By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes
Last fall, Holmes and I devolved into serial interviewers, targeting best selling authors. Our first victim guest at our secret blog prison hideout was New York Times Best Selling Author and Heckuva Guy James Rollins*. Dr. Rollins was a stellar interviewee, not once complaining about the handcuffs or the fact that his parachute got tangled when we pushed him out of the plane over his house. (James Rollins and New Characters for Sigma Force)
During that interview, my dog, Daisy, showed her astute doggie intuition and hit on just the right questions to pull some exclusive info from this author/veterinarian. She asked about war dogs. Here is an excerpt.
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Hi Dr. Rollins. *lick, lick, wag, wag* It’s so nice to meet you. I love meeting writers who get it. Writers who understand that dog readership is a driving force in today’s market. Would you please explain the benefits of having animals in books?
As a veterinarian, I simply enjoy folding them into the story. I knew from third-grade that I wanted to be a vet, and though I only do volunteer work with my vet degree, that passion still runs strong. So animals keep creeping in on silent paws into my books. Also, I think an animal is a great way to personalize and characterize the men and women in a story. Are they a cat person or a dog person? Can they ride a horse? What type of dog or cat do they have? These details can really make a significant difference in how a reader views a character.
I know they certainly matter to me and to my pet human.
There’s been lots of news about Cairo, the war dog who took down Bin Laden. (Sincere thanks to Cairo’s pilots and assistants.) War dogs are really hot, the way they sky dive and save their pet humans from bombs. Have you ever considered adding a war dog to the Sigma Force team?
In fact, that’s coming up in my very next book: Tucker Wayne and his canine partner, Kane. They are an incredible team.
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On June 26, we finally got to see Kane and his pet human, Tucker Wayne in Bloodline, the eighth novel in the Sigma Force series. To celebrate this event, we tracked Dr. Rollins on his Bloodline Tour and approached him on the street outside of a bookstore to interrogate chat with him about this exciting new release.
When he first saw us coming toward him, he dodged into a nearby pet store. We found him crouched behind a large open glass container full of Belgian Malinois puppies, and, once we proved we didn’t have any blindfolds on us or black helicopters hovering outside, he agreed to answer a few questions.
Dr. Rollins, will Tucker and Kane be a natural addition to the Sigma Force team in Bloodline, or will they have issues to settle to blend in?
From a professional standpoint, Tucker’s training as an army ranger and his partnership with his military working dog, Kane, create a formidable search-and-rescue team—the perfect recruit for Sigma. But Tucker is disillusioned and bitter and not a team player. With Kane at his side, he’s a bit of a lone wolf. His trust needs to be won—but can Sigma earn it? That’s answered with in the pages of Bloodline.
When you spoke with Daisy, you told her Sigma Force will go up against The Guild in Bloodline, and only one group will be left standing. Does this mean Bloodline is the close of the Sigma Force series?
Nope. This book exposes the true puppet masters of the Guild and dramatizes the final, fiery confrontation between this shadowy organization and Sigma. But as this story ends, a new thread begins that will carry the story of Sigma into the future.
Would you please tell our readers a bit about Bloodline?
The president’s pregnant daughter is kidnapped by Somali pirates, and it’s up to Sigma and its newest recruits–Tucker and Kane–to rescue her from the mountainous jungles. But her kidnapping masks a greater threat–one tied to her unborn child, a baby who may hold the key to the secret of immortality.
About this time, a Vietnamese woman who seemed well-acquainted with Dr. Rollins showed up. As she passed the puppies and pushed her way between us and our target friend, I noticed the outline of a Sig Sauer in her belt holster under her shirt. In light of this new development, we wished Dr. Rollins all the best and left him to resume his Bloodline Tour.
Do you like the idea of a war dog and his pet human in a thriller?
*James Rollins is the author of eight Sigma Force novels, the Jake Ransom YA series, and the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. He is known for high adventure drawn from his extensive and accurate knowledge of science, technology, and history. He is also a veterinarian who regularly contributes his time to his local clinic to spay and neuter animals.