Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your thriller novel, Broken Genius! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Drew Murray: Will Parker is a genius, former Silicon Valley tech CEO whose life is blown apart one night in 2011. To make amends for a mistake that cost a young college student her life, he becomes a Cyber Crime Agent at the FBI. Years later, he’s called to the scene of a murder at a Midwestern Comic-Con where radiation is discovered that matches the signature of a powerful technology his company had a deal to acquire before everything went off the rails. As it turns out, the victim was auctioning off the technology on the dark web, and the bidding is still live. With bidders including a Chinese hacker, Russian criminals with ties to the Kremlin and a corporate executive desperate to escape a scandal, the race is on to see who can find the missing technology first.
The idea for the story came from the character of Will Parker first. After years working in the steady, conservative world of corporate IT, I got a chance to visit Silicon Valley and meet the vibrant, energetic people working in the free-wheeling, cutting-edge tech industry. The concept of applying the prodigy entrepreneur’s skills and talents as a detective intrigued me. But what would make someone leave the thrilling and luxurious life of the cutting edge tech world? It would have to be something life-altering.
Initially, I thought up Will to use in a short story competition. But once I’d worked out his backstory, I knew I needed a larger story to fully explore him as a character. The crime had to be something that would require his unique talents to solve. And I love going to Comic Cons, but there aren’t many books set at one. Especially not with murder, espionage, and intrigue!
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in integrating your interest in technology and its subsequent impact, and what have been some of your creative influences?
DM: I’ve been a fan of science fiction for as long as I can remember. Stories of exploring other worlds in the distant future were endlessly exciting to me. Technology always seemed to me to be a necessary part of turning those stories into reality. Just like Will Parker, I fell in love with the possibility of making these fantastic stories come true. I love to dream of what could happen if only we had the tools to do it.
When I was young, I was that kid with a creative excuse for everything. A class clown, I never turned down an opportunity to entertain an audience. So, when I got my first computer in the mid-eighties, and it was the word processor, not the video games, that I was most excited about.
That Commodore 64 computer made it quicker and easier for me to explore telling stories on the page like my favourite novelists--Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, and Len Deighton. I read very broadly back then, as long as the story gripped me and pulled me into its world.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that protagonist Will Parker’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
DM: Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we move on from those mistakes that determines our success in life as individuals, and even collectively as a society. Do we make the same mistake over and over because we didn’t learn from it? Do we dwell on our failures, allowing them to hold us back forever? Do we deny that we even made a mistake and go to elaborate attempts to avoid confronting the truth? Or do we accept what happened, learn from it, make peace with it, and make a change towards a better, more productive future?
Will makes a horrendous mistake at the opening of Broken Genius that comes to define him. His struggle to overcome that guilt, to accept responsibility for his past while making positive, lasting changes for the future is something that we can all connect with, especially now.
BD: What makes Oceanview Publishing the perfect home for Broken Genius?
DM: What makes Oceanview Publishing terrific for Broken Genius is their commitment to the thriller genre, and being willing to take on stories that break out of the safe mainstream mold. They’re also a great partner for a debut author. You never feel like you’re just a number. They’ve been committed to getting the word out about the book, and I am very appreciative for that.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DM: Right now, I have several projects on the go, including a sequel to Broken Genius. There are plenty more adventures ahead for Will Parker, and I’m looking forward to bringing back and exploring some of the secondary characters. Stay tuned!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Broken Genius and your other work?
DM: I’m active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook where you can find me @drewmurraybooks. I also keep a current list of upcoming appearances (real and virtual) on my website at www.drewmurraybooks.com. Also on the site, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter where I share fun bonus content and updates.