Friday, August 5, 2011

Douglas Dorow: The IAN Interview

Douglas Dorow is a thriller writer from Minneapolis Minnesota, the home of many thriller/suspense writers. Is it something in the water or the long, cold winters?

He's been a thriller reader for a long time and finally decided to craft one himself. The result is his first book, a thriller, The Ninth District, which was released in June as an ebook.

Douglas was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota. He's worked as a civil engineer and an information technology professional.

He's continuing to write in the thriller genre with a follow-up to the first book in the works and a separate stand alone started.

IAN. Tell us about The Ninth District

DD. The Federal Reserve has never been robbed.

Special Agent Jack Miller, pulled into a high-profile case to mentor a new agent, finds himself in a clash with the toughest opponent of his career. The chase culminates in the bowels of the city, in the storm sewers and tunnels beneath The Ninth District Federal Reserve of Minneapolis. The Ninth District is a thriller approximately 74,600 words (300 pages) in length.

IAN. How long did it take to write the book?

DD. Boy, I worked on this book a long time, years. They say you should put your first book away and count it as practice. I feel I did that with all of the rewriting and deleting I did. I didn't publish the first book I wrote, but I did publish the first book I started.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?

DD. I've always been a big reader; spy and espionage, thrillers, mysteries, horror. I enjoyed my creative writing classes in college and got some good feedback from my professors, but finished my schooling in engineering and years later decided to take a writing course and try my hand at writing. I kept telling people I was going to write a book and then I finally did it. I'd been primarily a reader of thrillers the years before that so decided to see if I could craft one myself.

When I started writing this book there seemed to be a lot of thrillers with detectives, police, sheriff's as the protagonist. I had a friend who was an FBI agent and decided that that would fit my protagonist. He was going to focus on solving bank robberies. Then I read a local story about urban explorers in the Minneapolis area exploring tunnels and sewers under the city and how they were afraid to explore the area by the Federal Reserve after 9/11 because of increased security concerns. That brought everything together for the thriller I wrote.

IAN. Talk about the writing process. (do you write at night or in the morning)

DD. I write best either at home at night after everyone has gone to bed and there are few distractions or at coffee shops with my ear buds and music after dropping my son off at one of his sports practices.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

DD. I didn't do a detailed outline, but I did create a list of scenes, each with the main action, the POV and the timeline. I used that as a guide, but allowed myself to be open to new ideas and questions as I went along. One thing that I found this allowed me to do was to jump ahead if I got stuck on a particular scene.

IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?

DD. I don't think it's greatly different, but I've decided to write a thriller with a setting local to Minnesota. Other Minnesota authors have used the local color to attract an audience that may not be familiar with the midwest. John Sandford writes about the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area primarily, Brian Freeman's stories are set primarily around Duluth on Lake Superior. William Kent Krueger's stories take place in northern Minnesota. Mine will be throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.

IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?

DD. I chose to only publish this as an e-book at this time due to the changing options for authors to share in a bigger percentage of the sales. I've thought about exploring CreateSpace as an option to offer a paper version, but the price point for the reader is pretty high so I decided to wait and see if there was any demand other than from my older relatives who don't want to invest in e-reading devices. And surprisingly some of them have instead read it on their computer using the kindle or nook app.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

DD. I just want the reader to be entertained. Hopefully, they were able to escape into the story for a short time and enjoy the experience.

IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?

DD. The book is available on kindle, nook, smashwords, and iBook.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

DD. I'm currently working on two books.

The first is a sequel to The Ninth District following Special Agent Jack Miller the next year on vacation where he is dragged into another adventure/investigation bringing down a criminal family.

The second is the first in a new series.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?


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Kindle Nook

The Ninth District by Douglas Dorow

Approx 300 pages

Thriller / Suspense

“Junior has a good start on this. I’ll let him fill you in on the Governor.” Jack walked over to the window and took in the view of the neighboring downtown buildings and Mississippi beyond them.

