Monday, September 23, 2013

Interview with James Stone, Author of Crypto

Dr. Stone has a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering, and numerous international certifications in computer security. He has worked at NSA, NASA, and the Department of Defense in various capacities, as well as having been a professor of engineering at a major university. He recently retired from engineering and plans to devote himself to writing. His first novel, CRYPTO, has just been released by Twilight Times Books and is available on Amazon.

When did you begin writing?

1st Grade. I’ve always liked to write.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Depends on what’s going on. Tomorrow I have to divert to finishing my 2012 taxes, which I’ve put off about as long as possible. I’m lured by the keyboard and go to it at every chance. Sometimes I’ll write all day. Sometimes I’ll be at the keyboard in the middle of the night. I have a very supportive wife.

What is this book about?

Spies, traitors, espionage, inter-agency conflict, etc.

What inspired you to write it?

Decades in the security business, plus actually knowing a traitor who was eventually caught.

For those of us who are unfamiliar with espionage terminology, what are cryptographic chips?
Cryptographics is a field of mathematics devoted to rendering messages unreadable except by a party that has the key to reversing the encryption. The chips in the book are silicon wafers using Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) to pack the encryption functions onto a singe chip. The crypto chips in the book are controlled items, unique to NSA. When they start showing up in boxes hanging from the backs of highway signs, all kinds of alarms go off.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I don’t have one. There are several sympathetic characters, and several who are despicable. I suppose my primary protagonist, Ellen Drew, must be favorite by default. But I really enjoyed building the characters and making them consistent, good or bad.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
Smooth as silk. Most of the six months time to publication was taken up going through edits. I didn’t understand “point of view” until the editor explained it, etc. The editor, through our iterations, made it a much better book. And the publisher was fabulous.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Twilight Times Books, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble. 

Being an author of spy novels, you must read a lot of them yourself. Who are some good authors in the field these days?
Too many to detail without shorting some. Plus, I read and enjoy many authors from other genres. My frustration is they don’t write fast enough. Somewhat the reverse of a character in a book who was said to read everything written by Stephen King, which doomed him to read only King since King could write faster than he could read. 

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Just getting started promoting.

What is up next for you?

A Sci-Fi novel, half written.

1 comment:

Raquel Byrnes said...

Wow! I love spycraft and all the goodies in an espionage story. So glad you brought this one to my attention. :)

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