Fans always say that the book was better than the movie, and authors always says the movie fails to capture the spirit of the book. But what do you say when the book is admittedly written as a movie in book form? And by someone who used to write for a movie magazine? Such is the case with writer Andy McDemott, the author of the “Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase” novels, the newest of which is The Revelation Code (paperback, digital).
Unless I’ve miscounted, The Revelation Code is the eleventh book in your “Nina Wilde And Eddie Chase” series. For those who haven’t read any of them, who are Nina and Eddie and what is this series about?
Nina Wilde is an American archaeologist, and Eddie Chase is her British ex-military husband. Over the course of their adventures and developing relationship, they’ve discovered numerous legendary sites and artifacts, including Atlantis, the tomb of King Arthur, a hidden Egyptian pyramid, the Viking hall of Valhalla, and many more besides. The problem they’ve faced is that there always seem to be bad guys trying to loot these discoveries to use in their plots for mass murder or world domination, resulting in a great deal of action and destruction as Nina and Eddie try to stop them.
And then what is The Revelation Code about, and how does it fit in, both narratively and chronologically, with the other books?
The Revelation Code follows a few months after the events of the tenth book, Kingdom Of Darkness, with the ebook short The Last Survivor acting as a bridge between them, though it’s not necessary to have read it or any of the previous novels to follow the story.
Just before the start of the Iraq War, a CIA agent named Cross discovered an extraordinary statue in a temple at the bottom of a drained Iraqi lake; now, he’s convinced that it’s one of the four angels of the apocalypse mentioned in the Book Of Revelation and, in order to bring about the End Times, he needs to find the other three. He thinks he knows what to look for from studying Revelation, but because he’s not an archaeologist he hasn’t been able to match the clues to real-world locations. So he has Nina kidnapped to identify them — there’s a reason she specifically is chosen, connected to an old adversary of hers — and to force her to cooperate, Eddie is also taken and threatened with torture. It’s not giving too much away to say that Eddie eventually escapes, and a chase around the world begins to find the other angels before Cross.
When you started this series with 2007’s The Hunt For Atlantis, did you think this could lead to an entire series?
I never even imagined it would lead to two books, never mind fifteen; I recently signed a contract for three more with my UK publisher. Of all the different novels I’d written before making a sale, I never thought it would be that one which made the breakthrough. Shows what I know. But I suppose that on a subconscious level I must have been hoping there would be more adventures for Nina and Eddie after the first because I planted a few hooks that were followed up in later stories, such as Eddie’s first marriage.
Is the plan to keep going with these novels until you run out of ideas, or do you have an endgame in mind already?
After The Revelation Code, there will be at least four more Nina and Eddie novels: I’m currently writing #12, The Midas Legacy, wherein Nina makes an unexpected discovery about her family history that leads her and Eddie into a new adventure. Beyond that I don’t know what’s in store for them, but I’m certainly not planning to end the series. As long as people want to read them, I’ll keep writing them.
I assume that you probably read a lot. But what authors and which books do you see as being the biggest influences on your novels?
I used to read a lot; not so much now, unfortunately. I’ve got a new baby whom I absolutely adore and who naturally takes priority over all else, and when I’m not with him, the ever-present Internet is a colossal time-sink. But the authors who’ve influenced me are still favorites: Alastair Maclean [Where Eagles Dare, The Guns Of Navarone], Craig Thomas [Firefox], early Tom Clancy before his books turned into ranting polemics, and Iain M. Banks, who, for all the deserved praise he gets in many areas, is I think underrated as a writer of pure action.
Of the modern authors in my genre, I like to keep tabs on Scott Mariani, James Rollins, and Matthew Reilly, the latter of whom sparked my own writing; his Area 7 was the first novel I’d read that was pure “big Hollywood action movie in book form,” and it made me think “I can do that.”
Prior to writing these novels, you worked for the movie magazine Hot Dog and also wrote video game reviews. Has there been any talk of turning any of these books into movies? Or games for that matter?
The series has been optioned to a Hollywood screenwriter with several big-name projects on the go, so I’m hopeful that mine will join them. It’s a very slow process, though, so I’ve got no idea when or if anything will happen.
Do you think these books would actually work as a movie or a game?
I certainly think they’d work as movies, as they were written with the thought that “Hollywood isn’t going to give me $200 million to make my ultimate action film…but I can still write it down.” And there are plenty of games that follow similar globetrotting paths like the Tomb Raider and Uncharted franchises, so a Nina and Eddie game should work if anyone ever cared to make one.
Coincidentally, I know Rhianna Pratchett, the writer of the recent Tomb Raider games, from my days as a magazine editor, and I was once invited to write an Uncharted tie-in novel, but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule.
As you’re well aware, if someone did buy the rights to these books, they wouldn’t ask you who should star in the movie or what studio should make the games. But I will: Who would you cast as Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase, and who would want to direct the movie?
I’d thought for a while that Jason Statham would probably make a good Eddie, though I’m not sure he would be able to do the accent, but recently my wife and I were watching the TV thriller series Blindspot, and I can’t remember which one of us suggested it, but we both agreed that its star, Sullivan Stapleton, would be a perfect Eddie Chase.
Nina’s harder to pin down, because she’s deliberately written to be not entirely likeable, being both obsessive about her work to the point of selfishness and also somewhat passive-aggressive; you’d need an actress who can pull that off without losing the audience’s sympathy. So I don’t know.
As for directors, if we’re going for ideal world scenarios, then it would have to be James Cameron, but he’s a bit busy with his own projects at the moment.
Finally, if someone likes The Revelation Code, obviously they should go back and read the other Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase novels. But once they’ve done that, what book would you recommend they read next and why?
I’ll be cheeky and recommend The Persona Protocol, which is called The Shadow Protocol in the US, by a certain Andy McDermott, which is my only non-Wilde/Chase thriller.