Posted on May 21, 2019 at 9:04 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we’re interviewing Andrew Updegrove, author of the Frank Adversego thriller series.
Updegrove has been representing technology companies for more than thirty years, and works with many of the organizations seeking to thwart cyber-attacks before they occur.
What that has taught him is that we’re much better at creating new technologies than we are at figuring out how to protect them — we’re like kids who want the candy now and worry about the cavities later, and only then if we can’t avoid it.
When he decided to try his hand at writing fiction, he realized that you could not only write great stories about cyber-insecurity, but make people think at the same time.
The second thing that appealed to him was lampooning the ridiculous political world we have today in the USA. About the only thing everyone agrees on is that the system isn’t working. That provides the opportunity for added plot lines and a different kind of commentary.
SADYE: How did you come to see yourself as a writer, and what inspired you to seek publication?
ANDREW: Although I’ve been writing professionally and at length for years (one reviewer referred to me as “the almost ridiculously prolific Andrew Updegrove,” I never thought I had the imagination to write fiction.
Then one day I took my dog out on a cold, sleety morning to do what needed to be done, and a line came to me:
“Doesn’t that just sum up my existence? He gets a cookie, and I get a bag of crap.”
That line turned into a character, who turned into a book, which then turned into five books, which eventually led to this interview.
SADYE: What has been the most touching or memorable piece of reader feedback you’ve received?
ANDREW: I have to go back to my nonfiction writing. One day I got an email from someone I didn’t know.
He said that he was the first Director of Standards for the nation of Botswana, and he wanted to thank me, because everything he had learned about standards he had learned from ConsortiumInfo.org, the site I maintain on that subject.
Before I started writing fiction, I wrote about a million words there — the equivalent of about ten books.
SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?
ANDREW: For that one, I’ll quote Bruce Schneier, one of the foremost authorities on cybersecurity, who provided the following endorsement for my last book:
“Andrew Updegrove's Frank Adversego thrillers are realistic page-turners, making it clear that if you're not worried about cybersecurity you're not paying attention.”
SADYE: What advice, as relates to your writing career, would you give your younger self?
ANDREW: Don’t assume you can’t do something until you’ve tried it and failed.
SADYE: What experience in your past or general aspect of your life has most affected your writing?
ANDREW: Possibly being a history major and maintaining a lifelong interest in that subject.
I think most of us think of reality as the last ten or twenty years, and assume that the bad things that happened in the more distant past can, like a war that would actually threaten the USA, never happen again.
My third book, The Doodlebug War, shows an entirely credible scenario where half of the people in the United States and Europe could be killed — tomorrow — by North Korea, Iraq, ISIS, or just about anyone else.
It highlights a glaring vulnerability we’re ignoring just because it would cost a lot to fix it.
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Categories: Author Interview