“The Governor?” the SAC asked.

“That’s what we’re calling him. Go ahead, Agent Fruen.”

Ross opened his notebook and cleared his throat. “Well, sir, we’ve linked four bank robberies together over the past four months. We’re pretty sure all four have been committed by the same person wearing the same mask, which appears to be custom made. It’s a very good likeness of the governor from a few years back.” Ross paused, cleared his throat, and continued.

“The MO is very similar, other than the murder this morning. And he’s exhibited the same habit leaving each of the banks.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, sir, he salutes the security camera as he leaves the building.”


“Yes, sir. Like this.” Ross imitated touching the first two fingers of his right hand to his eyebrow. “Every time.”

“Don’t publicize that detail. What’s next, Jack?”

“It’s his case.”

Ross glared at Jack, and thought for a second. “I have a couple of interviews I want to follow up on. I’d like to revisit the crime scene and we have the videos from the banks and the surrounding area from the bank this morning being looked at by the lab.”

The SAC took off his glasses, leaned back, and looked at Ross. “Sounds like you have a mask, a salute, and nothing else. We’re not too close to nailing this guy, are we?”

Ross kept his head up, but his voice gave away his lack of confidence. “No, sir.”

“Well, I told you how the media’s all over this one. Keep digging. Follow procedure. It’s your case, but use Jack’s help and experience, don’t be afraid to ask questions and bounce things off him.” He nodded towards the door. “Why don’t you give Jack and me a minute?”

“I’ll meet you at the parking lot door,” Jack said to Ross.

Once Ross had left, the SAC asked Jack to sit. “Is he up to this?”

Sitting in the comfortable chair, Jack thought of his first field office assignment. He was Junior once; a fresh agent full of confidence, wanting to prove himself, looking for that case that would make a difference and help accelerate your career. This was one of those.

“Sure. He’s full of energy, smart, wants to do well. He’ll nail it, but it’s going to take some time.” Jack leaned forward. “This guy in the mask is smart, but he’s cocky. That’s how we’ll catch him.”

“Jack, I know you’ll support Ross and help him out. But, if he’s not up to it, you have to step in. This one is going to get noisy. Nobody likes multiple bank robberies; throw in the murder in Wayzata, politicians will start talking, and Washington will call me. We don’t need that. You need to catch this guy before he robs another bank or kills somebody else. It’s starting this afternoon with a news conference in Wayzata. I want this to be an FBI case; don’t let the police take it. Our spokesperson will be there, but keep this one on our side. The bank robberies are ours and we’ll help with the murder investigation too.” He turned and looked out the window. “Are you doing OK, Jack?”

“I’m doing OK.”

“This case can be a springboard, Jack. Things are good here, not that I want to lose you, but this case can do something for your career.”

Jack was surrounded by the SAC’s hall of fame; pictures on the wall with politicians and celebrities. He had comfortable chairs, four walls, and a door. Jack thought about his cube and his call with Julie.

“I know it’ll be under the microscope. I’ll work with Junior and we’ll get this guy.”

“OK.” The SAC leaned forward on his desk. “You and Julie OK? This job can be hell on relationships.”

“We’re working on it.” Jack stared at the SAC. “Why, did somebody say something?”

“Just noise.”

“We’re fine.”

The SAC waited a couple of beats for Jack to go on. Jack stayed quiet and they stared at each other. The SAC blinked first and turned to some papers on his desk.

“All right, go see if you can help Ross and let me know if you need anything. Anything needs to go public, you work it through our spokesperson. I don’t think Ross is ready for the media circus without your guidance, yet. Stay ahead of this one.”

Jack got up to leave. When he reached the door, the SAC called out, “Hey, Jack.”

“Yeah?” Jack was halfway out the door and turned around.

“Please don’t call him Junior in public. And happy birthday.”

Jack smiled and gave him a little salute.

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