Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Research? Likely Story: The deciphering of Operation Sheba

I may have had a little too much fun with this one, gang. But allow me to be serious for a moment. I've read a lot of books and know firsthand, there's a lot of talent in this biz. As for Operation Sheba, the author did her homework and honed her craft. I couldn't put this book down. Please welcome Author Misty Evans.

I recently completed Operation Sheba, and as I reached the last page, something the author said in the prologue made sense. The hook that led to chapter one summed up the way I was feeling. "Something's off."

Exactly. I wasn't buying it. Not the book -- the author's claim of being a happily married mother of twins, with a degree in marketing, who just happens to write suspense.

And I'm a size 2.

I knew who she was -- a highly trained operative who said she wrote this book by doing research. Step into my interrogation room while we have a little chat with Ms. Misty Evans and I do my best to break her.

D.B. Good morning, Misty. Thanks for coming down. Are you comfortable? Can I get you a cup of coffee?

M.E. I'd love a cup, black, please. Would you like me to check your coffee maker for bugs while I'm here?

Are you insinuating I might have bugged the coffee pot? A little paranoid, aren't you? This is a friendly chat, Ms. Evans. Besides it's also a blog and the coffee's a figment of our imagination. So, Misty, if that's really your name, when did you leave the CIA?

M.E. I don't know what you're talking about.

Don't you? I read the book. You talk about GPS chips, a shadow CIA, infared laser trip wires. You talk about glamorous international places and revolve it around a sexy and riveting plot. So let's cut to the chase. This book's in code; the question is who are you trying to market it to?

M.E. Who else? To people who love to read action/adventure, intrigue and suspense.

Not North Korea?

M.E. Er...exactly how much coffee did you drink this morning?

D.B. The coffee's imaginary. Stay with me. So you claim you did research. What else?

M.E. I'm not sure what you mean.

D.B. You didn't consult experts?

M.E. Well, I did use a few sources.

D.B. Aha! Did any of them start with double 00--?

M.E. No. But I have watched a few of his movies.

D.B. [Interrogator stares off dreamily] That new James Bond does have an amazing body.

M.E. Personally, I prefer his gadgets.

D.B. Exactly! You use so many in Operation Sheba. For instance, the lady bug mike. That was only one of the things that tipped me off. Knowing precisely what the device would and wouldn't stick to. How could you possibly know this?

M.E. My ten-year-old son bought one at Target.

D.B. Recruiting your own son?!!

M.E. Best to start em young, mold their minds, brainwash them so they fold their own socks.

D.B. This is getting us nowhere; let's talk about the Farm. You depict the training of CIA operatives so well, I felt like I was crawling beside them. You talk about the weapons they use, the chain of command, the intricacies of the Agency. How would a normal civilian know anything about this?

M.E. By Farm, are you referring to the CIA's training camp?

D.B. You tell me.

M.E. I told you. I did a ton of research. Besides although the training camp used to be quite secretive, it isn't any longer. It's located near Williamsburg, Virginia.

D.B. You drove right to it?

M.E. Actually, I used Google satellite maps.

D.B. You expect me to believe you used Google to write this edge-of-your-seat suspense?

M.E. No. Basically I read everything the CIA unclassified for the past 15 to 20 years. Anything they blacked out, I simply substituted with my imagination.

D.B. [Interrogator scribbles in notebook...she's almost convincing.] Let's talk about your characters, Julia, aka Abigail Quinn, Conrad and Michael. These characters are so well drawn, such risk-takers and downright heroic. You expect me to believe they're not real? Incidentally, how could you do that to Michael? I was dying when Julia told him Con was alive.

M.E. I am well versed in torture.

D.B. [Interrogator's eyes narrow.]

M.E. Kidding!! Don't worry. Michael will be rewarded with his own story. Writing these characters was great fun for me. That's why I'm turning their story into a series. My editor describes Operation Sheba as Alias meets 24. I hope to keep that kind of action and suspense in all my novels, while still creating characters with emotional depth and integrity.

D.B. You still deny you're a CIA operative and expect me to believe you're merely a fabulous writer?

M.E. You still claim you don't have bugs in your coffee pot?

D.B. Absolutely not! I clean it with vinegar. Fine, Misty, you can go. But I'll be watching you, and I know others will as well. Tell us where we can get Operation Sheba and what we can expect next.

