In the following email interview, writer Michael Moreci discusses The Throwaway (hardcover, Kindle), a spy thriller inspired in equal parts by John Grisham novels, Mission: Impossible‘s fight scenes, and The Americans.
Photo Credit: Chad Leverenz
To start, what is The Throwaway about?
So, The Throwaway follows Mark Strain, a Washington lobbyist who is framed as a traitor and a spy. In the dead of night he’s shipped off to Moscow — a place he’s never even been — and installed as a Russian espionage hero. But Mark is no spy, and he has no choice but to do whatever he can to fight his back to the United States, reunite with his pregnant wife, and prove his innocence.
The Throwaway is a spy thriller. But are there any other genres or subgenres that are at work in the book as well?
I’d say just thrillers in general, particularly the work of John Grisham. After all, the main character, Mark, isn’t a spy. He’s not a war hero or a trained ultimate ninja fighter. He’s no Jason Bourne, and he doesn’t even have the situation-specific smarts of a Tom Clancy character. Mark’s an everyman, and there’s hardly anyone who writes thrillers concerning ordinary people in extraordinary situations as John Grisham.
That covers my next question, about what writers influenced The Throwaway, but was your novel also influenced by movies, TV shows, or video games?
For sure. I watched a lot of spy thrillers, particularly Mission: Impossible, mainly to get a sense of how those films frame fight sequences. And, let’s face it, I just love the M:I movies. But even more than M:I, FX’s The Americans played an instrumental role in shaping The Throwaway. I adorethat show, and while my story is nothing like the one that The Americans has told, I still learned a ton about how to present spy culture in a compelling, engaging way. I wanted to capture that as best as I could in The Throwaway.
It still is, for sure. But you know how it goes — if people clamor for more, a sequel can always be found.
Speaking of Black Star Renegades, your recently released sci-fi novel, what is that about?
Black Star Renegades is a coming-of-age space adventure in the spirit of Star Wars, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and the classic space pulps. It concerns a young man named Cade who, through circumstances I don’t want to spoil, comes into possession of the Rokura, a mythical, all-powerful weapon. He’s not the right person for it, and he doesn’t really want to handle the responsibility, but if he doesn’t figure out how to use the weapon and use it for good, the tyrannical Praxis kingdom will rule the galaxy unopposed. So, with a gang of misfits, Cade leads a mission to strike back against Praxis and discover a fate of his own.
And is there any word on when the second book in that series will be out, and what it will be called?
Very cool. Going back to The Throwaway, there is already a movie version in the works. What can you tell us about it?
I don’t know all that much; the last I heart, Jacob Crane and Jonathan Stewart were beginning to write the screenplay, but I couldn’t tell you how far along in the process they are.
This won’t happen, it never does, but if the producers of The Throwaway movie asked who they should cast in the movie, who would you suggest?
I’d love Mark to be played by Michael B. Jordan [Black Panther], for sure. Though I kind of want him to play everyone in everything. Gary Oldman [Darkest Hour] would be perfect as the Russian handler, and Sofia Boutella [Atomic Blonde] would be great as Mark’s Russian counterpart/ally.
Finally, if someone enjoys The Throwaway, what spy thriller novel would you suggest they read next and why?
This isn’t necessarily a spy thriller, but The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen is superb. It has some espionage elements, but it’s just a great thriller, with time-travel thrown in to spice things up in all the right ways.