James Bruno is the author of three bestselling political thrillers. He has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, regional NPR and other national and international media. His spy-mob thriller PERMANENT INTERESTS and CHASM, a thriller about war criminals, have landed simultaneously on three Amazon Kindle Bestseller lists, including #1 in Political Fiction. They were joined by TRIBE, a political thriller centered on Afghanistan. HAVANA QUEEN, an espionage thriller set in Cuba, is due out in June 2013.
Mr. Bruno served as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State for twenty-three years. Prior to that, he worked as a military intelligence officer and as a journalist in New York. Having left government in order to devote full-time to his writing, the author is now a member of the Diplomatic Readiness Reserve, subject to worldwide duty on short notice. Mr. Bruno holds M.A. degrees from the U.S. Naval War College and Columbia University, and a B.A. from George Washington University. He is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
His assignments have included Cuba, Guantanamo (as liaison with the Cuban military), Pakistan/Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Washington, DC. He has spent ample time at the White House and has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Secret Service on presidential security overseas. He also knows the Pentagon, CIA and other foreign affairs agencies well.
Based on his experiences, James Bruno’s stories possess an authenticity rarely matched in the political thriller genre.
What inspires you to write?
Twenty-five years in the federal government placed me in situations which made me say, “Fiction can’t rival this.” So, I cut short my diplomatic career to have more fun writing stories which encompass the chicanery and fecklessness of government. If you thought Washington was out of control, then don’t read my books. They’ll only confirm your worst fears about how things are done in our nation’s capital.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write solely in Word – no fancy writing programs. I sketch out my characters beforehand so that I know them fully. I keep a running outline as I progress in the story, usually sketching out the next couple of chapters before writing them.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do. I get under their skin and vice-versa, carrying on dialogues with them. I get so into this process that eventually they inhabit my dreams. So, in a sense, I go to bed with them.
What advice would you give other writers?
It’s a steep and l-o-n-g learning curve. Successful authors are those who never give up. Improve your craft; learn the business side. As one who has had three agents and pursued traditional publishing, I advise skipping the legacy route altogether and self-publish. Life is too short.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve had three good agents, but I found the traditional publishing path so antiquated and frustrating that I forewent it altogether and published my books independently. This was the best decision I’ve ever made. My three books published thus far quickly climbed the Kindle charts, reaching #1 position on the paid bestseller lists for Political Fiction and Spy Stories. I’ve also been featured in national and international media. I’m hoping that HAVANA QUEEN will follow a similar trajectory. And, of course, my royalties are five times what I’d get via the legacy publishing route.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe we’re seeing the evolution of a hybrid landscape of traditional and independent publishing. It’s fast becoming a much more democratic marketplace for authors whereby readers more directly determine success or lack of success of authors’ books without middlemen interceding.
What genres do you write?
fiction, thriller, political, espionage, action, adventure
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print