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Author Kyle Mills talks candidly about the Mitch Rapp series.
As we eagerly await the release of the latest Mitch Rapp novel on September 14, 2021, I am excited to bring you this exclusive interview The Joyous Living did with Mitch Rapp writer Kyle Mills. Enjoy and be sure to check out my review of Enemy at the Gates.
The Joyous Living: I understand you signed a three book deal for the Mitch Rapp series with an overall arc. Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect from the next three books in the Mitch Rapp series?
Kyle Mills: I’ve abandoned the idea of the three-book arc exploring the collapse of American democracy. With the Capitol insurrection and accusations of rampant voter fraud, it cut a little too close to home. Thrillers should feel timely but it’s possible to go too far down that path.
Instead, I’m focusing on Mitch’s deteriorating relationship with the White House. In the past, he’s always worked for presidents who liked and admired him, but Anthony Cook is very much the opposite. I love throwing new challenges at Mitch and a commander in chief who has it in for him is unlike anything he’s faced before.
The Joyous Living: Irene Kennedy is one of the strongest female characters in modern espionage books. What do you think about her is so appealing to a modern audience?
Kyle Mills: What I love about Irene is that she is really unlike Mitch. They both want to get to the same end point but do so from very different directions. She’s the yin to Mitch’s yang, which lends a lot of richness and balance to the series.
The Joyous Living: How do you pay homage and respect late authors such as Vince Flynn and Robert Ludlum while staying true to your own writing style and ideas?
Kyle Mills: Interestingly, those were two very different challenges.
With the Ludlum books, it made sense for me to let a lot of my style show through. It was a series that had been penned by a number of writers in the past and had gone fallow. There wasn’t a strong stylistic consistency throughout, and my objective was to hit the reset button on the series and give it a path forward.
With Vince’s books, my goal was to create—for want of a better word—a forgery. He had a strong, unique voice and millions of fans who loved it. So, I studied how he put books together, his attitudes, his prose, and anything else I could think of. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Joyous Living: What is the most rewarding thing you’ve been told by a Vince Flynn fan since The Survivor was published?
Kyle Mills: Vince had written about three pages of The Survivor and I included those pages—but not at the very beginning. I challenged readers to differentiate his writing from mine and to ferret out that section. Every time someone guessed wrong, I knew I’d done my job. And everyone did. Nobody ever figured it out.
The Joyous Living: Any plans to write prequels in the Mitch Rapp series or fill in gaps between book timelines?
Kyle Mills: I’d like to. I think it’d be fun to wrap up all those loose ends. What happened to Greta? How did Mitch and Stan become so close? We’ll see. There’s so much to write about in the current context, it’s hard to find the time to look back.
The Joyous Living: You have said that you travel for research purposes but in these times with travel being discouraged, what creative ways have you explored to do your research?
Kyle Mills: I relied a lot on places I’d already been. The Internet is a wonderful tool for filling in gaps, but I have a strong bias for using settings I’ve experienced in person.
The Joyous Living: What 3 books are you or have you recently read? What is on the top of your TBR list?
Kyle Mills: Right now, I’m reading a book of short ghost stories called Las Cosas que Perdimos en el Fuego (The Things We Lost in the Fire) by an Argentine author named Mariana Enriquez. Also, Homo Deus by Yuval Harari, is a book about the future of the human race. And, finally, I’m listening to The Stand by Stephen King, which I first read when I was probably twelve years old. Seemed appropriate in a time of COVID.
Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel García Márquez is up next. It’s been on my list for a long time, and I think my Spanish is finally good enough to enjoy it.
The Joyous Living: How much time do you take off between writing books and what do you do for fun?
Kyle Mills: Not much these days. Maybe a couple of weeks, but even then my mind is starting to churn over what’s next.
I have a lot of hobbies to keep me busy. Mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and woodworking to name a few. I love the outdoors and learning new things, so I’m always looking to find opportunities to explore those things.
A big thank you to Kyle Mills and Atria Books for taking time to answer our questions.
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Continue the Conversation
What is your favorite Mitch Rapp novel? What would you like to see happen in the next book?