Interview provided by Ken Miller.
Q) What’s Langata Rules about? Not the plot, but the driving themes?
A) I think of it as a progressive thriller. The story recognizes that social conditions affect what people do with their lives. Sort of “zip code as destiny.” Once we understand the conditions on the Somali coast, for example, it’s easier to see why young men become pirates.
The second sense of progressive is more philosophic. Nobody in the book knows everything that’s going on. No character understands all the motives or cross-currents. And that’s how I see reality, as a collection of perceptions and experiences, rather than a single, absolute and correct version. Like Robbe-Grillet, but not so good.
Q) Is this a "guy book?"
A) Depends on the guy. A lead characters is a woman with weapons, but she cries, so is that gender ambiguity? But yeah, not to be defensive, the book is heavy to plot, and people die violently, and that’s probably near the guy end of the spectrum.
Characters show a little emotion, and there is larger meaning in some of the action, so it’s not all the way to the end of the spectrum. And while I mention brand names for binoculars and pistols, this isn’t a techno-thriller.
A woman’s book club read LR recently, and liked it pretty well. Or at least was polite enough to say so. One member was concerned about the violence, and I do describe how people get hurt. But there’s pain in Twilight too.
Q) What is next for you?
I’ve finished the second book in the series and have the third in rough draft. I’m liking the “arc” of a series because I get to deepen the continuing characters - Drew, Vivienne, Harry - in the context of self-contained adventures. In the second book, set in New Orleans and Central America, we learn about Drew’s lost love, for example.
Q) Can you tell Caper readers a little about the second book?
A) Competition for lithium, which is used for electric car batteries. And the third book is about traffic in women. I put the books at the nexus of business, politics and crime. A lot of interesting stuff happens when the three combine.
Ken Miller has been in business for 30 years, most of the time with a Fortune 100 multi-national, where he saw first hand the intersection of corporate interest and public policy. He’s active in politics and civic life, and has been a frequent contributor to the trade press on topics including strategy and reputation. He presents on these issues at conferences and seminars in North America and Europe. Langata Rules is his first novel, and begins a series featuring Drew Alexander, trouble-shooter for a sketchy British shipping firm. Ken has two adult children and lives in Tacoma WA with his partner, Janet Thiessen.