Today we have an interview with LA Starks, author of The Second Law: Lynn Dayton.
1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)? L. A. Starks/Texas
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre? The Second Law: Lynn Dayton Thriller #3/thriller
3) What is the book about? Cyber-sabotage of the country’s energy “spine” via its internet-connected industrial control systems. The characters and the action:
TriCoast Energy executive Lynn Dayton is visiting the company’s San Francisco refinery when it comes under attack. Saddened by the fiery deaths of several workers, she traces the explosion to software malfunctions and contacts cybersecurity chief Kanak Singh to track it back to the source. The second law refers to the second law of thermodynamics: it means that in an isolated system everything tends towards chaos.
Lynn is still reeling when a TriCoast lease bidding manager is killed in New Orleans. The seeming motive is the theft of his computer containing billion-dollar secret offshore bid plans. Then her long-time mentor and good friend is gunned down in front of her in a Louisiana swamp. What terrible plan lies behind all these crimes? Lynn races against time to uncover a complex plot that stretches from murder in Vienna to a natural gas terminal attack in the Baltic to a major Caribbean oil installation off U.S. shores. Lynn is baffled as she learns of a high-stakes takeover bid by a mysterious group called the Second Law. Who are these people? Worse, who is the mole inside TriCoast that is feeding them so much deadly information? Unless she can find out, thousands more are scheduled to die.
4) Where did you come up with the idea? Despite a love of writing and reading that was in full force by the time I graduated from high school, I needed to be very certain I could support myself financially. I became an engineer; this path was not unusual for men or women in my science-focused hometown. So, creating the technical parts of the plot was straightforward. More generally, most of us have experienced hacking, identity theft, machines gone wrong, cyber-sabotage, or theft of intellectual property. I drew on that and developed it further. And finally, to be honest, the high-dollar worldwide stakes of rogue players in the energy biz, including threats of massive, fiery explosions, intrigues me way more than it probably should.
5) How long did it take you to write it? The time from publication of the second book in the series until publication of THE SECOND LAW was four years. During that time, I also juggled family responsibilities and publisher changes for the first two books with writing THE SECOND LAW. If measured on a compressed, full-time basis: two years.
6) Did you learn anything from the project? I write books to be prescient and reality-based entertainment for readers, but I can still be surprised when I accomplish just that. A simple example: since the time I began writing THE SECOND LAW five years ago, our understanding of the huge importance of China has grown to be the size China is in the book’s plot.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video? For your U.S. readers, the Kindle edition of the first book in the series, 13 DAYS THE PYTHAGORAS CONSPIRACY, LYNN DAYTON THRILLER #1, normally priced at $7.99, will be on sale in the U.S. for $0.99 between January 30, 2020 and February 5, 2020.
My author website is lastarksbooks.com. Book videos for the first two books in the series, 13 DAYS: THE PYTHAGORAS CONSPIRACY and STRIKE PRICE, are available there and on YouTube.
I write an occasional blog at Goodreads and use social media (Facebook & Hootsuite for Twitter and LinkedIn) for special announcements, like the upcoming Kindle discount.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? Beta readers and professional editors help you tell your story to your audience. For first-time authors, using a professional editor is a particularly important kindness to both your readers and your own career.
I have been fortunate to work with New Zealander Jeroen ten Berge for my most recent book covers. For those interested, he can be reached via e-mail at jeroenslimited AT gmail.com
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work? Thrillers, mysteries, suspense, some science fiction, and current-events non-fiction.
I read and review (mainly on Goodreads) only 50-70 books/year, including the latest from my favorite authors. For books by new authors, I consider published reviews, take recommendations from two of my family members who read widely, and occasionally check what other Goodreads readers like.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? We read, and need, books that speak to our own experiences. In my case that book was SISTER: A NOVEL, by Rosamund Lupton. While it would be painful to call it my favorite, reading it was breathtaking because at the time I had just lost my own sister to cancer.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? Yes, a Sheltie (dog)
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? Yes, I like reading from a Kindle when I travel—though I previously published in Nook & Kobo editions also. With all the screen time required now, I do find reading print editions relaxing.