I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for thriller “Bai Tide”. I hope you enjoy the guest post, by author Erika Mitchell.
The Audacity of Nope
Spies are fun. Admit it. Even people who don’t really consider themselves espionage fans will still get a thrill out of watching a tuxedoed man pick a lock at a gala to photograph secret documents, or read about a beautiful woman sticking a GPS tracker on a man’s lapel as he leans in for a goodnight kiss, or hold their breath while said woman later pulls a gun out of her thigh holster so she can shoot an assassin before he kills the prime minister of Wherever.
There’s just something about spies are as they are known onscreen that is just pure fun. James Bond is wry, Jason Bourne is capable, and Maxwell Smart is hilarious.
I’m a longtime fan of onscreen spies. I used to curl up on the couch to watch James Bond marathons with my dad, and my mom and I would occasionally pretend to be spies when we went to the grocery store. When I set out to write the first book in my new espionage series, Bai Tide, I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel. Spies are cool. Full stop. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?
Instead, what I set out to do was take a different view of the genre. If James Bond is impossibly suave, and Jason Bourne impossibly deadly, what happens when you put an operative in the field who’s impossibly…human?
What if he’s new to the job? What if he screws up? What if he loses the fight, doesn’t get the conspiracy until it’s too late, breaks the rules and then actually gets in trouble for it? What if he isn’t a special unique snowflake but is, instead, a human being who occasionally does incredible things for his country? Could that be any fun at all?
Turns out that yes, yes it can.
Bai is the kind of spy most of us would be if we somehow managed to get recruited by the CIA and then sent into the field. He’s intelligent, but he’s not a super genius. He’s a skilled martial artist, but he’s not the best fighter in the world (because that’s unrealistic). He’s a good shot, but he misses shots sometimes. He’s human, so why is that fun?
It’s fun because there’s no real suspense in perfection. If your spy can make an impossible shot going 90 miles an hour the wrong way down the freeway, there’s no real suspense because it’s never possible he’ll miss. If he never loses a fight, you’ll never hold your breath during a fight scene because the guy never loses.
Don’t worry, Bai has plenty of special qualities. Even with a Stanford law education and two parents who love him and care about him, he still signed up for a life of deception and danger anyway. Why? Well, that’s a good question. It’s a question Bai himself doesn’t really have an answer to, though I do, and I’m having a lot of fun helping Bai understand his motivations throughout these stories as the job changes him at a fundamental level.
When I wrote Bai Tide, my goal was to explore a different take on the espionage genre. If you read it, please do let me know: Did I succeed?
About the Book
Title: Bai Tide
Author: Erika Mitchell
Genre: Espionage Thriller
After the events of Blood Money, CIA case officer Bai Hsu is assigned to a high-security private school for what he’s told is an easy assignment. Just a few months after he arrives, a hostile operative with ties to North Korea tries to break in to a school event, with motives unknown.
As his investigation progresses, he unravels a plot that, if not stopped, will result in the untimely and murderous deaths of tens of millions of people.
Bai Tide is Bai’s greatest challenge yet. A mission that will take him from the windswept beaches of San Diego to a whiteout blizzard in the foothills of Pyongyang, and make him question everything he thought he knew about working in the field…and about himself.
Erika Mitchell is the author of Blood Money and Bai Tide, the first novel of a new series about CIA case officer Bai Hsu (Champagne Books, 2015). Erika cut her espionage teeth on James Bond marathons with her father at a formative age and has never looked back. She lives in the Seattle, WA, area with her husband and their two tiny spies-in-training and welcomes new online friends at her blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.