Nelson DeMille is the author of fifteen acclaimed novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Night Fall, Plum Island and The Gate House, and New York Times bestsellers Wild Fire, The Lion’s Game, The Gold Coast, and The General’s Daughter. The theme of terrorism in each of these novels is relevant and topical. NewsRealBlog had the pleasure of interviewing him about, The Lion, a sequel to The Lion’s Game.
NRB: Many of your books have dealt with terrorism. Can we briefly discuss some of them? Your first book, By the Rivers of Babylon, dealt with an El-Al Jetliner forced down and surrounded by terrorists.
DeMille: Very little was written about terrorism in those days. (1978) The Cold War was the main topic. Here we are today and the Cold War is gone and we are still stuck with these people. 32 years after my first novel which was about Islamic terrorism and I am still writing about it.
NRB: Cathedral was about an IRA terrorist taking over a Church in New York City.
DeMille: The IRA was not going to do anything in America because they did not want to lose the sympathy of so many people that believed in their cause. When I wrote it people said you are giving them ideas, but they don’t need to get them from me.
NRB: Plum Island, the first John Corey book.
DeMille: What it had to do with was the threat of biological terrorism warfare.
NRB: Nightfall a very popular book.
DeMille: The time frame is the summer before 9/11. The book is based on the TWA Flight 800 incident. I did not know how I was going to resolve the book but it had to do with 9/11. There was no resolution in the book because there was no resolution with the TWA incident. I still think in the back of my mind that it was a missile. I had to keep it as an ambiguous ending because we don’t know the real conclusion.
NRB: The Lion’s Game had a great quote: those tried for the first World Trade Center Bombing “went to trial for murder, conspiracy and firearms violations. Not terrorism. There is no law against terrorism in America.” Did you continue that theme in The Lion?
DeMille: I wanted to show that it’s a slip and slide a year and a half after 9/11 toward making believe that the War on Terror is not really happening and that it is being treated as a law enforcement problem. The Lion’s Game was open ended because I wanted to show that terrorism does not have happy Hollywood endings and that the bad guys do get away.
NRB: Can you give our readers a heads up about your next book?
DeMille: It will be a John Corey-Kate Mayfield book involving the CIA. It will be pro-CIA. John and Kate are now in Yemen. He investigates the Cole and terrorism. I will refer to the Yemen Cleric, Anwar al-Awlak. I want to explore how an American became a radical, a renegade American Islamist. I want to show how the Yemen government is totally dysfunctional and is a breeding ground for terrorism. The Yemen government says they are always cooperating with us yet strange things happen.