M.E. Operation Sheba is currently available in ebook format from Samhain Publishing The print book will be released in July 2009.

In honor of Julia's heroics, I'm running a contest for readers. One lucky person will win an IPod. For details, visit my website

Along with Operation Sheba, I have a paranormal comedy, Witches Anonymous, coming out in February 2009. And, no, Donnell, I'm not a witch. I just did really good research and sold my soul to a certain devil who also has cool gadgets.

D.B. I'll be the judge of that, Misty. Alias meets 24. I think we need to do a background check on your editor. That's pretty clever.

M.E. Thank you so much for having me on Five Scribes today! I know who to call for my next interrogation.


Edie said...

Donnell and Misty, this was a riot! I have to read Operation Sheba when it comes out.

magolla said...

Too cute! Loved your interrogation technique.

Annette said...

What a hoot. And Operation Sheba sounds like grand fun...both to read and to write.

Do you mind if I offer a serious question into the mix? Misty, are you concerned that the gadgets you write about might become outdated by the time your book is published? I like to include computer techie stuff in some of my work, but I often find that what was cutting edge in the first draft is obsolete by the time it's ready for submission.

Any suggestions or tricks of the trade would be appreciated.

Theresa said...

Girl, you missed your calling. Sure you don't want to go to FBI school? Perhaps the police academy? Misty, my condolences, I've been on the other end of all that energy before and it can be exhausting--but productive.
Very fun interview.

Arkansas Cyndi said...

Very very cute! Operation Sheba sounds like a wonderful book! Good luck.

Misty Evans said...

Good Morning early birds! Boy, a gal's gotta be on her toes around this place!

Edie, hi, how are you? Long time no chat. Sheba is available in ebook format right now if you can't wait for the print version. Thanks for stopping by!

Misty Evans said...

Hi Margaret! When Donnell suggested this format for my interview, I loved the idea! I think we did more laughing then interviewing during the phone conversation. Donnell is a genuis!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Liz L. said...

Donnell and Misty, great fun reading this. Has anyone mentioned you both should be writers???

I know - if you tell me, then you'd have to kill me!!

Misty Evans said...

Annette, great question! The CIA and other intel services invent new gadgets at an alarming rate, so you run the risk of being outdated all the time.

In order to keep up as best I can, I read Scientific American and magazines like that to see what's available. Then when I insert a gadget into my story, I tweak it's capabilities so, like my characters, it feels real and larger than life and die-hard readers who know the latest and greatest toys the CIA uses don't send me hate mail. LOL.

What also works for me is that my characters use a lot of everyday objects to get the job done. Just like Julia and her iPod. She doesn't use anything high-tech to stop the hostage situation...instead she uses what's at hand, her iPod. She also uses common sense and intuition. You can't go wrong with either!

Misty Evans said...

Theresa, LOL! I wish I had one ounce of Donnell's wonderful energy! She's a true inspiration to me.

This interview was the most fun I've had since I snuck into Camp Da...oops...wait, nevermind. I'm just a writer, I swear!

Misty Evans said...

Hello, Arkansas Cyndi! One of my dearest friends is a Cyndi and spells her name the same way. Is that a parakeet in your picture? Very adorable.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Misty Evans said...

Hey, Liz! We won't kill you, I promise.

Writing (and creating alternate identities) are two of the most fun careers in the world!

Don't let Miss Donnell fool you, either. She's really a highly-trained interrogator. No coffee needed.

jllove said...

What a fun interview! Misty, I'm a huge 24 fan, so you've got my attention. And, I love the cover. Very Scarecrow and Mrs. King-ish--you young people will have no idea what I'm talking about.

Question: I can't live without my iPod. Can I be a spy?

Donnell, you did good! Remind me not to ever give you a reason to grill me.

Donnell said...

Hi, guys! I'm glad you like Misty and my interview. Talk about fun! I love people with senses of humor and Misty was such a good sport and fed right into my silly questions ;) Annette and T, you're right. To write a series like Misty has developed you have to keep up on research, something you ladies fearlessly approach as well. In the interview Misty explained how much research went into Operation Sheba, and you know what? It shows, but Misty inserts said research seamlessly. It's a very fun read -- plus it occasionally pulls on your heart strings and makes you catch your breath at some darn suspenseful moments.

