE: Much of my inspiration comes from my Air Force career as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI – the USAF equivalent to NCIS). I spent 25+ years chasing criminals, spies and terrorists around the world, so I decided to create a thriller series about a young OSI Special Agent who discovers he has a psychic ability to find missing children. It was one of those daydreams I had during my career – the idea that life would be a lot fairer if we had someone with such abilities to help us find children. Since I enjoy the thriller genre, I needed to insert some intrigue, danger, derring-do in the stories to twist and pull my protagonist along the way.

NORAH: Speaking of careers, your biography says that during your time at Air Force Space Command you were responsible for counterintelligence programs involving space, overseeing “entering or exiting Earth’s atmosphere.” Can you elaborate on that?

MIKE: Nope.

NORAH: LOL! Okay, shoulda seen that coming. Next question: Do you hear from your readers much? And what kinds of things do they say?

MIKE: I do get some fan mail and email, and most tell me they find my stories inspiring (I like that). Many also ask if I have my own psychic abilities (Sadly, no. If I did, I wouldn’t get into nearly as much trouble with my wife as I do). A few want to know if I’ve revealed any real government secrets in my books (Of course not!).

NORAH: What do you think makes a good story?

MIKE: I like creating compelling characters that drive my stories. My protagonist is a man of deep faith and strong moral and family values. These all become challenged throughout the series as he faces life and death decisions. Patrick O’Donnell is a caring, loving man on one hand, and a tough Jack Bauer-like federal law enforcement agent on the other. Sometimes making those switches can be tough for him. The other main characters – even the bad ones – are multi-dimensional. The “bad guys” are REALLY bad, and it’s this wickedness that creates such a reverse polarity with Patrick.

NORAH: Which of your own characters would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?

MIKE: I’d invite Patrick O’Donnell and his family over. They come as a package in my stories, and each plays a part in the plots. He’s got a beautiful wife and two great kids, each with their own unique, endearing qualities.

NORAH: Great answer! Okay, which of your characters would you least want to dine with?

MIKE: The antagonists. Each story has its own nasty characters (no recurring nemeses for me), and because there are a few surprises in my stories, I don’t want to say much more. In my third book, the main antagonist is apparent as the plot unfolds early on, so I don’t mind mentioning him here. That would be Kim, Jong-il, North Korea’s “Dear Leader.” But what he’s up to and why is the mystery in the story…that part will just have to wait for people to read it!

NORAH: What have you learned in your journey to publication that most surprised you?

MIKE: How hard the business end of writing can be. By this, I mean the process of landing a contract to doing publicity to managing marketing. I enjoy the craft end of writing much more, but I learned early on that the business aspects of getting published are so important.

NORAH: Did you have any mentors who helped you along the way?

MIKE: I have more USAF career mentors than I’ve had writing mentors (James Patterson, if you are reading this, call me!). My mentors’ voices have helped me shape my stories, and I even patterned my protagonist’s fictional mentor (Colonel John Helmsley) as a composite of some of the best bosses I’ve had in my career.

NORAH: Who are some of your favorite authors?

MIKE: Did I mention James Patterson? Oh, and there’s also Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, Joel Rosenberg, among many.

NORAH: What’s the last book you read? The last movie you went to see?

MIKE: Patterson’s Don’t Blink. And what I enjoyed the most was his choice of an unconventional protagonist (a journalist). The last movie I saw was Rango with my wife and daughter. It’s an excellent animated western with lots of critters for characters.

NORAH: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

MIKE: I serve as the Senior Military Advisor for Henley-Putnam University in San Jose, CA. That work keeps me busy (with a fair amount of traveling). In my real downtime, I like to spend time with family. Lately we’ve been enjoying some of the Denver, CO sports events (Avalanche and Rockies games).

NORAH: Any last messages for readers?

MIKE: Please visit my website for more information about me and my writing. I had a fun – if not esoteric – career, so please check out my biography. Of course, when my third book comes out, read it to find out why some in the DoD are a bit apoplectic over it!

NORAH: Oh, my, you do know how to deploy a hook, don’t you? That was a great one! Thank you, Mike, for being my guest. I’ll be in line with the rest of your readers for book 3.

17 Responses to “Interview with Mike Angley”

  • ‘You were responsible for counterintelligence programs involving space, overseeing “entering or exiting Earth’s atmosphere.” Can you elaborate on that?

    MIKE: Nope.’

    LOL! Enjoyed the interview, Norah and Mike. Always fascinating to read about non-writing careers morphing into writing careers.

    • Hello, Julia

      “Nope,” is my favorite response to that question (which I get often). Of course, I had a few other standard responses to related ones: weather balloon, satellite, swamp gas, or the planet Venus…

  • Excellent interview! Thanks for sharing, Mike. I am naturally nosy… er, I mean inquisitive, so I really enjoy author interviews. Child Finder sounds like a great read. Probably something my dad would enjoy, too.

  • Great interview! This book sound really interesting. Thanks for sharing! I’m off to find a new read. (Don’t tell my husband who keeps looking at the TBR pile 🙂 )

  • Norah:

    LOL, Julia. That was my favorite answer, too. ,-)

    Shea, thanks for popping over! The Child Finder concept is awesome, isn’t it? With the new popularity of Navy SEALs, I’m better some folks will follow in Mike’s footsteps.

    And Barb! Thanks for coming. LOL on the TBR pile. Mine is on my Kindle now, so it’s much less obvious than towering piles of books. However, there’s still the credit card statement…

  • Mike, I saw a show on the History channel a couple of weeks ago called “Contact” about how the US has prepared for Alien invasion. Definitely interesting. I don’t know if you saw it, but I’d be interested in knowing if the premise of the show was real.

    • Hello, Debra

      I don’t think I’ve seen that show — and I am pretty much a junkie for those kinds of programs! I’m going to have to track it down. Honestly, there is so much bad information and speculation about these sorts of things that I tend to watch these programs to get a chuckle. I love all the stories about Roswell — did you know the theory that a UFO crashed there in 1947 was not big news until the 1970s? It got some media attention in 1947, but it quickly died down, only to resurface and grow into a cult phenomena decades later. By the way, it really was a balloon 🙂 Really…no I’m not kidding…

  • Great interview, Norah, and a fascinating interviewee I love The Child Finder idea, and will definitely be checking out your book, Mike.

  • Norah, Awesome Interview!

    Mike, this trilogy seems like “must read”. Actually sounds like my kind of story.

    Almost makes me wish I could sit down and have a ‘head to head’ with Mike and ask a few pointers about my story, Stella’s Plea (not yet published), which is about the kidnapping of a deaf three-year-old child and the struggles her mother faces trying to find her. (Is she found alive? You’ll have to read it when it comes out!!!)

    I can only imagine the pointers one could get from someone with such a background in the Forces.



  • Norah:

    Debra, great question! I’m interested in hearing Mike’s answer, too!

    Thanks, Joan. Mike made it easy. He’s a great interview. 🙂

    Hey, Renee-Ann. I actually thought about you when I was posting this. I figured it would be right up you’re alley.

  • God created man because he was so disappointed in the monkey.

  • Is it a progress if a cannibal uses knife and fork?

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