Posts Tagged ‘Mercenaries’

The Challenges and Benefits of Co-Writing According to Authors Lance and James Morcan

New Zealand father-and-son writing team Lance and James Morcan have just co-authored and released their ninth novel, an action-adventure titled The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables, Book 1)

In the following interview, Morcan Senior (Lance) talks about the challenges of collaborating on books and also the inspiration behind their latest novel.

Please tell us about yourself and your books

I’m an author/screenwriter and former journalist who collaborates with my son. I’m based in New Zealand; my co-writer/son James, who is also an actor, is based in Sydney, Australia.

We could be described as a prolific Kiwi father-and-son writing team and together we’ve co-authored more than 20 fiction and non-fiction titles.

Our established novels include the bestselling historical adventures White Spirit and Into the Americas, which are both based on true stories, and the modern thrillers The Orphan Trilogy and Silent Fear; our non-fiction titles include Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories and the bestseller Genius Intelligence.

New releases include the action-thriller The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables, Book 1) and the non-fiction book Vaccine Science Revealed: Are Childhood Immunizations As Safe As Claimed?

We have adapted (and are adapting) several of our novels to feature film screenplays, and some are now in development with our production company Morcan Motion Pictures.

Could you tell us something about The Dogon Initiative that is not found in the book description?

The book and the series it has spawned (or is about to spawn) were inspired by the belief American intelligence contracts foreign mercenaries to undertake clandestine missions abroad. They’re known as deniable assets. Deniable because, if a mission goes belly up, the agency will deny any knowledge of their existence and no-one’s to their assistance. For obvious reasons, we refer to the assets as the Deniables.

Book one in the series shows how the CIA’s New Paradigms Team, a newly-formed humanitarian division of the agency, is tasked with saving Mali’s persecuted Dogon people from genocide. Although fictional, we consider it’s not too unlikely the CIA is pursuing humanitarian goals, and, with that in mind, that’s the basis of the entire series. Each book will focus on the Deniables’ latest mission.    

What do you want readers to take away from this story?

That ethnic groups throughout Africa – the mysterious Dogon of Mali in particular – are not ignorant desert nomads or cow herders, but are keepers of ancient knowledge the rest of us would do well to treasure. In the case of the Dogon, who many believe have links to the ancient Egyptians, they have an uncanny understanding of the heavens that has intrigued astronomers for centuries. Some believe that knowledge came from alien visitations.

Did you plan for this book to the first in a series? How many books do you have planned for The Deniables?

Yes, we always planned for The Dogon Initiative to be the first in the series. We have almost limitless story line ideas so the series could eventually comprise many books… Or we could run outta steam and end up with only a few. Time will tell!

What was your process for writing The Dogon Initiative? Is this different or the same as other books?

The writing process differs from book to book. Usually, the one whose brainchild it was ‘drives’ the project and the other acts more as an editor and sounding board. I usually drive our historical novels and James usually drives our contemporary novels and non-fiction books.

Regardless of who drives a book project, we both agree on an overall story outline and then one of us takes the reins to craft a first draft. In this case, it was me who crafted the first draft.

Can you share with us what are the challenges and benefits of co-writing a novel?

As a (somewhat rare) father-and-son writing team based in different countries (NZ and Aussie) there are many challenges as you can imagine. Electronic communication overcomes the distance problem, but there are numerous artistic disagreements regarding plots and story lines. However, the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages because our generational differences mean we can cater for young and old reading tastes, and we edit each other’s writing mercilessly. (Usually, whoever argues or cries the loudest prevails… and the end result seems to be okay… So far)!

What is the biggest thing you learned when it comes to publishing and marketing your novels?

It’s all about the book’s launch. If you screw up the launch, the book will be lucky to rise to the top of the rankings because it won’t be noticed. This is a generalization because we have screwed up a book’s launch and the book still rose to the top. Our best example of this is our latest historical adventure White Spirit, which missed the launch completely, but ultimately became our best ever seller.

Being active on Goodreads is one of the best marketing activities an author can undertake. We believe many book sales can be attributed to an author’s following on Goodreads. In our case, we have formed the Underground Knowledge global discussion group on the site. Its membership has topped 10,600 making it one of the biggest and fastest growing groups on Goodreads. This has generated tremendous interest in our books. (New members are welcome, and authors of alternative thinking books are welcome to post their books on the site)!

In your opinion, what is the measure of a book’s success?

Number of sales and quality of reviews.

What would be your advice for aspiring co-authors?

Read, read, read and write, write, write… then write some more… then rewrite what you’ve written and rewrite some more! If you’re still passionate about what you’re doing after all that… then you are a writer!

What are you working on next?

Book two in The Deniables Series.


The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables Book 1) 

by Lance & James Morcan

A group of foreign mercenaries hired as deniable assets by a newly-formed humanitarian division of the CIA is tasked with saving Mali’s persecuted Dogon people from genocide. The operation must be carried out in stealth while journeying across some of West Africa’s most hostile terrain. As if all that’s not enough, they are also instructed to help solve an ancient astronomical mystery linked to the pyramids of Egypt.

Mission impossible? Duh!

Nicknamed the Deniables because their existence isn’t officially acknowledged by the CIA, the mercenaries are crazy enough to accept the mission anyway. However, they soon find themselves fighting for their lives when they get caught in the middle of warring ethnic factions in Mali. Their only way to survive is to join with the Dogon in a race against the clock. The stakes are so high that not only could an entire indigenous group be wiped off the face of the Earth, but all evidence that supports advanced ancient technology theories surrounding the Dogon and a lost civilization thesis may be destroyed in the process.

Inspired by a true-life mystery of astronomy, THE DOGON INITIATIVE highlights some of the many myths and theories surrounding the fascinating Dogon people of Mali. In particular, their unexplained knowledge of the invisible-to-the-eye Sirius B white dwarf star, the rings of Saturn and other heavenly bodies, and their rumored ancestral relationship to ancient Egyptians.

The Dogon Initiative – “An excellent black ops adventure,” says one reviewer.
Author interview supplied courtesy of This is Writing – “A place where stories can be
shared without judgement; a place were books and words are valued above all.”
****************************** 
Advertisements