June, you mention Scarecrow and Mrs. King. I LOVED that series, Yeah, I remember ;) However, Julia is not a novice like Kate Jackson played. The other day I watched Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and as I watched Tom Clancy's story unfold, it occurred to me that Jack Ryan aka H.F. is an analyst... just like Julia. Julia is equally heroic as the male protags in Operation Sheba, and something else occurred to me. I liked Julia because she's all woman. She doens't want to be a guy. She's not above using feminine devices and her brains to work this case.

Oh dear, I've gone on and on. Can you tell I LOVED this book? :)

Thanks for stopping by, gang! And Misty, thanks for the fabulous interview!

Nancy said...

Misty and Donnell, you could take this act on the road! Hilarious!

I'm eager to get my hands on Operation Sheba, and know I'm going to love it. Misty, may your sales go thru the roof!!

Nancy Haddock

Misty Evans said...

Yes, June, you can be a spy. I am, after all, according to Donnell! I do take my iPod everywhere, just in case. ;)

Misty Evans said... describe Julia to a tee. She is all woman while being just as good at covert ops as her partner, even though the two of them are oil and water in their approach.

Thank you for inviting me to Five Scribes and making this 'mission' so much fun!!

Misty Evans said...

Thank you, Nancy. I aspire to be as good an author as you are, my dear. La Vida Vampire rocks and so do you!

All I can say about the interview was all Donnell's idea. Her imagination is just as wild as mine! Good thing the CIA wasn't listening to our phone conversation...

Donnell said...

Wow, I like being called a genius and getting so much credit. May I forward these comments to my kids ;) Seriously gang, I don't think the CIA would waste much time with Misty and me. Maybe Misty... she's still under a great deal of suspicion, but they would take one look at my Get Smart Collection and realize that I spent way too much time with Maxwell Smart, 99, KAOS etc. I was telling June that in addition to this slap stick comedy, The Avengers was my all time favorite, until they replaced Diana Rigg, that was. :) Happy writing!

Chiron said...

Hmmmm... I still have my doubts that "Misty" (great cover name, by the way) is simply an author. But I will admit, she is convincing in an interview. *looks suspiciously around for hidden transmitting devices*

In fact, I might add, LOUDLY, that I totally believe her cover story. Really. No need for further investigation. Really. *cough*

--Chiron O'Keefe

Misty Evans said...

Ha, ha, Chiron. You crazy woman. If you hadn't recruited me for the Agency...

Oh, wait, there I go again. I have to stop that! I'm just a writer...I'm just a writer...

If anyone needs some inspiration or motivation to write, hop over to Chiron's blog!

Michelle Miles said...

It's in my TBR pile! NEXT on the list. I can't wait. GREAT interview - this was a blast to read. :) Good job, ladies. hehe

Lise Fuller said...

Donnell, this was hysterical. I loved it.

~ Lise Fuller, author

Julie Rowe said...

Great blog!! Loved the thrust and parry of the interview!

You two should take this on the road!!

Cheers, Julie Rowe

Misty Evans said...

Michelle, thank you for taking time from your busy day and dropping by! I hope you enjoy Sheba. You're a doll.

Michelle featured my on her blog last week. She's a terrific writer...please visit her at

Misty Evans said...

Lise, thanks for stopping by and reading the post. Donnell really brought her A-game to this interview.

Misty Evans said...

Hi Julie! I'm trying to convince Donnell we would make a good comedy team, but she's still steamed about my bugs-in-her-coffee comment...

Donnell said...

Thanks, Misty, and to everyone who stopped by, I had a LOT of help with this A-game LOL. Thanks so much for stopping by to help Misty promote her book. I am looking for great things from this author!

Renee Knowles said...

Fabulous interview, ladies! Loved it, and it gave me a laugh this morning. Operation Sheba sounds like a great book!


Delta Dupree said...

This was a jewel of an interview! Loved every word.
Sorry I'm here so late, was out of town. Glad Donnell left a message about the interview.

Misty Evans said...

Glad we gave you a jump start for the morning, Renee. Thank you for stopping by and reading the interview!

Misty Evans said...

Hi Delta. We're happy you stopped by and left a message. I run on a different time than everybody else, so according to my calendar, you're not late at all!

All the best!