Former Tokyo police inspector and reluctant P.I. Shig Sato returns is about to return to the city when he hears of a mutilated body fished from Tokyo Bay. Then he’s asked to find a missing American naval officer, only no one tells him the truth. His investigation leads him to the heights of Cold War espionage between Western governments and the Soviet Union.
Today Joseph Mark Brewer and I will have the luxury of spending a little time investigating the mysteries of the body in Tokyo Bay. Joseph, thanks for allowing me a little time to trail along the path left by P.I. Shig Sato. First things first, where did the underlying story idea behind Sato’s adventures begin?
The idea is a marriage between the stories of American naval personnel caught spying for the Russians in the 1980s and Shig Sato’s quest to feel useful after mandatory retirement and the death of his wife. When he hears of a mutilated body, he knows a murder has occurred, and that the perpetrator was likely to go unpunished. His cop instincts take over, and gives him a sense of purpose.
How did your characters like Sato develop as the story progressed?
I have a set cast of characters, and what I find is that once in a while I need to create a character on the spot in service to the story line. Those moments are challenging but rewarding.
Injecting new characters into the plot to keep the story flowing is fantastically rewarding. Is that you top pick for most rewarding experiences while writing this book? If not, what is your top pick?
Discovering a story can sometimes lead a writer to unexpected places, and how fun that is.
And on your journey to unexpected places, what did you find was the most important thing that you wanted readers to take away?
Sato is on a journey he never anticipated, and he learns that the people he once trusted and admired may not be worthy of such esteem.
Did you conduct much research to ensure that you gave enough depth to both your characters and their surrounds to make sure that Sato’s decisions regarding the esteem of others didn’t seem out of place?
A lot, from learning about the old Soviet KGB and GRU and its operations in the Pacific, to the case files from Americans convicted of espionage, to the martial arts described in a key section of the story.
Did you also have a personal background in these areas that contributed to your research?
The book and the series are based on my life in Japan. I did serve in the Navy there and on the ship mentioned in the story. And I traveled some of the roads and visited some of the locales mentioned in the story. But the story itself is a work of fiction.
Despite this being a work of fiction I’m sure that Sato’s adventures will continue on. Will we be lucky enough to see a sequel in the future as a part of your next writing project? Can you tell us a little about what you are working on next?
Yes, Shig Sato’s adjustment to his new life continues. In the next book, he stays close to home as he helps a friend discover what happened to a favorite tenant at a time when the terror of a serial killer has gripped the city.
I hope that Sato’s next adventures are as gripping and terrifying as expected! Since we have a few minutes left I’d like to turn our views to the terror of the quick fire question round. Get a good grip and we’ll start with: Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
No. I take up too much time pondering the question.
Pondering questions is not the best basis for a quiz team member, but it is a fantastic quality in an author. What is your zodiac sign?
What is your favourite ocean?
Are you introvert or extrovert?
Are you left or right handed?
And finally, do you know how your book will end when you start writing it?
Since I write mysteries, I know how the book will end. The writing journey is getting to that end in a way that captures the reader’s attention.
Joseph, thank you for capturing our attention today. I appreciate the time we’ve spent chatting and I wish you the best of luck connecting new authors with your novel ‘Traitors & Lies’.
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