Both Sides Of The Hacking Equation

Author Interview
Susan Rogers & John Roosen Author Interview

“Cobra Pose” follows a solicitor turned yoga instructor and her photojournalist love interest as they race against time to stop a group of hackers from destabilizing financial institutions worldwide. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

We have been fascinated with the concept of hacking for almost ten years. We started researching various groups that were involved in hacking, as well as their methods. Hacking often leads to theft, fraud, or other scams, and often appears more efficient and less costly than other methods. We also wanted to know what counter measures were available to prevent hacking.  To us, it was always a race, a contest if you will, between the two opponents. Just when one method seems to be the solution to prevent hacking, hackers come up with means to overcome the countermeasures.  It’s the ultimate chess game. The stakes are high, and we have definitely seen an uptick in the volume hacking over the years.   

We wanted the reader to become immersed in both sides of the hacking equation. We developed a stable of characters who are orchestrating the hacking, as well as a counter-group trying to prevent or at least control the outcomes of the hacking event.  We also identified the White Hat Hackers that hack for justice and Black Hat Hackers who hack for gain and disruption.

As it turns out, just when we were in Australia ‘ground-truthing’ all the locations for Cobra Pose, our communications company was hacked. It was such a massive hack that half of Australia was affected (about 12 million people).  Driver’s licenses, streets names, phone numbers etc were up for grabs.  We happened to be two of the people that were affected. 

As writers we do love irony, and we thought this was the greatest irony of all.

What were some challenges you felt were important to developing Elaina Ric’s characters in this book?

Our books focus on classic literary fiction writing.  We spend a considerable amount of time working on the plot of one book, while we may be writing others in the series.  Since the characters and books have plots and direction that may overlap, it becomes a tracking process which includes spreadsheets, tables and lists.  The plots are paramount to us as they  become the coat hangers on which we fashion our characterizations. However, we also have a specific issue or flaw that our characters work on during the course of each book.  As we have two main characters, we alternate who is the ‘lead’ or protagonist for each book.  Occasionally, some of the sub-characters will feature in a strong way and down the track line have a book of their own.

The challenge of course is to make each character seem real and multi-faceted.  We actually try to make each character have small characteristics that allow them to be visualized in the mind of the reader. We rely on the readers imagination to form the construct of what our characters appear like and act like. The word-smithing plays an important part in this.

Writers have the delicious opportunity to use a smorgasbord of options at their fingertips when building a character. Just like any artist they can dabble in one method and then switch to another if that isn’t working. 

Knowing the right balance can be a method of trial and error where we work at something over and over again until it reads and sounds right.  Sometimes the character comes to life with little or no effort, like they are ready to jump out from the computer keys onto the page.  Those are the magic moments every writer loves.

Many of our characterisations are based on people we have met and interacted with over the years. 

We hope people enjoy the many characters we have created in both Dead Man’s Pose and Cobra Pose. Our books are the combination of a wide variety of quirky characters and a well-crafted plot.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

For us, it is hard to choose one scene over another, as our writing is very layered.  Working separately and then together as a team, then apart again, we tend to go back and forth on the various scenes within each book. 

This includes both reading the book ourselves, and then reading to each other.  In Dead Man’s Pose, when twelve characters come together in The Crime Solver’s Potluck, we basically acted out what we wanted each character to do and say.

You can imagine what occurred when someone came to our front door, and we were dressed in an array of clothing and hats to quickly go from one character to another.

In Cobra Pose, we ground-proofed each of the streets, locations, and areas we wrote about as we did in Dead Man’s Pose That means we walk or drive, take a boat or a plane to get to where the characters are going to move around.

If there isn’t a building that meets our needs, we do have the ability to create one, as we did with The Observatory.  However, in this case, we both have about 20 years of emergency management experience each, to build our ideal of what a multi-agency operations centre might include.  So that combines the mix of: years of experience, within the plot developed for that book, with the creative need for the actions envisioned.

The scene that stands out in Cobra Pose is near the end. Of course, we aren’t going to give away any spoilers away, but there is a massive response effort that takes place.  It was complex and exhilarating to write and gave us an adrenalin rush just reading it to each other. 

What can readers expect in book three in the Yoga Mat Mysteries series?

Book 3 in the Yoga Mat Mysteries series is Tree Pose.  In book 1, Dead Man’s Pose we explored the theme of corruption, fraud and justice, along with a budding romance. In book 2, Cobra Pose, we explored the theme of hacking and a potential collapse of financial institutions.

In a similar manner, for book 3, we have chosen an ‘overarching’ theme which we have explored along with the individual flaws and themes of our main characters.

We interweave all this with romance. What’s not to like about that? We often think there is something universal about love that makes it so very compelling to write about. So, the reader will see this overarching theme played out as well.

By the way, for those wondering how far we are going with the series, buckle up.  We have book 3 – Tree Pose, drafted; book 4 – Warrior Pose drafted; book 5 – Half Moon Pose drafted.  Our goal is always to try and maintain a quality fiction approach, so we spend a lot of time perfecting each one.  We hope this gives the reader a desire to ‘read that one again … and again’.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Australia is a surfers’ paradise … but this nefarious surfing is on the ‘net’ … and will destroy the global financial system.

It’s not just a rippling ‘scam’ job. Has Australia been infiltrated at levels they’ve never known?

Elaina Williams uses a Cobra Pose in her Yoga studio to boost her energy – she will need it! Elaina’s father, Edward, is in trouble. He’s disappeared. 

As a solicitor and now yoga instructor, Elaina drags Ric, a man she’s fallen for, into the bursting web of techno-thrilling intrigue.

Ric Peters has just returned from a disastrous trip to Indonesia. Ric bills himself as a photojournalist. Elaina suspects he shoots more than just photographs. Ric has insight into the journey he and Elaina must take. He knows Elaina isn’t ready for what’s going to happen. There are too many moving parts for him to control. 

Time is running out before The Cobra and The Wolf strike with their heist. They are extending their fangs towards Australia’s ‘golden coastline’ to bite into and destabilise financial institutions worldwide. 

The sparkling sub-tropical city of Brisbane, Queensland, is the epicentre of this hacking tsunami of the century! But these hackers are good at hiding. They make a living out of it. They are submerged Phantoms leaving no tracks.

Can the burgeoning amateur sleuth Elaina piece this puzzle together before her father’s fate is sealed? How far is Ric willing to go in deciding to save Elaina … or Australia?

Cobra Pose is the suspense-thriller and second novel in the Yoga Mat Mysteries series. This book is filled with a snappy plot, dynamic prose, witty dialogue, and slow-burn chemistry. You’ll love Susan Rogers and John Roosen’s atmospheric whodunit. Click Cobra Pose to stretch your sense of adventure today!

The first book, Dead Man’s Pose, is available online. Next in the YMM lineup is Tree Pose – coming soon!

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on March 19, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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